Let's Scream for Dairy-free Ice Cream!

Oh the delightful summer treat, ice cream! But if you are dairy-free this summer, the ice cream man's jingle might make you sigh the sound of bitter of defeat. The good news is there are now so many dairy-free options to choose from, that you won't even miss the moo! Here are some of my favorites that you can either pick up at your local grocer or even make at home. As a naturopathic doctor, I should warn you that yes they are dairy-free, but they are also an indulgence so please enjoy in moderation.

Coconut Milk
Rich and luscious coconut milk makes the ideal alternative to cream and is "churning" up in some of the best dairy-free ice creams. Its thick creamy texture is very similar to regular ice cream with a hint of coconut making it the perfect base for a variety of different flavors.DF Mavens, which has a store in the East Village as well as being available at your grocer's freezer, comes in amazing flavors like Key Lime Crème and De Lago Chocolate. Whats twice as nice is they contain only 13g of sugar, which is much lower than most ice creams. Van Leeuwen found in various locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn as well as super markets uses simple pronounceable ingredients and comes in very yummy flavors like Sicilian Pistachio and Salted Caramel. If you are feeling inspired, you can also make your own with this recipe.

Not just for guacamole and chips at your summer barbecue, avocados can be part of your frozen desert too! Wonderfully creamy avocados contain vitamins A, C and E, iron, potassium, niacin, and mono-unsaturated healthy fat. This makes them a summer skin super fruit as their nutrient content neutralizes cell-damaging free radicals. Want to try? Look for Cado Avocado Frozen Dessert in flavors like Mint Chocolate Chip and Simply Lemon at most health food and grocery stores. If you have a ripe avocado and a banana, you can also make your own using this recipe, which contains no added sugar and no ice cream maker required.

Almond Milk
Of the all the dairy-free milks, almond milk takes the cake of having the taste most resembling skim milk making it easy to dress up as cow dairy. Perhaps this is why those guys from Vermont, Ben and Jerry, chose it as their base to concoct extraordinary frozen creations. Of all the dairy-free options, theirs is by far the most decadent with tried and true flavors like Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey as well as newbies like Coconut Seven Layer Bar and Caramel Almond Bar. Though they are tasty they pack a lot of sugar so should only be an occasional treat. For a lighter alternative, I would choose the variety from So Delicious . They are much lower in sugar but still come in fun flavors like Cookies and Cream (gluten-free) and Mocha Almond Fudge. Probably the best option would be to use this recipe to make your own sugar-free version using stevia or monk fruit sweetner.

Lets tell the ice cream to split and just use the banana! Bananas are naturally sweet so they don't require as much if any added sweetener. Plus they are packed with potassium, Vitamins B6 and C. Just a few avenue blocks from my New York City office is Chloe's Fruits serving up a variety of soft serve and frozen pops completely made from fruit. Even if you can't schlep down to the shop, these treats are popping up in stores all over New York and New Jersey as well as some more unlikely places like the Frick Collection and the Met. Of all the dairy-free options banana ice cream is by far the simplest and most economical to make. You can use this recipe as a blank canvas for a variety of tasty frozen creations.