Wheatgrass Farming

wheatgrass

We know that wheatgrass has been around for a few thousand years. In the 20th century it regained popularity due to the work of Ann Wigmore our raw food guru. Lately wheatgrass has been marketed as a superfood due to its high levels of concentrated vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids and the belief in its ability to detox the body. Now even the conventional medical doctors are realizing the merits of this little green plant, using it to combat the effects of chemotherapy in breast cancer patients.

Only recently however, did wheatgrass arrive in the Spanish market, popping up in various eco-restaurants, juice bars and in people’s kitchens using home cultivating kits.

This week we spoke with our friend Andreu Garasa from Clorofeeling. His small company here in Catalunya cultivates and delivers freshly extracted wheatgrass to Studio Australia Barcelona and other suppliers throughout Spain and we wanted to know how he became a farmer of wheatgrass?

 

  • How did you first become interested in wheatgrass and when did you start growing it?

I first heard of wheatgrass when I was part of a “Ecovillage” in Girona. Some friends of mine who had been living in Australia told me about this amazing product and we started growing small batches for our own personal consumption 3 years ago.

 Later on, we started bringing it to some small fairs and I was surprised to see how well people received it. Everyone loved it! We noticed that there were no companies in Spain growing and selling wheatgrass and decided that it would be a good business to start here….selling something that helps people!

 

  •  What types of wheatgrass do you grow and what are the differences between them?

 We grow a variety including Kamut, Xeixa (a Catalan wheatgrass) and Egyptian (the oldest form of wheatgrass).

 Each varies in grain size, color and slightly differ in taste. Egyptian, for example, is a bigger grain and a little bit sweeter than the others. Each also varies slightly in the way they are cultivated.

 

  • What type of wheatgrass do you prefer to drink?

My preference is the Egyptian wheatgrass.

 

  •  What does the growing and harvesting of wheatgrass entail? 

Normally it takes between 15-20 days for the stems to reach their ideal length before cutting, depending on the temperature. 

The crops need to be cut when they reach around this height, no more than that or else they start to lose their nutrients and can grow fungi. In the winter, we usually cut at 20cm and in the summer 25cm. Even though the wheatgrass will grow again after it´s cut, I recommend just a one-time cut per batch. The first leaves hold the most nutrients and are less susceptible to fungi. 

The process of growing wheatgrass is fairly easy, starting with washing the seed, leaving it in water for 10 hours to germinate, and then planting it in soil. I cover the seeds for one day after planting to allow the roots to come out. We only water the wheatgrass once after its initial soak pre-planting when it has reached around 10cm in length, and then a final time before cutting. 

The best time of year to grow wheatgrass is in the Spring, however we grow it year-round.  For those growing it at home, I recommend avoiding putting the seeds and stems in direct sunlight. The ideal temperature for optimal growth is between 15-20 degrees C and then it can be grown throughout the year. 

 

  •  Can you tell us a little about the history of wheatgrass?

Wheatgrass has been around for centuries, dating back to 5,000 years ago. The first recordings of wheatgrass consumption come from the ancient Egyptians who used it in all of its forms, and the Essenian-Evangelists chewed on wheatgrass for its health properties.

 For years, farmers observed the improvement in their animals’ health and performance when feeding them wheatgrass and this led to scientific interest at the beginning of the 20th century.

The commercialization of dehydrated wheatgrass started by Dr. Charles Schnable, an agricultural chemist, after performing experiments using wheatgrass on hens. He discovered how the high content of vitamins and antioxidants in wheatgrass could help sick hens recover and improve their overall fertility. By the 1940’s his powdered wheatgrass was available in shops in the US and Canada.

 The true revolution of wheatgrass started in the 1960’s when Lithuanian-born Ann Wigmore introduced it in its liquid form. Wigmore believed that many illnesses present in Western society were caused by unhealthy habits and by the chemical products humans are in contact with daily. She actively promoted the health benefits of wheatgrass and its ability to prevent disease after using it herself to overcome various illnesses.

 Nowadays, the consumption of wheatgrass has grown throughout the world among health-conscious individuals who drink it for all its numerous beneficial properties.

 

  • What are the benefits of drinking wheatgrass? Do you consider it a “super food”?

 I believe wheatgrass is a superfood and also a medicine. It contains lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, essential fatty acids, energy, vitality….if you drink a shot in the morning it wakes you up like having a coffee!

 It helps detox and clean the whole body, its organs and its cells. We explain to people that 60 grams of wheatgrass juice is equivalent to 1,800 grams of vegetables. People take it as maintenance once a day. It naturally helps the body to prevent illness, or to recover the body’s natural healthy state if you are already sick.

 Wheatgrass juice is considered to be one of the most concentrated liquid forms with more than 1,000 different elements.

 

  •  Are there other ways of consuming it or do you only recommend taking it as a shot in liquid form?

 Just 3 minutes after extracting wheatgrass, it starts losing its properties and health benefits, so I recommend drinking it in liquid form right away.

 You can also consume it in its dehydrated form or freeze wheatgrass however you do start removing the vitamins, enzymes and overall nutritional value.

 Best drink it as a fresh shot!

 

  •  Wheatgrass is commonly used frequently in other parts of the world. Is its popularity growing now in Spain?

 Little by little, but slowly. However people who have traveled or lived in other parts of the world are more familiar with wheatgrass and are still our biggest consumers here.

 But, more bio and organic restaurants are starting to carry it so people are starting to familiarize themselves with this superfood!

 

  •  It must require a lot of skill to grow large amounts of wheatgrass, especially as the demand grows. How do you manage it? 

We do harvest a lot of wheatgrass and it’s a year-round process. However it really only requires planting the new seeds once a week and leaving them to grow from there, plus the weekly cut.

Now that I have practiced for many years it isn´t very difficult, but it did initially take me a lot of time and practice to get the right technique when I first started growing! 

 

To learn more about how Andreu and his team cultivate Wheatgrass, check out their website and Facebook page!

If you would like to try growing your own wheatgrass at home or making a daily shot part of your health regime you can order the kits, freshly cut already packaged grass and the manual or electric juicers from the Studio Australia Barcelona.

Our orders from Clorofeeling arrive every Wednesday.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more details.

Swap the caffeine for the chlorophyll!

References for this blog post:

 

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/wheatgrass?page=2

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocrates_Health_Institute

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Schnabel

#wheatgrass #juice #healthy #cleaneating #detox #shots #pastodetrigo #agriopiro #clorofeeling #spain #barcelona #desintoxiarte #dieta #nutricion

White Bean and Quinoa Chilli

April 9, 2015

Looking for a quick and delicious vegetarian meal for the family this weekend?

I made a pot of this goodness last weekend and it was a hit! And its a great left over!

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Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 500 gram bottle of white beans – you can use red beans if you like, low sodium, rinsed
  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked, rinsed
  • 3 cups vegetable stock, low sodium
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 punet of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 large green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2-3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Instructions

Place all ingredients in a large pot. Turn heat to medium/high and bring to a rolling boil. Then, cover and let simmer on low for about an hour. Serve with a green salad.

Recipe adapted from:

http://fitfoodiefinds.com/2013/09/black-bean-quinoa-chili/

Spicy Ginger Carrot Apple Soup

April 9, 2015

This soup is full of nutrition and the grated ginger gives it a real bite.

Quick and easy.

I’m not really fond of carrot soups but this one’s not too sweet and a good one!

A healthy meal for all but also recommended for those who are going through chemotherapy.

We dedicate this week’s recipe to a dear friend on this path to recovery.

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Spicy Ginger Carrot Apple Soup

Main Ingredients

  • 3 table spoons olive oil
  • 1 medium leek thinly sliced
  • 1 green apple diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic thinly chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh ginger grated
  • 4 cups of carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 litre organic vegetable or chicken stock
  • salt & pepper to taste

Preparation

In a large pot, saute onions, garlic and ginger in olive oil until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
Add carrots and apples and saute for another 3-5 minutes. Add vegetable stock and reduce heat to medium. Allow to simmer for about 40 minutes, or until carrots are soft.
Using a hand held blender process soup until smooth.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4

Reference:
http://recipesforchemo.com/2013/07/28/spicy-ginger-carrot-apple-soup/

Lemon Chia Seed Rock Buns

March 23, 2015

Still on my ‘what can I do with Chia seeds’ fad, I found this great recipe on margaretsdish.blogspot.com.es and adapted it to suit our tastes and quantities.

The first batch I made were a little dry but this recipe turned out great!

Easy to make, gluten free, dairy free and very tasty!

They went down a treat at Nat’s Reiki course! I’ve been giving them away all weekend!

Lemon Chia Seed Rock Buns

Makes 20 buns

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups oat flour (use certified gluten-free oats if necessary)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, hardened in the fridge
  • 1/2 cup honey (or favorite liquid sweetener such as maple syrup)
  • 2 eggs whole and 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsps lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsps lemon zest

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  If making your own oat flour, add two heaping cups of organic rolled oats to the base of a food processor and process for 10-15 seconds, or until four-like consistency is reached.
  2. Add baking powder, baking soda, coconut flour, and salt to the oat flour in a bowl and mix.  Add the chia seeds combine.
  3. Take coconut oil out of the fridge and break apart into small chunks.  Add coconut oil pieces to the food processor with eggs, honey, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest.  Process until just combined.
  4. Combine the dry mix with the wet mix to make a dough.  Roll into small 2-3 cm balls and press onto the baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes.   Cool on a wire rack.

Recipe adapted from:

http://margaretsdish.blogspot.com.es/2013/12/lemon-chia-seed-scones-with-sweet-lemon.html

Roasted Sweet Potato, Pomegranate, and Massaged Kale Salad

March 16, 2015

Lately we have been experimenting with recipes for  the wonder vegetable KALE.
Because of it’s amazing nutritional benefits including:
  • lowering of cholesterol
  • risk lowing benefits for cancer
  • detoxification
  • antioxidant
  • has anti-inflammatory properties
  • full of vitamins K, A and C and nutrient rich
  • high in fibre

We feel we should  all include it much more in our day to day diets.

This salad was a hit!

Serve either as a side dish or as a meal it is tasty, satisfying and ticks all the boxes for the balance of carbs, proteins and fats.

Easy to make and looks great!

Enjoy!

Roasted Sweet Potato, Pomegranate, and Massaged Kale Salad

For the salad:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + 1/2 teaspoon for tossing kale
  • 1 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups sliced kale
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup roasted salted pepitas – optional
  • 1/4 heaping cup pomegranate arils

Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.  Lay out individually on a roasting pan and bake until tender, 25-30 minutes.
  3. While the potatoes are roasting, make the dressing. Add all of the ingredients to a jar with an airtight lid. Seal tightly and shake vigorously until emulsified. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl or rimmed sheet pan, combine the shredded kale, 1/2 teaspoon salt and lemon juice. Use your hands to gently massage the kale until it wilts and darkens in color, 3-5 minutes. It should have no bitterness when you take a test bite. Drizzle the kale with remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil and toss to distribute.
  5. Place the massaged kale on a large platter, arrange the roasted sweet potatoes on top and sprinkle with the goat cheese crumbles, pepitas and pomegranate arils. Drizzle dressing over the top to serve.

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Recipe modified from: http://ohmyveggies.com

HEALTHY TUNA MORNAY ALTERNATIVE

March 2, 2015

Nat has been nagging me for a tuna mornay for months but the thought of all that flour, cheddar cheese and bread crumbs was doing my head in.
So I came up with this variation to satisfy us both!   Even I was surprised!   I hope you like it.  Easy to make and very tasty!

Tuna, quinoa and spinach bake

  • ½ cup three colour quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups spinach
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
  • 150 grams canned tuna
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup spring onions
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  • ¼ cup crumbled Greek feta cheese
  • 35 grams chopped aged goat cheese
  • 4 eggs, (use only 2 yokes) lightly beaten
  1. Place quinoa in small saucepan, and toast over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes.  Add 1 cup water, and season with salt.  Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and transfer to large bowl.
  2. Heat half the olive oil in a large saucepan and add spinach, and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until wilted, stirring frequently. Add romaine, and wilt 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir greens into quinoa.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, and sauté 10 minutes, or until browned. Add cooked onions, green onions, dill, tuna, feta cheese, and goat cheese to quinoa mixture. Stir in eggs; season with salt and pepper, if desired.
  4. Pour the rest of the olive oil into a oven pan, and place in oven. Heat 5 minutes, or until oil is hot. Swirl oil to coat bottom of pan, then spread quinoa mixture in pan with spatula. Bake 20 minutes until golden brown.

HEALTHY TUNA MORNAY ALTERNATIVE

Detox Dinner Party

February 9, 2015

Many people think that detox food is boring and that you always end up hungry and not satisfied.

Not at our house!

Last weekend we decided to invite some of our dearest friends who are just a LITTLE skeptical about whether they could ever do a detox to a 4 course dinner (DETOX) party.

Our menu included:

  • vietnamese cold rolls
  • gingery noodle soup
  • pan fried lubina fish with mixed vegetables in coconut sauce and brown rice
  • apple crumble with goat’s milk yoghurt and organic honey

The fun thing was that we didn’t tell them that they were going to be eating the same food we had prepared on our detox!

And they LOVED it!

When we told them after the third course when they were asking for the recipes that this was the food we had been eating for the past month (minus the wine!) they were just a little impressed!

The food was nothing like they had imagined.  It was satisfying, tasted great and it was fresh.  Best of all it was healthy.

Well, really the best thing was that our friends realised that not all detoxes or healthy diets are about apples, carrots, drinking only juices and being deprived!

Why not try making your own Vietnamese cold rolls.

All you need is the rice paper which you can buy from any Asian grocer and your own choice of fillings.  The time is in the chopping!

We used shredded lettuce, thinly sliced carrots, capsicum and spring onion, some delicate japanese mushrooms and prawns.

Other ingredients you could use are vermicelli noodles, snow peas, cucumber, tofu….really anything that you can wrap!

To accompany our cold rolls we made a Thai corriander, garlic and chilli dipping sauce.  Sweet chilli sauce is also great if you have it in the cupboard.

A HINT…I put the soaked rice paper on a damp cloth napkin.  It stops it from sticking together.  It also makes it easier to roll once you have placed the ingredients.

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It’s all about kale.

February 4, 2015

Right now this humble vegetable that was popular about 2000 years ago until the middle ages is having it’s renaissance.

This superfood belongs to the same plant species as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

Low in calories, it is high in vitamins A, C and K as well as minerals like copper, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus it has outstanding health benefits for the body including reduced risk of heart disease, fighting cancer, improved bone health,  healthy digestion and as a bonus healthy skin and hair.

One cup of kale has over 1000% more vitamin C than a cup of cooked spinach!

It has been a difficult to buy kale in Barcelona until recently.  Yesterday I went to a great place which sells the most beautiful, and reasonably priced I might add, organic seasonal fruit and vegetables.

The bunch in the photo below I bought for  2.50 euros.

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The shop is called The Farmers Shop and the address is C/ Valldonzella 39.  Just off of Joaquin Costa in the Raval.

Check out their Facebook page.

During my research to find some good recipes for kale I found this great video on YouTube that I thought I’d share.  It tells us a little more about this special vegetable and has some good recipes, including kale chips, that you can make.

References:

http://www.veraveg.org/Veg%20History/Veg%20History%20Kale.html

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270435.php

End of Nat’s January Detox

February 3, 2015

Well it’s over!

We did it!

How do you feel?

Everyone who I have spoken to that finished their detox on the weekend and decided to indulge are all wanting to go back on it today! Including Natalia and I!

Which is the point of it all. It’s about changing habits and feeling the difference when you toxify your body. Doing a detox gives you the benchmarks.

Eating healthy is a life style and the more you learn about your body the easier it is to make these life choices.

Today we have gone back to a maintenance program of eating healthy during the week and will then will allow ourselves those little indulgences on the weekends!

When I was body building this was one of the ways I was able to maintain the grueling diet in preparation for competition. All week I had to be obsessed with my meals, even down to weighing everything I ate, but one day a week I could eat what ever I liked. It works. Your system burns the extra energy and calories you consume because your metabolism is working so well, your mind gets a break from the routine so you don’t go mad and the body gets some great ‘love’ endorphins from the joy of the indulgence. The trick is having the discipline to maintain your healthy eating lifestyle most of the time.

So don’t stop following us just because the detox is over! We will continue to post about all the wonderful food we love to eat and share with you how to enjoy a healthy lifestyle without feeling in the slightest bit deprived!

Let’s share this journey.

Nat’s first indulgence, apart for the few glasses of red wine for which she suffered, was quail with sweet chilli sauce. Here’s Saturday night’s dinner!

PS.

If you are going to eat meat then make it free range and ethically grown…please.

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Day 24 Nat’s January Detox!

January 28, 2015

Last week I was craving walnuts!

Do you know how many calories are in a 100 grams of walnuts?  The answer is 654!  Today we have attached a chart for you to check your nut intake in nutritional value and in calories!

Nuts are a great source of energy, especially when you are on a detox but if you are watching your waist line you need to restrict your intake to a small handful per day.

We recommend you eat 12 kernels per day which is 159 calories.  This is about equivalent to the 23 almonds (164 calories) we recommend as a snack in our detox.

Walnuts are especially know to be good for your cardiovascular system and your heart because of their effect on the circulatory system and healthy blood pressure due to the presence of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients and the minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium.

These nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and is a good alternative plant source of the fat which is also found in sardines, salmon and tuna.

Omega-3 is known as the good fat.

Other health benefits of walnuts include support of bone health, anti cancer benefits due to their anti-inflammatory properties and is has been shown to be of benefit in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Nutritional and Calorie Chart for Nuts

100 grams

calories %

calories

fat

carbs

fiber

sugar

protein

fat

carbs

protein

Chestnuts

213

2

46

8

11

2

10%

81%

4%

Cashews

553

44

33

3

6

18

67%

20%

12%

Pistachio

557

44

28

10

8

21

72%

11%

15%

Peanuts

567

49

16

8

4

26

76%

4%

18%

Almonds

575

49

22

12

4

21

78%

5%

15%

Hazelnuts

628

61

17

10

4

15

86%

3%

9%

Walnuts

654

65

14

7

3

15

87%

3%

9%

Brazil nuts

656

66

12

8

2

14

89%

1%

8%

Pine nuts

673

68

13

4

4

14

87%

5%

8%

Pecans

691

72

14

10

4

9

93%

1%

5%

Macadamia

718

76

14

9

5

8

93%

1%

4%

References:

http://www.builtlean.com/2013/07/31/calories-nuts-chart/

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=99

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