Yet another health food craze. Wheatgrass juice is the result of processing the young shoots of the Red Wheatberry plant and extracting the juices from them. It is, like all similar products, rumored to do pretty much everything:
...is antibacterial and can be used inside and outside the body
...rebuilds the blood stream
...gets into the tissues and refines them
...improves blood sugar problems
... neutralizes toxins in the body
... helps purify the liver and wash drug deposits from the body
... prevents tooth decay, helps with tooth pain and strengthens the gums
Refines tissues? Whatever. Drinking it is probably harmless, but all the pseudomedical information you can find about it on the web or in your local health food store is sketchily backed up by the infamous "studies where x has been linked to y", if backed up at all. Everyone wants a WonderDrug. Wake up, people, there is none. The American Medical Association says not to take vitamin supplements. They don't say that they think they are unnecessary, they say do not take them. If you aren't getting the vitamins you need, then you had better start eating right in the first place. Aside from that, vitamin overdoses have actually become known due to fools scarfing down incredible amounts of vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, whatever.

I confess, I don't understand health food crazes at all. I've always figured that if you eat a proper diet (that means making a bean salad and eating a mango or two instead of ordering pizza one night out of the week), you'll be fine. The media-induced mass hypochondriasis (paranoid concern for one's own health) the US is experiencing is somewhat humorous but at the same time kind of sad, as people race to throw their money away on the next wonderfood.

List of wheatgrass juice benefits taken from www.utahwheatgrass.com/wheatgrass.html. I have seen this list on fliers at smoothie joints, certain ads, and other contexts.

Having worked at one of those smoothie joints you mention, I can tell you that indeed there is quite a bit of hype about this amazing grass. We even have a couple of books extolling the virtues of this green wonder. Is it all true? I have no idea. I'm not a medical professional, so I certainly don't have any knowledge about whether or not these claims are at all legitimate. However, I can tell you what I have noticed from my own experience, as well as the experience of my close friends.

The first thing you notice upon drinking wheatgrass juice is its peculiar taste. It's kind of hard to describe... you know the smell when someone's mowing the lawn? It's like that, but with a sweet after taste. If you've never tried it, I recommend having some just to experience the taste. I've been told that if you choose to drink something to wash down the taste, you shouldn't drink anything citrus, as the citric acid will sort of neutralize the good qualities of the wheatgrass... you didn't just drink it for the taste, did you?

After drinking an ounce or two of the stuff, I have personally noticed an increase in energy. I generally made it a habit to have at least an ounce whenever I had to open the store, just so I wouldn't fall asleep during the day. My friends who drank the stuff religiously tell me that after drinking it daily for a while, they noticed that they seemed to have more energy all the time, as well as just generally feeling more healthy. Of course, whether this was actually an effect of the grass or just their imagination I do not know.

If you do get some, I recommend you make sure you can see the grass and watch them juicing it. The longer between the grass dying and being consumed, the less the benefits (supposedly). You might also just want to look and confirm that the grass looks healthy, not wilted, as this effects both the taste and the possible health benefits.

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