The last few years have seen a huge surge in the numbers of people adopting a vegan or raw food lifestyle, and while I do not follow such a diet myself, I am always interested in new theories on improving our diet and health. The internet abounds with websites, blogs and videos from people documenting their quest for superior nutrition, and if you are at all interested in healthy living or increasing your intake of fruit and veggies, chances are you will have come across the phenomenon of the 'Green Smoothie'.
For those who do not know, a Green Smoothie is essentially a drink made from a mixture of fresh greens and fruit blended together into a smoothie. As many people suffer from a lack of leafy green vegetables in their diet, the idea is that it is much easier to consume large amounts of liquefied greens blended in this manner as opposed to chomping your way through pounds of raw salad. Advocates of the Green Smoothie even claim all manner of dramatic improvements in their health and well-being simply from drinking these concoctions daily.
I admit to being intrigued by the Green Smoothie concept since I stumbled across it in a Youtube video - it seems like such an easy way to radically improve your diet. I have known about juicing and its associated health benefits for years and have dabbled in it myself, but could never really see the sense in throwing away all the fibre from the fruit and veg and only drinking the juice. The Green Smoothie seemed to me like a more logical extension of the juicing method and I was keen to find out more.
After a bit of research I discovered that the original proponents of this idea are Victoria Boutenko and her family who claim to have cured themselves from a host of illnesses after going on a raw food diet out of desperation. The were plagued for years by hyperthyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, fatigue, asthma, diabetes and depression, and The Green Smoothie concept was eventually born out of their experiments to consume more fresh greens.
Green For Life is Mrs. Boutenko's book documenting the development of the green smoothie and the health benefits she and her family have experienced. I found it to be an engaging, quick read, though it must be said that Boutenko is not the best writer. The text can be a little plodding, but the content is inspiring, especially with the abundant case studies and testimonies included from testers.The recipes included range from mostly fruit based smoothies to mixes with a high percentage of green matter for more adventurous smoothie makers.
The main reservation I have with this book is the sometimes questionable deductions Boutenko makes regarding the science behind the success of her green smoothies. For instance, she studied the diet of wild chimpanzees, and because they share approximately 99.4% of their genes with humans she concludes that we should imitate their eating habits. Who knows - maybe she is right. But I would have liked to have seen this sort of pseudo-science backed up by some more rigorous data.
Readers could find many quibbles of this sort in this book, but regardless of that, it would appear that many people are indeed finding the benefits from drinking Green Smoothies and I don't see any harm in trying it. As someone who suffers from Lupus (creating chronic fatigue and arthritis), I am eager to see if I notice any health improvements. I've already purchased my high-speed blender!
For anyone interested, here is a video from one of the Boutenko family answering a few questions about Green Smoothies and demonstrating how to make one:
Has anyone experimented with Green Smoothies? What were your experiences? Do let me know!