I was recently reading Dr. Michael Greger’s book How Not to Die, a hardcover written by the founder of nutritionfacts.org that discusses many of the foods that have been scientifically proven to prevent and reverse disease. The book is very informative, while also being an interesting read for those who are curious about a plant-based diet. While I learned an abundance of scientific facts from Dr. Greger’s latest book, most of his culinary advice simply helped reiterate what I have often practiced in my own cooking, both personally and professionally. However, the beauty of a career in foods and nutrition is that you are constantly learning, and even the most seasoned expert will never come close to knowing it all.
In one of the chapters on the antioxidant power of frozen berries Dr. Greger explains how he makes his favorite dessert, soft-serve ice cream, by simply blending fruit in a blender. While I have made ice cream many times in my life in an ice cream maker with plenty of cream and eggs, this simplified and healthier version was completely new to me. After trying it, I was pleasantly surprised how delicious it turned out to be.
One of Dr. Greger’s simplest recipes is just blending up frozen, very ripe (the riper/browner the better) bananas. The banana puree is great by itself, but I have found it to be a great base for other ice creams. There are really no rules to the recipes. It is a matter of playing and having a bit of fun making ice cream to your preference. I found that adding a bit of almond milk one splash at a time helps to get the mixture going while putting less stress on the blender. A squirt of honey and vanilla extract, a drop of coconut oil or a tablespoon of almond butter can easily enhance the flavor of a tart berry. The nutrition can always be enhanced a bit with some chia seeds, a handful of nuts or a scoop of protein powder. If you drop a bit too much liquid into the blender and end up with a milkshake, so be it. Grab a straw and enjoy!
This recipe is for a chocolate berry-banana ice cream taken from the book, but I tweaked it a bit; any ingredients can be omitted and/or replaced quite easily. I do recommend having a pretty strong blender or adding enough liquid, as a cheap blender will burn out quickly with dry ingredients.
- 1 ripe frozen banana, sliced in to 3 or 4 chunks
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 capful vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- ¼ cup almond milk
- 1-2 tablespoons honey (optional)
- handful pitted dates (optional)
- Pulse all ingredients together in a blender until smooth. If you have trouble blending everything thoroughly, add more almond milk. If it is too thin and you do not want a milkshake then add more fruit.
The recipe makes about 2 servings.
Calories: 150 / Fat: 6g / Saturated Fat: 2g /Carbohydrates: 24g / Fiber: 5g / Protein 4g
Brandon McDearis is the owner of Your Way Cuisine, www.yourwaycuisine.com, a personal chef and nutrition consulting business. He is also a professional wanderer that spends much of his year trotting the globe and working in places such as Alaska, Australia, and Antarctica.