Ice cream is honestly one of my reasons for living. Cold, creamy goodness that feels like a reward to yourself for being awesome. Everyone deserves that. But not everyone can have it.
Unfortunately ice-cream can have a rather dark side too. Its mostly cream, milk and sugar, all of which have a spotty record when it comes to health. For roughly two thirds of the population, particularly those of African, Asian or South American descent, the lactose in dairy can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms. Profuse gas, cramping and diarrhea can take the shine off a delicious ice-cream feast. Even for those who are not lactose intolerant, milk proteins may cause reactions such as acne, eczema and gastrointestinal inflammation. For all that it is rich in calcium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin D, and vitamins B2 and B12, excess milk in the diet is associated with increases in bone fractures and certain cancers, and can aggravate irritable or inflammatory bowel syndromes. Milk was made to grow baby calves up as quickly as possible, so it contains high levels of growth hormones that adults aren't meant to be exposed to. We are still coming to understand the effects that these hormones have on human health. Fermented dairy products such as yoghurt and kefir appear to confer greater health benefits due to their healthy complement of beneficial bacteria, but they too should be taken in moderation.
As for the sugar content, I hardly need to explain the dangers of diabetes and tooth cavities associated with excess sugar, but you may not realise that too much sugar can also mess with your microbiome. Too much refined sugar can turn harmless residents of your gut, such as yeasts, into a mob. Worse still, it can arm and deploy the worst bad guys hiding out in your intestines. Anything over 7 teaspoons a day becomes food for your internal enemies, and a single commercial ice cream can easily exceed this.
So does that mean no more ice cream? Will life still be worth living? Don't panic, this low sugar dairy-free ice cream has all the decadence with none of the downsides! Its not completely sugar-free, but the sugars it contains are coupled with soluble fibre, which helps protect your microbiome and stave off harmful blood sugar spikes. To make it really gut protective, open a capsule of probiotic into it before freezing.
2-3 Bananas, peeled & sliced (roast them for extra decadence)
1 cup coconut milk (or other dairy alternative. Plain yoghurt can be used too)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 Tb nut butter (optional)
½ and avocado (optional, makes it creamier)
Flavours (see below)
Sweeten with a little raw honey or stevia if necessary for your taste
Place sliced bananas in a tupperware and freeze until solid. Put frozen bananas in a food processor, add vanilla extract, coconut milk, nut butter, avocado, and sweetener (if using) and pulse until smooth and creamy.
Add your desired flavours and pulse through.
Put in an ice-cream container and freeze until set, stirring after about 2 hours to break up the ice crystals. It will get very hard if frozen for long, and may need to sit at room temperature for a while to soften before serving.
Chocolate Ice cream:
- Cocoa powder(1-3 Tb, depending on taste)
- Raw cocoa nibs (add last and stir through)
- Add 1/2 cup frozen or fresh berries