It’s summertime and ice cream is one of my favourite treats. Yours too I bet! But we all know that most ice cream brands are not good for us, so maybe you’ve looked at the selection in the frozen isle of your grocery store and wondered “Is there anything here that’s a better choice than the rest?”
If that’s a question you’ve asked then I think I have an answer for you today.
The problems with eating ice cream today are a bit different than those that existed when it was invented. It used to be a high fat, high calorie dessert with quite a bit of sugar, and those were your problems. But long gone are the days when ice cream was produced using a recipe that called for milk, cream, butter, eggs and sugar. Today, ice cream producers have thrown ingredients in that we can’t pronounce, do not keep stocked on our shelves at home, are trouble makers in our digestive systems and that we never really want to touch.
Issues with commercially prepared packaged ice cream today include:
- Artificial colours (which are derived from petroleum and cause allergies, cancer, and some colours are linked to attention deficit in children)
- Artificial flavours (a.k.a. synthetic flavours made from chemicals)
- Natural flavours (come from nature but are created in labs and can include up to 100 ingredients that are not listed on the label)
- “Sugar” instead of “Cane Sugar” (in the USA, sugar is made from GMO sugar beets that are sprayed with the herbicide Roundup, whereas cane sugar is made from sugar cane)
- Artificial sweeteners (these have been linked to obesity and cancer and wreak havoc on your good gut bacteria)
- Non-organic (conventional) dairy (this means that the animals are fed GMO feed, which also means they’re eating the Roundup herbicide, are raised on factory farms in horrible conditions that often make them weak and sick, and scientific tests have found that conventionally raised animal milk contains other pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and additional chemicals and drugs. Organic milk is produced from animals that are raised totally differently where the above items are mostly prohibited)
- Ingredients like Carrageenan (which is linked to cancer and cause digestive issues and intestinal inflammation)
- Ingredients like Polysorbate 80 and Cellulose gum (which cause inflammation, gut issues, and weight gain)
- Ingredients like soybean and cottonseed oil (which are highly inflammatory and linked to cancer, heart disease and obesity)
Pretty intense, right?? I hear ya!
And what’s worse is that many companies are putting themselves out there pretending to be a healthy brand. But don’t be fooled by their catchy labels! Read the ingredients list – ALWAYS.
So, what are some better choices out there?
Here are my top picks:
- Homemade Banana Ice Cream: Make your own very healthy banana ice cream by peeling and freezing a few bananas for about 4-6 hours or overnight, tossing them in a blender with your favourite milk alternative and some organic maple syrup. If you have organic vanilla bean powder, go ahead and add that in! Blend until thick (like your favourite soft serve). Serve immediately and enjoy! A precise recipe can be found on page 108 of my book FUELLED.
- Three Twins Organic Ice Cream: This ice cream uses all organic ingredients, meaning organic milk and cream, is good choice overall and tastes delicious. Always check the ingredients list, however, for any of the harmful ingredients listed above as different flavours contain different ingredients.
- Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss: This ice cream is dairy-free and organic and contains healthier ingredients. Tastes delicious too! A good choice.
- Tahini Vanilla Dream Smoothie: Okay, this is not an ice cream, it’s a smoothie that tastes like an amazing semi-melted ice cream or a dreamy soft serve. It’s my own recipe and I’m sharing it below. It’s also a KID’S FAVOURITE and I even tell kids that it’s an “ice cream smoothie” when serving it because that really gets their attention! This recipe is found on page 103 of my stellar book FUELLED! Pick up a copy if you don’t have one yet.
Tahini Vanilla Dream (AKA “ice cream smoothie”)
This smoothie is so sweet and luxurious that you’d never guess it was also healthy. Tahini, the star ingredient, is rich in minerals like calcium, as well as B vitamins, is a source of protein and it aids in liver detoxification. This makes a great smoothie bowl base. Just put it in a bowl and top with seeds, nuts or fruit.
- 2 fresh bananas
- 1 frozen banana
- 4 Tbsp (¼ cup) unsalted and unsweetened organic tahini (a sesame seed butter/paste)
- ¾ tsp raw organic vanilla bean powder (or organic vanilla extract if you don’t have the raw, ground bean)
- 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (flaxseed, almond, soy, coconut, cashew milk, etc. all work)
- ¼ cup water, or more to thin it out if desired
- 1 tsp maple syrup (optional, to add more sweetness)
Blend all of these awesome ingredients in a blender until they’re smooth and creamy, thick and whitish with black speckles from all of the ground vanilla beans. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Sunflower seed butter or another nut/seed butter could be used as a substitute for tahini, although tahini gives the best flavour. You can also sprinkle 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed or hempseed on top.
I hope you enjoyed this post!