Consuming wheatgrass in the liquid form is thought to have many health benefits. It’s one of the best sources of living chlorophyll which is the basis of all plant life. Wheatgrass is high in oxygen which helps the brain and all body tissues function at an optimal level. Wheatgrass is also thought to neutralize toxins in the body, help purify the liver and improve blood sugar problems.
If you’re looking for this powerful elixir, Tonic Local Kitchen & Juice Bar, located across from St. Mary’s Hospital, offers shots of wheatgrass. Nicci Sylvester, owner of Tonic, says, “We offer wheatgrass in the juice form. On our menu we have the California option which means it’s a straight shot of wheatgrass. We also offer the Midwestern version which includes a dash of lime juice and shaken over ice. I developed the Midwestern version for a little something fun and different.”
At Tonic, they make the wheatgrass juice fresh every day. Sylvester says, “The nutrients begin to break down or oxidize shortly after juicing. However, if you’re making your own wheatgrass, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 72 hours if it’s stored in an air tight container.”
Sylvester purchases small trays of wheatgrass from an organic farm in Wisconsin. The wheatgrass she purchases is alive and grows in small trays. Tonic can provide wheatgrass all winter long because the farm grows their produce in a greenhouse. Each morning Sylvester trims and cleans the grass so it can be juiced. She says, “The wheatgrass should be consumed first thing in the morning, or on an empty stomach so it absorbs efficiently.”
The wheatgrass servings at Tonic are in a one or two ounce shot glass. It’s a deep grass green color and smells like a freshly mowed lawn. It tastes earthy and sweet like sweet peas. Sylvester says it has the nutritional equivalent of consuming about two pounds of produce in one shot.
Sylvester says her main goal is to help people. Many of her customers are regulars and about 20 percent of her customers come to Tonic for a fun experience. “I want to provide something that people cannot get anywhere else,” she says. And she trains her staff on the benefits of wheatgrass as well, so that fun experience is also a healthy one.
Making your own wheatgrass juice is fairly simple. All you need is a juicer and some wheatgrass.
You can grow your own wheatgrass but if you have neither time nor a green thumb, you can find fully grown 8×8 trays for sale at the People’s Food Co-op. One 8×8 tray will make one serving of juice.
Wheatgrass juicers differ from conventional juicers. They “masticate and press the pulp to slowly extract the wheatgrass juice from each blade of grass,” explains WheatGrassKits.com. Traditional juicers work at too high a speed to properly process wheatgrass.
When ready to juice, cut your wheatgrass in 1×1 inch sections down at the light part of the root. Nicci Sylvester of Tonic, suggests cutting flush with the top of the plastic tray.
Once cut, insert the grass top side down. Wheatgrass juicers are slow, so it will take a few minutes before you get any juice. Once you do, the juice will keep for up to three days in a refrigerator, though for optimal nutrition, the juice should be consumed immediately.