Friends, I would be lying if I told you this 21-Day Vegan Challenge was a piece of cake. Pun intended! lol It so was not a piece of cake but in the end it will all boil down to Vegan Banana Split Ice Cream but I digress 🙂
If I’m really honest with you all, I have to admit I slipped a few times. Like the time I ordered Portabello Flat bread Pizza, while eating out with hubby, and can you believe the chef had the nerve to mistakenly put chicken on it?? I did my veganistic due diligence and picked out all of the chicken I could see but my tongue knowwwws there was some tucked underneath some mushrooms and marinara.
This was hard friends.
So lemme tell ya the whole story. For some reason I also decided to go refined sugar-free and gluten-free! It was a food restriction overload people. Sometimes I felt like I was in food prison! But I survived those first few cranky, grumpy days. The extreme cravings stopped too and I began to feel very much in control of my appetite. But since I changed so many variables in my diet, I’m not sure what to attribute it too. This means I’ll have to do another round of fasting – soon – but one thing at a time – next time.
Alright now for the blessed rewards! This experience has really opened up my eyes and I have learned so much about food – vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free food! To sum it up:
I can’t just grab anything from the shelf anymore. I feel like most food companies don’t really care what goes into their products based on the ingredients I’ve seen and sorta expect indifferent people to buy their food indiscriminately. I now read every label so I can decide if I want to put this in my body and my family’s body. If I was ever into making everything homemade, I am even more gung-ho about doing this now. I even made my son, Julian’s, birthday cake from scratch- and it was vegalicious baby!
My new reality is I am transitioning to all organic food. I look for food, drinks or snacks with no preservatives, refined sugar, fillers, nitrites and no gluten. I make sure the meat I eat was nurtured, free-range, non-GMO and hormone-free. In light of this, I’ve discovered:
- Trader Joes organics- If you were vegan clueless like me 21 days ago, this place has a huge volume of organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, specialty foods. (I know, I was a little late as most of the world knows who they are.) Soo happy they opened up in Boca late last year..smile from ear-to-ear!
- Quinoa Pasta
- Quinoa and Flax Seed Cereal
- Ocean Spray and Welch’s 100% juice
- Veggie Straw snacks
- Santitas All Natural Corn Tortilla Snacks
- Gluten-free Buffalo Pretzels
- Almond Flour
- Coconut Flour
This 21-Day Vegan Challenge also inspired me to build a Pinterest board with nothing but cool and interesting Food Facts You Need to Know: Follow Dorcas | Feel Good Food Blog’s board Food Facts You Need 2 Know on Pinterest
I have a confession: I still love meat and dairy products. Yes, it’s true! I still swoon over my Chicken Tikka Massala or Cheesy Chicken Alfredo. They will still be part of my life but I am making sure the meat we do eat is organic. Let’s talk about cheese though, oh my goodness – what can replace it? Like I mentioned before, my taste bud’s muscle memory is strong and can’t be outsmarted. If it says vegan cheese or vegan eggs but it doesn’t taste like it, my mouth isn’t falling for it and it’s a fail. Truth be told, meat wasn’t so hard to give up, it was the cheese and butta! They are like the culinary glue that keep the dishes in my world together and satisfy my very demanding tastebuds! Remember those first few grumpy days I had? Well they were the culprits. Yep, however, I do love and appreciate all of the vegan shortcuts I learned along the way. These are a few:
- Dates as a sweetener in baking
- Making oat flour by blending oats in the blender
- King Arthur’s Gluten-Free Flour
- Silk Coconut Milk in place of regular Milk
- Coconut oil in place of butter for cooking or baking
- Coconut cream in place of frosting..mmhmmm!
- Dairy-free butter
- Tofu picadillo
- Cauliflower pizza dough
- Flax “eggs”
- Vegan Chocolate Syrup or Ganache! oooh yeah!
- Vegan Banana Split Ice cream!!! \o/
I am still so amazed at how many delicious things are really vegan and/or just very healthy for you. I’m glad that I know when my kids grab a snack it’s not just something they love and dusted with an artificial, nacho cheddar-like powder, but something that’s really good for them. Check out my Feel Good Vegan Food board on Pinterest to get more veganish.
Be a Food Planner
It’s really important to have a plan for what you’re going to eat throughout the week, when you are out and about and when you go out to eat. I was amazed at how many sit-down restaurants now carry vegan-this or veggie that. There are a lot more options now than just eating greens, know what I mean! My bestie even took me to an organic, plant-based restaurant in West Palm Beach called Christopher’s Kitchen. One word- ah-ma-zing! I had the Coconut Curry Bowl and their vegan pumpkin pie with coconut ice cream. Yeah, it was like Woah…
Chipotle is everywhere nowadays and a great alternative to most fast-food. Their
organic WHOLE Food is fast and just ridiculously delish! My aunt, who’s been vegan for 8 years, always carries fruit snacks with her. This is great because fruit travels well and is nutritious and satisfying when the hunger pangs hit.
Oh and over the weekend, Randy and I went to Ellie’s Desi Kitchen and oh my gosh, I actually had coconut water straight from da coconut! It was perfectly refreshing and a little sweet deliciousiousness. Makes me wish I had a coconut tree I could get Randy to climb up every day and cut some coconuts down for me!
So as my 21-day Vegan Challenge comes to an end I am very grateful for this experience, all of my new vegan friends I’ve made along the way and new food and lifestyle changes I’m making. Hooray! And what better way to celebrate than with Vegan Banana Split Ice Cream right? Now, I gotta tell you, I’ve made some out-of-this-world Mango Banana Sorbet before, Coquito Ice Cream and my all-time favorite Chocolate Monkey but this Vegan Banana Split Ice Cream has a little piece of my heart and is every bit as special. Oh the joys of food bloggerdom! I am eating this Banana Split sundae and all I can think about is CLEAN EATING ROCKS! This is dairy-free ice cream and dairy-free chocolate sauce and organic chocolate coconut cream and a whole world of ahhhh-ma-zing! I do think you’re feelin’ me right now. In it we have perfectly-ripened strawberries and bananas suspended in the most amazing coconut ice cream on the face of this coconut-shaped planet with chocolate chunks and pecans. It breaks down like this:
- refrigerating the coconut milk
- blend all of the ingredients
- chill in fridge for 4 hours
- churning in the ice cream maker
- Add the pecans and chocolate chips
- set in fridge for 2-4 hours
Raise your hand if you have an ice cream maker??!!
If you don’t, what are you waiting for? Summer is almost here and then it will be too late cause you would’ve melted already! If you’re not sure which one to get, a very simple Electric Ice Cream Maker with Freezer Bowl will do. Or if you are really serious about your ice cream, you’ll want get the Cuisinart 100…that’s the one I have. xxoooOOxXXXoo Sorry, I get all mushy when I talk about my ice cream maker..I just loves her. If you don’t have an ice cream maker you can pour it into a storage container and cover in the freezer.
So the moral of the story is my life, the food I eat, the way I feel, the way I think about food, the food I make my family is changing for the better and I FEEL GREAT ABOUT THAT!!. And..I have a whole new respect for my vegan friends and family. I <3 U. I would be honored if you considered me a half, step-part-time-vegan-sister from another mister. xxooOOxxXX
PRODUCTS USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
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- Food processor
- ice cream storage container
- ice cream scoop
- 10 strawberries
- 2 bananas
- ½ cup cane sugar
- 1 can cream of coconut (I used Coco Lopez)
- 2 cups Vanilla unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 cans organic coconut milk (I used Thai Kitchen)
- ¼ cup pecans, chopped
- ½ bittersweet dark chocolate, dairy-free
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 8 ounces semi sweet dark chocolate,chopped (dairy-free)
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp coconut sugar or cane sugar
- ½ cup strawberries
- 2 tbsp cane sugar
- can use remaining coconut cream
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2-3 tbsp Vegan Chocolate Sauce
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Refrigerate the bananas, strawberries and coconut milk for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight.
- Open the cans of coconut milk and separate the hardened coconut cream from the milk. Add all of the coconut milk, sugar, bananas, half of the chocolate chips, pecans, strawberries to a food processor.
- Pour mix into a container and chill for a minimum of 4 hours. (I like to store my ice cream mix directly in the ice cream machine metal bowl.)
- When the ice cream mix is sufficiently chilled, add to ice cream machine and churn for a minimum of 30-45 minutes or until the ice cream is the desired consistency. Add the chopped chocolate the last 2 minutes of churning. (If ice cream is still soft-serve can freeze for 2 hours before serving.)
- While the ice cream is churning prep for the strawberry sauce and slice the strawberries. Add sugar to a small bow and strawberries. Continue stirring them until the sugar dissolves completely leaving a delicious strawberry syrup and refrigerate.
- For the chocolate syrup, heat the coconut milk and coconut oil in a small saucepan over low to medium heat. Add the chocolate, stirring until it's melted and smooth. Promptly remove from heat when all of the chocolate is melted and cool to room temperature.
- Make sure the coconut milk has been refrigerated for 4 hours or overnight. Flip the cans of coconut milk over and cut open the cans using a can opener. Scoop out only the dense coconut cream and set aside the remaining liquid.
- Combine coconut cream, 2-3 tbsp chocolate syrup and powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat on high 3-5 minutes keeping an eye on the cream, until it becomes fluffy and light. Then whip the vanilla extract into coconut cream for 1 minute
- Check to see that the ice cream is the right texture. Scoop out ice cream and drizzle chocolate sauce or strawberries and top with Chocolate Coconut Cream!