Non-Dairy Ice Cream: Is It Better For You?

“I scream, you scream…” — you know how it goes. Ice cream is one of the most beloved foods in the world. The average American consumes more than 23 pounds of ice cream per year. And with the plant-based movement in full swing, more and more consumers are opting for non-dairy ice creams.

You may know that my family is intimately familiar with ice cream. My grandfather, Irv Robbins, co-founded Baskin-Robbins. At the time, most folks seemed content with vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry — the classics. But he thought there should be more flavors — 31, in fact! And he brought smiles to a lot of faces.

Unfortunately, in case anyone on the planet missed the memo, ice cream is not a health food. It turns out that despite its delicious flavor, eating a lot of ice cream doesn’t do any favors for your long-term health.

Why Ice Cream Isn’t Healthy

A young woman holds an ice cream cone on a yellow background
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Before your very eyes

Have you ever experienced that rare moment when you’ve been around long enough to see signs of system-wide transformation occur before your very eyes? Dear reader, such has been the case with the role of food and medicine in the span of my professional career, during which I’ve devoted myself and my talents towards this very end—bringing science to the table, and food to the treatment plan. 

The moment that filled my heart!

My foundation, Healing Kitchens, works with different hospitals and cancer centers to provide culinary content for their patients. We recently accepted an invitation to pay a call at Stanford Health Care. We’ve done some interesting work at Stanford in the past, including online, live and printed material for neuroendocrine cancer patients and for their survivorship program and website. We had modified my Cancer-Fighting Kitchen approach with specific protocols for neuroendocrine and carcinoid syndrome—two very specialized forms of cancer—and word got out. A colorectal surgeon at Stanford putting together a trial for pre-op prep for her patients suggested we meet and talk about the role food can play in patient preparedness and recovery. 

The surgeon and her team were curious: what would happen if we have people shift their eating to an immune-boosting diet full of anti-inflammatory foods and also include exercise? Would it help people recover faster and with less chance of complications? 

This was MUSIC to my ears! The notion of helping patients BEFORE they go into surgery with food!!!! We introduced her to my famous healing, nourishing Magic Mineral Broth. Oh my gosh, she said, is this a clear broth? I can give this to all my patients!!!  Long story short, we’re working on a package to go into this critical trial.

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The utterly simple elegance of Japanese cuisine

I’m fresh off the plane from Japan, where in addition to sampling the cuisine (see my field report below) we followed the peak of cherry blossom blooms from place to place by train. Peak bloom is only one week, and which week is not entirely predictable. We hit it!  And we were utterly and delightfully besotted. :)

Cherry blossom blooms

Spring Vegetable and Quinoa Pot Pie

Spring has been super rainy for us (it’s been raining for almost a full week now!), with only a sprinkling of a few nice days, so cozy food cravings are still in full swing around here. I seriously can’t wait until freezing cold smoothies, raw salads, and huge watermelon mono-meals regain their appeal, but I definitely don’t mind living on this pot pie til then :) It’s got almost all the comforting features of a traditional pot pie, but is made with bright spring produce and a blanket of thinly sliced vegetables instead of the more traditional pastry-based crust.


Leeks, asparagus, peas, and spinach all made it into this pot pie in celebration of spring. There’s also quinoa for more substance and a stew-like texture, as well as carrots and zucchini. The crust is made up of thinly sliced potatoes (use new potatoes for the ultimate seasonal points) and zucchini. You could totally sub in your favorite pot pie pastry crust here if you’re looking for something even more substantial, store-bought biscuits would work too.
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