Monthly Archives: July 2014

Ice Cream and Your Brain

Watson

The best place in Orange, CA for milkshakes is Watson Drugs and Soda Fountain.

By: Tina Davidson

July is National Ice Cream Month!  Mark your calendars that this Sunday, July 20, is National Ice Cream Day and celebrate with some friends.  We have President Reagan to thank for this designated celebration.

It wasn’t too long ago that I used to celebrate National Ice Cream Day– every day!!

My obsession with ice cream began when I was pregnant with my first son.  I continued to eat ice cream daily after my first son was born and well after my second pregnancy. However, I didn’t want to end up looking like Ben and Jerry’s popular flavor, “Chunky Monkey,” so I put an end to my daily habit. Now, I occasionally enjoy an ice cream treat (typically on Ice Cream Fridays- my family’s designated weekly ice cream celebration).  I’ve finally put an end to my need for this luxurious treat as a daily staple.

Is Your Favorite Ice Cream Flavored with Bacon?

Do you like ice cream? Do you like bacon? Try putting them together.

Not too long ago I watched a Paleo cooking show on how to make vanilla ice cream with bacon and maple syrup.  I didn’t rush out and make the recipe but it made me curious about the taste. (I don’t think you can go wrong with these ingredients!)

My advice, if you are going to partake of a sweet ice cream treat, is to pick the ice cream with the least ingredients (whole milk/heavy cream, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract).  Your body and brain do not typically benefit from food ingredients that you can’t spell or recognize. Take the time to read the label. You might be surprised at all the extra crap in it (i.e. food dyes, preservatives, and high fructose corn syrup).

Better yet, try making your favorite flavor at home.  If you plan on eating ice cream weekly, I recommend you purchase an Automatic Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker so you can control all the ingredients that go in. I actually found a Cuisinart ice cream maker in great shape at the Goodwill for $12.

If I don’t have ingredients on hand and we “need” ice cream, I typically purchase the French Vanilla from Trader Joe’s or Breyer’s French Vanilla (I may give up on these two brands due to the non-disclosure of their “natural flavor”– I’m doubtful it is beaver castoreum but I wish they would just disclose it).

What about the Non-Dairy Approach?

As a serious ice cream enthusiast, I never thought I’d venture into the realm of “non-dairy.” (Yes, I do like sorbet but it is in a class of its own.)

Recently, I went for a hike with some friends and we ended up discussing a non-dairy ice cream option using frozen bananas. I tried the recipe later that day. It only took a couple minutes to make and I plan on eating it again!! One of my boys liked it and the other didn’t.

Here’s the ingredients I used:

  • 2 ripe frozen bananas
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon of flax seed meal
  • 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder

I put all the ingredients in a blender and the outcome was more like a yummy chocolate milk shake. You can experiment and use different amounts of the ingredients I listed above depending on your taste buds (more chocolate, anyone?).

It seems that there is controversy surrounding the consumption of milk/dairy in the Paleo community.  Those following a strict Paleo lifestyle have removed it from their diets. I suggest you check out Chris Kresser’s article, “Dairy: food of the Gods or neolithic agent of disease?” Prior to reading his article, you might have second guessed that bowl of ice cream,  but after reading his supporting material it might just give you permission to dive in!

My motto: Don’t over do it and become a detective when it comes to your health. After eating something, pay attention to your  body’s clues.

What about Ice Cream and Brain Freeze?

Eating ice cream too fast can make your head hurt to the point you feel like your brain is freezing (ice cream head ache = sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia– trying saying that 10 times fast!). Here’s how neuroscientists explain how the sensation of brain freeze works:

The brain can’t actually feel pain despite its billions of neurons, Godwin said, but the pain associated with brain freeze is sensed by receptors in the outer covering of the brain called the meninges, where the two arteries meet. When the cold hits, it causes a dilation and contraction of these arteries and that’s the sensation that the brain is interpreting as pain. (Source: Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center)

The two arteries mentioned in the article are the “internal carotoid artery, which feeds blood to the brain, and the anterior cerebral artery, which is where brain tissue starts.”

To end “brain freeze” stop eating/drinking cold items and push your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Your tongue or a lukewarm drink will bring the temperature in your mouth back to normal.

I wonder if President Reagan included a brain freeze disclaimer with his paperwork designating July National Ice Cream Month. It seems this helpful hint might have spared some celebration head aches!

 

Sources:

Banana “Non-Dairy” Ice Cream Recipe: Katie & Gianni

International Dairy Foods Association. http://www.idfa.org/news-views/media-kits/ice-cream/july-is-national-ice-cream-month

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “Neuroscientists explain how the sensation of brain freeze works.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130522095335.htm>.

Chris Kresser.  http://chriskresser.com/dairy-food-of-the-gods-or-neolithic-agent-of-disease

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized