How has your week been? I hope incredible. We've been lucky enough to pop up north for the weekend as some of our good friends from school are getting married. Yay - I love weddings. We’re staying in Tutukaka, a sleepy seaside town on the east coast of NZ. So while Mila is having her mid day snooze, I’m sitting at my laptop looking out over the incredible expanse of blue, crashing against towering rocky outcrops, under a peninsula majestically lined with pohutukawa trees. Pretty magical for a Friday.
The weather here in NZ continues to be gorgeous, with shorts and singlets still definitely legitimate attire for a few weeks yet. Which is perfect, as I knew as soon as I tried these incredible ice creams, I couldn’t wait until next summer to share them with you. Plus it’s Easter next weekend, so what better way to celebrate than breaking out of the Easter egg mould, and into these decadently rich Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream pops.
These lovely dark bites are an absolute revelation in both taste and texture. Most dairy free ice creams use either coconut or cashews for their creamy base, but these almost solely rely on the awesome avocado. Blended with antioxidant rich cacao, creamy hazelnut milk, a dash of sweetener and a pinch of pure vanilla, they create the most heavenly dairy free chocolate ice cream. Topped with a decadent chocolate drizzle and crushed activated hazelnuts, these are a dark chocolate lovers dream. You will be blown away at how good they turn out, I promise!
How much fat is too much fat?
One question I’m often asked is how much fat we should be eating and how much is too much? I recently did an analysis on a sample consumption day of my own, and was surprised to find that my percentage calorie contribution from fat was in fact 54%, with carbohydrates at 34% (5% being fibre) and protein at 11%. That’s quite a high fat percentage compared to traditional dietary guidelines. In saying that, I am in a slightly more unique situation than most in that I am breastfeeding, and not trying to reduce my weight at all. And importantly, every single percentage point of that fat comes from plants, not animals.
A key starting point to consider when assessing your own diet in terms of how much fat to consume, is that fat as a macronutrient is more nutrient dense than its carbohydrate and protein counterparts. In particular, fat contains 9 calories per gram, compared to carbohydrate and protein at only 4 calories (and alcohol at 7 calories).
Fats however are incredibly vital to the body, and despite what you were told in the 90’s (low fat, low fat!), are a fantastic and absolutely necessary part of your diet. In particular, they provide the structural components of every single one of our cell membranes, including those in our brain, enabling optimal function and the carrying of messages between brain neurons. They’re also vital for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E and K. Fats are also necessary to build hormones, which regulate almost all processes in our body, including our sex hormones. This is particularly important for women, who were those most affected by the low-fat fad of the 90’s, which lead to a host of hormone related health issues such as endometriosis, polycystic ovaries, skin conditions and infertility.
I always begin by recommending a diet which is rich in five key food groups – vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, legumes and whole grains. Such a diet is going to be naturally balanced in energy giving complex carbohydrates, high quality plant-based proteins, and heart healthy plant fats both saturated and unsaturated. This type of plant based whole foods diet will naturally put you at around 10-12% protein, with the remainder being made up of carbohydrates and fats.
The optimal split between these last two macronutrients will then depend on whether you are aiming for weight loss or maintenance. For loss, you may want to keep your fats towards the lower end of the band (I recommend ~15% at a minimum), while for maintenance these can be higher (ie up to my 54%).
The protein in your diet will maintain the structural components of your body (muscle and the like), while the fat and carbohydrate combination can be used as energy. Moving your body to a state where it can effectively utilise both carbohydrates and fats as energy is an optimal place to be, as it will enable your metabolism to mop up excess body fat (adipose tissue) when it needs to, and utilise dietary fat as well as carbohydrates as fuel when body fat isn’t in excess.
Back to these incredible ice creams, there’s not much more to say other than – a) they’re delectable, b) they’re quick and easy, and c) you have to try them! This recipe makes enough for 6, but if your ice cream mould only holds 4 (like mine), you can pour the remaining two serves in little ramekins and refrigerate to serve as a mousse instead, or in the freezer as ice cream.
I’ve used dried and activated hazelnuts for my topping, and soaked hazelnuts for the hazelnut milk. You can read about drying and activating your nuts here and making your own nut milk here. Otherwise you can always use lightly roasted hazelnuts and store bought hazelnut milk respectively (see the notes below). If you’re using store bought milk, just check whether it has any sweetener added by looking at the ingredients list on the back. If so, you'll want to reduce your sweetener slightly in the recipe below. Also if you can’t find/make hazelnut milk, almond milk also works perfectly as well, it will just give you a slightly more neutral flavour (more chocolate, less nutella).
If you make these luxuriously indulgent (but full of heart-healthy fats) Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Creams, let me know what you think in the comments below or over on Facebook. Or if you’re a food-snapper like me, share your beauties on Instagram with the tags @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics. I can’t wait to see your versions!
Have an incredible rest of your weekend. I’m off to dream about these ice creams again, soak up the amazing Tutakakian view, and get dressed up for a wedding!
Makes 6 Ice Creams
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Always use certified organic, local and fairly traded ingredients wherever possibleIce Cream
* You can also use 1 tsp lecithin instead
** If you don't have dried activated hazelnuts you can use lightly roasted (see notes below)
c = 250ml cup, tbsp = 15ml tablespoon, tsp = 5ml teaspoon