Everyone screams for ice cream-but I frankly wish everyone was screaming when they comprehended the ingredient list of their favorite ice cream. I must admit, as a child, I loved ice cream. However with time, as I have come to recognize the container’s block paragraph of multi-syllabus chemicals I could not pronounce, I began to question what it was I was consuming.
Caught off guard by all the marketing slogans on the front of the container claiming: it’s healthy, sugar-free, or fat-free, many overlook ingredients. Perhaps the brand name is apart of a popular weight loss company, which distracts one from reading the ingredients that may not be as healthy as most people have come to truly believe. So, what is the concern with the majority of ice cream products? These products are loaded with genetically engineered ingredients, harmful additives and chemicals not worth the excitement of your cold summer treat.
Genetically engineered ingredients, as I constantly advise, are best if avoided from your diet all together. They can deteriorate your health in the long-run and cause health consequences such as heart disease, food intolerance and allergies, digestive disorders and more. Most ice cream products and frozen treats alike contain corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup or some other form of genetically modified sweetener. The majority of the popular brands of ice cream or frozen yogurt also contain an ingredient I personally advise my clients to avoid: carrageenan. Carrageenan is a thickening agent used to make your frozen treat nice and thick, but unfortunately, causes harmful effects to your body- including increasing the risk of cancer. I cannot emphasize the importance of keeping artificial food dyes out of the food you and your family eat. Many frozen treats have artificial coloring, including red 40, red 2, blue lake 1, yellow lake 5. Artificial food colorings have been proven to be destructive to your health and can result in hyperactivity and an inability to focus in young children. It is best to avoid artificial food coloring completely and to be extremely cautious of your labels. Don’t obsess over the calories, or whether the product is a fat-free ice cream. Instead, read your labels and if you see a ton of chemicals you cannot pronounce- put it back in the store freezer. Look for ice cream that only contains the necessary ingredients to make it like milk, cream and a natural sweetener- or try the ice cream recipe below and feel free to adjust it to your preferences.
As an alternative for you and your children to enjoy, I’ve transformed my regular frozen banana ice cream into a chocolate banana ice cream- using carob powder instead of cocoa powder, for a few added health benefits. While the texture of this scrumptious treat is merely the same as the store bought chocolate ice cream, the after-feeling is frankly incomparable. This is dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, additive and preservative free, added sugar-free and most prominently guilt-free recipe. Excitingly, this has only three ingredients, while most store bought ice creams have at least fifteen ingredients.
4-5 frozen bananas, peeled and pre-sliced
½ cup of milk (organic and grass-fed, or even a natural unsweetened almond milk)
1/3-1/2 cup organic carob powder, or raw cocoa powder
Place your bananas, carob/cocoa powder, and milk in the food processor and pulse until it’s smooth and creamy. It may be necessary that you stop and scrape down the sides, before pulsing it once again to ensure optimum smoothness.
Transfer to your desired serving bowls. Top the ice cream with your favorite berries, or fruit, nuts like walnuts, pistachios, cashews, or macadamia nuts, and anything else that comes to your mind.
Noor Hani Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.