As a farmers son I love when I come across anything connected to farming and to my own roots. Of course grass is synonymous with farming. My father died in 1997 (16 years this weekend!). He was a dairy farmer and would be surprised to discover that I gave up meat 3 years ago, but even more surprised to find out that I am juicing grass! He was a bit of an inventor so I suppose he would like the idea of his family eating grass! Charles F Schnabel, was not unlike my father and this led him to discover the value of wheat grass.
In 1930, Charles F. Schnabel started eating grass! Before anyone else he initiated a movement to promote the human consumption of grass. As an agricultural chemist his institution and research skills eventually led him to find that wheatgrass could boost our nutrition, build good blood, and strengthen our immunity against disease. He dedicated his entire life to the nutritional and health benefits of grass. In the 1940’s consumers all over America and Canada could purchase cans of grass in their local pharmacies. In fact, cereal grass tablets were the nations best selling multiple vitamin and mineral supplements in the 1950’s.
July 31, 1930 was an important day in the history of grass foods. On that day, Charles F. Schnabel got 126 eggs from 106 hens. Anyone who knows about chickens will tell you that those are phenomenal results. What was more remarkable, was that the hens were sick and dying when Schnabel got them. He only took them to save them from extermination. What does this have to do with grass? To restore their health, Schnabel fed them a mixture of fresh cut, young oat grasses and greens. His miraculous results inspired him to test it on himself. He dried the young greens on his wood stove, powered them and added them to his family’s meals. Schnabel inspired a body of scientific research on grass and its health benefits. He discovered that to eat grass was not enough. He pin pointed the exact time that grass achieved its nutritional peak.
Juicing wheatgrass was started in the 1950’s by Ann Wigmore independent of the agricultural research above. Her story is fascinating (check out “Wheatgrass Nature’s Finest Medicine” by Steve Meyerowitz). The essence is that she was a Boston resident of Lithuanian descent who suffered from a variety of ailments in her early life. Drawing on her peasant background and the experiences of her grandmother (a self taught naturalist), she healed herself with wild weeds, herbs and greens. She consumed many different types of greens and also fed the same to her animals. Her observations led her to conclude that wheatgrass was the best source of greens. One day, at a local yard sale, she picked up an old cast iron meat grinder. With a few modifications, the first wheatgrass juicer was born. Ann Wigmore later formed the Hippocrates Health Institute in Boston and worked with thousands of people over the years. Visitors to the institute were thrilled with their results and many of the health retreats across the country were formed by former Hippocrates clients.
Source: Wheatgrass, Natures Finest Medicine by Steve Meyerowitz