GREEN GRASSES: These Dark Green, Leafy Vegetables Contain Amazing Amounts of Vital Nutrients...for Mind and Body

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GREEN GRASSES: These Dark Green, Leafy Vegetables Contain Amazing Amounts of Vital Nutrients...for Mind and Body

Wise words from the father of modern India serve us today. Gandhi encouraged Indians to be free of economic and political oppression. So many of us are free by comparison, but do our freedoms bind us -- to hectic schedules, to fast and unnourishing food, and to lives made less meaningful because we have crammed them so full?

Perhaps freedoms do bind, and make many people more unhealthy than they would be in bondage. But, as food is the issue here, let us use this metaphor: Sometimes it's necessary to make a mess in the kitchen to make a good cake. And so it goes with the evolution of mankind. When you stir up consciousness by tossing in cupfuls of freedom and liberty for all, all kinds of things get tossed onto the counter, including working moms, TV dinners, and God knows how many kinds of sugar fillers and preservatives.

As the cycle continues, we have, fortunately, people like Ronald L. Seibold, who used the quote from Gandhi in the beginning of a book he edited on the health benefits of cereal grasses. Seibold, a rural sociologist with Pines International of Lawrence, Kansas, is among many pioneers in natural foods heeding Gandhi's words as we return in our evolutionary cycle to using those nutrients placed in such abundance by an unfathomably Wise Intelligence governing creation.

People in this fast-paced world, weary of the short shrift given bodily welfare by rat-race diets, turn in increasing numbers to natural goodnesses supplied in such abundance on our planet: grasses and grains.

Because we aren't forest and field-roaming tribes these days, there are entrepreneurs like those at Pines International who have made sensible eating habits their cause clbre, producing Pines Wheat Grass and Pines Barley Grass Tablets and a dissolving powder called Green Energy.

Seibold is a fine example of someone dedicated to "right livelihood," which is to say, a way of making a living that improves the lot of mankind. In his preface to the book Green Grass, Seibold says the modern use of wheat, barley, rye, and oat grasses as nutritional foods for humans began over 50 years ago, and notes that, "The New Green Revolution happening in the Kansas River Valley is part of a planetary change in human activity and awareness. Its roots are in our collective subconscious mind. Each person who makes life choices toward this new vision of sustainable community life shares in our progress."

Seibold gives credit for the development of this useful manuscript to scientists Charles Schnabel and George Kohler, researcher and writer Lea Steele, and a number of other contributors.

We'll talk about the research that has pushed cereal grasses as high grade nutrients back into our awareness, but first let's talk about lifestyles and the need for these kind of products.

Probably everyone agrees that a person who lives a stress-free life and who gets the right amount of exercise and sleep, and eats only organically-grown foods cooked exactly the right amount, in exactly the correct combinations, and the correct season, doesn't need supplements. Everyone also agrees that this is nearly impossible!

This is something that you can change, but many people are caught up in some form of fast, modern life that, for one reason or another, simply isn't stress-free. Note the word change. It's important, as we learn ways to improve our nutrition and use of nature's abundance, that we not cripple ourselves with any mental constraints. Therefore, as we look at the richness nature has provided, and the natural foods pioneers who make it easier for us to use, let's not assume we' re stuck, as in stuck in the fast lane. We are evolving, growing wiser. We learn more, and we learn to relax. Call it having a good time, if you like.

Certainly those people, like Seibold, who are making natural foods their life's work, are having a good time, or sound like it, anyway. Seibold talks of "vision," and says: "Land is being weaned away from chemical fertilizers, and instead is being enriched by time-proven crop rotations of red clover, alfalfa and other legumes. Grasslands on bluffs, pasture lands and greenbelts are beginning to be returned to the native plants of the Kansas prairie. Communities are being planned around commonly-owned green spaces, facilities and enterprises."

Here is another green success story, of a green food product that is helping rich and poor alike, is feeding muscled and financially-backed athletes, and has been sent to give hope to the starving.

Green Magma is a product made from the leaves of young green barley plants grown in coastal fields near Oxnard, California. It is dried into a powder in a process patented by Dr. Yoshihide Hagiwara, founder and president of the Green Foods Corp.

This product contains, says its maker, seven times more vitamin C than oranges, five time more iron than spinach, and three times more protein than rice. Athletes who recommend it have called it "green steroid." And early this year, Green Foods sent over 2,000 cases of it to help the relief effort in Somalia.

What about the natural foods companies forming a cooperative association aimed at ending starvation on the earth? Granted, the world is full of study groups on this horrible problem. But those individuals and companies working most closely with delivering nature's bounty in the healthiest ways possible just might have an added impact on the starvation issue, they might have nature behind them, if they bond together to develop aid. I volunteer to join the board if they do. And thanks, Dr. Hagiwara, for the idea.

His Green Magma, according to Dr. G.K. Knowlton, is used by athletes because it "speeds the body's recovery by counteracting toxins produced in the body, repairs muscle tissue and provides the essential amino acids and minerals necessary for rehydration.

An example of athletic prowess giving a nod to grasses is triathlete Colleen Cannon, winner of over 70 triathlons in her 10-year career. "Anybody I know who has ever tried it for a significant length of time becomes a dedicated believer," she said.

Why is cereal grass so good for you? First, understand that cereal grass is as different from oatmeal as a horse is from an anteater. A cereal grass more closely resembles a dark green leafy vegetable. And it's harvested early, in a fascinating handshake with nature, before the cereal grass plant has a chance to pop it's wallop of nutrients into growing a grain.

It's a wonderful relationship because the grass doesn't mind being lopped off for our use. It simply grows back, delivering the same rich greens all over again. We'll let the Seiboid-edited book tell us more about this later.

Fortunately, there are a number of companies delivering these products, and their surge in popularity is beginning to match that of spirulina, the seagreen food. Spirulina is "nature's richest source of beta-carotene," according to Michael Molyneaux of the Nutrex company (and others in the field). Spirulina has been fabulously successful as an extra-punch nutrition product, and a number of companies have grown up around its success. Nutrex sells Spirulina Pacifica, using spirulina from Hawaii, in powders, tablets and capsules. Some call it "Superfood."

Nature's Way is among natural foods companies offering both land grasses and sea grasses. Nature's Way markets a Barley Grass and a product called Healthy Greens, which combines land greens and seagreens, and contains barley, nettle, dandelion and alfalfa greens, spirulina, chlorella and kelp.

Among the greens products at Wakunaga is Kyo-Green, which is a concentrate you can mix with juice or water. It contains chlorella, concentrate of young barley grass and wheat grass, brown rice and kelp. It tastes pretty good too.

Earthrise of California is another company with two green thumbs. Earthrise sells Spirulina and offers a combination of barley and wheat grass in tablets and powder. An Earthrise spokesman said Earthrise grasses are selling well.

Futurebiotics, a Vermont-based natural foods manufacturer, also mixes earth greens and seagreens in several of their products. Futurebiotics also offers the greens separately.

In a new product, Futurebiotics combines Carrot, Barley, and Spirulina powder, mingling the taste of freeze-dried carrots with barley, sweetened with carrot and pineapple juice. This also comes in tablets called "chewables." Since we're talking barley and carrots, it's hard not to mention Futurebiotic's Carrot Delight that mingles freeze-dried carrots and sprouted barley malt. Futurebiotics also is into alfalfa, offering it in powder, tablet and juice form, as well as in Colon Green, an internal cleansing system.

But barley and wheat and other cereal grasses are what we're focusing on, so let's switch back to the grasses. Why are they so rich in nutrients? There is a line drawing in the Seibold-edited book that shows a cereal grass plant during its highest nutrient period, the jointing stage. Also shown is the game plant one week later. An enlarged portion of the drawing shows how stored nutrients in the leaves supply nourishment for the growing seed head. After jointing, the nutritional level in the leaves drops.

A valuable quote from Dr. Charles Schnabel in the book Cereal Grass is: "In the battle for self-preservation, grasses developed unusual resistance to grazing animals. Trees grew high out of reach, the cactus armed itself with spines, and grass plants evolved their unique property of jointing. In the early stages of growth they store large amounts of vitamins and proteins in the young blades. If these are bitten or pulled off, they grow again. Grass will give seeds to reproduce itself only if it is left alone at the final stage of growth."

Cereal Grass further reveals: "When the cereal plant is young, it looks something like familiar lawn and field grasses. It is leafy and has a deep green color. The cereal plant, at this young green stage, contains many times the level of vitamins, minerals and proteins found in the seed kernel, or grain product of the mature cereal plant."

And the planting and harvesting of cereal grasses is such a versatile operation: "Grasses have the amazing ability to provide food for animals, without diminishing their own ability to reproduce. In prehistoric times, this meant that a herd could graze on a grass range, then move on to another area. After the young blades had been eaten, the grass plant would recover fully and grow to bear its "fruit," the grain seed, insuring the presence of the grasses the following year. In modern times, it means that when cereal grasses are cut before they reach the jointing stage, the plant can, with adequate rainfall, recover and continue growing to provide a grain crop.

Why eat cereal grasses? Indeed, it's always good to question the latest idea on the health food range. Don't be someone who grabs whatever the health food store puts out front on its counter. If you do, you'll hop from one new product to the next, without ever getting to really know what works for you. Investigate. Fully.

Convenience combined with nutrition is the reason to pack cereal grasses into pocketbooks and lunchboxes, or to keep handy on the kitchen counter. They aren't meant to replace spinach, broccoli, collards or any of your favorite greens, the manufacturers hasten to point out, but to reinforce. They can enhance your diet as a daily routine, or on those days when it seems to be deficient.

The nutrient profile on cereal grasses is similar to that of spinach.

The grasses are high in beta-carotene and in fiber. They are rich in vitamin K, which is essential for proper blood clotting and required for the synthesis of several important proteins. Significant amounts of vitamin C are found in grasses, indeed, as much as in oranges on a per-weight basis. They are happily abundant in folic acid, vitamin B-12 and B-6 and are a good source of calcium.

Most health authorities recommend that we eat at least four servings of fresh fruits and/or vegetables a day. At least one should be a strong source of vitamin C. As Seibold's book says, "The other specific recommendation is that we eat at least one daily serving of a dark green or yellow vegetable. This recommendation is made primarily because dark green and yellow vegetables are rich in beta-carotene. Green vegetables, including the cereal grasses, are also considered excellent sources of iron, calcium, and folic acid. They are good sources of vitamin C and a wide variety of trace elements."

Also, chlorophyll has been found to be important as a therapeutic health agent and green grasses have a substantial amount of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a healing agent for a wide variety of bodily problems and is especially touted as a blood purifier. It is one of nature's magic gifts to us.

A few years ago, in science fiction stories, futuristic beings popped pills instead of sitting down to meals. Little blues, reds and yellows replaced three squares. So, welcome to the future! It is now possible to find these health blueprints in pill form, although nobody is recommending that you skip sauting your spinach or boiling our broc. But as the future opens for us step by step, no matter what the surprises, there are things to use amidst them. Cereal grasses, for one! If our great-great grandparents could have viewed snippets of today's lifestyles, they would have been awed -- then anxious. But as we transform, ways to deal with change open up. Help is here, all around, growing, in fact, in the fields and oceans. And one can almost imagine a creator leaning down, winking.

Island Publishing Company, Inc.

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By Katherine S. Diehl

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