Why Can't We Eat Wheatgrass?
Lately, I have been asked by a number of people why we can't just eat wheatgrass. There are a few reasons why humans can't digest grass and certain animals like cows and horses can.
One reason is that our stomach and intestines are set up differently than ruminants (grass eating animals). Cows first chew the grass, then swallow it. It goes into their first stomach which begins to break it down. The semi-digested grass comes back up to the mouth, and the cow chews it some more. After a while, the cow swallows the grass again. This process is repeated until voila--the nutrients in the grass are absorbed by the body and the rest comes out the other end.
A second big reason why humans can't digest grass is because we lack a certain microorganism called cellulase that is present in the stomachs of ruminants. This microorganism is in fact what breaks down the woody fibers in plants called cellulose. When we juice wheatgrass, we are separating the cellulose from the nutrient-rich juice, which we can easily absorb.