Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Wheatgrass for Celiacs
My interest in wheatgrass is recent, stemming from a suggestion by my OB-GYN that taking a daily shot of wheatgrass might help with PMS symptoms during the week before my period arrives. She explained that my body is attempting to detoxify and cleanse itself as one cycle ends and another begins, and that I might want to try assisting the detoxification process.
Of course, this is sort of like telling a kid about an ice cream stand just down the street. The likelihood of me trying out wheatgrass jumped from 0% to 100% in less than one minute... based on even the smallest hope that my OB was right and soon all PMS aches and irritability would be a thing of the past.
Thanks to my gluten intolerance I was a bit wary of taking wheatgrass for the simple (and self-admittedly ignorant) reason that wheatgrass has the word "wheat" in it. Before purchasing my first shot, it was important to me to check with my primary care doctor to make certain that a person with Celiac or gluten intolerance could indeed enjoy wheatgrass with no negative side effects or ramifications.
Luckily, my doctor laughed kindly at me and explained that wheatgrass is a carbohydrate that contains magnesium. He said that there is no gluten in it as the grass top is cut off before juicing and so there is no gluten berry in wheatgrass. He gave me the 100% two thumbs up approval to try wheatgrass and see for myself if it provided benefits. "Won’t hurt ya, might do some good," was the basic response.
Seven days before my period was due, I went to the deli section of my local market and boldly ordered my very first shot of wheatgrass. I drank it on the spot. Delicious, you might ask? Um... Nooooooooooooooooooo. Not really. In fact, it tasted pretty awful thanks to the advice of the girl behind the counter who told me to swish it over my gums and between my teeth for three minutes before swallowing and then not to eat or drink anything for at least an hour. Wow, that was one of the grossest hours I’ve ever had! Not only did my mouth taste awful but I also felt like I would vomit for most of the rest of the day and had one of the rip-roaring headaches of my life.
Given that first experience I almost gave up on the whole wheatgrass experiment. However before throwing in the towel I did some online investigation into “wheatgrass, headaches” and discovered that headaches are a very common detoxification reaction when you begin to take wheatgrass, and that they do get better as the days pass. I also learned online that if you follow up your shot of wheatgrass immediately with a smoothie, you won’t have the same gag reflex or urge to vomit.
So I tried again, and to my joy, almost all of the nasty effects from the day before were gone. No nausea, no stomach upset or desire to puke, and best of all – almost no headache. With every passing day, the wheatgrass had less of a negative effect upon me and I could see more positive results. I definitely found myself feeling more energetic and less achy and stagnant then I typically do so close to the start of a new menstrual cycle. So, overall it was a positive enough experience that I plan to try again this month and see how it goes.
I am not a doctor and I can’t personally guarantee that wheatgrass will make you feel better or help heal you from anything. That said, maybe you should talk to your own physician about the potential benefits of wheatgrass – secure in the knowledge that Celiacs and sufferers of gluten intolerance can choose to enjoy (or not enjoy) a daily shot of wheatgrass just like everyone else.