by Bridget O’Donnell

Cool fact, according to the Mayo Clinic on Osteoporosis, throughout your lifetime the bone in your skeleton is continuously removed and replaced by new bone in a process called bone remodeling. Bone remodeling repairs damage caused by wear and tear and, ensures that enough calcium and other minerals circulate in the bloodstream to carry out many bodily functions. Remodeling also occurs in response to physical activity. In other words, your skeleton adapts to carrying heavier loads and absorbs greater amounts of stress by forming new, stronger bone. (Did anyone else just think of Wolverine from Marvel Comic’s X-Men?) Inevitably, however, a person’s bone density will slowly decline with age. If you live a more sedentary lifestyle your bones may weaken and atrophy earlier and, in some cases, result in bone disease like Osteoporosis and/or osteoarthritis. Although bone disease is more common in women, it can and does affect men too, though often at a later age. Factors that can influence a person’s bone density include: heredity, sex, race and ethnicity, diet, physical activity, hormone production, medical conditions and lifestyle. To help offset some of those factors, it’s important to try to build strong bone density during childhood. Fortunately, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that studies show it’s never too late to begin making bone-saving lifestyle changes. Eating a balanced, nutrient-rich diet and getting regular weight-bearing exercise can help influence the bone cycle and may prevent or reverse the loss of excess bone density.

In preparation for the summer heat, we’re multitasking with this post by highlighting cool treats that can have a very real health benefit. It’s unclear who invented ice cream. Gelato, which translates to ice cream, may be renowned in Italy but Chinese, Arabic, French, English, Turkish and Mexican cultures have their own culinary variations. Regardless of its first appearance in history, it’s arguable that when ice cream and its many adaptations are prepared with properly sourced ingredients it should supply some of the nutrients required for bone health, including calcium and vitamin D.  If you think that’s a stretch or are in the habit of avoiding dairy products, calcium can also be procured from fortified non-dairy milks as well as fish, fruits and vegetables (refer to list in Mayo Clinic on Osteoporosis, pgs. 112-114). FYI: frozen desserts can be made with vegetables, too!!

* Note: My next statement does not speak on behalf of the medical profession. In addition to practicing moderation, diabetics should consider recipes made with less sugar and ingredients known as low-glycemic foods. Low GI foods have less effect on blood sugar levels. If you have questions about dietary restrictions please contact your medical professional.

Title of Cookbook:  Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream Book.

Author of Cookbook: Laura O’Neill, Ben Van Leeuwen, and Pete Van Leeuwen.

What prompted you to check out this cookbook? The first week of June felt like summer, at least for a few days. During that time I worked through books about Osteoporosis that stressed the importance of calcium for skeletal reformation. Logically, I thought of ice cream. (You too, right?!)

What did you like about this cookbook? Van Leeuwen makes “simple, delicious ice cream, with no shortcuts or odd-sounding ingredients.” Historically, the aforementioned were engineered with the [good] intention[s] of making a dessert that had only been available to the upper class, affordable for the general public. Once the modern freezer was invented, science helped advance the production line. Odd-sounding ingredients enhanced the taste and color of ice cream while also producing larger quantities with a longer shelf life. The premise of Van Leeuwen’s recipes: use real and very accessible ingredients, less sugar and, omit any additives, stabilizers (to manage the behavior of water) and emulsifiers (to manage the functionality of fats, texture and resistance to heat shock. In some cases emulsifiers manage the behavior of air, too). Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream also sources ingredients from the Hudson Valley. (Woot!)

What didn’t you like about this cookbook? Making ice cream is both a simple and an intimidating/complicated process. Purchasing one of three types of ice cream makers or an attachment for a stand mixer seems to be as much of a requirement as making room in the freezer. Of course, instead of preparing a batch in 40 minutes using the suggested kitchen tools/equipment, you could spend four or more very attentive hours mixing a small batch by hand. (Reminds me of the first time I made whip cream with a hand-held mixer…)

Favorite recipes (that you tried from the cookbook/website): Almost everything vanilla, especially soft serve and egg-less gelato.

Did you alter the recipe or make any substitutions?  Not until I get around to purchasing another appliance that we don’t really have room for. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy an occasional artisan dessert from an establishment that makes homemade ice cream like Zoe’s Ice Cream Barn in LaGrangeville, NY and Nancy’s Artisanal Creamery of Woodstock, NY with a new appreciation for their craft.

By mixing an assortment of products into the mold ice pops may be another accessible way to add calcium and vitamin D to our diet. Ice Pops!: 50 Delicious, Fresh and Fabulous Icy Treats and 200 Best Ice Pop Recipes both contain a number of recipes that call for: nut milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk, soy milk, whole milk, buttermilk, table or light cream (18%), heavy or whipping cream, cream cheese, Greek and whole yogurt, to list a few.

Would you recommend this cookbook/recipe? Yes. Even if you decide that you’re not quite ready to make ice cream at home. The story, introduction and narrative throughout the cookbook are informative and well-written.


Books –

Mayo Clinic on Osteoporosis: Keep Your Bones Strong and Reduce Your Risk of Fractures / Ann E. Kearns, M.D., Ph.D.

Yoga Bones: A Comprehensive Guide to Managing Pain and Orthopedic Injuries Through Yoga / Laura Staton.

Coolhaus Ice Cream Book: Custom-Built Sandwiches with Crazy-Good Combos of Cookies, Ice Creams, Gelatos & Sorbets / Natasha Case & Freya Estreller. – Includes brief historical and bibliographic information about architects and architecture.

How to Make Frozen Yogurt: 56 Delicious Flavors You Can Make at Home / Nicole Weston.

Ice Pops!: 50 Delicious, Fresh and Fabulous Icy Treats / Cesar and Nadia Roden.

Mexican Ice Cream: Beloved Recipes and Stories / Fany Gerson.

Salt & Straw Ice Cream Cookbook / Tyler Malek and JJ Goode. – Digestibly explains the science behind making ice cream. Some of the flavors were a little too experimental for me to start with.

200 Best Ice Pop Recipes / Andrew Chase.

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream Book / Laura O’Neill, Ben Van Leeuwen, and Pete Van Leeuwen with Olga Massov.

Websites –

”Healthy Lifestyle Nutrition and Healthy Eating: Low-Glycemic Index Diet: What’s Behind the Claims?” / by Mayo Clinic Staff.

“The Evolution of Ice Cream” / International Dairy foods Association (

“How to Make Authentic Italian Gelato at Home” / Recipes from

The Ice Cream Alliance (ICA) / UK Trade Association

Nancy’s Artisanal Creamery of Woodstock, NY – Watch the Instagram video of Nancy’s team making their famous homemade pumpkin ice cream.

“Using Stabilizers and Emulsifiers in Ice Cream” / article by Steve Young and Bill Sipple (

Zoe’s Ice Cream Barn, LaGrangeville, NY

Quick Subject links to the Library catalog:

Osteoporosis — Prevention. (Results are organized by Date)

Ice cream, ices, etc.

Ice pops.

Search the keywords — Exercise therapy.

— Exercise therapy. (Vega. New Catalog)

Frozen desserts. (Vega, New Catalog)