health

Yes, you can eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But the benefits? Well…

Too delicious to be true?

When I first saw a headline about an ‘ice cream cleanse,’ clicked so fast that I nearly broke my computer. Like many others, I often feel quite sluggish and bloated, and I contemplate detoxes and cleanses.

But then I give up on the idea, because I really love eating and never want to go more than about five minutes drinking only juices/laxative teas/water flavoured with chillies/etc.

An ice cream cleanse, however, sounded like my dream come true. Imagine the possibilities – you could start the morning on Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked (chocolate and vanilla ice cream with chunks of fudge brownie and chocolate brownie). For lunch, you could nibble on a delicious almond Magum, or perhaps a Drumstick.

Nat.

Seriously, I had that shit planned in my head within the first few seconds of seeing the ice cream cleanse headline. And then I actually clicked on it, and all my Messina-related dreams were shattered in one healthy ice-creamed scoop.

You see, the ice cream cleanse is the brainchild of an ice cream shop in California named Kippy’s. It claims to be “truly raw gourmet sorbet” in that it’s made from fresh-picked organic fruit, organic coconut water, coconut cream and raw unheated honey. Also, it’s served in glass jars because anything NOT served in a glass jar these days is just embarrassing.

So while the ice cream does still have sugar and saturated fat, it isn’t terrible for you. And some of the flavours have some especially good stuff in them – the coconut yogurt has added probiotics, and the ‘superfood’ ice cream has bee pollen, which is apparently high in amino acid.

The author of the article, Brent Rose, signed up for the full ice-cream cleanse, despite being the 11th person in all of California to try it. His girlfriend also signed up so the two of them could record absolutely everything, across both genders.

Here’s how it all worked:

The cleanse, as it stands now, lasts for four days. At the beginning of it, you pick up your supply of ice cream from Kippy’s. It’s five meals a day: one pint of ice cream for each meal. For those of you playing the home game, that means you will be eating 20 pints of ice cream in four days, and that’s all (aside from plenty of water). Luckily, each of your meals are a different flavor.

And so they ate ice cream for four days. They ate orange creme, and dark chocolate with Himalayan fire salt, and honey grapefruit. And here is what they discovered…

– Ice cream from Kippy’s is delicious, even after you eat it for four days straight.

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– Even healthy ice cream can be ridiculously high in saturated fat and sugar, so don’t get too excited, it’s really not all good.

– They went to the bathroom a fair bit, mostly to do not-so-solid number twos. Some days, there were no number twos, and these were sad days for them.

– They lost a little bit of weight – only a couple of kilos – but put it all back on while they were away the following weekend, leading Brent to believe it was entirely based on the liquid diet and the consistent purging of the bowels.

– They had a surprising amount of energy, as compared to doing a juice cleanse when they felt cranky and sluggish.

Brent’s general conclusion was as follows:

Do we feel cleansed? I don’t think so. First, to be totally frank, I’m not a big believer in cleanses. Most of them put your body into a state not unlike starvation, which generally results in gaining back any weight lost and possibly leading to bigger health concerns (i.e. screwing up your metabolism and insulin production). So, I don’t really know what “cleansed” is supposed to feel like. My girlfriend says her skin felt great, and it felt good to be able to exercise that kind of willpower, but, to be honest, our digestive systems haven’t really fully recovered from the whole (traumatic?) experience.

So there you have it. The ice cream cleanse, as fantastic as it sounds, is not quite all it’s cracked up to be. And while it might be a seriously genius marketing plan for the ice cream shop, it also seems to be just another one of those detoxes that don’t actually work, but that people get stuck on anyway.

I’m disappointed. But the truth is, as Amy Vero (Mamamia’s favourite Accredited Practicing Dietitian) once told me, our body already has its own natural detox system in place. “Our lungs, kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract and immune system remove and neutralise toxic substances within hours after we ingest them and there is no scientific evidence that special herbs, juices, or diets help enhance this process,” she added.

“Even healthy ice cream can be ridiculously high in saturated fat and sugar.”

Clever bodies. I really underestimate them sometimes.

So while I won’t be personally trying the ice cream cleanse anytime soon, choosing to stick to my diet of fresh, healthy, regular food… I won’t quite stop hoping for another epic cleanse that to come along. One that would actually be of some benefit to the body.

I’m especially hoping for the Spinach and Cheese Triangles Master Cleanse, or the Mojitos and Margaritas Cleanse, or even the Wine and Cheese Cleanse That Involves Nothing But Delicious Delicious Brie for days. Sign me up for THAT one.

What do you think of the ice cream cleanse?