Many people, when they hear about the living foods program of recapturing health and regenerating the body, instinctively know that it is true. When I first heard about Ann Wigmore and wheatgrass juice, I became enthusiastic about it, bought an electric wheatgrass juicer and began first purchasing and then growing my own wheatgrass. I had had chronic fatigue for many years and had tried almost every herb, vitamin, and healing modality available in health food stores. Later, I attended the Ann Wigmore Institute in Boston and then began growing wheatgrass commercially for juice bars and health food stores. At first, I didn’t radically alter my diet – the main thing I did was faithfully drink the wheatgrass juice every day. I noticed a great increase in energy, enough to allow me to operate my business, which involved working ten to twelve hours per day. During the years of being in business, I noticed the reactions of people when they started on wheatgrass juice. Some who started drinking wheatgrass juice daily didn’t change their diets and found the juice so detoxifying that they were unable to continue taking it for very long. The reaction they got was an aversion to the juice—enough to make them nauseous. (The solution to this is to 1) change the diet, and /or 2) cut back on the amount taken each day or 3) drink barleygrass juice instead. 4) Also there is a possibility that mold on the grass causes nausea. This can be alleviated by cutting the grass and power rinsing before juicing.
The Ann Wigmore living foods program is, first of all, a living food vegan diet. Secondly, it consists of growing some, if not all, of one's food because it is certainly not food that one can go and get at his/her local supermarket. It consists of wheatgrass juice, sprouted nuts and seeds and raw fruits and vegetables. The more I learn about different diets that people put themselves on, I have to say that Ann Wigmore must have been a subtle genius in the realm of diet and how diet affects the health of the body. She seemed to know instinctively that the body needs both enzymes and the essential fatty acids. Her interesting array of recipes, such as energy soup, veggie-kraut, Essene bread, seed cheese, a variety of sprouted salads and the wheatgrass juice, include every essential element the body needs to maintain health, to heal, cleanse and regenerate and is also a diet that is not prohibitively expensive to maintain (for example, an all fruit diet for example). The two main sprouts, which she grew (using the same method as growing wheatgrass), were sunflower and buckwheat greens. She used these two greens blended into what she called "energy soup". She used sprouted wheat to make Essene bread and sprouted sunflower and sesame seeds to make what she called "seed cheese". She made immense salads of the same greens, sprinkling other sprouted seeds on top. There is no question that her methods were totally effective in curing disease and re-establishing the health of the body. If there is a problem with her diet, it lies in our inability to stick with the diet once we have started, and/or to find the time in our fast paced lives to grow and prepare these foods.
Dr. Johanna Budwig another pioneer in the natural foods movement attacked the problem from a somewhat different perspective. She felt the main problem was a lack in the body of the essential fatty acids due to the over processing and stabilizing of food fats, i.e. saturating fats to make them spreadable such as margarine, and the white pasty saturated oils used for baking. Her diet consists of eliminating the bad fats in the diet, eating mostly raw fruits and vegetables, and adding the essential oils or fatty acids to the diet. The oil she used was flax oil or ground flax seed. The oil had to be pressed in a certain way, refrigerated (to preserve the fatty acids which become rancid very rapidly and also to preserve the precious enzymes, devoid of stabilizing chemicals such as are found in oils on the supermarket shelf. There is no question in my mind that her diet was effective – in not only healing the physical body but also in re-establishing the mental, and spiritual health of the individual.
Now, the central component which seems to be integral to both diets is first an elimination of dead inert or processed foods and then an addition of not only the enzymes found in the foods, but the essential fatty acids--the essential fatty acids which Johanna Budwig extracted from flax seed and which are also found in Ann Wigmore’s sprouted seeds, i.e. seed cheese (fatty acids are also found in wheatgrass and barley grass).
The problem now lies in implementing the diet and/or diets. If one is very ill, first we feel they should either see an appropriate physician or attend one of the healing resorts, such as Ann Wigmore Institute or the Optimum Health Institute, in order to learn how to implement the diet (other institutions are found listed on page 113 in Wheatgrass, Nature’s Finest Medicine). Healing the body is not a three week trip to a healing resort, it is a new beginning because most of these institutes are educational in nature and teach one how to care for his/her body using natural methods. Sometimes it takes as long as 18 months to 2 years to heal the body of a major disease using the natural method, with wheatgrass juice plus the raw food and living food diet). If one wants to have more energy for just daily life or for sports, improve their health and regenerate their body they must have time enough to grow and prepare the foods and go through the necessary healing reactions. (See our newsletter concerning the healing reaction or read Bernard Jensen’s The Science and Practice of Iridology.) Most people in our society live in the fast lane. Time is a major concern. For this reason, many people propose a gradual transition into the living foods program:
First, let us examine some foods besides saturated fat, which, according to Edward Howell, cause major problems for the body.
Processed cereal: When scientists first began to study mice or small laboratory animals, a laboratory diet was formulated mainly for convenience reasons, which can be fed to domestic animals for the main purpose of convenience. Edward Howell (Enzyme Nutrition) says that the "rat diet" was first used on people many years ago in the form of dry, highly processed, highly refined breakfast cereals. These highly processed enzyme-less foods still occupy major amounts of space in our modern supermarkets and are sometimes the only food a child receives before a long day of school.
White table sugar: Most times, the above-mentioned tasteless cereal contains a large amount of sugar to make it palatable and attractive to children—the child not only gets an enzyme-less food but a huge dose of refined white sugar, which throws the whole endocrine (delicately balanced) system out of order. When a food that contains a high amount of enzyme/nutrients is ingested, the glands know just when the body has had enough and will automatically shut down. When a high-calorie food like sugar is ingested, the glands continue to search for nutrients, cannot find them in the body, and continue to issue the command for increased appetite. The increased appetite is not a command for more sugar but a command for more nutrients. The continual eating of high-sugar foods each day over-stimulates the pituitary and pancreas glands and is also felt by the thyroid and adrenals.
In a study, two doctors in France, Drs. M. Cabanac and R. Duclaux concluded that, in obese people, the internal signals regulating the intake of food had been deranged, causing them never to know when they had eaten enough. Besides damage done to the endocrine system, sugar is implicated in many other health problems such as diabetes, kidney disease, atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, liver disease, shortening of lifespan etc. (see Sugar Blues by William Dufty). One of the major dangers of feeding children this type of food is that it establishes a habit/craving for the rest of their lives. Meaning, the foods they eat as children will be the foods they like as adults. The other causes of health problems, such as diets high in saturated or over refined fat or animal protein/fat, should be eliminated. If one eliminates highly processed, highly refined foods and foods that contain saturated fats and sugars, one can gradually eliminate all foods without enzymes.
It is difficult to begin eating all raw foods at once without a transition period. With children, it should be fairly easy to give them whole grain cereals, and fruits for breakfast and eliminate dead sugar snacks, which were formerly available. Keep a supply of all kinds of fruits on hand. Begin to make smoothies with fresh juice and different kinds of fruits such as bananas, peaches, etc. Even just a glass of fresh orange juice satisfies a person’s craving for sweets. Oranges and bananas are high in potassium. Low potassium is thought to be a factor of low blood sugar, which causes sugar cravings. Other juices high in potassium are wheatgrass juice and barleygrass juice. While making the transition, it is important to eat foods in their natural or wholesome state such as whole-grain cereals, steamed or baked vegetables and cooked grains and breads. if necessary, avoiding all processed and adulterated foods, containing preservatives, additives, saturated fats as found in pastries, already prepared snacks such as chips, etc. and animal foods.) Having wheatgrass juice and ground flax seed once a day provide many benefits (stated later in this paper). It is also helpful to eat as many fruits and vegetables in their raw state as possible and/or to drink fresh pressed fruit and vegetable juice. Many health professionals recommend fresh juices, including the grass juices because they digest within 20 minutes. This saves the body precious energy, which can then be used to heal and/or to cleanse the body.
In addition to wheatgrass juice and flaxseed, one can add sprouts to this diet. Put them in soups, sandwiches, and salads, or just make a complete salad from sprouts. One way I like sprouts is for breakfast, adding dried fruit such as dried cranberries or raisins. It has been said by many living food proponents that sprouts contain 10 to 100 times the enzymes that normal fruits or vegetables contain—a super energy that is necessary for the beginning growth of the plant. Sprouts are organic and have not been transported a long way or sitting on the supermarket shelf for a long time. Compared to a traditional lettuce salad, a sprout salad would cost less than half as much, yet provide five times as much protein, six times as much Vitamin C and seven times as much of the B complex vitamins. The nutritional effect of enzymes in animal experimentation was recounted by Brown Landone in his article "Make Cells Grow Younger" (quoted in Nautilus Mag., 1947, pg. 232): "More than 20 years ago, experiments were made on old decrepit rats. Their age corresponded to that of a man of ninety years. They were fed with "immature food", that is, food which had not finished growth, sprouting new stems, young leaves. The results were amazing. The old decrepit rats were transformed, and their bodies began to grow younger. Twenty years later the factor recognized to produce this effect was anxinon (enzymes)…the best anxinon foods I know are produced in mung bean sprouts."
I do not think the length of time that one takes in making the transition is important. What is important for someone who wants to improve his health is to make the transition. Even if one takes several years in doing so, at least there is progress, and the body can adjust slowly without cravings or binges of the wrong kinds of food.
Wheatgrass juice and/or barleygrass juice is important in any transition:
1. The juice supplies nutrients the body may be lacking and craving.
2. The juice provides the person on the transition diet more energy to be able to cope with the change.
3. The juice provides anti-inflammatory factors, which enable the person to get off pain killing drugs.
4. The juice contains both enzymes and essential fatty acids.
Ground flax seed is important in the transition:
1. It supplies the essential fatty acids, which at the same time contain enzymes.
2. It provides more oxygen to the body by aiding respiration, thus, giving more energy to cope with the change. See the two previous articles about flax seed and flax oil.
3. It dissolves the bad fats already deposited in the body.
4. It is very mucilaginous and supports the cleansing of the bowels, a major factor in the cleansing of the body.
5. It improves the ability of each cell in the body to withstand viral attack by providing the necessary components for the cells to build strong walls.
Transitioning to a new and healthful diet is not just what a person includes and adds to the diet but also what a person eliminates from the diet. After the transition period, finally one has changed to a living or raw food diet. Several weeks later, his/her body begins a major cleanse. If he/she eats just one piece of cheese or animal protein of some kind, the cleanse will stop. The thing to watch here is the tongue. Usually, when one is undergoing a cleanse, the top of the tongue will become furry and white. All and all, changing the diet is not an easy thing to do. However, it is well worth the effort if one desires increased energy whether for just everyday life or for sports, a feeling of well being, lessened anxiety about future health problems, and a completely regenerated body.
(References: Flax Oil As A True Aid Against Arthritis, Heart Infarction, Cancer And Other Disease by Dr. Johanna Budwig, Wheatgrass, Nature’s Finest Medicine by Steve Meyerowitz, Information derived from the Ann Wigmore Institute, Enzyme Nutrition by Edward Howell, The Science and Practice of Iridology by Bernard Jensen, A Cancer Therapy by Max Gerson, which will be discussed in a future article. Nautilus Magazine, l947).