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The Guru of Grass

March 26, 1992|LAURA HENNING

"Ann Wigmore is to sprouts what George Washington Carver was to peanuts," declared Vegetarian Times magazine. "You can thank her the next time you see sprouts at the salad bar."

Wigmore, the guru of what has been called the "living foods" movement, was the guiding force behind the Hippocrates Health Institute in Cambridge, Mass., and now directs a residential program in Puerto Rico that teaches people how to change not only their diets but also their lives.

Wigmore's dietary odyssey started at the age of 50 when she says she was beset by a variety of ills, including cancer of the colon, migraine headaches, varicose veins and allergies, and she set out to cure herself. Remembering her grandmother's natural way of healing with raw foods, she was determined to abandon the traditional American regimen of high fat and low fiber.

Her first discovery--an accidental one--was sprouted seeds, said to be extraordinarily high in nutritional elements. She was caring for a sick pet monkey at the time and when it could not chew some small, hard seeds she soaked them in order to soften them up. They sprouted, the monkey ate them, the monkey got well.

"If it was good for the monkey," quipped the octogenarian who says she gets by with just three hours of sleep a night, "it was good enough for me."

There are several other mainstays of her diet. The first is two to six ounces daily of wheatgrass juice, which she says is rich in vitamins, minerals and amino acids. The sweet green liquid is said to have 35 uses, including curing dandruff, toothaches and constipation.

She also swears by rejuvelac, which consists of the fermented soaking water of wheat berries. It has a tart lemon-like flavor and is purported to be very high in enzymes. When mixed with a dollop of honey, a dash of pulverized strawberries and a hint of ginger, it become what living foods buffs call "pink champagne."

Rejuvelac is the base for another important element in Wigmore's regimen. This one, called "energy soup," is a blended concoction of seaweed, sprouts, greens, apple and avocado.

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