When I was approached by Urban Leaf Farms to go for a tour of the business, I was a bit hesitant. My relationship with wheatgrass is not necessarily a good one. My first and last experience with a nationally franchised smoothie and juice business was not a good one to say the least. The stuff actually made me gag, and it was just not pleasant at all. I have not re-visited since then.
I know this stuff is a “super food” and is really good for you, full of nutrients etc. Here is the wiki on wheatgrass in case you are curious. Since one of my goals this year is to try to eat healthier, I thought, why not?
Wheatgrass is a powerful health food that is packed with highly concentrated chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals, trace elements and enzymes;
- one of the best natural sources of living chlorophyll
- wheatgrass detoxifies the liver, circulatory and digestive systems
- reduces high blood pressure and alleviates stress
- activates white blood cells to boost your immune system
- helps prevent tooth decay and improves digestion
- restores alkalinity to the blood and circulatory system
- heals cuts and bruises when applied topically
- gluten free even though it is a wheat product
I met with one of the owners, Mark Farrugia. He is an Australian native, but has been in Canada now for several years. He is familiar with our Alberta winters and all of the difficulties that they present our farmers with.
Urban leaf grows their plants hydroponically and aerophonically INDOORS. Their system is completely automated with a dedicated server that monitors water, light, carbon dioxide, humidity, temperature etc. The water, phosphates and nitrates are measured and timed. Each crop has a “grow ID” that is very much like a growing recipe. All of the information is saved so that a crop can be replicated with the same growing conditions. It was a really interesting sight for this nerd to see!
All of that scientific information and measuring leads to a very consistent, high quality product. Mark and his team are always trying to improve everything as well. They have also done a light study on the plants. There is a difference in taste between when fluorescent lights and LED lights are used. LED light apparently makes the product taste better.
Harvests are done once a week and then juiced with a special commercial juicer, packaged and frozen to preserve freshness. They have only been approved to sell since January of this year, so I imagine like everything else, this process will be improved upon and changed as well.
Mark tells me that home juicers can destroy some of the nutrients in wheatgrass due to heat. Their motors and blades heat up and in turn heat the wheatgrass.
So how should one consume wheatgrass? Straight up. First thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Each box of Supershots contains a 14 day frozen supply. Take one out of the freezer the night before and let it thaw.
Mark made sure I got the full meal deal with my visit. They sent me home with a 28 day supply. I will definitely need to update this article on my blog to let you know how I am doing on my wheatgrass journey.
Urban leaf wheatgrass is actually palatable! It wasn’t anything like the smoothie bar experience that I had before. It is a sweet taste along with the herbal, grassy taste. If you have ever chewed the soft end of grass as a kid, it is very similar to that.
I suffer from IBS. This means that I have a hard time digesting raw vegetables and the nutrients that go with them. I try to ensure that I make a smoothie for myself every morning because it is the only way I can really “do” vegetables.
I have also done some research on Turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties. It needs to be mixed with black pepper to activate those nutrients. Here is my mixture:
- 3 Tbsp powdered turmeric
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1 Tbsp powdered ginger
If you put these ingredients in a small mason jar and give them a shake, they are ready to add to smoothies, or heat up a cup of milk, or coconut milk. Add 1 tsp of the mixture to your favourite smoothie recipe.
Coincidentally, guess what is next on the growing roster for Urban Leaf? Turmeric, ginger and basil! With the experience that I have had so far with the high quality of the supershots, I am excited for both the turmeric and the ginger. My smoothies will be super packed with nutrients!
So where can you get your hands on this amazing health product?
- The Juice Monkey – Westmount mall inside Gold’s Gym. He sells the box of 14 shots for $26.99
- Maka Eatery – Inside of the Don Wheaton YMCA in downtown Edmonton
- Glo Juicery
Keep your eyes on Glo Juice as well, during the month of March Urban Leaf will be performing pop ups in their Edmonton locations (incl St.Albert and Sherwood Park) to promote a new juice flavour they are developing that contains Urban Leaf SuperShots wheatgrass.
Soon to be on the Urban Leaf website will be recipes that you can use wheatgrass and their other products in. Mark was telling me about a pesto-like recipe that he had experienced that sounded amazing. I will look forward to trying it.
You can get more information on the product and stay up to date on new products by following Urban Leaf on one of their social media channels: