For several decades now as a society, we have become hooked on a few indulgent foods that we call treats and ice cream is definitely at the top of that list. For many people ice cream is a snack that is counted upon in good times and bad. It serves as a comfort food, it serves as a celebration food, and it serves as a seasonal food with many addicted to its cold, creamy, sweet and abundantly rich flavors. However, as many of us continue to awaken to optimal health and become health conscious, we know that conventional ice cream is in no way any kind of treat for our body, and moderation does not excuse its poor health characteristics. From modified milk ingredients and the general problems of modern dairy, to loads of sugar, salt and additives, it has more and more of us saying “no thank you”, when it comes to this food choice.
The good news is that while many have resorted to easily making their own whole food, all natural and even dairy-free frozen desserts at home, there are today convenient options on the market for those of us who are still interested in that quick, convenient and very tasty “ice cream like” fix. Today anyone who wishes to avoid dairy, whether for health or ethical reasons has a good selection of non-dairy “ice cream like” frozen desserts. We now have available to us a good selection of soy, almond, rice and coconut based options. However as with all things, not all are created equal. One of the best options I have found, which I will share about with you in this review is Luna & Larry’s Organic Coconut Bliss.
Bliss Unlimited, LLC, is the company responsible for Luna & Larry’s Organic Coconut Bliss and was started by, you guessed it, Luna and Larry. Their motivation was to have “a tasty frozen dessert that we could enjoy eating without feeling bad afterwards.” Bliss Unlimited is a company that is “dedicated to creating unique and exquisitely delicious desserts, consciously prepared from the most nutritious and wholesome organic ingredients available, and brought to market in ways that express our reverence for both people and the planet.” Coconut Bliss comes in 16 flavors, most of which are available in both the US and Canada, and 2 of which are in stick, rather than scoop form. The flavor I had a chance to try was the Pineapple Coconut, and on which this review is based.
When this product first caught my attention, actually as a recommendation from someone who was in love with it, I was quite impressed by the list of ingredients. And as I learned about the company, and the people behind it, their overall life vision and company mission, the positive impression only grew by leaps and bounds. It is one thing to find a processed food product that can come close to being considered healthy, and yet a whole other when the company behind it is based on ethics for self, others, animals and the planet. Coconut Bliss is a vegan product and thus dairy free. It is also GMO free, soy free, gluten free, low-glycemic and made from organic ingredients as the name implies, as well as some fair trade ingredients. The only downside for those who follow a raw food diet, is that it is not a raw food product.
Along my health journey, letting go of ice cream was a pretty easy task once I learned properly about dairy, sugar, and the overall effects of this food on my body. If I am going to call something a treat, then I have to feel good about eating it, in that it actually IS a treat for my BODY. As I teach people, it is counterintuitive to call something that hurts us a treat. Therefore I was never eagerly looking for a replacement when I removed dairy ice cream from my diet. Over the past few years the soy, almond and rice alternatives caught my eye and I familiarized myself with their ingredients for research purposes, but never was drawn to actually eating them. Too many of the ingredients were as processed food goes, processed. However, as the products continued to get better, I did sample an almond and soy variety during the summer of 2012. They each had pros and cons that I may cover in another review. What made the Organic Coconut Bliss stand out as the best option, were several characteristics as I will explain below.
In terms of ingredients and nutritional value, coconut is an outstanding superfood. Out of all the non-dairy ice cream like desserts, coconut based ones would be the best, next to almond ones. Coconut is naturally high in healthy fats, specifically saturated fats, and thus calories, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. We have to remember today that calories are not all equivalent and their source is what makes it or breaks it, for the most part. Naturally if weight is an issue, you do not want to overeat, or indulge in too many calories, almost regardless where they come from. Unlike conventional ice cream the sodium on this product is ultra low, coming in at only 10mg. This is excellent for a processed food product. Being a 100% plant product, there is also no cholesterol to worry about, unlike with dairy ice cream. Finally, when it comes to sugars, there are no refined sugars involved. It only uses organic agave as the main sweetener, along with real fruit and/or fruit juice in the fruit flavored varieties. While this may still not be ideal for everyone, it is by far one of the best, most natural and wholesome ways to go in such a product. In general, the ingredients are simple, short and oh so natural. The only additive that I have noticed being used in the products is guar gum, which comes from guar beans, and as long as it is not contaminated, it is a natural and even considered healthful ingredient. There are NO colors, flavors, or preservatives of any kind used.
(Pineapple Coconut variety)
- Organic Coconut Milk (Organic Coconut, Water, Guar Gum)
- Organic Agave Syrup
- Organic Coconut Extract
- Organic Pineapple
- Organic Pineapple Juice Concentrate
- Organic Rum Extract
For other flavor ingredients, see the product listing page.
In terms of texture and usability, it looks and feels just like conventional dairy ice cream if that is even an important trait to one. If given to someone who was not told it was non-dairy, I have no doubt that it would be easily mistaken for regular, dairy ice cream.
In terms of taste and flavor, the Pineapple Coconut variety I tried was delicious and looking at the list of the other 15 flavors, I have no doubt they are equally so. One simply needs to make their pick as to what would suit their taste buds the most and know that they can enjoy a real treat, based on natural, nutritious and wholesome ingredients.
In terms of price, a 473ml or 1 pint package is around $5-$7. Naturally that is more costly than typical dairy ice cream, and even many of the other non-dairy options. However, one must consider two things if interested in this product. First, the quality of ingredients is unbeatable and generally speaking we get what we pay for. Secondly, when it comes to foods like these, we cannot forget that these should be “occasional treats” (if that), and therefore quality should always be our top consideration not quantitiy. Eat it once every few weeks as opposed to each week per se, but when you do, you know that you are eating the best of such foods for your body, not compromising your health for price. If anything, it will make you eat such desserts less, and appreciate them and your health more when you do.
In the end we have to remember that no processed packaged food product may ever be perfect or can compare to fresh, whole and natural homemade food. So while I am very impressed with this product and am happy to recommend it to others, we should not be relying on it as any regular part of our diets. I may personally enjoy it only once or twice in a summer season, but it is nice to know that options like this exist and can meet nearly everyone’s needs today when it comes to being health and environmentally conscious.
The frozen snack comes in 473ml or 1 pint sizes, and is packaged in cylinder-like carton tubs, which are recyclable when product is finished.
Price (as of this posting)
- Around $5 – $6 per tub (473ml/1pint) at local health food and some grocery stores
- Available at health food and some grocery stores across US and Canada
- To find a store near you, check the store locator
- Excellent ingredients
- Organic ingredients
- Refined sugar-free
- No added colors or flavors
- Low glycemic
- Low sodium
- Great nutritional benefits
- Great taste
- Great texture
- Vegan and vegetarian friendly
- Fair price
- Not suitable for raw foodists (heat processed)