Lately, ABC’s Shark Tank is the show to watch if you love plant-based business stories. A recent convert to the vegetarian diet, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been investing in a slew of vegan startups from mushroom jerky to vegan deli meat to his most recent and biggest vegan investment: $2 million in DIY oat milk machines. But he’s not the only shark with a soft spot for vegan companies. It turns out Kevin O’Leary, aka Mr. Wonderful, is all about vegan food, too, especially dairy-free ice cream.

In a recent US Weekly article, O’Leary opened up about his hobbies, habits, and food favorites. First up on his list? “I try to keep it healthy when I can [by eating a lot of] nuts and raw vegetables,” he said. And to keep that trim shark-like physique, the 66-year-old says he doesn’t eat carbs in the evening.

Kevin O'Leary's Low-Carb Approach

There may be some benefit to his nighttime philosophy, especially if you’re trying to keep your weight down. The theory is that because carbs are energy, if you carb-load too late in the evening, you won’t have enough time to burn the calories off with exercise. (Although, the type of late-night exercise that goes on in your bedroom is none of our business.) While the diet may work for O’Leary, you may not need to be so strict about your carb intake.

First of all, there are lots of different types of carbs. An apple has more carbs than a chocolate-covered donut, but if you’re going to have a late-night snack, the apple is the way to go (hello, fiber!). It’s true your body stores excess carbs as fat. But it does that whether you eat them morning or night. And if your day was low in carbs to begin with, you’re not likely to overdo it with some at night. It’s all about finding the balance.

But, eating too late at night, especially sugary foods, can disrupt your sleep. And that can cause health problems, according to Harvard.

“For example, eating a large meal, especially a high-carbohydrate meal, could trigger night sweats because the body generates heat as it metabolizes the food,” according to William Kormos, M.D.Editor in Chief, Harvard Men's Health Watch. “Also, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), caused by lying down with a full stomach, may trigger symptoms that wake you up.”

For O’Leary, a solid night’s rest is critical to optimize his shark-feasting by day, which could be why he keeps his carb intake low. One thing the shark also appears to avoid: Dairy. At least when it comes to his ice cream (which, we can assume he eats only before the sun goes down). “My favorite ice cream is Perfectly Chocolate vegan ice cream from Craig’s in Los Angeles,” he says.

The West Hollywood ice cream shop is known for its creamy cashew-based ice cream flavors. The iconic shop says it never set out to become such a token brand for LA’s “wellness” crowd. But, the company says on its website, “We just set out to make rich, creamy, decadent desserts that just happen to be vegan and that just happens to be good for you. In fact, nothing makes us happier than when our non-vegan friends fall head over spoon for our tubs.”

It’s no surprise they’ve earned a fan in O’Leary. He lives for the finer things — watches, wine, and, like he tells US Weekly, his “healthy” family.

Like Craig’s, a number of ice cream companies are earning cult-like flexitarian followings for their dairy-free options. From the decadent Ben & Jerry’s core vegan flavors (there are now nearly 20!) to Halo Top’s low-calorie non-dairy pints, consumers are diversifying their dairy options like Sharks diversify their investment portfolios. Whether that’s oat milk in coffee, cashew-based ice cream, or coconut milk yogurt, there are more options than ever. And consumers are drawn to these dairy-free milk for a number of reasons. From their health to the environmental impacts, to the animals. But what keeps them coming back, though is taste.

“You’ll never believe it’s vegan once you taste it,” O’Leary says. Perhaps Mr. Wonderful should consider making an investment in his favorite frozen dessert, too.

The Ultimate Vegan and Dairy-Free Ice Cream Taste Test


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