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Green Power


In the 1950s, Ann Wigmore opened the Hippocrates Health Institute, a non-profit foundation in Boston, and began treating people with wheatgrass juice an.

In the 1950s, Ann Wigmore opened the Hippocrates Health Institute, a non-profit foundation in Boston, and began treating people with wheatgrass juice and a diet of raw, living foods. People from all over the world have visited the institute to be healed of major degenerative diseases such as cancer, arthritis and diabetes.

Wigmore wanted to spread the word after she healed herself of cancer in the 1940s. In Be Your Own Doctor (Penguin Putnam, 1982), she described how she learned about the nutritional value of grasses by experimenting with hundreds of grasses from the four corners of the world pampas grass from Argentina, bluegrass from Kentucky, tree grass from Australia and cereal grasses such as barley, oats and wheat from North America. Eventually, Wigmore noted that her pets were instinctively drawn to the wheatgrass.

"The next step was to try the wheatgrass juice myself," she wrote. "Months of testing followed. My shattered health experienced miraculous recovery. Whereas before I was unable to work except for few hours a day because of exhaustion and nervousness, the wheatgrass seemed to bring new alertness and energy into my body. No task seemed too difficult to accomplish, and work became a pleasure instead of a chore. I even began to feel younger, and I realized, probably for the first time, that wheatgrass is a Godsend and had arrived at the right time to change the chemistry of my blood, enabling me to survive those difficult times."

Wigmore went on to practise as a naturopathic doctor until she died at 85 of smoke inhalation when her house caught fire. However, her discoveries of the health benefits of cereal grasses did not go unnoticed. During the Second World War, medical doctors studied a substance called chlorophyll and found it to be a wonderful healer for peptic ulcers, sinus infections and anemia. Chlorophyll, the "life-blood" of plants, is created through photosynthesis by the sun. Since its molecular structure is similar to hemoglobin in human blood, chlorophyll helps rejuvenate the blood by removing toxins.

In the American Journal of Surgery (1940), Benjamin Gruskin, MD, recommended chlorophyll as an antiseptic to clear up foul odours, neutralize strep infections, heal wounds, overcome chronic inner ear inflammation and infection, reduce varicose veins and heal leg ulcers. Interestingly, wheatgrass is 70 percent chlorophyll!

Another cereal grass, that of barley, has been researched extensively by Dr. Yoshihide Hagiwara, president of the Hagiwara Institute of Health in Japan. I met Dr. Hagiwara at the opening ceremonies of his new barley juice extraction facility in Oxnard, California in 1990. Hagiwara reported that he had suffered a complete health breakdown at 38 as a result of mercury poisoning. Consequently, he turned to the words of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, who said, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine by thy food."

Dr. Hagiwara researched more than 150 different plants and found barley grass to be an excellent source of nutrients that the body needs for growth, repair and well-being. Using barley grass juice, he detoxified his body and restored his health completely.
"Barley grass is one of the most incredible products of this decade. It improves the skin texture and the dryness associated with aging," agrees Dr. Howard Lutz, director at the Institute of Preventive Medicine in Washington, DC.

In recent years, growers and manufacturers in North America, Japan and Europe have developed dozens of "green food" products based on the principal that the body functions optimally when fed plenty of chlorophyll and enzymes.

"No doubt, cereal grasses are powerful health boosters," says Udo Erasmus, author of Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill (alive Books, 1993). "I developed a healthy, easy-to-use formula with premium greens from organically grown barley, alfalfa, oat and rye grasses and added essential fats, fibres, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, enzymes, probiotics and proteins, all of which enhance the body's healing ability. The added bonus is, it tastes especially good when mixed with freshly pressed carrot juice."

I have known Sam Graci for many years. If he ever comes to your area for a workshop or lecture, make sure you go; you won't be disappointed. Sam used to work with children and noticed that most of them were undernourished, which lead him to develop a super food called Greens+. This formula combines wheatgrass, barley and alfalfa with a number of other extracts and organic ingredients that provide a huge range of nutrients, antioxidants, enzymes, chlorophyll, probiotics, vitamins and minerals. Sam's Greens+ formulation has won a number of awards, including the alive Award of Excellence.

Sophia Jesswein of Bioquest believes that the addition of spirulina gives her GreenAlive formulation a special advantage. Spirulina is a nutrient-dense, blue-green, fresh water algae that's rich in chlorophyll, high quality protein and vitamin B12. Adding greens to your daily diet, says Jesswein, is like buying a life insurance policy.

The New Roots brand offers still more variety of green drinks. Here, you can choose either spirulina or chlorella, another blue-green algae, as a single product or combined in the New Roots Freedom Greens.

When you plan a trip or go on vacation, you may find the pre-portioned packages of Enriching Greens by Natural Factors convenient to pack in your handbag. They're the right size for a tall glass of green juice once a day.

This isn't a complete list of green food products that you'll find in your health food store. Talk to your certified natural health products advisor to establish which variety is best for you.

You may still wonder if these green powders are as good as fresh juices. Of course not, fresh is still best. But wheatgrass, barley grass, alfalfa and other green products that have been pressed and carefully dried at low temperatures in a vacuum process are the next best alternative.

The green blends do have two advantages that I appreciate. First, they supply an extremely wide variety of quality nutrients, and second, they are very convenient to use. Just stir a spoonful of green powder into a glass of water and it's ready to drink. When I drink freshly pressed juice every morning, I mix in a spoonful of green powder.

My favourite juice, which I talk about in my book, Juicing for the Health of it (alive Books, 2000), consists of two-thirds carrot juice, 20 per cent red beets and 10 per cent celery. The balance is made up of whatever leafy greens I have in my garden, such as parsley, cabbage leaves or sorrel. I squeeze in a teaspoon each of lemon juice and flax oil. Then I add a tablespoon of green powder as well as some nutritional yeast for the extra B vitamins. This combination of freshly pressed juice and greens is a perfect way to start the day.



Innovation for Good

Innovation for Good

Neil ZevnikNeil Zevnik