Thursday, June 21, 2012

Make Mine a Double: Wheatgrass Shots!

The magic elixir - wheatgrass shots

There was a commotion in the hallwayoutside my office the other week.  One of my colleagues tasted his first shot of wheatgrass.  Putting it mildly, he didn't like it.  I was intrigued and Googeled wheatgrass.  My research showed that wheatgrass is one of the most potently healthy substances on earth.  It contains over 90 minerals, including potassium, calcium and magnesium.  It contains essential enzymes:  protease (assists in protein digestion), cytochrome oxidase (say that three times fast!) which is a powerful anti-oxident, amylaste which facilitates digestion, lipase which is a fat splitting enzyme, and other enzymes that strengthen the heart muscle and slow cellular aging.

My double shot at Juice Generation

I ventured out to Westerly Market that day to try a shot.  It didn't taste that bad at all.  Plus they give you a slice of orange or lemon as a chaser - like when you suck on a slice of lime after doing a shot of Tequila.  Since then I've learned that it's best to take your wheatgrass shots on an empty stomach.  I did this on my second try and a few minutes later literally felt like I was buzzing.  I've also read it's good to swirl it around in your mouth to help with absorbtion and it's good for the gums and to wait an hour before eating.  I stop by a juice shop after the gym on the way to work in the morning.  I've had a strenuous workout, plus I've taken long sauna and steam baths and a swim - I think my body is ready to absorb the wonders of the wheatgrass at this point of my day. 

Set 'em up, Joe

Even if the taste doesn't agree with you, it's worth taking the plunge.  There are many reports that say wheatgrass helps blood flow, digestion and general detoxification of the body.  It's excellent for the liver.  It's also high in chlorophyll, which not only helps you have fresh breath but has been linked to lower rates of colon cancer.  Wikipedia says that fifteen pounds of wheatgrass is equal in overall nutritional value to 350 pounds of ordinary vegetables or 1 serving of wheatgrass is the equivalent of 23 servings of vegetables.

Wheatgrass before being juiced

Jumba Juice has the best prices for wheatgrass shots.  My double shot comes out to $3.54.  The only problem with Jumba Juice is that their employees work at two speeds:  Slow and Slower.  They also run out of wheatgrass.  Juice Generation is quick and efficient and charges $4 plus change for a double - they only problem is they're near my apartment and aren't open when I pass at 6 AM so I only go there on the weekends.  Westerly Market charges over $5 for a double shot, but I think their quality is unsurpassed.
Wheatgrass going through the juicer

You can take wheatgrass supplements but they're expensive and you have to take a lot of them.  A wheatgrass juicer is prohibitively expensive so for now I'll go to the Juice Bars for my daily fix.  I've been taking it daily for 3 weeks.  I notice I look healthier and my skin looks clearer and I feel more vibrant.  I don't know if it's the placebo effect and I don't care: it makes me feel wonderful!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hubbell's dinner

Now that's what I'm talking about!

Has my blog gone to the dogs?  My first posting of the second year is about my dog Hubbell's dinner.  He's a wonderful dog but he's really finicky and getting him to eat his food was becoming a battle of the wills.  I bought all of the best dog foods - human grade, top brands, you name it, but it was to no avail.  Even if I mixed in some chicken or salmon, he would pick out the "people" food and leave the rest on his plate.  I practically stood on my head to get him to eat.

Mixed vegetables, whole wheat couscous and cheddar cheese

Then there were reports of one of the brands I used being contaminated with salmonella and several dogs becoming ill.  Luckily, the cans I had were not part of the bad lot - though I returned them to the store anyway. Finally, I happened to catch a segment entitled "Cooking for your Dog" on the CBS Morning News one Saturday. This was my eureka moment. 

I always thought dog food contained vital ingredients for a dog's health.  And while I'm sure that's true, there's no reason why you can't just give your dog healthy food and attain that same goal.  I decided to try mixed vegetables, whole wheat tri-colored couscous, a protein such as chicken or beef and cheese.  Some dogs are allergic to wheat so before trying this you should check with your vet (though if your dog is allergic to wheat you probably know that already).

Simple to prepare

I boil the mixed vegetables for a few minutes and when they're done I turn off the heat, add the couscous and cover with a lid and let it stand.  The couscous cooks in a few minutes.  I make a supply to last a few days and store it in the fridge in Tupperware. 

A lovely bouquet! 

Hubbell won't eat the same thing every day, so I use the couscous and veggie mixture as the base and add things from the prepared foods counter at the market.  I'll mix in chicken breast, deli roast beef (I don't even eat red meat but buy it for Hubbs), and his favorite - roast turkey.  The market actually roasts turkey and sells it alongside the Boarshead.  It's much better and Hubbell loves it (what's not to love??).  I'll buy their prepared brown rice and vegetables and pasta with veggies to vary his meals.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Never feed your dog onions, garlic or salt.  It can be very harmful.  We all know chocolate is toxic to dogs, but until I did research I had no idea that the list of harmful ingredients goes beyond chocolate.

After dinner watching TV with a few of his stuffed animal friends!

So, Hubbell and I have finally reached détente.  He actually seems happier and I'm certainly relieved that getting him fed isn't like going through an act of Congress. 


1/2 cup of frozen mixed vegetables
1/4 - 1/2 cup instant whole wheat tri-colored couscous
1/2 tspn salt
1 tspn chopped cheddar cheese


Heat a pot of salted water
When it comes to a boil add the frozen mixed vegetables
Cook according to instructions - approximately 5 minutes
Turn off heat
Add the couscous
Cover the pot and let sit for 5 minutes
Serving size is a few tablespoons - store the remainder in the fridge in tupperware
Mix in protein such as chopped grilled chicken or roasted turkey
Cover with chopped cheddar cheese (or whatever you have on hand)