Is there vegan chocolate?
Many people who are new to veganism fear that they will have to give up chocolate. That's not so! They will giving up milk chocolate, but will be transitioning to a higher quality, better tasting, and healthier option. Milk chocolate contains, well, a lot of milk and other unnecessary ingredients that render the product unhealthy. When you stick with eating vegan chocolate you will find that even eating one small piece is all you need, and you feel satisfied.
Vegan chocolate doesn't contain any dairy milk (as well as any other non-vegan ingredients). It's typically the dark chocolate options you will find the store and online, although some of those may have some ingredients that render them non-vegan as well. But have no fear... there are plenty of awesome vegan chocolate options to choose from!
Some of the best vegan chocolate options that I have found include:
- Enjoy Life. They make vegan chocolate chips, which are great for baking, making your own trail mix, dessert toppings, etc. They also make a variety of vegan chocolate bars that are great.
- Endangered Species Chocolate. You will find some great tasting vegan chocolate bar options from Endangered Species, including those flavored with fruit (such as my favorite, cranberry).
- Theo Chocolate. They offer a variety of great vegan chocolate options.
- Green & Black's. They have a variety of vegan options, including a delicious mint infused one.
- Justin's. They make several vegan chocolate products, including vegan peanut butter cups that are ridiculously good.
These companies do also offer non-vegan chocolate options, so be sure to filter the results to show their vegan options. You can order these vegan chocolates online, as well a find them in numerous stores. Whole Foods Market usually carries some, as do smaller health food stores, and you can sometimes find vegan chocolates at your mainstream grocery store. They may be produced in a factory that uses shared equipment, but that's something they are disclosing for those who have allergies. These are just some of my favorite vegan chocolate options. Today, there are plenty of other vegan chocolate varieties that are being offered online and in stores. You can even order fine vegan chocolate gifts.
Health Benefits of Chocolate
There are some health benefits of eating chocolate. This may come as a surprise, but it's true. However, it is dark chocolate, which happens to be the kind I've always loved and preferred. Dark chocolate offers such health benefits as heart protection, reduces inflammation, and lowers blood pressure, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. The American Heart Association confirms that the flavonoids in dark chocolate help lower risks of heart disease.
Chocolate Slave Trade
Not only are you getting healthier chocolate when you opt for the vegan dark chocolate varieties, but you are usually not supporting the slave trade of the Ivory Coast. Many people are not aware of the fact that there are people who work in the chocolate slave trade and many mainstream popular chocolate companies use cocoa sourced from those people. The companies listed above tend to use ethically sourced and fair traded chocolate, so it's not supporting the slave trade.
I tend to think that there are people who love dairy milk (they eat milk chocolate) and there are chocolate lovers (they eat dark chocolate). Vegan and dark chocolate is closer to the source, having a higher content of cocoa, and is a product for those who truly love chocolate! Dark chocolate is bitter, which some people don't care for. But it's that bitterness that makes the chocolate healthier. I usually keep some vegan dark chocolate in the house and try to eat a small square each day. Yum!