Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Green Smoothies: An Interview with Victoria Boutenko: Part 1 of 3
~ Tera Warner with Victoria Boutenko
For any of you newbies to the Green Smoothie arena, or even for you experienced smoothie sluggers who want to understand why smoothies make you feel so darn good, we’ve decided to run a three part Q & A with the “Green Smoothie” creator herself, Victoria Boutenko.
We had a group of green smoothie experimenters call in and ask Victoria their most burning questions about Green Smoothies, and here’s what she had to say:
Q: Is there a limit on how much water you can put in a green smoothie? How thick should it be?
A: There is no limit. It’s whatever pleases you. I hope that you will drink green smoothies for the rest of your life. You don’t want to confine yourself to just drinking if it’s liquidy or thick. In the beginning, we were drinking it liquidy. My husband tends to make it thicker and eat it with a spoon. I got bored with just liquids and started to do puddings. If there’s less water, we call them pudding. We just rotate so it’s fun. It doesn’t have to be boring.
Q: You change the thickness all the time? There’s no specific amount of water?
A: Not all the time. Once in a while, I do.
Q: What’s the difference between a green smoothie and a green smoothie pudding?
A: We call it pudding when we don’t add any water at all. When there’s a juicy fruit like pineapple, for example, it has enough liquid already. We use the tamper, the black plastic tool that comes with Vita-Mix blender, and it just makes pudding. I hope that you will drink green smoothies for the rest of your life.
Q: Is there any special type of water you use, or anything you recommend?
A: Anything except dirty water. If you have well water, I think it’s good. My favorite water in the world is Trinity water, but it’s expensive. I have a very good filter. I don’t remember its name. I’m not an expert on which purifier is better than the others. I don’t think distilled water is really healthy. Any water that you consider clean will work. Coconut water will work, too.
Q: How do you know how much green is enough? Do you have just as much as you want? Is there a way to measure it?
A: If you would do only greens, then it would be like drinking wheatgrass. The whole idea about green smoothies is to make it palatable. Even children could drink it. Even people who eat cooked food and are used to eating lots of sugary foods will still enjoy it. That’s the idea. As you get used to the taste, then you begin to add more greens.
I will give you an example. My oldest son, Stephan, who is 32 years old, lives a kind of life that he won’t be able, probably, to ever go raw. He’s a vegetarian; and his wife and his child, my grandson, are also. He’s drinking green smoothies. When I went to visit him, I made my favorite green smoothie, which I was thinking was very sweet. They couldn’t drink it. They said it tasted like wheatgrass. It was just three kale leaves, one mango, one banana and water. Can you believe it? It was rather yellow, not green. He said, “Well, this tastes like wheatgrass.”
I imagine there are other people like my son, Stephan. I understand that it has to be palatable. It has to be convenient. It has to be so that you keep going, you enjoy it. You begin to adjust your body to consuming greens. At the same time, I believe that the level of hydrochloric acid in your stomach will begin to rise. It doesn’t matter if it goes slowly. It will go higher and higher. You will begin to enjoy actually having more greens in this. For example, I now enjoy really, really green, brilliant green smoothies.
I would put almost a whole bunch of kale, dinosaur kale, in my blender with just one or two bananas and some water. I would really enjoy it. In over one year of drinking that, I am accustomed to it. I’ve started to drink less quantities than I used in the beginning. It’s a process. I’m just a beginner — just like you. I’m a little bit ahead of you, like a pioneer. I don’t know the answers to all the questions.
It seems to work fine when people begin at a comfortable level. One person will take two leaves. Another person will take four leaves. Another will take the whole bunch. Don’t rush yourself. Don’t push yourself. Do it at a comfortable level.
Q: What, then, would be the ratio of the greens to fruit, at first?
A: It depends on the person. I think it should be maybe 70% fruit or 60% fruit and 40% greens, or 70/30. It will continue to go toward 50/50.
Q: How do you get hydrochloric acid tested, if somebody wants to get that test done? Do you go to a doctor?
A: That’s one of the common questions. The easiest thing is to read those questions that I have in my book, in the chapter about hydrochloric acid. I could even read them if you want. If you say yes to two or three questions, then you probably have low stomach acidity. There are about a dozen questions.
Q: How can you tell if you have low hydrochloric acid?
A: Have you ever had bloating, belching and flatulence immediately after meals? If you do, then that’s a symptom of low hydrochloric acid. If you ever had indigestion, diarrhea, or constipation, that’s another symptom of low hydrochloric acid. Another question. Do you ever have soreness, burning, or dryness of the mouth?Heartburn: For many years it was considered to be a symptom of high hydrochloric acid, until one man made a mistake and took his wife’s pills for his heartburn. His wife was taking hydrochloric acid pills and he got relief. He reported it to his doctor. They initiated research. Now, everybody knows that heartburn is a symptom of low hydrochloric acid.
If you have multiple food allergies, if you feel nauseous after taking supplements, those are more symptoms of low or no hydrochloric acid. This is kind of popular: rectal lesions. If you ever had rectal lesions, that’s another symptom. Weak, peeling and cracked fingernails. That’s a very popular symptom of low hydrochloric acid. When we don’t have proper levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, then we cannot absorb silica, calcium and other things that we need for our nails. Our fingernails become cracked and peeling.
Another symptom of low hydrochloric acid is redness or dilated blood vessels in the cheeks and nose. Another symptom is adult acne. If you ever have pimples on your face, that’s a symptom that you don’t have enough hydrochloric acid. You don’t have barrier against the bad bacteria. Another very popular one is hair loss in women. Women usually had much thicker hair when they were younger. As they get older, they notice that when they go take a shower, there’s a lot of hair on the floor in the shower. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Another is iron deficiency. If your doctor tells you that you could use more hemoglobin in your blood, or more iron in your blood, that’s because you cannot absorb iron because of low hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Another symptom is undigested food in the stool. If you see particles of food that you can recognize, like you look at your stool and say, “Okay, this is parsley and this is tomato, and this is color from beets,” that is not normal. It doesn’t have to be there.
When you have perfect hydrochloric acid, then it’s just all light brown or whatever color. Chronic yeast infections and lost tolerance for dentures. This is the easiest way to figure out if you have any symptoms of low hydrochloric acid or not.
I’ve made 800 questionnaires and spread them in my classes. I had about 90% of people who had symptoms of low hydrochloric acid. Dr. Febrew, he confirmed that number. Official numbers are like 30% to 40% of people have low hydrochloric acid, according to medical official research.
Another way of checking it is the way that Dr. Febrew checked. He gave everybody a bunch of hydrochloric acid pills. He said, “Before every meal, take pills until you begin to feel a burning sensation, for three days. Then write down how many you took.” If you take five, that means you have really no hydrochloric acid in your stomach. If you take one pill and you instantly feel a burning sensation, that means you’re almost fine. For 30 days, they don’t take hydrochloric acid pills. After 30 days, they do this medicine again. Everybody was having burning sensations after one or rarely, two pills. The average he measured from 27 people was a 66% rise.
If you want to go the more exact way, that will be a very invasive procedure. You will actually have to swallow a device. It’s a mechanical device which is painful, uncomfortable, and takes long time. It’s very expensive. Those are the options.
Q: Do you actually chew your green smoothie to get some saliva in to help it digest, or do you just drink it down?
A: In the beginning of drinking green smoothies, I was so thirsty for them that I would drink them rather quickly. I developed this way of sipping. I call it sipping. I just put it next to me. Whether I’m reading a book or typing on the computer, even in the car, I just sip, sip. I like to kind of play with it in my mouth. It happens naturally. I didn’t force myself to do that. I just enjoy it this way better.
Q: Can you use any type of fruit, any combinations, or are there some fruits or greens you would not use, that wouldn’t be good?
A: It’s interesting. I tried to use oranges in the beginning. They didn’t taste good. I thought, “They’re not good in smoothies.”
I didn’t even put them in for a couple of months. Then somebody else made it with oranges and it was wonderful. I don’t know why it is. Maybe my oranges weren’t very good. Maybe the combination was not good.
Another thing, I thought pineapple was not good because for some reason it tasted kind of sour to me. Now, it’s one of my favorites. I don’t think there’s anything that you cannot use. I’ve been asking people about their favorite smoothies. People gave me all kinds of crazy combinations. They would put bananas and garlic together, you wouldn’t believe the crazy mixtures! I even wanted to make a special section in my book, “Unusual Smoothies” or “Exotic Combinations.”
You can grow garlic greens. You can plant the garlic cloves in a pot, and it makes a quite nice green. Whatever recipes I collect from people, I make them all. I make them, and I test them. Sometimes, they don’t seem palatable to me but I can tell that in certain times of my life, I would enjoy those. I think the green smoothie is for any time of our life.
As we’re speaking about combinations, I want to clarify about food combining. We’re not supposed to mix fruit. We do not want to mix fruits and vegetables. A vegetable is something that has starch in it. For example, carrots, beets, daikon, or zucchini that has carbohydrates in it. Greens are not vegetables. Greens are a separate food group. I dedicated a whole chapter in my book to this. It’s called, “Greens: a New Food Group.” Greens certainly could be combined with fruits. Even Herbert Shelton said that greens actually help to digest foods better.
Ann Wigmore, she was making her blended greens with apples or watermelon. She also considered that greens help to digest fruit. As I said yesterday, the chimpanzees were seen by scientists in the wilderness. They would take leaves off of trees, pick up the fruit, fold it in the green and eat it as a sandwich. That’s more natural proof that it’s okay.
Q: What about using the tops of carrots, beets, and radish?
A: Yes, that’s another source of greens. In my book, I have comparison charts that compare beet greens with beet roots. I demonstrate by this chart, there are so many more nutrients in greens than in roots. We actually should grow them for greens and leave the roots in the soil for the microorganisms.
One good idea is to mix them. You cannot mix vegetables in your smoothie. I had one woman who misunderstood. She actually was mixing not carrot tops but carrots with bananas and apples. She ended up throwing up. That’s a very bad combination. Even if it comes from the same plant, those are different food groups.
It’s like from a cow, you could make cheese and you could make bologna. They’re two different foods, even if it comes from the same source. It’s the same with trees. You can get greens off the tree. You can get nuts. You can get fruit like, for example, a peach. There are all kinds of foods, and they are all different foods. Greens are not vegetables. Just remember that.
Somebody asked about using other types of leaves, such as the leaves in tomato plants and squash. They’re poisonous. You have to be careful not to use any poisonous ones. However, I want to say that there are very few poisonous plants on this planet. I would say 99% of greens on this planet are edible. There are edible, medicinal, and poisonous.
Medicinal plants are, for example, all our herbs that we use like oregano, garlic, dill, or parsley, even cilantro. They are medicinal herbs. How do we know? They have distinctive strong flavor. They are edible. You cannot eat a lot of them. This flavor protects you from overeating, overdoing them.
Wild animals, including chimpanzees, consume medicinal plants. They consume different herbs to eliminate parasites and encourage good bacteria, like acidophilus. They’re good. I urge you to put cilantro in your smoothie, and parsley and dill and rosemary and all of the herbs! Of course, you will not put a big bunch like kale, but a small bunch.
Like one I was making today— a mint, kale and mango smoothie. I put in seven small pieces of mint. That was just perfect, just from one sprig. That’s medicinal. It was palatable and it was good for me. It balances the microorganisms in the body. That’s the natural way of taking care of microorganisms.
There are also poisonous plants. There are very, very few poisonous plants. For example, in Oregon there are only two really dangerous poisonous plants. That is poisonous hemlock and poisonous oak. Poisonous oak is not even poisonous to everyone, only to people who are very toxic and who are already sick. Hemlock is deadly poisonous. Most of the rest of the greens are edible. If greens have a very high ash content, then it will be hard for you to eat them. They usually have this penny taste.
Elm tree leaves are edible. In a case of war, you could eat them and survive. It wouldn’t be very pleasant because they would be chewy and bitter in taste. You have to acquire a taste for them. You have to grow your stomach acid for them.
I went to several zoo parks. I interviewed the zookeepers and chimpanzee caretakers. I asked what they eat and what they favored, branches or greens? I went and picked those greens. I tried to eat them, but I couldn’t. They had such a strong, distinctive flavor, like medicinal, that I was disappointed. I couldn’t eat them. It was too strong. I should go there now and try it again.
Q: Could I watch a rabbit eat and choose?
A: Rabbits are very different from us. I think goats would be closer. Rabbits also eat a lot of roots and grains.
Return tomorrow for more of this extremely informative Q & A and sign up for the 21-Day Green Smoothie Detox to get more bang out of your smoothie experience or, for you newbies, to see what all the fuss is about.