The hot days of summer are fast approaching, making room for beach time, garden parties and adventures outdoors. With all the time spent out in the heat, there's nothing better than being able to have something delicious to help cool you down. As a kid, summer meant ice cream season - it was an easy treat to scoop out on a hot day, however, store bought ice cream is full of nasty additives and ingredients I’d rather do without.
Healthy Ice Cream?
Though there is a new market for “healthy” ice cream, I do notice a certain ingredient pop up that I'm not a fan of - I'm looking at you Agave. Agave Syrup has been marketed as a raw foodie's dream sweetener, as being lower on the Glycemic Index, raw, and as a vegan’s alternative to honey. The thing about agave is that even though it may come from cactus plants, the way it is processed makes it act the same as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Over time this can lead to metabolic syndrome (think high fructose levels in the blood due to insulin resistance, high blood pressure and extra “lovage” around the waist).
Most "healthy" ice creams out there are also in a base of dairy or soy. The issue with soy is that it's heavily processed and most of it is GMO. Dairy undergoes pasteurization and in many cases homogenization. These techniques denature the structure of fat and protein, while also destroying B vitamins and naturally occurring enzymes. Many times these products will be fortified with synthetic vitamins, only adding back what was destroyed; synthetic vitamins however can overload the liver. Both soy and milk are also common allergens – so over consumption of these ingredients can cause inflammation and digestive issues.
But fear not! Healthy options – that are tasty – do exist, and what’s even better is that they can be created in your own kitchen. This is a great way to ensure that every ingredient used is to your standards and taste. Plus, it’s easy, quick, and impressive on its own.
These ice cream alternatives are best made in a high power blender like a Vitamix, but if you’re like me and you don’t have one there’s no need to feel left out. You can easily use a food processor, hand-held blender or regular blender – you’ll just want to do it in small batches, adding a little liquid as needed, so you don’t put too much pressure on the motor. The measurements given are suggestions; feel free to play around to make certain tastes shine more than others.
Chocolate Mint Banana-Soft-Serve
Ingredients: 3 frozen organic bananas (peeled and cut up into small slices) 1 Tbsp raw almond butter, unsalted 2 Tbsp raw cacao (nibs or powder both work) 1 tsp vanilla powder (or extract) 1 tsp mesquite (optional) Handful of mint leaves, chopped Filtered water, almond milk or coconut milk as needed
Directions: Add all ingredients and mix until creamy, adding liquid as needed (about 1Tbsp at a time). Best served freshly made, but can be scooped into a bowl and stored in the freezer for later use.
Berry Edible Smoothie
1 cup frozen blackberries ½ cup coconut flesh (from a Young Thai Coconut, or dehydrated flakes free of sugar & sulfites) 2 Tbsp of your favorite protein powder (I like Sun Warrior in chocolate or vanilla, or Vega’s natural flavor) Filtered water as needed
Directions: Place all ingredients in the blender and mix until well incorporated. Enjoy!
Alison Klektau is currently a student at The Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Vancouver where she is studying to earn her certification as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. It is her passion to educate others on the power of eating a plant-based whole foods diet while incorporating regular exercise, as she believes in a mind-body approach. Previous to that, Alison earned her BFA in Theatre and Film Studies from the University of Victoria.