Healthy Berries
August 24, 2016
The History of Smoothies – Part 2
September 5, 2016

The History of Smoothies – Part 1

It’s kind of funny how the invention of one thing results in the invention of something else. For hundreds of years Mediterranean and Eastern cultures have served pureed fruit drinks that resemble what we call smoothies. It wasn’t until the invention of the blender and home refrigerators in the 1900’s that thousands of Americans began experiencing the joy of blended juices the rest of the world and adventurous travelers had known for some time.

Refrigeration became available for the home in 1915, even though commercial restaurants had refrigeration for a decade before that. The leakage of certain gases (like ammonia) used in commercial appliances made refrigerators generally unsafe for home use. It wasn’t until the 1930’s that refrigerators became safe, gained in popularity and dropped in price. The timing couldn’t have been better.

As Americans were discovering the joy of frozen food, fruit and fresh milk in their kitchen, Stephen Poplawski was inventing another popular kitchen appliance – the blender, originally intended to be used as a mixer.

Kitchen appliances and cooks had long been chopping, mincing and dicing, but Poplawski’s blender was the first appliance to put a spinning blade at the bottom of a container to do so, making it easier to make milkshakes and soda fountain style drinks at home and in drugstores. In 1935 Fred Osius improved on Poplawski’s idea and invented the now famous Waring Blender. When Osius told a reporter the mixer would “revolutionize American drinks”, he had no idea how true his prediction would be!

Prior to refrigeration in the home, the flavors of most smoothies were limited to the fruit that was in season. This meant flavors like bananas, pineapple and strawberries were the most popular and available flavors, and still are. Blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, pomegranates and other more exotic fruit flavors came later, when the fruit could be frozen and stored for use during the off-season.

With the invention and use of both blenders and refrigerators, the smoothie began to gain in popularity during the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. However, what really boosted the smoothie’s popularity was the growth of the macrobiotic and health food movement of the 60’s. According to Dan Titus, the director of the Juice and Smoothie Association, health-food stores began to sell fruit juices and fresh fruit drinks to meet the demand and interest more and more people had in macrobiotic diets and their health.

It wasn’t just health nuts and hippies who were interested in building better bodies in the 60’s and 70’s. A young and wildly popular bodybuilder named Arnold Schwarzenegger use to drink a pitcher of beer after his intense workouts. Another well-known bodybuilder at the time, and twice Schwarzenegger’s age by the way, was named Jack Lalanne. Lalanne was one of the earliest juicing and nutrition advocates – and more importantly, one with a television show where he touted the benefits of healthy eating and juicing and was the first person in the US to sell nutritional supplements on television.

Lalanne opened the first health and fitness club that promoted healthy eating and juicing in 1936 – helping to spread the word about nutrition, juicing and smoothies to body-builders and weight lifters as well as the public who followed his popular television show about health, nutrition and weight training. Lalanne was the first person to open a combination health-food store and gym, the first to come up with a weight loss breakfast meal replacement drink and to advocate weight training and nutrition. Later in life he even put his name on his own juicer – the Jack Lalanne Power Juicer. Some of his recipes are still among the most popular on the Internet today.

To be continued……

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