I love hot chocolate. There is something so comforting about wrapping your hands around a giant mug and inhaling the sweet scent of liquid joy. A cup of hot chocolate before bed is as cosy as you can get, and a (reusable) mug at an outdoor event keeps a chilly wind at bay. Even in the summer, a hot chocolate can perk you up after a tough day, and help you unwind.
That said, hot chocolate is a drink we don’t usually associate with a healthy plant-based diet, due to the traditional ‘hot milk, cream, marshmallow and sprinkles’ method of creation. Many hot chocolate powders are unsuitable for a vegan diet, so finding a tasty and indulgent hot chocolate that doesn’t contain any animal products can be a bit of a minefield. This is equally true if you’re a chocolate lover who has a dairy allergy or intolerance, or if you want to pick a healthier option that still tastes amazing. After all, you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy a plant-based hot chocolate!
Consider me your hot chocolate savant, here to help you navigate the path to silky smooth, rich vegan hot chocolate – with an added bonus that it’s better for you, too!
What makes some hot chocolate unsuitable for vegans?
Regular hot chocolate powder is usually based on a milk chocolate flavour and contains quite a lot of dairy in the forms of milk, whey and lactose. Powdered milk is one of the most common ingredients in many hot chocolate powders, making them unsuitable for vegans and those with dairy allergies or intolerances.
Some hot chocolates also use additives and preservatives that are unsuitable for vegans, and these can be quite difficult to detect in the long list of ingredients you might see on the packet.
This leads me to my next question!
How can you tell if a hot chocolate is vegan?
When you’re trying to determine whether something you’re looking at is suitable for a vegan diet, there are a few things to look for:
- Does it say suitable for vegans? Sometimes, products will also have accreditation from The Vegan Society (UK) and will have their logo on the packaging too.
- Is the brand plant-based? Certain brands, like Vivo Life, are 100% plant based, which makes choosing plant-based options even easier!
- It says Suitable for Vegetarians – this takes out a lot of the guesswork, but there are still other things to look for. Animal ingredients such as dairy and eggs are allergens, which means that in the UK they need to be clearly labelled or highlighted. If a product is suitable for vegetarians and doesn’t contain any animal ingredients, then the product is more likely to be vegan.
- What else is in there? There are many additives that go into more processed products which contain animal products. These include E-Numbers and items listed as ‘flavourings’. This can get really hard to determine, so look for a product with whole food, natural ingredients.
- Use an app! There are lots of different apps out there which can scan an item to determine whether it is plant-based or not.
Can vegans still enjoy hot chocolate?
Absolutely! Anyone can enjoy a plant-based hot chocolate, vegan or not! Following a vegan lifestyle is not as restrictive as you might believe.
With veganism being one of the fastest growing lifestyles on the planet, there are more plant-based options than ever, and whilst we can’t promise that all of them are as good for you as they can be, we can promise that Vivo Life’s hot chocolate is one of the best.
What makes Vivo Life’s Raw Vegan Hot Chocolate so special?
Adaptogens are naturally occurring substances which are considered to help manage and alleviate the symptoms of stress. Raw Hot Chocolate contains Reishi mushroom, which is supports the function of your adrenal glands. These secrete cortisol, a hormone which helps your body manage several key functions such as your sleep cycle and stress management. So now your mug of hot chocolate is even more relaxing - don’t worry though, it doesn’t taste like mushrooms!
RAW hot chocolate contains fairtrade cacao powder (you can learn more about the differences between cacao and cocoa here), packed with antioxidants and minerals which help improve your serotonin and dopamine levels for increased mental wellbeing, as well as coconut milk powder for creaminess, coconut sugar for natural sweetness and Ceylon cinnamon, which not only adds a beautiful flavour to your drink, but packs in the antioxidants even more. Finally, this rich and creamy hot chocolate contains ashwagandha root, which may help to lower your blood pressure, reduce symptoms of anxiety and increase your resilience to stress, which seems like a winning formula all around.
Plus, the ingredients are all natural with nothing artificial, so you can be sure that you’re doing some good for yourself in taking 10 minutes to unwind with a hot chocolate and a good book.
A preliminary review of studies on adaptogens: comparison of their bioactivity in TCM with that of ginseng-like herbs used worldwide: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6240259/
What Are Adaptogenic Mushrooms? Benefits, Risks, and Types: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/adaptogenic-mushrooms
What Makes Vegan Hot Chocolate a Healthy Alternative?https://www.vegan.io/blog/what-makes-vegan-hot-a-chocolate-healthy-alternative.html