A healthy reboot and a review of the famous vegan banana ice cream

Whole foods for the win

Whole foods for the win. Our groceries for the week.

Every time that I speak with my mother on the phone/skype, now that she is back in Greece, she asks me two things: “Do you drink water? Do you drink your fruit smoothies?” and goes on to reply by herself “I am sure you don’t!”. It doesn’t matter how much I insist that I actually DO those things. Now, it is true that the first few weeks with Loulou Maya, it wasn’t easy to cook proper food and eat fresh stuff and being tired all the time led both me and N. to sugar and caffeine over-consumption. As I have already written before, during my pregnancy we followed a vegetarian diet, which included cheese and eggs and even though cheese gave me quick energy fixes that lasted, we also over-did it. And one bad habit brought the other. That’s why N. decided to go back to a plant-based diet, in order to reboot his system. When you eat healthily, it is much easier to get rid of excess sugar and fat, without actually feeling deprived.

How to reboot

I personally find lists easier to follow, even though I think they are usually too rigid. In any case, this is the list of the steps we took in order to reboot our diet. You can keep the tips that you find useful and adjust them accordingly, based on your own lifestyle and diet choices.

  • Give away/throw away the last junk food found into your house. I have to say that we actually ate those Danish butter cookies that my mother had bought, instead of giving them away. But nobody is perfect.
  • Make sure to have at least one cold and one warm healthy breakfast choices at hand at all times. At the moment we love puffed buckwheat cereal with almond or walnut milk. We also got unsweetened almond milk, as N. is quite serious about quitting sugar. As for warm breakfast choices, we have oatmeal and bread, that can turn into a toast with roasted eggplant filling.
  • Make sure you have healthy stuff to snack on. And try to have a variety, because there is a limit to the amount of blueberries that a man can consume. Here are some ideas: baby carrots with lemon and a pinch of salt, berries, apples, bananas, nuts, crackers with nut butters or other plant-based spreads.
  • Don’t buy food that comes in a box or has a list of ingredients. This is an easy rule to make sure that you will buy mostly whole foods, like fruits and vegetables. An interesting thing that I found out about recently is that almost all grocery stores have a similar layout: Healthy stuff is found at the perimeter, junk is right in the middle, easily accessible and promoted by bright lights and colors. This means that if you stick to the aisles at the perimeter, you are much more likely to avoid buying processed crap.
  • Use whole foods to cook from scratch. There are tons of 10-minute recipes on line and making an avocado salad does not require elaborate instructions really! (and if this is something completely new to you, just go to pinterest or foodgawker and search for recipes for the ingredients you have at hand).
  • Choose the foods that you think make you feel bad and find substitutes for them. Or just skip them. For example, if you think dairy makes you feel bloated, buy dairy-free milk and yogurt and consume those for a couple of weeks. If you feel better, there is no reason to go back. If not, it could be something else that you are sensitive to, like gluten, legumes, onion or certain spices.
  • Be prepared for withdrawal symptoms. And decide how you will deal with them. Especially when quitting sugar or caffeine, many people experience headaches and/or irritability or fatigue. As sugar and coffee are stimulants, when your body has to go without, it appears to be crushing. The thing is that functioning on such stimulants for too long will only lead to a bigger crush in the long run. In order to deal with the withdrawal symptoms make sure to stay hydrated by drinking tons of water and consuming fresh fruits and vegetables. Taking a paracetamol is also a solution, but don’t overdo it with painkillers.

Once you are done with your reboot and you feel fresh and energized, you can start re-introducing certain foods. For example, one coffee per day is not bad for you and it can actually be quite healthy, since it is loaded with antioxidants. Just make sure to stick to one and not go back to bad habits (as in drinking one pot instead of one mug). The reboot is not meant as the start of a deprived lifestyle, but as a way to remember what is healthy, which amounts are reasonable, which foods benefit your body and try to stick to those. And keep in mind that when you follow a generally healthy lifestyle, indulging occasionally in a sinful treat is even more enjoyable, while if you eat junk every day, you just feel like a garbage bag in the end.

The famous vegan banana ice cream review

Enough with the healthy eating preaching. Let’s talk about something more fun. The famous vegan banana ice cream. If you have been browsing vegan or plant-based diet websites, for sure you have come across that “one ingredient vegan ice cream”. The idea behind it is that you blend frozen bananas and it is supposed to have the texture of soft serve ice cream. You can add in peanut butter, vanilla and/or cocoa, to create even more flavors. I was just not sold. Until I was.

Here is N., proudly posing with his ice cream.

Here is N., proudly posing with his ice cream.

N. told me the other day that a friend sent him a recipe for vegan ice cream. I was pretty sure what it would be and I was right. That banana stuff again. But, the loving wife that I am, I decided to try it out, even though I was scared it would kill our blender. Still, I went ahead and froze 4 bananas, cut in slices. Fortunately (I guess) our freezer is not that strong, so the bananas froze but were not rock-solid. I blended two of them with one big spoonful unsweetened cocoa powder and 1/3 glass almond milk and the result looked like the picture. And it tasted amazing! We made another couple of servings just a few hours later. It tasted really like dairy ice cream and I am sure it will be fantastic with the vanilla added in there as well. So, if you are hesitant like me, don’t be! I mean, I am not even a banana fan, but this thing does not taste like bananas! Enjoy 🙂

yummy

yummy

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2 responses to “A healthy reboot and a review of the famous vegan banana ice cream

  1. Btw. now that the ‘heat wave’ is coming to the Netherlands, I have another delicious ice-cream recipe. It uses cashew nuts as a base. Although it has coconut oil in it, the creamy texture of smashed cashews is amazing. If you are interested, I can send you the recipe. It is a very simple one; trust me! The kitchen fairy that I am, this ice-cream got two thumbs up in our house.

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