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.

15 comments:

live said...

love this post...actually i love all of your posts and am so in awe of your cooking...would love to make this more of a priority in my life...but with pms and mood swing issues i am particularly interested in this remedy and hope to try it myself...do you juice your own or buy it juiced? let's get together soon! miss you...d

Vittoria said...

I love wheat grass. I introduced it to my boyfriend, a personal trainer, and he like to mix it with a protein shake. I like it with fresh carrot juice.

C said...

Thanks for calming my ignorance since I planted the wheatgrass on... Friday(in fish poo potting soil)? and today I noticed quite a few shoots. I was pretty sure that it was too stupid for words to think this was a gluten product and although I don't have Celiacs, I have MS and found that the gluten free diet was the way to go. So thanks! Yours was the first to come up so thank you.

Kate said...

Good to know! I used to drink a lot of wheatgrass juice & then was recently diagnosed w/ Celiac disease...found your blog searching for the answer & will definitely keep reading!

dm said...

Wheatgrass is the Bomb! I am anemic and it's the only thing that saves me. It has the highest amount of vitamin K you can get.
K is not good for people on blood thinners though, because it is a coagulator. so no wheatgrass for those on heart medicine.:(
thanks for the great blog!!

Isis said...

Wheatgrass can contain wheat seeds. Avoid wheatgrass if you cannot eat gluten. If you want to eat vegetable juice there are plenty of other veggies out there to juice without risk of exposure to gluten.

Tookl said...

Unless they let the wheat grass grow tall it will not contain wheat seeds. I have never had a problem with it and I'm celiac.

Amy said...

I found your post about wheatgrass very interesting! I just wanted to share an excellent product that has wheatgrass and you might be interested in checking out. It's called Shakeology and you can read about it at: shakeology.com/amyduke

:)have a great day!

Li said...

Wow, great post! I've recently started a fitness bootcamp, and it was suggested that I would benefit from a daily wheatgrass drink. As I suffer from wheat intolerance I've been ignoring this advice! I just decided to do a little research today and stumbled upon this post and it's given me the reassurance I was looking for :)

Thank you for sharing your experience!

Lindsy - The practicle cook! said...

So now that this post is 2 years old are you still using wheatgrass? Have you had any sort of reaction?

I have Celiac Disease and was also told wheat grass would be beneficial, but because it contains the word "wheat" I stay away from it.

Cassandra said...

When I have that terrible achy feeling I just put a castor oil swatch and a hot water bottle on the right side of my abdomin, below my hip level. I used to leave it on for an hour but I now find that less time is ok, too. The castor oil helps detoxify your blood stream and I feel back to "normal" very shortly afterwards!

Picklie said...

Wheatgreass can contain seeds. I'm guessing your doctor means "seeds" and not "gluten berry" (which makes just no sense because gluten is a protein found in the grain, i guess your doctor didn't fill their basic science requirements in undergrad). Sure, you might not get a seed in a batch of wheatgrass... but you might. And if you are a celiac then you know that even a small exposure can be devastating on your immune system. Here is a helpful link: http://www.celiac.com/articles/182/1/Unsafe-Gluten-Free-Food-List-Unsafe-Ingredients/Page1.html

Justagirl said...

Thanks for the info. I just figured out that gluten was affecting me negatively. So the thought of giving up almost everything was a bit much. Good to know that I at least have my wheatgrass.

Kylie Heenan said...

Very entertaining, especially the swishing between the teeth bit... hope you didn't give a big green smile :)

tb15b said...

The symptoms that are being relieved by the cleansing wheatgrass may have a more sinister origin. Finally found mine was heavy metal toxicity. My mercury levels were extremely high despite no known risks except used to eat a fair amount of fish regularly...and that I had a number of silvery (amalgam) fillings in my teeth since high school graduation. Step 1: Remove fillings (with help of Biologic Dentist so the removal didn't poison me worse with special equipment and protocol) because metal removal procedures (chelation) would remove the metal from the fillings, pitting them and causing me to redo the fillings anyway. Despite having my usual horrible hormonal issues (migraine, blood sugar crashes, brain fog, etc.) on way to appt. b/c cycle had just begun, I felt very mentally clear and migraine-free on way home after having first half of fillings removed despite all the work done. A year later, my symptoms I earlier mentioned, plus a host of others including persistent insomnia and purple finger- and toenails at the slightest chill, have not returned in more than a year. Other metals from other sources can have similar effects.