I used to LOVE ice cream and I still do but since adopting a plant-based diet, I've always had two absolute prereqs for my ice cream: It needs to be 100% dairy-free and 100% egg-free.
I will still happily indulge in vegan ice cream from time to time, but over the years I've gradually purchased less and less store-bought ice cream, and now I prefer more wholesome, decadent treats like this Vanilla Nice Cream.
You may be shocked to hear it, but for several months I was consuming over 90% of my calories from ice cream! Seriously. It was crazy and very sad, but that's another story.
So being quite the ice cream addict, vegan ice cream was a savior for me in transitioning to a plant-based diet. My partner and I would treat ourselves to a pint of coconut bliss at least once per week. By the time I was teaching at TrueNorth Health Center—about 18 months into the plant-loving lifestyle, this became more of a monthly treat. No more than a year after that, I'd say it was happening just a few times a year, and now, whether it's from the grocery store or a local shop, it's a very rare occasion that I buy vegan ice cream.
The sweetest part about letting go of this food I was attached to never felt restrictive. I never told myself, I couldn't have it. Instead, when I was craving it, I just reminded myself of how it would make me feel hours after eating and the next day. I'd remind myself how it was a guarantee that I'd break out within 24 hours! That's right, sadly, even the vegan ice cream gave me acne. Although I may enjoy the taste, highly processed ice cream is not something my body wants.
Of course, you can make plant-based ice cream with only high-quality whole food ingredients, but oddly I never really got into it. I think this was partly because most whole food, plant-based ice cream I experienced was just frozen fruit blended, what the plant-based community calls "Nice Cream."
There's no fat added; just pure fruit sugar, which makes it more of a sorbet, not ice cream.
They are yummy, but my taste buds wanted the fat-sugar combo.
Knowing the difference, I've made some richer versions of with whole-plant fats added to give them a creamier, thicker consistency, like the decadent ice cream we're used to. My Blueberry Ice Cream With Lime And Cacao is a delicious example!
The other reason I didn't get into making plant-based ice cream regularly was that I usually prefer eating the whole fruit! Fresh, seasonal fruit is SO incredibly delicious, that there's no drive for me to take the extra steps to freeze and blend the fruit.
That being said, now when I do have a craving for some creamy ice cream, I always opt for homemade ice cream with mostly fruit (usually a mixture of fresh and frozen) and just a little bit of whole plant fats, from nuts, seeds, avocado, or coconut.
Now have a few unique recipes for plant-based nice creams:
So when you're looking for a sweet, creamy frozen treat, choose an ice cream that's going to leaves you feeling and looking really good—right afterwards and the next day!
They're all incredibly delicious, but my new Vanilla Nice Cream is the quickest to make and just heavenly. This has been my go-to treat all summer.
Whenever you do treat yourself to a bowl of this goodness, please mindfully enjoy!
By Chef Katie Mae
Makes about 4 cups | Ready in 5 minutes | Stores 1 month in freezer
For a firmer ice cream transfer it to an air-tight container and freeze for an hour minimum. Enjoy frozen or slightly defrosted.