The Health Benefits of Cacao
Some good news, right off the bat: cacao is inherently a plant-based food! Nature has done an incredible job of providing us with an ingredient that can be used in a myriad of ways and has a multitude of nutrients that make it a superfood. What could be better than that?
Often referred to in Aztec culture as the “Food of the Gods,” organic, raw cacao contains a variety of unique phytonutrients such as sulfur, magnesium and phenylethylamine. It’s a great source of monounsaturated fat, cholesterol-free saturated fat, vitamins, minerals, fiber, natural carbohydrates and protein. It is rich in iron, antioxidants, magnesium and calcium.
These nutrients are a great replacement for those that a non-Vegan might get from dairy and meat. The amount of calcium found in cacao, for example, is higher than what would be found in cow’s milk!
Cacao also has the ability to make you feel good without any non-plant-based ingredients. It contains anandamide, a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that binds to the THC receptors. It’s also known as the “bliss molecule” (named after “ananda”, the Sanskrit word for “bliss.”) Cacao calms the mind and relaxes the body, so it makes sense that our bodies crave chocolate when we are feeling anxiety or stress. It has the ability to enhance mood and aids in concentration. This Vegan treat is good for us, you say? It absolutely is. But wait, there’s more!
Cacao is rich in flavanols which are powerful antioxidants, prebiotics and probiotics and has more magnesium than any other food. It is also a massive feast for your gut microbes. Beneficial bacteria that reside in the digestive tract ferment both the antioxidants and the fiber in chocolate, so your gut gets the benefit while your tastebuds enjoy the chocolate. Cacao is truly a delicacy for the body and mind. No dairy necessary here!
How to Know if Chocolate is Vegan
When faced with the massive amounts of chocolate out in the world, how do you determine if it is vegan? One of the telltale signs is simplicity. Your first strategy when looking for vegan chocolate is to look for a short ingredient list. Simple ingredients include cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar and soy lecithin. Contrary to the way it sounds, cocoa butter is vegan as the butter refers not to dairy but to the good fat of the chocolate.
The next thing to look for is the cacao content of the chocolate. Generally, the higher the chocolate content, the more pure the ingredients accompanying it will be. Also, the more chocolate, the less room there is for additives to be included in the mix. For this reason, many dark chocolates are inadvertently and naturally vegan.
Clues that chocolate is not vegan are also fairly obvious. Milk chocolate does contain “milk” and is therefore, not vegan. You should also avoid anything that has milk, milk solids and milk fat on its label. Instead look for milk substitutes like almond milk that take the place of dairy and add beautiful flavor to the chocolate.
Vosges Vegan Chocolate Collections
It’s so vegan, it’s in the name! This collection is an offering of three parfums that have been blended with a treasured early harvest olive oil, our proprietary 72% dark chocolate and luscious pockets of fruit and nuts. Minimal sugar in the chocolate and the fruits is used to lightly sweeten these rich, sumptuous truffles that need no dairy to be delightfully decadent.
At the heart of our super cacao elixirs is the mighty cacao bean. Designed as an alternative to your daily coffee ritual, they are a portal to deliver the cacao beans’ health benefits to your mind, body and soul in its purest form. The colorful elixirs leverage the healthy fats from cocoa butter, unrefined coconut nectar and various adaptogens, spices and flowers. They feature naturally occurring theobromine, which boosts energy and mood without the crash of caffeine. Offered in a variety of parfums: Reishi Mushroom and Walnut, Ceremonial Cacao, Ceremonial Matcha or Golden Milk. Just add your favorite non-dairy alternative to enjoy the elixir and create a moment of self-care or chocolate ritual for yourself.
For the vegan chocolate aficionado, our Pure Plant Bars are a perfect starting point to exploring our non-dairy options. In fact, they were designed with wellness in mind. Each of the bars highlight the health benefits of the mystical cacao by incorporating the whole pod, which is full of goodness for you, without sacrificing delicious parfums. With no dairy, superior sourced ingredients, low sugar and cocoa butter, Pure Plant introduces cacao to your body in a whole new way: simply.
Though all of the Pure Plant bars are vegan (save for the Raw Honey Cacao Pod with Coconut Bar, which is beegan,) the one that can be singled out for the purest expression of cacao’s complexity is the Whole Cacao Pod bar. This bar is made using Baba de Cacao, the sweet pulp that suspends the beans, and the cacao pod. This is a part of the cacao that is often considered a by-product that is usually wasted, but in this bar, it has been celebrated and freeze-dried. The Baba gives the bar its parfum of lychee and tropical notes. This bar is a new way to experience chocolate as nature intended it.
The Next Chapter
As we continue to explore wondrous cacao, we will be concocting more vegan confections in our lab. Alternative dairy sources, beautiful vegetal colors for painting our bonbons, and our never-ending quest for superior sourced ingredients are at the forefront of our minds as we create our newest recipes. We look forward to sharing all that we discover with you!