The short answer is YES, vegans can eat chocolate!
When you tell someone you’re a vegan you’re often met with a response something like this: ‘Oh, I could never go vegan… I could never go without [insert food]’. And more often than not, that ‘couldn’t-live-without’ food is chocolate.
At Ombar we think everyone should be able to enjoy the delights of seriously good chocolate. In fact, by removing the milk from chocolate we believe we’ve made a better chocolate that’s not only accessible to more people, but even healthier and more chocolatey than ever!
Ombar chocolate is vegan, made with only plant-based ingredients, and no compromise on flavour. And with a range of over 12 different flavours there is sure to be one to suit every taste! Our Coco Mylk flavour is our version of a conventional ‘milk chocolate’ and is as creamy and indulgent as you like. But here’s the magic part, it’s made without any dairy whatsoever! Instead, we use creamed coconut to get that deliciously creamy taste.
The idea of chocolate containing dairy milk is actually a pretty new concept. When chocolate was first created, over 3,000 years ago in South America, it was never consumed with milk and was even used in its pure form as a medicine1. It wasn’t until relatively recently, in 1875, that the first milk chocolate was created2.
More room for chocolate!
As well as using a plant-based alternative to dairy milk, we’ve also increased the amount of cacao in our chocolate compared to other brands. Cacao (or cocoa) is the ingredient that gives chocolate its distinctive taste and makes chocolate, well, chocolate! We like to use a minimum of 55% cacao in all our products. Whereas in conventional milk chocolate, cacao will often only be used in small quantities as a flavouring agent.
If you’ve read any of our other blogs, you’ll know that raw cacao is a mineral marvel which has a range of health benefits, including, amongst other things, helping to boost your brain, protecting your heart and keeping your skin and hair healthy. Raw cacao also contains a massive amount of antioxidants4. These are important because they neutralise the damaging effects of free radicals in the body, which, if left to their own devices, can lead to several diseases including diabetes, cancer and heart disease5.
Having a higher percentage of cacao in our chocolate not only makes it healthier, we think it also makes it taste chocolatier. Without the dairy milk and other nasty additives, the complex flavour of the raw cacao really shines through, making for an irresistible chocolate with buckets of flavour!
Don’t block the benefits
Studies have found that consuming chocolate that contains milk can actually block some of the health benefits of eating chocolate6. In particular, milk has been found to inhibit the absorption of the antioxidants present in cacao/chocolate. One study, which compared the antioxidant capacity of dark chocolate and milk chocolate, found that the presence of milk in milk chocolate reduced the antioxidant capacity of the chocolate by 50%7!
Meanwhile other studies, which measured the antioxidant levels in the blood after eating chocolate, found that the levels of antioxidants increased significantly when people ate dark chocolate, but there was no significant change when they ate milk chocolate6.
So by choosing a vegan chocolate you’re actually able to take advantage of more of its health benefits!
At Ombar we think we’ve struck the perfect harmony with the best of both worlds. Our Coco Mylk is as creamy and smooth as you like, but is still dairy-free and packed full of raw cacao. Making it a chocolate you can feel good about!
- Dillinger, T., Barriga, P., Escarcega, S., Jimenez, M., Lowe, D. and Grivetti, L. (2000). Food of the Gods: Cure for Humanity? A Cultural History of the Medicinal and Ritual Use of Chocolate. The Journal of Nutrition, 130(8).
- Cadbury, D. (2011). Chocolate wars. London: HarperPress.
- University Health News. (2017). Surprising Cocoa Benefits Include Heart Health and Prediabetes Improvement. [online] Available at: https://universityhealthnews.c... [Accessed 1 Feb. 2018].
- Barns, C. (2017). Cacao: the mineral marvel. [online] Ombar. Available at: https://www.ombar.co.uk/blogs/... [Accessed 1 Apr. 2017].
- Staff, U. (2018). What Do Antioxidants Do and Why Are They Important?. [online] University Health News. Available at: https://universityhealthnews.c... [Accessed 15 May 2018].
- Serafini, M., Bugianesi, R., Maiani, G., Valtuena, S., De Santis, S. and Crozier, A. (2003). Plasma antioxidants from chocolate. Nature, 424(6952), pp.1013-1013.
- Tabernero, M., Serrano, J. and Saura-Calixto, F. (2006). The antioxidant capacity of cocoa products: contribution to the Spanish diet. International Journal of Food Science and Technology, 41(s1), pp.28-32.