Victoria Boutenko is an author, teacher, inventor, researcher, artist and mother of three. She teaches classes on healthy living and raw food all over the world. As a result of her research and teachings, thousands of people are drinking and sharing green smoothies.
Victoria Boutenko is an author of 12 Steps to Raw Foods, Green Smoothie Revolution, Raw Family Signature Dishes and Green for Life. Green for Life is an award winning, international best seller which has been translated into 26 languages with over a quarter of a million copies being sold world wide.
Sergei Boutenko is known for overcoming juvenile diabetes through a raw food diet and vigorous exercise. His passion is the great outdoors, wild edibles and living an active and fit lifestyle. Sergei teaches classes and leads wild edibles hikes all over the world. He is an author, raw chef, salsa teacher and in recent years has developed an interest in using the medium of film to deliver health messages in a light, entertaining way. Sergei shares that living a healthy life involves a balanced diet and active lifestyle. www.sergeiboutenko.com
Valya Boutenko is a talented artist, jewelry designer, film director and animator. Her award wining film ‘Reversing the Irreversible’ looks at the healing proof of a raw food diet and green smoothies, a subject which Valya continues to film in the form of video testimonials. Valya is also interested in teaching parents to encourage their children to eat healthfully. She is a raw food chef, expert at making green smoothie recipes, author, teacher and student of The Work of Byron Katie. www.valyaboutenko.com
The Raw Family Story
By Victoria Boutenko
We went on this radical raw food diet out of complete despair when our medical doctors didn’t leave us any chances to recover from our horrible illnesses.
Igor, had been constantly ill since his early childhood. By the tender age of 17 he had already survived nine surgeries. Having progressive hyperthyroidism and chronic rheumatoid arthritis, at 38he was a total health wreck. I had to lace his shoes on rainy days because his arthritic spine would not bend. Igor’s heart rate was 140+ most of the time, his eyes were tearing on sunny days and his hands were shaky. Igor constantly felt fatigued and was in pain almost all the time. Igor’s thyroid doctor told him that he would die in less than two months if he would not agree to have his thyroid gland removed. His arthritis doctor told him to prepare to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
I was diagnosed with the same disease that took my father, arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat. My legs were constantly swollen from edema, I weighed 280 pounds and I was continually gaining more. My left arm frequently became numb at night and I was afraid that I would die and my children would become orphans. I remember always feeling tired and depressed.
Our daughter Valya was born with asthma and allergies and would often cough heavily all through the night. Our son Sergei was diagnosed with juvenile type 1 diabetes.
One day after crying through an entire night, I decided that we had to take different action if we wanted to get different results. That was when we started to try various healing modalities and eventually arrived at the idea of becoming raw foodists. At the time we didn’t know anything about making fancy raw dishes or even that we could dehydrate flax crackers. Nevertheless by turning off the pilot in our stove and discontinuing all cooking, we were able to heal all our incurable, life-threatening diseases. Our health was improving so quickly that in three and a half months all four of us ran the Bolder Boulder 10K road race with 40,000 other runners.
Even Sergei’s blood sugar stabilized due to his new diet and regular jogging. Since beginning to eat raw food, he has never again experienced any form of diabetic symptoms. We were greatly surprised not only by how quickly our health was restored to normal, but by how much healthier we were than ever before. We have described the detailed story of our miraculous healing in our book Raw Family: A True Story of Awakening.
After several years of being raw foodists, however, each one of us began to feel like we had reached a plateau where our healing process stopped and even somewhat began to go backwards. After approximately seven years on a complete raw diet, once in a while, more and more often, we started feeling discontent with our existing food program. I began to have a heavy feeling in my stomach after eating any kind of raw food, especially a salad with dressing. Because of that, I started to eat less greens and more fruits and nuts. I began to gain weight. My husband started to develop a lot of gray hair. My family members felt confused about our diet and seemed often to have the question, what should we eat.
In my family we strongly believed that raw food was the only way to go and therefore encouraged one another to maintain our raw diet no matter what, always coming up with new tricks. Many of my friends told me about similar experiences at which point they gave up being 100% raw and began to add cooked food back in their meals. In my family we continued to stay on raw food due to our constant support of each other.
A burning question began to grow stronger in my heart with each day. The question was, Is there anything missing in our diet?” The answer would come right away: Nope. Nothing could be better than a raw food diet.
Yet, however tiny, the unwanted signs of less than perfect health kept surfacing in minor but noticeable symptoms, such as a wart on the hand, or a gray hair that brought doubts and questions about the completeness of the raw food diet in its present form. Finally when my children complained about the increased sensitivity of their teeth, I reached a state where I couldn’t think about anything else besides this health puzzle.
After many wrong guesses, I finally found the correct answer.I found one particular food group that matched ALL human nutritional needs: greens. The truth is in my family, we were not eating enough greens. Moreover we did not like them. We knew that greens were important, but we never heard anywhere exactly how much greens we needed in our diet. We had only a vague recommendation to eat as much as possible.
In order to find out how much greens we need to eat, I decided to study the eating habits of chimpanzees, since they are the closest creatures to human beings. According to recent scientific research, they share 99.4 % of the same genes with humans. I am not trying to say that humans developed from chimpanzees. I am simply grateful for the reality that there is another species in this world that closely resembles us. There are thousands of chimpanzees living in Gombe Valley, Africa. The most remarkable fact is that majority of those chimps of Gombe, as opposed to humans, have not been touched by civilization. I went online and purchased $300 worth of books and DVDs about chimpanzees and their diet and lifestyle. I wrote a letter with my questions to the Jane Goodall University. I traveled to three big zoos that have chimpanzees and spoke to many people who feed them and take care of them every day. I discovered so much fascinating information about chimpanzees that I totally changed my view of them. They became one of my favorite beings. My research gave me a solid idea that humans are supposed to eat a lot more greens than I would have guessed.
The more I read about the nutritional content of greens, the more I became convinced that greens are the most important food for humans. If I could only find a way to enjoy them enough to consume the optimal quantity needed to become perfectly healthy! This desire lead me to discover what is now known as a green smoothie. You can read more about that discovery here.