We All Scream For Ice Cream! (Or Do We?)
Even just the mention of this frozen, creamy dessert conjures up feelings of summer picnics, fast-food drive-ins and birthday parties galore. However, is it really something that we all should be enjoying with reckless abandon?
Conventional, store-bought ice cream, although often a delicious and cooling treat on a hot day, contains ingredients which are questionable when it comes to encouraging and maintaining good physical health. Heavy creams and animal milks tainted with growth hormones, antibiotics and saturated fats; refined white sugars; artificial coloring and flavorings – these are just a few undesirables which commonly make up your banana split.
In addition, many people, particularly those of Asian and African genetic descent, are lactose intolerant – meaning that they do not possess adequate levels of the enzyme lactase needed to break down the sugar lactose, which is found in animal-derived dairy products, especially milk. A growing number of others worldwide are developing sensitivities to dairy, with their bodies exhibiting immune responses to milk proteins, resulting in at least a low level inflammation. New research continues to link several common immune disorders, including asthma and eczema, to the consumption (and inability to properly process) dairy products.
While it might be difficult to give up treats like ice cream sundaes completely, why not try non-dairy replacements to satisfy your cravings? Numerous plant-based dairy alternatives exist, and can easily be used to make homemade ice cream in your own kitchen. When you can control what goes into your food, you have the power to create (and enjoy) a healthy snack, tailored to your own dietary needs and preferences, minus the chemical additives or allergens!
In place of dairy milk, why not try:
- Nut milks (e.g., almond, cashew, hazelnut)
- Seed milks (sunflower, hemp, sesame)
- Coconut milk
- Rice milk
- Oat milk
- Soy milk
- Raw honey (a non-vegan option)
- Palm sugar or nectar
- Yacon syrup
- Agave nectar
- Dates or other sweet fruit
Here’s a simple recipe for a raw, dairy-free ice cream which does not even require an ice cream maker!
Quick & Easy Banana ‘Ice Cream’
Ripe bananas (should be yellow with at least a few brown spots on the skins)
Peel bananas, slice up the fruit into chunks, and freeze for 8 hr or overnight. Remove from freezer, break up frozen pieces, and place in a standard food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Process until smooth and creamy. You may need to stop the processor a few times to scrape down the sides. DO NOT add any water or milk – the bananas alone will become the texture of soft serve ice cream after a few minutes of patient processing! Top with shredded coconut, chopped nuts, or dried fruit, and serve immediately.
Optional: Add in a handful of fresh or frozen berries for a Berry Soft Serve, or some natural nut butter for a Nutty Soft Serve.
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