Kiwi and Honeydew Sorbet with Cashew Milk. Photography: Luke Albert

Overdone the ice cream? Try these sweet scoops of Wellness

In his new book, The Wellness Principles, Dr Gary Deng explains how we can all accommodate something cool and satsifying into a healthy life

Dr Gary Deng is not the kind of doctor who’ll happily allow his patients to eat a tub of ice cream in front of the TV every night. Dr Deng is the Medical Director of Integrative Medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Clinical Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, and he's also a very keen cook.

He knows that a good, healthy life doesn’t begin and end in the hospital ward or the consulting room; instead, what goes on in the kitchen and in the dining room counts. In his debut cookbook, The Wellness Principles, he works high-level medical advice into a series of delicious, easy-to-follow dishes. Which brings us back to ice cream: Deng is not a fan, though not for the reasons you might assume.

“I typically look for dessert options other than ice cream, because of its cold temperature,” he explains. “Cold desserts chill the stomach, impeding digestive functions when you need them the most, after a meal.”

But while he is also obviously no fan of the sugar content of ice cream, Deng understands that we’re all fallible, and that trying to stick to an unrealistic diet is no real help at all. “Cutting out red meat or sugar completely can be nearly impossible for some people,” the doctor acknowledges, “and they give up or feel guilty every time they eat a steak or ice cream.

However, occasional splurges are fine because the effect of diet on the body is long term and cumulative, based on average exposure to the foods over years, if not decades. Biological effects are dose-dependent; it is what you eat regularly that matters. We want to enjoy our food, as well as eat healthy.”

Ice cream and wellness

Gary Deng, MD, PhD

So if you feel you’ve perhaps got into the summer sweet treats a little earlier than usual this year, but still like to round off a meal with a couple of sweet, cool scoops, why not try Dr Deng’s recipe for kiwi and honeydew sorbet with cashew milk? It’s low sugar, dairy free, and pretty adaptable too. “You can replace the kiwi and melon with almost any other fruits, such as mangoes, raspberries, or peaches,” the author writes. “You can also use frozen fruits.”

To make four servings you’ll need four kiwifruits, peeled and cut in half; a pound 1 (450 g) of honeydew melon, peeled and cut into ½-inch (1.25 cm) pieces; a tablespoon of honey; four tablespoons unsweetened cashew milk; and maybe four dashes of triple sec liqueur, if you like the taste.

Arrange the fruit chunks on a baking sheet and freeze until solid – at least an hour. Chill a blender jar or the bowl of a food processor. Put the frozen fruits and honey in the chilled blender or food processor. Pulse until the fruit is in tiny crystals and is light and fluffy. Divide among four glasses. Drizzle a tablespoon of cashew milk and a dash of triple sec (optional) over each serving.

The Wellness Principles

For a more detailed version of this recipe as well as much more besides, order a copy of The Wellness Principles here.