Green Health Foods in a Bottle
Steve Meyerowitz

In the science of color, known as chromatology, green is the color for healing. There are many shades of green, but the one used for healing is a dark green like the color of common grass. While our Earth has been called the “blue planet,” because from the cosmic view it is mostly ocean, from our perspective as landsmen we would have to call it the “green planet.” No matter what land we journey to on this planet, from the outback “down under” to the 1 inch Arctic tundra of Greenland, the earth grows green.

Another astonishing fact is that the earth grows green even under water! From the popular macroalgae “seaweed” kelp, to the single cell chlorella – there is plenty of greenery. In fact, the ancestors of these microscopic green plants were the very first life forms on the planet 3.6 billion years ago! Did you know that any cereal grain you can think of, from wheat to oats, barley, corn, rye, millet, spelt, Kamut and quinoa, when planted will grow grass? In China, elaborate ceremonies were conducted as early as 2,800 B.C., honoring the cereal grains. Every spring, the Romans celebrated their goddess of agriculture, Ceres, for whom the name “cereal” is derived, thanking her for bringing bounty to the earth. What lessons are we to learn from these fundamental, ancient earth foods? Although you may not be ready to worship them like our ancestors, certainly when we examine the nutritional content of these plants with their ubiquitous presence and longevity, they are indeed worthy of a place in our diet.

Wheatgrass – the first popular green The popularity of wheatgrass today is due almost singlehandedly to the efforts of one woman, Dr. Anne Wigmore. In the 1960s she suffered from cancer and almost had her leg amputated. Being a stubborn Lithuanian, she would not let her doctors touch her. She retreated to a solitary life and applied 19th century techniques learned from her grandmother. She applied common grass to her wounds and chewed and sucked the grass juice. She recovered and in the 1970s started a clinic in metropolitan Boston where people. many of whom the medical profession had given up, came to be treated by this healer with the “wheatgrass” miracle. Many success stories came out of that Boston brownstone and the word spread quickly. Dr. Ann initiated other clinics in Chicago, San Diego, Puerto Rico, Australia and India.

She developed indoor gardening techniques that enabled her to grow the wheatgrass in any kitchen. Unfortunately, her program was not mass market material. Growing wheatgrass indoors, and the strict regimen required for the desired results, was too much for fast paced lifestyle and a quick fix mentality. Worse still, special and expensive juicing machines were necessary to juice the grass. Thus, only the desperate or the committed pursued Wigmore’s juicing program.

Wheatgrass comes in two forms. The original Ann Wigmore style of 10-day-old grass grown indoors and the outdoor-grown grass harvested at the jointing stage – about 30 days. The data on wheatgrass mostly exists on the outdoor style and is very favorable. The indoor grass is rich in sugars and has a strong and sharply sweet bite to it. The outdoor grass is milder to the palate. For those who wish to grow their own, the indoor version is the most economical.

The advent of juice powders Many decry the aggressiveness of American merchandising and complain of its greed and corruption of our values. Although cigarette marketing is a case in point, it would be unwise to condemn an entire industry for its high profile “bad eggs.” Most would agree that American merchandising has created some very valuable additions to out way of life. One if them, in my opinion, is the bottling of fresh juice powders.

Purism vs. pragmatism Purists may revolt at the concept of using anything other than fresh juice, but without the benefit of powdered bottled juices, these super foods could not be introduced to the average consumer and their availability would be impossible in the case of algae. Usage would revert back to the exclusive club of the desperate or the very committed, as was the case in the early Ann Wigmore days. Even Victor Kulvinskas, who is considered by many to be a co-founder of the wheatgrass movement, is a vocal supporter of powdered green foods.

Kamut & barley grass Along with wheatgrass, kamut and barley grass have developed as powerful sister grasses that provide a similar nutritional profile to wheatgrass. Each has an advantage over the other as their producers will quickly point out, but, as a whole, these super foods are on the same level. Selection should be based on personal preference according to taste, price and availability. It’s not that different from choosing tomatoes. You might prefer plum, cherry, vine ripe or organic, and certainly price and availability will influence your decision. Another option is to purchase a combination product (more on that later).

Comparison of dried barley grass juice and comon foods:

Food Calories Protein Lipid Sugars Fibers
Grass Juice Powder• 302 45.19 3.2 2.3 - -
Barley Grain 337 8.8 0.9 79.7 0 7
Milk 59 2.9 3.3 4.5 - -
Skim milk 359 34.8 1.0 52.2 - -
Salmon 137 20.5 5.4 0.3 - -
Peanuts 571 26.3 48.2 17.0 1.8
Banana 87 1.3 0.4 21.4 0.5
Spinach 28 3.0 0.4 3.9 0.9
Lettuce 14 1.0 0.2 2.4 0.5

Kamut is famous for being the ancient grain supposedly taken from an Egyptian tomb. This is probably just a great story, but it does date back to 4,000 B.C. It is the ancient relative of modern durum (pasta) wheat. The name (pronounced Ka-moot) is Egyptian for “wheat.” It is an heirloom, non-hybrid grain which means it has never been cross-bred. Interestingly enough, it is superior to modern hard wheats that have been bred to “perfection” over decades. Kamut has more protein (17 percent vs. 12 percent), lipids, minerals and even taste.

Research into the nutritional content of cereal grasses began in 1935, when a group of scientists at the department of agricultural chemistry at the University of Wisconsin ran a series of experiments. They attempted to learn why milk produced by cows during the winter, on winter rations, was markedly inferior in nutritive value to milk produced by cows in the summer,. when they had access to pastures. They began adding grass juice to the winter milk. Guinea pigs were used because they, like cows, are herbivorous animals. It was determined that “the growth stimulating factor of grass was distinct from all the known vitamins.” They tested three grasses – barley, wheat and oats – in the dried juice form. All were grown in the same field at the same time.

The study showed that: “Barley grass, which was the most effective, produced a growth rate of 5.3 gm per day from the second to the seventh week of the experiment. The wheatgrass was only slightly less potent than the barley grass. After seven weeks the guinea pigs were taken off the supplement and fed mineralized milk alone. Growth stopped almost immediately. When resumed, once again remarkable growth resulted in animals receiving barley and wheatgrasses. These results show definitely that the grasses contain a nutritional factor that is essential for maintenance as well as growth of guinea pigs.”

More recently, the best research available on the nutritional content of grasses comes from the Japanese and their work with young barley grass. Dr. Yoshihide Hagiwara, a researcher and doctor of medicine, is the discoverer and producer of “Green Magma,” which is spray-dried barley grass juice (Bakuryokusi in Japanese). As we see from the American research of the 1930s, some of the best results with the guinea pigs were obtained from barley grass. Hagiwara says that barley contains the most natural balance of concentrated vitamins, minerals, proteins, and enzymes of 200 different plants and vegetables he tested. He also examined the nutrient levels at the different stages of growth – 5 inches, 10 inches, 20 inches high and more. He settled on 10-12 inches as the maximum nutrient value. This would occur approximately at the seed jointing stage. His grass is spray dried at low temperatures inside a vat, then vacuum dried and sealed in glass jars. This process ensures enzyme activity.

Dried barley grass juice (Green Magma) has 11 times the calcium of cow’s milk, five times the iron of spinach, four times the vitamin B-1 of whole wheat flour, seven times the vitamin C in oranges and an abundance of vitamin B-12, 80 mcg. per hundred grams (an equivalent amount of wheatgrass contains 20 mcg. of B-12). It has high concentrations of magnesium and iron as well as bioflavanoids (hormones), polysaccharides, and polypeptides (low weight proteins).

Chlorophyll is the thing Perhaps the most significant therapeutic ingredient in these grasses is chlorophyll. It accounts for 70 percent of the solid content of wheat grass juice. Chlorophyll is the plasma of plants. Green plants take in sunlight and transform it into food! This potosynthesis is one of the most fundamental processes in nature. Green plants, algae and certain bacteria use the light energy of the sun to form carbohydrate food. Not only do these greens nourish themselves and become the No. 1 food in the food chain, they also produce oxygen, playing a fundamental role in the biosphere of the planet.

Fifty years ago, scientists proved that chlorophyll is bacteriostatic, meaning it kills harmful bacteria. It fights strep and staph infections, bad odors in the mouth, gum disease, and destroys putrefactive bacteria in the digestive tract. It promotes healing of wounds by stimulating the production of connective tissue, helps ear infection, adn the list goes on. Famous research scientist E. Bircher called chlorophyll “concentrated sun power.” He said, “It increases the functions of the head, affects the vascular system, the intestines, the uterus, and the lungs. It raises basic nitrogen exchange and is therefore a tonic which, considering its stimulating properties, cannot be compared with any other.”

One of the reasones chlorphyll is so effective may be its similarity to hemin. Hemin is part of “hemoglobin,” the protein fraction of human blood that carries oxygen. Studies done as long ago as 1911 show that the molecules of hemin and chlorophyll are surprisingly alike. The only exception is that chlorophyll is bound by an atom of magnesium and hemin is bound by iron. Experiments have shown that severly anemic rabbits make a rapid return to a normal blood count once chlorophyll is administered. Although the exact chemical transaction has not been proven, the human body seems to be able to substitute iron and rebuild the blood. It is as if the anemic patient has had a transfusion.

Algae — water grown greens Not all vegetables grow in soil. Algae are microscopic green plants that grow in water and can be cultivated like vegetables. We are probably more familiear with the marine micro-algae, seaweeds such as kelp and nori. Like mushrooms, many are toxic and only a few are cultivated for human consumption. Three fresh water microalgae are available to us: spirulina, chlorella and blue-green algae (AFA). Like the land-grown cereal grasses, they have similar nutritional profiles, but as a group they are approximately 70 percent protein as compared with the grasses, which are about 25 percent protein.

The chicken or the egg...or algae? Algae were the first life-forms on the planet. When the earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago, the atmosphere had no oxygen and lots of nitrogen, carbon dioxide and water. Cyanobacteria, the first life forms, usd solar energy to break apart carbon dioxide and water into carbon compounds and food, releaseing oxygen in the process. Fossils of these 3.6 billion-year-old photosynthetic bacteria resemble spirulina.

The largest naturally available algae lake in the world is in Klamath Lake, Ore. The algae in the lake is called blue-green algae, Aphanizomenon Flos Aquae or AFA for short. Cell Tech, INc. is the largest of the commercial companies harvesting AFA from the lake. You won’t find their brand in stores because they distribute it through multi-level marketing, i.e. a network of commissionable agents. They trademarked the algae with the name Super Blue Green. Generally it is unfortunate when a natural food is given a trademark name for a commercial purpose. Kamut (tm) is another case. But in the case of AFA, this superb food would not otherwise be available to the public without the benefit of commercial enterprise and secondly, it’s a lot easier to pronounce.

Spirulina and chlorella differ in that they are cultivated in man made ponds. Chlorella is mostly grown in Asia and the largest spirulina growers are in the deserts of Southern California (Earthrise) and Hawaii (Cyanotech). These foods represent a new agricultural technology with the promise of producing more nutrition for the world population per acre than any other food. These comapanies are not just supplement manufacturers, they’re farmers!

Choose between all three algae according to personal taste and experimentation. Nutritionally, they are all super. Chlorella has the highest chlorophyll of all foods, about 70 percent, which is why they call it chlorella. It is a single cell plant that has a unique ability to reproduce itself. This chlorella growth factor (CGF) holds the promise of assisting in the repair and regeneration of human tissue. Its nucleus contains lots of nucleopeptides and cell growth factors such as RNA and DNA.

Digestion has always been a concern with chlorella because its tough cellulose wall makes absorption of all these wonderful nutrients difficult. The purveyors of chlorella have different methods for overcoming the toughness of the cell wall. Yaeyama of Japan, the world’s largest chlorella grower and pioneer since 1960, uses a patented jet spray process that cracks the individual cells without damaging the nutrients inside.

Talking about DNA, spirulina has the same physicla spiral shape as DNA! This food is an immune system booster. Anti-oxidants and phytonutrients are now buzz words in nutrition circles as they well should be. They are some of nature’s finest secret ingredients that have the power to normalize, repair and rejuvenate. And spirulina has an abundance of them: Phycocyanin, chlorophyll, glycolipids, sulfolipids, gamma linolenic acid and about 10 carotenoids including the best known – beta carotene.

Spirulina has a soft cell wall made up of proteins and polysaccharides instead of cellulose. Polysaccharides are complex sugars. And it is also a rich source of the rare essential fatty acide GLA. It also has lots of easy-to-absorb iron and is the best place a vegetarian can go to get B-12.

One of the most exciting new frontiers for spirulina is its cultivation with specific nutrient enhancements in the poind. Since algae is more responsive to its environment than soil-grown vegetables, farmers can increase, for example, the selenium contant of spirulina providing an excellent bio-abailable for of the mineral in a food. This is not genetic manipulation at all. Instead, it is advanced certified organic farming of the ‘90s.

Get them all!

Steve Meyerowitz, aka Sproutman, is the author of five books on health and diet including Wheatgrass and the Green Foods Revolution.

Find out more from:

Greens+ Original multi-green food powdered product. 800-643-1210. Fax 561 -562-9848. Http://

The Sprout House. Fresh cut wheatgrass mailed next day. Powdered grass and sprouting seeds. 800-S-P-R-O-U-T-S Email: info@Spro

Ann Wigmore Foundation. Original home of the mother of wheatgrass. Clinic, products and information. 505-384-1017.

Optimum Health Institute. Live-in clinic for wheatgrass therapy. Locations in Austin, TX and San Diego, Calif. 800-993-4325. 512-303-4817. http:// www.optimumhe

Klamath Blue Green Algae 800-327-1956. Email:

Cyanotech, Inc. Large grower of spirulina in Hawaii. 808-329-4677. FAX: (808) 329-3597. Email:

Green Foods Corporation. Manufacturer of Green Magma original barley grass powder. 800-777-4430 ext. 434. 805-983-7470. Email: gfc@) http://

Pines Wheatgrass. Pioneer in field grown wheatgrass products. Cooperatively owned by employees. 800-697-4637. Http://

Green Kamut (tm) Corporation. Pioneer manufacturer of Kamut grown wheatgrass juice powder. 800-452-6884. Fax 310-498-9529.

Earthrise Company. World’s largest spirulina grower. Industry pioneer. 707-778-9078 fax 707-778-9028. Http://

Cell Tech, Inc. Largest harvester of natural blue- green algae from Klamath Lake. Multi-level marketing company. 800-800-6069, automated order line. Fax on Demand fax line for information is 800-565-5092.

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