And so our little Mila has turned 3! Yep, we had the big 3rd bday last weekend, can’t believe she’s already been with us for three entire solar orbits. As some of you know, we’re now quasi living from Waiheke island, so we had a wee party with some of her new pre-school friends down at Palm Beach. She had been 100% sold on going to Uptown Bounce (an awesome indoor trampoline spot over on the mainland), and giving me weekly reminders for at least the last 6 months. Funny that – when they turn 1, you have a party but it’s more for the parents than the kids (aka, yus, we made it through the first year). Age 2 and they’re oblivious to parties (so I conveniently skipped that one). But come 3, and you never hear the end of it.
Islands apart, we managed to pull together a pretty awesome alternative – obstacle course, darts, tunnels, potato sacks, and an egg and spoon race, all hired from the local toy library, followed by a swim at the beach. I ordered some vegetarian sushi from the local sushi joint, chopped up some carrot and cucumber sticks, added a few bunches of red and green grapes, and even made a three tiered watermelon cake for her to take to school. All in all I think it was a success!
Back on the mainland, I decided to make her a little additional bday treat too. Because gosh that girl loves chocolate ice cream. So, why not squish some inside some cookies, and call it a sandwich..? They turned out so easy and delicious, I know you’re going to love them too.
Yep, these super simple Ice Cream Sandwiches are…
- Made with just 4 ingredients;
- 100% plant-based, filled with coconut ice cream instead of dairy;
- Easy to make, with the cookies done in a single blitz, then baked in 10 minutes;
- Super tasty, it’ll be a fight for who nabs them first (the little kids, or those ‘big’ kids…);
- The perfect treat to make for that special bday coming up, or just to earn you some extra kudos with the flatties.
Choose your favourite ice cream flavour, then give them a whirl below. While the weather’s still this gorgeous, why wouldn’t you!
Ditching the dairy…? For your HEALTH.
I know that dairy ice cream you’re used to is delicious. I’m a (flavour) fan too, especially when it’s wrapped in a chocolate almond shell and starts with an M… 🙄. But here are a few health reasons why you might want to ditch the dairy, and switch to a dairy-free alternative such as the coconut ice cream I’ve used here from Little Island instead:
- Animal vs plant saturated fat: Dairy milk is high in animal-saturated fats, which have in numerous scientific studies been linked with high levels of chronic disease such as breast and bowel cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Plant-saturated fats on the other hand, such as those found in coconut milk and nuts, have not been associated with any such disease. Therefore you want to stay away from animal-saturated fats, but not worry about plant-saturated ones (which are in fact a healthy addition to your diet in moderation).
- Calcium: Contrary to popular belief, dairy is not a safe and healthful source of calcium for humans. In fact, countries who consume the highest levels of dairy have the highest rates of osteoporosis, while those with the lowest consumption levels have the lowest incidence of this debilitating bone disease. A further 12- year Harvard study of 78,000 women showed those who consumed dairy three times a day actually broke more bones than women who rarely consumed dairy. The mechanism by which this occurs is yet unclear in scientific studies, but the negative associations certainly are.
- Protein: Protein is an essential macro nutrient that we need for muscle and cellular growth. However it’s importance is WELL overstated in the western world. Protein deficiency is virtually non-existent in developed nations, and instead, excess consumption of animal based protein is actually highly taxing for the liver and gastrointestinal system. Our GI tracts are not naturally designed for dairy and meat consumption, instead being structured as per our herbivorous mammalian relatives. In addition, the consumption of dairy based protein (casein) has been shown to enhance the growth of numerous cancers in humans. Trust that you’ll get enough natural, balanced protein, from a healthy plant-based diet.
- Hormone havoc: Cow’s milk contains a plethora of hormones, which are not appropriate for human ingestion. These include estrogen, progesterone, prolactin, oxytocin, androgens, corticoids, steroids, and IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1). And that’s just the “organic” cow’s milk. Non-organic cow’s milk products additionally contain antibiotics and pesticide residues. Essentially, the milk from cows is a hormonal substance, produced by a mother cow to feed it’s baby, in order to grow it from a 30kg calf to a 320kg adult. Such incredible growth and hormonal ingestion is not required by human adults or even children post weaning, and in fact can have significantly detrimental effects in terms of hormonal production, menstrual cycles, and insulin regulation.
- Cholesterol: Cholesterol is an essential component for our cell membranes, to maintain structural cellular integrity. However these cells (mainly our hepatic liver cells) manufacture and recycle cholesterol themselves, meaning we DO NOT need to ingest it exogenously from our diets. The sole source of dietary cholesterol is animal products such as meat, eggs, and dairy. Non dairy alternatives such as coconut or other plant milks contain no cholesterol. If dietary cholesterol ingestion is low or nil, the body simply makes exactly what it needs, in perfect harmony. There is absolutely no correlation between endogenously (internally) produced cholesterol and high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease. However there is significant research showing that exogenous cholesterol (eg from consuming dairy, eggs, seafood, and meat) is highly linked to heart disease and cancer. Conclusion -> ditch the exogenous cholesterol, and use your body’s safer moderated internal cholesterol manufacturing systems instead.
- Estrogens vs phytoestrogens: People get concerned about certain dairy alternatives (such as soy) containing phytoestrogens and thus exhibiting estrogenic activity in the body. These phytoestrogens (or “plant” estrogens) are in fact 100,000 times weaker than our own estrogens, as well as the very prevalent estrogens found in cow’s milk. Phytoestrogens have been shown to a protective effect on our human estrogen receptors, meaning the consumption of them protects us against excess xenoestrogens in our environment (such as synthetic estrogens from plastic). Countries like Japan, who have the highest rates of phytoestrogen consumption (through tofu, miso, edamame, and soy milk), have in fact the lowest rates of reproductive disease such as breast and prostate cancer.
- Breast milk for adults?: Humans are the only animals on the planet who continue to drink breast milk after weaning. Not only that, we continue to drink it right into ripe old age. It’s not from our own mothers either, it’s from another animal – a cow. Imagine this – your 15 year old dog, drinking the breast milk from your cat on the daily. That’s how ridiculous and unnatural it is for humans to consume cow’s milk.
- Pus & blood…: That’s right, it’s entirely legal for cow’s milk and their products (such as ice cream) to include a certain approved level of both pus and blood cells. Something to consider with that next dollop of greek yoghurt, crumble of feta, or scoop of dairy ice cream.
- Asthma, eczema, psoriasis: Dairy consumption has been highly associated with levels of asthma, eczema, and psoriasis, particularly in children. Dairy has the ability to clog the respiratory tract, and lead to an aberrant immune response associated with these conditions. And here we are unwittingly feeding the stuff to our children, whilst arming them with Ventolin inhalers and steroid creams in the other.
These are just some of the health reasons why I strongly recommend you avoid dairy, as much as you can. We are so lucky these days, that we can still enjoy all the ‘pre-dairy-life’ luxuries such as yoghurt (coconut/soy/almond), cheese (coconut oil/soy), milk (coconut/almond/soy/oat/rice/seed), and of course ice cream (coconut/almond/soy). The market for these products is only going to grow stronger, as more and more people realise the significant downsides of dairy. And these are just the negatives related to health. I’ll continue this post in a few week’s time, to discuss the ethical and environmental downsides of dairy too.
In these ice cream sandwiches for example, I’ve used my favourite dairy-free ice cream here in New Zealand, by Little Island. The company was started by two friends of mine, Tommy and James, who initially decided to make homemade dairy-free ice cream for their kids. It was so tasty, the adults were begging for it too, and so they created Little Island Coconut Creamery, to house their friends’ and families’ growing coconut ice cream addiction. They’re super ethical in how they source their ingredients, with everything traded in line with Fairtrade practices as much as possible. Their ingredients are all natural and non GMO, organic where they can, and their coconuts come from small locally owned plantations in Sri Lanka, Samoa, and Fiji. And that’s not even mentioning the flavour profile of their ice creams – which is insanely good! I have a personal penchant for the passionfruit, while Mila is through and through a chocolate girl.
Once you’ve got your pot of ice cream ready, all you need is some desiccated coconut, almond or other nut/seed butter, and dates for the cookies (plus a dash of salt if you like), and you’re ready for ice cream sammy magic! Let me know if you make them, share your pics on my FB page here, or post them on Instagram with the tags @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics so I can come find you. Would love to hear what you think, and of course, see which flavour ice cream YOU choose!
More information on dairy in coming weeks (ethical and environmental), if you’ve got any questions in the meantime, please do leave them below and I’ll answer them in the coming weeks.
Til then, have a great weekend, and as always, stay happy and well!
PS If you like this recipe, I’d love you to pin it on Pinterest, share it on Facebook, post your recreation on Instagram (tag me @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics), or share it with your family and friends. Also, if you’re not already subscribed to my weekly recipe emails, be sure to do that here, and don’t miss my next recipe video by signing up to my YouTube here.
Please note – if you are wanting to meet any of the specific dietary requirements below, please read my recipe notes.
- 1 c desiccated coconut
- 1/2 c almond butter
- 1/2 c dates
- Pinch sea salt if almond butter is unsalted
- Little Island Coconut Ice Cream
- Preheat the oven to 165°C (330 °F) on fan bake.
- Cover the dates in boiling water until just covered, leave to soak for 5 minutes, then drain (reserve the soaking liquid to add to your bircher, for a smoothie, or to make nut/plant milk).
- Place coconut in a food processor and blend to a fine flour. Then add almond butter and dates and process until a sticky mixture is achieved (that holds together when you press in your hands).
- Roll mix into 8 even sized balls, then flatten carefully with your hands and place on a lined baking tray. Press each cookie down again with the back of a spatula until they’re quite flat ~0.3-0.5mm high (without them falling apart).
- Bake for 10 minutes until just golden, leave to cool completely before moving off the tray, then place in the freezer to chill (and harden).
- To assemble, place 4 cookies top down down (flat side up), and place a scoop of ice cream on each cookie. Top with a second cookie and press down to flatten, then place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to completely firm up again.
- Enjoy! Will keep in the freezer for up to 4 weeks.
- Make it nut free: Use sunflower seed butter or tahini instead of almond butter.
- Make it refined sugar free: Use a homemade ice cream which is sweetened with low GI or unrefined sweeteners, eg my Vanilla Ice Cream recipe, Best Ever Banana Ice Cream, or Maple Walnut Ice Cream.
- Feel free to use whatever flavour ice cream is your favourite, just make sure it’s dairy free! My favourite pre-made in NZ are these ones by Little Island.
- These cookies are also delicious on their own, so feel free to make a double batch!
- This recipe only makes 4 large ice cream sandwiches, so if you’d like to make more than that, double the quantities. You can always save the second half of the cookies to just eat on their own if you run out of ice cream.
- These cookies are also great with 2 tbsp of cacao powder added, for a chocolate ice cream cookie version. If your ice cream flavour is chocolate, vanilla, coconut caramel, choc mint, or choc raspberry, then these flavours will work perfectly with a chocolate cookie! For fruitier flavours like mango and passionfruit, I prefer a more neutral biscuity cookie like these.
- The cookie mixture for these is quite delicate when you’re rolling and pressing, and even when they come out of the oven (we almost dropped ours!). But once they cool they firm up brilliantly.