I would say that its a fact that everybody loves ice-cream. Its the go-to comfort food. Since its not a dessert that is typically made at home, we often don’t take the time to see what store bought ice-cream is really made up of.
Example A: I think that we have all picked up a tub of ice-cream at the super-market, turned it around to look at the ingredient facts, saw ingredients such as “sodium bicarbonate”, had absolutely no clue it was and put it in our cart anyway. (I have definitely done this).
We all know that ice-cream isn’t exactly a health-food, but I believe there is a big misconception about how bad it actually is for you.
Let me start off by saying, I am a dairy-lover. Ice-cream, cheese, pizza; you name it, I love it. But as I got older and experienced problems with my skin and wasn’t seeing the results from the gym that I had hoped for, I decided to do my own research.
Let’s take what was my favorite flavor of Ben and Jerry’s as an example. I used to be addicted to the flavor “Phish Food”. If you have tried this flavor, you know that the mixture of the chocolate ice-cream and marshmallows is on point, to say the least. But after studying nutrition, I just couldn’t bare these ingredients:
CREAM, SKIM MILK, LIQUID SUGAR (SUGAR, WATER), CORN SYRUP, WATER, SUGAR, COCOA (PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), COCONUT OIL, BUTTER (CREAM, SALT), EGG YOLKS, EGG WHITES, VANILLA EXTRACT, NATURAL FLAVORS, GUAR GUM, PECTIN, COCOA, SALT, CARRAGEENAN, SODIUM BICARBONATE, MILK, SOY LECITHIN.
The nutrition facts on package labels always start with the ingredients that make up the largest amount of the food item by weight. Therefore, my previous go-to flavor has a nice dose of diary considering that it is mostly made out of cream, skim milk, butter, and eggs.
When it comes to seeing results in the gym, dairy is just not our friend.
About 3/4 of the world is intolerant to lactose. The effects of being lactose intolerant differ on an individual basis. It can cause anything from stomach discomfort, nausea, acne, and if consumed regularly, obesity.
While some people may claim that dairy has healthy components, such as vitamin D, these benefits can be gained from other foods that have less side effects. Dr. Thomas M. Campbell concisely outlines the 12 major side effects that can occur from consuming dairy regularly in his article, “12 Frightening Facts About Milk- Nutrition Studies”, such as an increased risk of prostate and ovarian cancer and increased cholesterol.
So now that you are probably pretty bummed about the dairy content in ice-cream, I have some more bad news. The third ingredient in what I used to call my favorite flavor is liquid sugar, and its followed by corn syrup, and “natural flavors”. These sugars are not great for your heart to say the least.
The last few ingredients, yet my “favorite” two ingredients are sodium bicarbonate (a soluble white powder used in fire extinguishers and effervescent drinks and as a leavening agent in baking) and soy lecithin (A compound of soy lecithin, phytoestrogen, can produce effects on the body similar to the hormone estrogen). Sounds like a good late-night craving right?
If you are a Ben and Jerry’s fan, or just a fan of ice-cream in general, you are probably wondering right now if this is a food that you would actually be able to give up, but what I want you to know is that you do not have to give it up at all.
In fact, dairy-free ice-cream is taking over many super-markets as more and more people are demanding safer dessert choices. And trust me, these options taste just as good, and if not better knowing that you aren’t consuming a major inflammatory right before summer-time.
Here are my top five ice-cream replacements.
1.) Luna & Larry:
Naked Almond Fudge, Vanilla Island, Chocolate Walnut Brownie.
What do you miss about your old ice-cream again?
Luna & Larry make decedent desserts from coconut milk (a healthy dairy alternative). There is a huge difference between eating fat from a steak and a healthy fat from a coconut. It has been proven that populations such as the Tokelauans from the South Pacific who consume coconuts daily are in excellent health, with no evidence of heart disease. Coconuts are a healthy fat that actually give you more energy to burn calories, help to kill bacteria in your body, and can reduce feelings of hunger. These ice-creams can be picked up at any Whole Foods and in most health food stores.
2.) So Delicious:
So Delicious is changing the way that we think about dairy. Their products are not only in health food stores, but can also be picked up at most local grocery food stores, such as Shop Rite. They carry every alternative dessert that you can think of such as almond milk ice-cream, coconut-milk ice-cream, sugar-free ice-cream, cashew-milk ice-cream etc. They even carry fudge-bars.
Did someone say cheese-cake?
Daiya Foods makes vegan cheesecakes in a chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and key-lime pie flavors. You can find these in the freezer isle at Whole Foods. They are a no-bake treat. Just open and enjoy 🙂
4.) Eat Pastry:
Warning. If consumed you will become addicted.
Who doesn’t love raw cookie dough? What if I told you that there was a vegan cookie dough with no eggs an no gluten? In fact, the product is actually mean to to be eaten raw. My personal favorite flavor is the peanut-butter chocolate chip flavor. Eating just one bite is probably impossible. You can order their products off of their website, at Wegmans, or at Whole Foods.
5.) Make you own!
The healthiest ice-cream alternative would be to make your own. The idea of “nice-cream” has become an Instagram sensation. Many health-food guru’s are blending frozen bananas to use as an ice-cream base and putting various toppings into the blender to create different flavors. Example recipes can be found on Pinterest and on various healthy-eating websites.
When snacking on these tempting foods, keep in mind that at the end of the day they are still desserts. The important thing is that they are healthier options than indulging in desserts such as Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream. All of these products contain whole ingredients with names that you can pronounce. Being healthy is not about suffering by cutting out your favorite foods, its about making healthy choices and eating all foods in moderation. Now go enjoy your ice-cream!