Samui Wining & Dining
The Grass is Greener

It doesn’t come much greener or healthier than Koh Samui Wheatgrass!

 

2-3If you’ve been on Samui for a while, then you’d be excused for not knowing all that much about wheatgrass. Well, unless you’re involved with some of the more on-the-ball health centres or spas, that is. But for us ordinary folks, away from the cutting edge of health trends and enjoying the island lifestyle, it’s all a bit confusing. We’re just getting used to the idea of micro-greens. And now, following in the wake of this, there’s wheatgrass. Which, incidentally, is a ‘micro-green’, too. Grasses? Greens? Micro-greens? Let’s explain.

    The idea of what’s now become called ‘micro-greens’ has been around for a while. In essence the idea is that, if you catch a leafy vegetable early in its growth, you’ve got a mini-crop, four inches high, that’s saturated with flavour. Plus, as it’s alive and growing when you cut off the top inch or so, you can leave it for a week and crop it again. The more fresh, living and uncooked it is, the more both the flavour and the nourishment are enhanced.

      It’s long been known that cooking or processing reduces the nutrition that’s inherent in vegetables: raw is better than cooked and cooked is better than processed. But actually alive and growing is better still – hence the dietary value of ‘live’ cress, alfalfa or bean sprouts. But just consider what happens if you take one of the most-nutritional of all the ‘greens’ – wheatgrass – catch it alive and growing, and then concentrate its essential goodness into a juice. It’s the difference between a box of old-fashioned gunpowder and a block of C4 plastic explosive. To coin a phrase it’s ‘dynamite’ – nutritionally speaking, that is.

         And it’s really easy to do this – yes? All you need are some wheatgrass seeds, a plastic tray and a way to squash the juice out of it after a week. Seeds grow, time passes and then you cut the shoots and turn them into juice – easy! Except it’s not. Really not! At it’s best, wheatgrass tastes like grass. And wheatgrass that’s badly grown and prepared, or stored, tastes like . . . I might have to search about for some kind of image here. But it’s certainly not something that you’d chose to sip at while watching TV. And if you’re not too sure about all this, then ask Lindsey Archbold.

      “It’s really hard to grow properly. And when you’ve grown it, it’s got to be juiced and used immediately. The fresh grass can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days, but the juice can’t. You can’t freeze it – it becomes undrinkable and tastes vile, plus all the nourishment goes, just like if you were to boil it first. And if you think that it’s just a matter of putting germinating seeds in a tray for a week, then think again!”

Lindsey is the owner and proprietor of Koh Samui Wheatgrass, based over on the south-western part of the island, right next to where the ‘mummified monk’ (at Wat Kunaram) is located. She moved to Samui seven years ago, after a particularly nasty accident in her native England (Middlesbrough, to be exact) left her with titanium pins in her spine. The doctors told her she needed rest and lots of warmth. She’d first come to Samui 20 years ago (“I was travelling, landed on Samui and knew right way I’d be coming here for real one day”) and after her mishap decided to come here for ‘real’. She later met her now husband, and spent some years working for his company, Surat Inter Construction, as a PR and marketing agent, right up until May of 2012. Which is when they both visited the north of Thailand, to work for a week as volunteers with refugee children. And that’s when she came across wheatgrass juice for the first time.

 

       “I was taken aback by the whole thing,” she told me. “There was this little teashop, full of lovely, laid-back people, all nipping shots of wheatgrass juice. The atmosphere was delightful, the people were healthy, centred and energetic, and I stayed the whole afternoon wanting to learn more about this juice. I brought a kilo of seeds back to Samui with me and set up the outbuildings. What a laugh. Ants ate the seeds in the tub, mice ate the germinating seeds, the plants that survived went mouldy through lack of air, and most of the ones left died off in the first week from too much direct sunlight. If anyone wants to have a go at this themselves – be my guest! It’s nothing like growing cress seed!”

       But today that’s water under the bridge and Koh Samui Wheatgrass is in full production, supplying health shops, spas, resorts and restaurants with everything needed to make clean, fresh, pure wheatgrass juice. “I’ve had to advise several of the spas,” she continued, “as the staff there wanted to use grass that had been in the freezer (or fridge) for weeks. Even growing it using ordinary tap water makes it taste bad, and we now use charcoal-filtered, totally pure water. Germination, sprouting and growing (to about six-inches) takes only a week, but each stage has to be done correctly and under different conditions.”

       She can provide you with a hand juicer (far, far cheaper than the electric ones that sell for 20,000 baht) and deliver direct to your house or workplace, whatever fresh wheatgrass you require – it’s stunningly inexpensive!

       I could go on for another whole page about the health benefits of wheatgrass. But I’d far rather let you know about where Lindsey is, and what they’re doing – you can check their website yourself or Google it to find out the amazing health benefits. But one word of advice (having been there and done it). Do not sip at your shot of wheat grass. It’s grassy. Whack it back in one shot. That way the after-taste is sweet. Or vary the approach to suit yourself. Right now I’m combining my super-multi-vitamin, anti-aging, shots with various additives. Vodka seems to work, in the right proportions. Whether that defeats the whole idea, I don’t know, but it tastes great, and I can definitely feel the benefits right away. But for a more sensible insight you’ll really have to talk to Lindsey, over at Koh Samui Wheatgrass!

 

Rob De Wet


 


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