How the Green Smoothie Was Invented 

Excepted from “Jamaican Green Smoothies: The Essential Guide To Transforming Your Life, One Cup At A Time, With The Leafy Greens & Fruits In Your Backyard” By Didan Ashanta 

Life in old time Jamaica saw us enjoying a Sky Juice (shaved ice and water topped with brightly coloured, fruit-flavoured syrup in a bag with a straw) on a sweltering, hot day. But, as our consciousness of health and wellness increased, we changed old habits and today, we’ve grown accustomed to consuming Fruit Slush, instead – those thick, sweet blends of fruit, fruit juice or fruit-flavoured syrup and ice. This refreshing blend is popularly known as a smoothie in the United States of America; and smoothies are an easy and delicious way to incorporate more fruit in our diets. Many persons blend them up every morning – even as a breakfast replacement. But, the wellness industry still encouraged us to develop even healthier habits, by increasing our consumption of dark green, leafy vegetables. So, very quickly green juices became popular and soon after, the green smoothie was born and it has been trending since.

Dr. Ann Wigmore, known as “the mother of living foods”, was a pioneer in the raw food movement and she developed wonderful nut milks and seed cheeses that are still popular today. This Lithuanian Holistic Medical Practitioner also introduced the world to the wonders of wheatgrass, and according to the Ann Wigmore Natural Health Institute, Inc., she promoted fresh wheatgrass juice as “an effective healer because it contains chlorophyll, all minerals known to man, and vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, and K.” Dr. Wigmore also developed the Hippocrates diet, and advocated juicing fruits and vegetables as a way to obtain optimal nourishment. But, in her later years in life, she wrote:

“You may have noticed that I no longer advocate juicing, except for wheatgrass and watermelon juice. Juices such as green drinks can be too cleansing for most people’s bodies which have become extremely toxic from environmental and dietary abuse. Blending helps the body to clean itself and thus it restores health much quicker than just eating the foods as salads, yet it does not overtax the system with the rapid cleansing action of juices. Eating nutritionally balanced food in a blended form is a big help to the immune system and thus even seems to overcome “incurable” health problems.”

This little bit of history is the reason many green smoothie experts recognise Dr. Wigmore as the inventor of the blending concept behind the green smoothie. However, it was Victoria Boutenko whose pioneering made the ‘green smoothie’ famous. In 2004, while researching the perfect diet for humans, Victoria tried to liquefy her green leaves, but she didn’t like the taste. It was only after observing a chimpanzee wrap some fruit in the green leaves before eating them, that she thought of adding fruit to her blended green leaves. Her book, Green for Life: The Updated Classic on Green Smoothie Nutrition, and the follow-up, Green Smoothie Revolution: The Radical Leap Toward Natural Health, are excellent reference tools for anyone wanting to dive deep into the world of green smoothies.

It seems that while health-food enthusiasts were busy chugging down bitter-tasting green juices and the rest of us were experimenting with small salads, the first green smoothie was being blended up by Victoria Boutenko, just by adding ripe bananas to her blender full of liquefied green leaves. This minor discovery has resulted in a major revolution and I have also come to agree that green smoothies are the perfect dietary habit for everyone and anyone who hopes to adopt and maintain a healthy diet without making sacrifices to the taste of their food or to their lifestyle.

For more green smoothie info and recipes, purchase a copy of Jamaican Green Smoothies, now available from major online book retailers like Amazon and in branches of Kingston Bookshop & Bryan’s Bookstores throughout Jamaica.

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