GMA News Online
Lifestyle
»
Food

Wheatgrass for weight loss, according to taste

February 25, 2011 5:40pm
Three glasses of wheatgrass a day can help you make the fats go away.
Every now and then, some miracle food invades public consciousness, and everyone will proclaim its miraculous weight-loss properties. In the ‘90s, dieters were taking Bangkok pills, until studies proved the many disastrous effects these had on your health. Less than 10 years ago, the latest fad was virgin coconut oil; a tablespoon a day was supposed to help you lose weight. More recently, anti-obesity drugs flooded the market. These were intended to prevent the absorption of fats but regretfully, its side effects included some embarrassing gastro-intestinal conditions.

Now, people are talking about wheatgrass. Go to the weekend markets and there’s bound to be a stall willing to grind it up and put it in your drink. Health stores inside malls sell patches of wheatgrass that you could grow at home. What’s up with that stuff?

It is said that the benefits of wheatgrass were discovered by an American agricultural chemist who fed it to dying hens; not only did they recover, but they also laid more eggs. Inspired by the success, he convinced his family and neighbors to consume wheatgrass in dried and powdered form. By the 1940s, cans of the dry grass powder were being sold in pharmacies all over America.

Many enthusiasts advocate wheatgrass for its supposed health benefits. According to agribusinessweek.com, “Wheatgrass aids in blood purification, liver detoxification, and colon cleansing. It is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B, vitamin A, and vitamin E. It contains calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, alkaline minerals, potassium, zinc, boron, and molybdenum. It is antioxidant and alkaline-forming, and it has amino acids, chlorophyll, and enzymes."

Like liquid salad

Wheatgrass has been slow to catch on compared to other weight loss fads. Many even complain that it tastes literally like grass, and report a generally unpleasant experience. Others say you can taste the soil in the ground-up wheatgrass leaves.

Easy Pha-max, a distributor of wheatgrass in the Philippines, recently launched a lifestyle center in SM Mall of Asia that focuses on its health benefits. At their press event, wheatgrass was served, and many were heard to exclaim in obvious surprise, “Ay, masarap naman pala!"

I have to admit that I had never tried wheatgrass before, so I took a sip. I realized that this particular brand of wheatgrass tastes like leafy green vegetables tossed in a blender, sort of like a liquid salad. It didn’t taste spectacular, but it sure tasted healthy. Wheatgrass with honey was also served, and although only moderately sweet, this was much more pleasing to the palate.

I wonder, though, how much honey is added in their product: one 2g sachet of Easy Pha-max Pure Wheatgrass contains only 30 calories, but a similar sachet of Wheatgrass with Honey contains 394 calories. One tablespoon of generic honey contains only 60 calories.

Some health enthusiasts recommend mixing wheatgrass with other fruits and vegetables, like pandan or calamansi. If you have wheatgrass powder, add it to whatever fruit drink you’re having and it will definitely be easier on the taste buds.

Wheatgrass diet

Regardless of the flavor, many advocates of wheatgrass laud its weight loss benefits. To shed those pounds, Easy Pha-max recommends the following wheatgrass diet: drink three glasses of wheatgrass a day for three days straight, and consume nothing else. Dynamicgreens.com claims, “1 fl. oz. of wheatgrass juice is equivalent to 2½ pounds of the choicest vegetables." This makes wheatgrass a viable substitute for people who are not able to consume enough fresh fruits and vegetables in their daily diet.

A tita of mine was the first to recommend wheatgrass juice to me. She tried the wheatgrass diet, but kept flagging because she couldn’t resist the urge to eat. What was supposed to be three days of pure wheatgrass juice became a whole week, interspersed with irresistible snacks here and there. She laughed as she told me this story, because, despite her failure to comply with the diet, she still managed to lose eight pounds. “Nawala ang tiyan ko!" she proclaimed.

I balk at the notion of a completely liquid diet for three whole days. I love to cook and to eat, and the thought of subsisting on nothing but wheatgrass is a little overwhelming for me. But the press launch giveaways included product samples, notably coffee with wheatgrass. I wasn’t too keen on pure wheatgrass, and the honey variant was too sweet for my taste, so coffee it was.

I had been drinking it for about a month when I met a few friends for lunch. One friend, who hadn’t seen me in over a month, exclaimed, “You shrank! You’re… smaller! What have you been doing?" I can only surmise that the wheatgrass did it; I had lost only one pound, I wasn’t working out any more than normal, and yet other friends remarked on my apparent weight loss.

According to Edward Ling, CEO of Easy Pha-max Philippines, their wheatgrass products contain not just the leaves but also the roots, which are said to contain at least 12 additional amino acids. Weekend markets in Makati now sell wheatgrass juice, while some restaurants such as Oliver’s Super Sandwich and Big Chill sell wheatgrass shots for P85. Consumers can also opt to have the powder added to any fruit drinks. – YA, GMA News


Go to comments