There are adults who still love ice cream as much as they did when they tasted it for the first time as a child. I confess, I’m one of them.
I celebrate good times with it and turn to it for comfort when I’m sad. Unfortunately, eating this cold, creamy dessert can be followed by guilt. Not only is it too high in sugar and calories to benefit my health, sugar is a problem for my diabetic husband, Jim.
So, when my editor asked if I wanted to check out a new low-sugar, low-calorie ice cream, I jumped at the chance and brought my husband along. As a diabetic, Jim must carefully monitor his blood sugar, which usually means missing out on sweets.
“Why don’t we taste the ice cream before questions,” suggested George Haymaker 111, founder of Re:THINK Ice Cream, a Napa Valley product that arrived on grocery store shelves three weeks ago.
He and his wife, Kim Haymaker, then brought out eight pints of ice cream to sample: Almond Asteroid, Cardamom Pistachio, Chocolate Majesty, Coconut Matcha, Coffee Hazelnut, Meyer Lemon Poppyseed, Mint with Chocolate Flakes and Turmeric Ginger.
None of the low-sugar ice creams we’ve tried in the past prepared us for what we were about to taste. The Haymakers served us the most delicious ice cream we’ve ever tasted.
Checking his blood sugar reading afterward, Jim was delighted to discover that Re:THINK Ice Cream, certified as low glycemic, did not raise his blood sugar, so it is safe for him to eat.
His favorites were Almond Asteroid, Cardamom Pistachio and Coffee Hazelnut. My favorites were Coconut Matcha, Mint with Chocolate Flakes and Meyer Lemon Poppyseed.
At 140 calories a half cup, how could this be so creamy?
“I would tell you, but then I’d have to kill you,” Haymaker responded with mock seriousness.
Laughing, we continued the ecstasy of sampling.
Making an ice cream that fits into a healthful lifestyle without using lots of sugar and calories was a challenge, Haymaker admitted.
“Sugar is the enemy,” Haymaker said. “We use a natural, organic agave sweetener. You’d have to use a lot of sugar to equal agave’s sweetness. Stevia, an alternative to sugar, can leave an aftertaste, so we didn’t use it.”
There are no artificial sugars and no sugar alcohols in this ice cream. Green tea extract and whey protein have been added. Also, it is non-GMO.
Re:THINK Ice Cream encourages you to re-think ice cream because it can be a part of your healthy lifestyle, he said.
“Kim tastes and critiques everything,” Haymaker said. “She’s finicky and that’s just what I need. Everything must meet her gold standard.”
“My gold standard is Haagen-Dazs,” Kim Haymaker said. “Each flavor has to taste as good or it doesn’t make it. If you are a Haagen-Dazs eater, you don’t give up anything in flavor or texture with this ice cream.”
Per half cup serving, each flavor has eight grams of protein. Grams of sugar vary according to flavor from 7-9 grams and calories range from 140-170.
On each pint carton, next to the nutrition facts, Haymaker has bravely shared his own story of addiction and recovery. It reads as follows:
“The story of this ice cream begins with my personal journey through addiction and into recovery. In recovery I’ve had to rethink my life and everything I consume. I’ve always loved ‘real’ ice cream but did not like the effect it had on my body. That’s why we developed a health conscious, lifestyle ice cream that is low in sugar, low glycemic, high in protein and packed with anti-inflammatory goodness. This is real ice cream that tastes delicious, rich and creamy, yet it is responsible to your wellbeing.”
He signs it: “Let it soften before you scoop it and enjoy the benefits! George Haymaker 111.”
In recovery, Haymaker said he had been eating “healthy” during the day and at dinnertime, but at night his cravings would kick in with a vengeance.
“I knew I had to figure out what to do about the night cravings,” he said. “When you are just starting to recover, your body craves sweets.”
“Ice cream was your comfort, it was your pleasure,” his wife added.
As a child, Haymaker had moved frequently. A “big bowl” of vanilla ice cream, topped with fudge, always seemed to calm the anxiety he felt about new environments and making new friends.
Last fall, the couple started out with a “crude” recipe for ice cream. They consulted with groups of people of all ages to find out what people were looking for in a healthier ice cream. Realizing they needed to know more, they hired a food scientist who worked with them.
When Haymaker’s father passed away recently, he left them the money they have used to fund the research and development of their ice cream.
“It is important for me to give back,” Haymaker said. “It is not about drinking anymore, it is about serenity and giving to others. I feel this is furthering my father’s legacy.”
With the proceeds that come from sales of their ice cream, the couple intend to donate generously charities such as Rebuild Wine Country, which is working to raise $5 million to rebuild owned and rented homes lost in the October fires.
Demonstrations of their ice cream have taken place at some community events and Farmers Markets, and lots of demonstrations will soon be going into grocery stores.
In the works are additional flavors including vanilla, strawberry, blueberry with acai and more.
Eventually, they would like to start a line of vegan ice cream as well as develop a recipe for puppy ice cream.
“We want ‘man’s best friend’ to enjoy eating a health promoting ice cream too,” Kim Haymaker said.
In Napa, Re:THINK Ice Cream is available at Browns Valley Market, Carneros Resort & Spa and Ranch Market. Elsewhere in the county, it can be found at Cal Mart in Calistoga, Sunshine Foods in St. Helena and Ranch Market Too in Yountville.
Elsewhere in the Bay Area, it is available at Andy’s Local Market and Marinwood Market in San Rafael, Gene’s Fine Foods in Pleasanton, Harvest Market in Novato and Petaluma Market.
It will soon be in all Bay Area locations of Nugget Markets and some stores in Berkeley.
To find out more go to rethinkicecream.us.