If you’re vegan and reluctant for health reasons about eating chocolate, you shouldn’t be! Cocoa beans are nutritious, and many vegan chocolate companies like mine are all about preserving these health benefits.
Freshly harvested cocoa beans are full of healthy compounds that include polyphenols, theobromine, phenylethylamine, and flavonoids. Cocoa beans also contain potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, and calcium, and more than 620 antioxidants.
But how do you know which chocolate is vegan and which isn’t? Read on to find out.
Most chocolate isn’t vegan.
Most of the bars you’ll find in your supermarket aren’t vegan – you’ll have to go online to find the good stuff.
Chocolate, both regular and dark, is typically associated with dairy. This isn’t shocking given the name and taste. Milk chocolate has the term milk in it; white chocolate is also a dairy product.
However, chocolate can be free from any animal products.
The difference between Vegan and Regular chocolate
Anything that is called “milk chocolate” typically contains milk and is therefore not vegan. However, many chocolates—especially the inferior quality and cheaper brands — labelled “dark chocolate” also have milk. So it’s essential to read the list of ingredients of any chocolate before you buy it online or in person.
If you are looking for vegan chocolate (without necessarily searching for “vegan” on the label), you may get better luck with high-quality chocolates. Good quality chocolate has a higher proportion of cocoa, pure ingredients, and no additives. The ingredients will be simple: cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar, and occasionally soy lecithin and vanilla.
On the other hand, milk chocolate tends to have a long list of ingredients and would often include milk, milk solids, or milk fat along with cheap fillers such as food starch and artificial flavourings.
Which one is better?
It’s pretty obvious that we here at Organergy much prefer vegan chocolate. But we aren’t alone – most connoisseurs of chocolate consider milk chocolate an abomination. The real stuff here is dark chocolate, and that’s what all vegan chocolate is.
It is healthier too. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, dark chocolate contains flavanols, a naturally occurring compound that may help protect against heart disease. It’s also understood that flavanols minimize blood pressure. Short-term studies have shown that chocolate flavanols reduce the long-term risk of diabetes.
How can I find good vegan chocolate?
To remain on the “good side” of chocolate, always aim for a high percentage of cacao, between 55 and 85 per cent – the higher the amount, the purer the product.
Also, check the ingredients because the dark-chocolate bars of certain brands often contain dairy products. Avoid milk-derived ingredients like whey, casein, butter, butter fat, and milk solids.
Stay away from chocolate with a long list of ingredients, as some might be fillers. Instead, Look for chocolates with a short list of ingredients; this means a safer product and better quality. Some chocolate companies make their vegan offerings easy to find by including the ‘Certified Vegan’ logo on their packaging.
A more significant proportion of cacao suggests a higher quality of chocolate. Not a big dark chocolate fan? Vegans can enjoy chocolate with a whole host of other delicious additions, including vanilla, orange, or even sauerkraut!
With a plant-based diet, there’s, without doubt, a space for chocolate. With so many delicious dairy-free choices available in almost every chocolate aisle, going Vegan doesn’t mean losing the pleasure of indulging in the simple pleasure of a chocolate bar.
If you’re looking for something nutritious and delicious to snack on, why not try one of our vegan chocolate bars today?