Green smoothies are popular among those seeking a healthy lifestyle. Touted as the ideal healthy snack and even a nutritious meal replacement, green smoothies are found on many café and street vendor menus. Their rise to fame is attributed to the increased popularity of the health and weight-loss shakes that have swept the nation. Consumers searching for a more nutrient-rich, dairy-free or low-fat option, helped to bring the green smoothie to the forefront.
With fresh, organic produce readily available, more people are embracing the green trend, whipping up green smoothies at home. Believers in the green smoothie are reaping the health benefits of these fresh satisfying concoctions that are void of preservatives and additives. The thing is that the green smoothie is anything but a new sensation.
Traditionally, a smoothie is a blended drink, made of fruit, milk and yogurt. Some recipes call for fruit juices to avoid dairy products. Over the years this blend has become more specialized and now features many variations. It is important to point out that smoothies are not milkshakes. Smoothies use whole fruits and vegetables, whereas milkshake tends to add flavor-enhancers and sweeteners to milk. Smoothies are typically thicker than a milkshake too. Smoothies aren’t only made from the juice of fruits and vegetables either; hence their nutritional value does differ to that of juicing foods. This is an important distinction, as often juicing is done to enjoy the flavor of certain fruits and vegetables. When it comes to green smoothies, the vegetables are not always selected for their taste. Their essential vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber far outweigh any flavor they add to a drink.
Who coined the name “smoothie” is not really known. The oldest patent associated with the title belongs to Stephen Kuhnau, who established the 1970s Smoothie King franchise. But historically, the concept of a smoothie traces back further. The traditional drink of India, known as a “lasse” bears a remarkable resemblance to a smoothie. It is a blend of yoghurt, fruit, honey and spices, and was around before the birth of Christ. In Brazil, drinks made of fruit purée blended with yogurt also feature in antiquity. Oddly enough, thick, creamy drinks containing avocado and other fruits are traditional fare in Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia. The 1920s and 1930s saw entrepreneurs promote these foreign elixirs in health stores across the West Coast of America.
As technology developed, so did the smoothie. The 1920s saw the birth of household appliances. Homes soon filled with machines that made life easier. One of these highly valued kitchen accessories was the blender. The 1933 “Miracle Mixer” is accredited for its efforts in establishing the “smoothie” as a household name. It, along with the improved models released well into the 1940s, all featured smoothie recipes in their accompanying cookbooks. As the technology developed machines capable of combining ingredients into smooth, thick liquids, the smoothie became more popular.
By the 1960s, typical smoothie blends saw fruits, fruit juices or milk being whipped together in tasty treats. The 1970s embraced the trend of using frozen yoghurt in smoothies. The 1980s added supplements; experimenting with protein and vitamin powders. Yet it was the 1990s that heralded a new smoothie renaissance, giving birth to a multi-billion dollar industry across the Western World: but what of the green smoothie?
Victoria Boutenko introduced the green smoothie at a time when smoothies become more popular than ever. Tired of constant, niggling health issues, Boutenko decided to try the all-natural, raw foods diet. In the 1990s, she subjected herself, and her family, to a decade long diet that strictly had them eating meals rich in green, leafy produce.
Strangely enough, her research compared the Standard American Diet (SAD) with the typical diet of our closest living relative, the chimpanzee. She found that chimps ate a diet of at least forty percent leafy greens and fifty percent fruit. The highly promoted raw-food diet encouraged extremely high amounts of fruit, and recommended only ten percent of leafy greens per day. Boutenko began exploring the benefits of increasing the greens in their diet. Based on her research, and her own family’s experiences, Boutenko found green smoothies to be the greatest health choice.
Victoria Boutenko recommended that the average person needed to consume at least four servings of green leaves and up to four pounds of fresh fruit each day. Although most people could stomach the fruit, munching down large servings of salad leaves became a chore. Further research also revealed that the full nutritional value of green leafy vegetables was only fully gained when the cell walls of the leaves were chewed, or cut.
The smaller the leaves were shredded, the better they were for the digestive system. This information led to the development of the green smoothie. By using a high-grade blender, green leafy matter such as spinach, was easily chopped into a smooth substance that mixed very well with fruit and a little water. The generous serving of fruits masked any bitter taste of a variety of fresh leaves, creating a drink that was highly nutritional; and so the green smoothie revolution begun.
Today, many people are experiencing the benefits of drinking green smoothies. There are hundreds of recipe books and websites that are dedicated to creating varied and tasty versions of this health tonic. Green smoothies promise to offer a low-calorie, highly nutritional boost to the diet. They contain essential vitamins and trace elements that can only be sourced from the hero of the drink, the green leafy vegetables. Green smoothies are said to help with digestive issues, but have also been recommended to ease rheumatoid arthritis and many allergies and other health concerns. Today, the green smoothie continues to evolve as new blends and products are explored.