The Joy of Green Smoothies

Use your imagination!My son sent me the small book, Green for Life  by Victoria Boutenko, for my birthday last year. Boutenko is a Russian lady who brought her family to the U.S. for a position as a university lecturer some years ago. Within a year all four of them had serious health problems as a result of adopting the American diet. Boutenko, determined they would avoid drugs and surgeries took them cold turkey onto a raw food diet. That amazing story is recorded in Raw Family. A few years later, sensing their diet was still missing something, Boutenko researched further and decided the perfect human diet should model that of wild chimpanzees that possess a stong natural immunity to AIDS, Hepatitis C, cancer and other fatal human illnesses. Chimps share around 99.4% of the human genome, have the same A-B-O blood groupings and their tissue is used in compatibility studies in medical research. However they have a vastly different diet, 50% fruit, 38% greens and blossom, and the rest pith, bark, seeds and insects. Boutenko started adding greens to her family’s diet – and found the best, most delicious way to do this was to blend them up with fruit in a delicious green smoothie. They noticed all kinds of health benefits – fewer cravings for bad foods, weight loss, more energy, clearer skin, stronger nails, better and less sensitive teeth – to name a few.

The nutritional content is astounding, preparation is simple and fast using a heavy duty blender, and you can use many different ingredients for a different taste and color experience. The basic rule for it to taste good is 60% fruit, and you learn from experience not to use too much strong-flavored greens such as mustard or dandelion greens. It’s good to follow a recipe to begin with and Boutenko’s book includes 17 that use easy to find ingredients. Bananas add substance and smoothness. Plus we add two scoops of whey powder for protein, and a teaspoon of vitamin C powder to aid detoxification of the body. We drink a green smoothie for breakfast every day now, and my husband often has a second at lunchtime. Here is my favorite recipe of all time from Green for Life:

Minty Thrill
Blend Well:
4 ripe pears
4-5 leaves of kale
1/2 bunch mint
2 cups water
Yields 1 quart smoothie

If you’d like to learn more, Watch Victoria Boutenko making a green smoothie.

The joy of wild spring greens

devilsclubbudSunday was another fabulous day here – clear and sunny with just a slight chill in the air. With snow still patchy on north-facing Chugach Moutain trails, we chose the Rainbow Falls – Windy Point section of the Turnagain Arm trail for a nature ramble to enjoy the new leaves and early wildflowers. There were green shoots on the Devil’s Club, fiddle heads on the ferns around the creeks, and birdsong everywhere. Armed with high resolution binoculars we stopped often to peer closely at tiny flowers, mosses and insects, so it took us ages to reach the meadows  that descending to the Windy Point trailhead. Here we met an older man who had been high on the slope above us looking for morel mushrooms. He told us he had also been enjoying the Devil’s Club shoots – both delicious and anticarcinogenic, according to him. I noticed with amusement that he was wearing black leather gloves! Retracing our route, we tried these – snapping off the green 1-2″ buds very carefully to avoid the spines of the stalk below. They were indeed very tasty, and before long we were sampling dandelion greens, fireweed shoots, and fiddleheads as well! Herbalists know that greens of all kinds pack a hefty nutritional punch, and you can blend even tough ones like kale and collard greens into a smoothie with fruits and other goodies. Having just bought a Vitamix blender, I could see throwing in all kinds of wild greens for added flavour and nutrients! For all you gourmets out there, here is a link to more information about harvesting Devil’s club and some recipes!  However, you’d better hurry; a few days from now, the soft spines will harden and we’ll have to wait till next spring to enjoy this local delicacy!