April is a fickle month. It is unpredictable. Just when you think the weather has changed for the better and you are enjoying pre-summer weather, temperatures drop and frost appears.
It is that kind of month, but I love it. It is also my birthday month. I have been known to be a little fickle and often unpredictable, as well.
I am living the second part of my life very differently than the first part. I changed my lifestyle initially because cancer appeared in my body 30 years ago in April.
This birthday, my 66th, marked 30 years from being diagnosed with my first breast cancer. I have had two more diagnoses since then, but I am 18 years out of my third diagnosis. I have lived eating a plant-based diet for 15 years. Change is not easy.
I am happy to celebrate change with this birthday. Change has made a big difference in my life.
April also brings new growth. We see it popping up all around us. First slowly, and then, before you know it, color is everywhere. It makes you want to be part of that growth, to put your hands in the dirt and nurture something beautiful.
It gives you the opportunity to say goodbye to cold, barren earth, giving you an opportunity to be part of new life all around you. You may have a garden outside, but have you ever tried having a garden inside? New live foods at your fingertips?
Wheatgrass juice, microgreens and sprouting have been part of my life since undergoing my first detox at the Living Foods Institute, in Atlanta.
Living Foods Institute is a Hippocrates Center. There are a number of them in the United States and one in Puerto Rico. The detox programs are based on the teachings of Ann Wigmore. I adopted the program 15 years ago and have consumed the four pillars of her foods for healing: wheatgrass juice, sprouts, fermented foods, and blended soups and drinks.
The added vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and live enzymes in these foods aid digestion, increase assimilation of nutrients and provide the basis for new, healthy cell growth.
Sharing my knowledge of lifestyle change through mega-nutrition has been a mission for me.
This is part one of a two-part article teaching you how to create your own live food. Growing wheatgrass and microgreens is the focus of part one. The second part, which will be published June 4, will provide instructions for sprouting in jars and description of the benefits.
Wheatgrass has live chlorophyll, abundant enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and all of the amino acids to build protein in the body. Drinking 1 ounce of wheatgrass juice is like eating 2.2 pounds of vegetables.
Microgreens like sunflower sprouts, radish sprouts and pea shoots are also good sources of chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Eating and drinking these foods is like taknig a live multivitamin, plus oxygen!
Sunflower sprouts are very easy to grow, delicious, and add crunch to salads and sandwiches.
Wigmore, a holitstic practitioner in the 1980's and author of "The Wheatgass Book," believed in the healing power cf wheatgrass juice. She believed one of the most valuable compounds contained in wheatgrass is Chlorophyll.
She wrote: "It converts the sun's greenery into a form that plants can use. It is sort of a living battery. The same life force in nature that explodes greenery every spring can be transferred into the human body via the consumption of wheatgrass juice."
If you choose to add wheatgrass juice to your regimen, you will need a juicer that has the power to rip the wheatgrass blades apart, preferably a masticating juicer. Some juicing companies that have electric juicers that juice wheatgrass are Omega Juicers, Samson, Tribest and Green Star. You can also get a had-crank juicer by Chef Star.
Starting with 1 ounce per day is best. You can work your way up to more ounces as needed. Wheatgrass is digested in 15 minutes. It is best to drink it on an empty stomach. Drinking it first thing in the morning starts your digestion process, helps you with elimination and increases your energy.
Although wheatgrass is considered safe, some people have reported side effects after using it, especially in high doses. They can range from mild headaches and nausea to more serious allergic reactions.
I have provided instructions to grow your own wheatgrass. There are also other sources outside West Virginia that will ship wheatgrass. I have a group that orders with me from Pete's Wheatgrass, in Las Vegas (www.peteswheatgrass.com). It is delicious and certified organic. Contact me if you want to be added to the order list.
Know your source, and make sure the wheatgrass is organic and grown in clean conditions. Always wash your wheatgrass before juicing to remove any bacteria. You can also soak it in a vegetable wash like Dr. Bonner's liquid soap as an added precaution. Use a few drops of Dr. Bronners in a bowl of water. Add the wheatgrass you want to juice, and then rinse.
Local growers, Tom Thiltgen and John Casto, have begun to experiment with wheatgrass. I am waiting to see the results. Tom provides the area with microgreens and sprouts, and John grows hydroponic lettuce.
Tom is at the Capitol Market 9 a.m to 6 p.m. Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday selling microgreens and sprouts. John sells his lettuce at The Purple Onion.
My next class, “Come Ferment With Us” will be from 1 to 4 p.m. June 3 at St. Christopher Episcopal Church, 821 Somerset Drive, in Edgewood. Learn the art of food fermentation. Make your own kombucha, coconut kefir, coconut yogurt, raw kraut and more. The cost of the class is $115 plus tax. Visit www.eatsofeden.com to register, or contact me for more details.
Get ready for a weekend class July 14-15. Learn how to change your life like I have. Sally Miller is the owner and operator of Eats of Eden, a Charleston-based nutrition education business that offers an alternative choice for healing the body through nutrition. Learn how to change your life like I have.
Planting wheatgrass and sunflower microgreens
Insturctions to grow one 10-inch-by-20-inch tray or two 10-inch-by-10-inch trays
1 each of your size choice of tray. 1 with holes and 1 without for each planting
¾ cup dry measure of organic hard-red winter wheat berries for wheatgrass
1 ¼ cup dry measure of organic, unhulled black (non-oiled) sunflower seeds
good quality organic soil
white distilled vinegar
food-grade hydrogen peroxide
Soak all seeds for 6 to 8 hours in 1 teaspoon of distilled white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of food-grade hydrogen peroxide.
Pour off the water. Do not rinse. Use a sprouting jar to hold the seeds at an angle for drainage over your sink or other container. The seeds will expand during the soaking and sprouting process. Spread soil about 1-inch deep into your tray with holes.
Put the sprouted seed on top of the soil and spread them so they are even and they cover the soil. Do not overlap seed. Air should circulate around the seed, so don’t push into the soil.
Water the tray and let water drain out.
Cover with black plastic or another plant tray.
Keep covered for 2 to 3 days undisturbed.
Remove cover when the wheatgrass or microgreens begin lifting the cover.
Give the young greens a good watering.
Place the planted tray in the tray without holes.
Put water in the tray without the holes daily. This waters the roots. Spritz water onto the top greens. Place in daylight. The more light the better. If the greens begin to flop over, add more water to the lower tray and spritz again.
Harvest the greens and wheatgrass by cutting as closely to the earth as possible. Use them when they are as fresh as possible.