What's So Healthy About Vegan Chocolate? When and Why Did We Start Adding Milk to Chocolate?

Did you know, that when the beautiful human race first started consuming chocolate it had no sugar, no added milk, nothing? It was purely crushed cocoa beans. Yum... The delightful human race decided to modernise chocolate by making it more palatable. More pleasing to the mouth, more delicious and sensual.

By adding so much sugar, additives, and chemicals to create a 'chocolate' that simply is not recognisable anymore. We'll deep dive here into the how good quality chocolate, prepared correctly, does not need all the additives to make a seriously enjoyable vegan chocolate.

Where Did Chocolate Originate From?

True chocolate, the rich, luxurious, epicurean delight that’s so often lost in today’s confectionary market, first originated as a drink in Mesoamerica (as Central Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and northern Costa Rica was then known), thanks to the region’s native cocoa tree. Believed to date back to at least 1900 BC, we’ve been savouring the decadent taste of cocoa beans for centuries.

How Did Milk Chocolate Become Popular?

As chocolate was brought to Europe and delighted a whole new continent, it wasn’t unusual for people to add natural ingredients to chocolate to sweeten the taste. Even when chocolate was still only available as an exquisite drink, aristocrats sometimes added sugar or honey to the blend to make the naturally bitter flavour more palatable.

In fact, this mouth-watering combination became so popular that we’ve stayed true to chocolate’s dairy-free roots and incorporated it into our Eat It Like Greek Gods bar!

However, it wasn’t until the late 19th century that milk chocolate became de rigueur when chocolatier Daniel Peter was inspired by his neighbour Henri Nestlé, to add powdered and condensed milk to his creations.

While it’s easy to assume that milk chocolate has been around forever, it’s actually a relatively new phenomenon that only came to prominence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Until then, chocolate was predominantly revered for its natural properties and flavour and there are certainly good reasons why this trend should continue to this day.

What Is Vegan Chocolate?

As you might expect, vegan varieties of dairy free chocolate are free from animal products or derivatives, which means they typically offer a more natural tasting experience. When you enjoy artisan vegan chocolate UK, for example, you might opt for a bar of vegan dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids for a rich and luxurious flavour.

Alternatively, you may prefer vegan chocolate buttons or a bar of dairy free dark chocolate that has been enhanced with natural ingredients, such as coffee or mushrooms.

As the vegan lifestyle has become more popular in today’s society, plant-based products are now widely available, and you’ll find that they are sometimes incorporated into vegan chocolate too. Oat milk chocolate uses plant-based milk instead of cow’s milk to maintain a creamy, dairy-free taste, for example.

Vegan Chocolate: Benefits

If you want to know what’s so great about vegan chocolate, we can tell you everything you need to know. While the presence of milk, sweeteners, and additives in regular milk chocolate generally overwhelms the natural flavour of the cocoa beans, vegan chocolate pays homage to the humble but mighty cocoa bean and allows its true nature to shine through. The result? A spectacular taste sensation that both satisfies and excites.

But that isn’t the only benefit. Although milk chocolate was once associated with some health benefits, now we generally associated milk chocolate with harmful ingredients and negative health impacts. When you try vegan chocolate sweets, however, you can enjoy the health benefits that are associated with vegan chocolate, such as:

Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants help to protect your body’s cells from ‘free radicals’ that are associated with harmful conditions, including cancer and heart disease. A diet rich in antioxidants can, therefore, have notable health benefits and you’ll find that vegan dark chocolate contains an impressive number of these powerful natural chemicals.

Packed Full of Nutrients

When you treat yourself to a bite (or two…) of delectable dairy free dark chocolate, you’ll be rewarded your body with some of the many nutrients it needs to thrive. Vegan chocolate contains important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, copper, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron, and bars that are made using unroasted cocoa beans contain even higher levels. So, if you’re worried you’re not getting enough nutrients in your diet, you know how to up your intake!

Improved Heart Health

You might reach for a square of artisan vegan chocolate UK because you love the taste, flavour, and sensation, but did you know you could be doing your heart a favour too? The antioxidants and flavonoids present in dairy free chocolate can lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and have a positive impact on blood circulation, which can reduce the risk of blood pressure issues and helps to keep your heart healthy.

Avoid Sugar Spikes

If you’re sensitive to sugar or trying to avoid consuming too much, vegan chocolate could be just what you’re looking for. Choose a bar of dark vegan chocolate that contains no sugar or minimal amounts of cane sugar to avoid the spikes in glucose levels that regular milk chocolate generally causes. This will prevent the slump that often follows a short-lived burst of energy and help to maintain healthy and consistent glucose levels within your body.

Elevated Mood

If you’ve ever wondered why chocolate puts a smile on your face, you’re about to find out! Cocoa contains anandamide, also known as the ‘bliss neurotransmitter’ because it binds to receptors in the brain and helps us to stimulate a sense of mental wellbeing and happiness. As vegan dairy free chocolate typically has a higher amount of cocoa than milk alternatives, it can deliver an increased amount of this neurotransmitter, which means you’ll notice the mood-lifting effects more when you choose vegan-friendly chocolate.

Revel in the Wonders of Vegan Chocolate

With a whole host of chapters to enjoy, you can experience the delights of dairy-free chocolate when you treat yourself to our vegan range of healthy chocolate. The only question that remains is, will you be a Genius, Astronaut, or Healer?