Write about my chocolate addiction? Yes, please!
Let’s get down to introductions, if we haven’t met, I’m Lyndsay, in addition to being a keto enthusiast, my second occupation is a chocoholic. At any given time, you can ask to check my purse and it is highly likely you will catch me with dark chocolate in my purse or back pack. If I show up empty handed, there is a good chance that I just finished it moments prior.
I take my chocolate addiction pretty seriously and consider my opinion pretty reliable overall, as I’ve done my fair bit of travel and always seek to eat the local chocolates wherever we go. I love bringing different dark chocolate bars to dinner parties as the dessert option and love seeing how much people enjoy a good quality piece of chocolate, and even better is paired with a full bodied red wine.
Not all chocolate is made equal and you’ll realize as you rid your body of sugar, your taste buds start to change and you can’t handle the sweetness that white sugar or sugar alternatives like agave will bring to your palette.
I can remember trying 85% dark chocolate before going keto and I couldn’t swallow the stuff, and would have to serve it with a heaping spoonful of natural peanut or almond butter to enjoy it but just months into this new way of eating, I had a new-found appreciation for the hint of sweetness that a good quality bar will bring and the actual flavor of the cocoa.
I’m not sure what I would experience with the taste if I had a milk chocolate bar today but knowing how much sugar goes into those bars, I am sure I would feel a bit overwhelmed with the overpowering taste of sugar.
What to expect as you keep reading is a focus on dairy-free dark chocolate. As you may have read in my prior posts, I have been allergic to the casein in milk since birth and have not eaten much of it in my life, most only from cross contamination. What I mean to say here, is I have no business writing a review on low-carb milk chocolate as I have no experience eating it.
Because fat is an important component of the Ketogenic diet, you will often find that sugar-free dark chocolate has milk fat in it. Boo for me and others with the same digestion issues but the great news is, there are lots of chocolate producers that see the value is making a vegan product and I am thankful for that!
Having chocolate as one of the loves in my life, you can assume that one of the deciding factors on me switching to keto was the fact that chocolate is encouraged on a ketogenic diet.
What I look for in a Good Chocolate:
- At least 70% cocoa solids, but I prefer 80% and above.
- With this much cocoa solids you can be certain that it contains less sugar and more antioxidants
- Dairy-free, a true dark chocolate should not have any milk solids in it, and with my allergy I won’t take any chances on a bar with milk in it
- Nuts because I like the additional crunch and flavor in the bar and I think chocolate pairs nice together with an almond, macadamia or peanut
- Only a few ingredients, such as cocoa, vanilla, salt, sugar
- Fair Trade, this is a personal choice but I like knowing that the farmer who produced the beans was paid fairly
Sugar-Free over Not?
Here’s the thing, when something is sugar-free, it means they are something to substitute for the sugar, otherwise the chocolate will say 95% or 100% chocolate. There is no reason to state it if it just doesn’t contain it.
With sugar-free there are some common alternatives, one being stevia or erythritol which is for the most part fairly harmless from a digestion standpoint but then there are the others, two I can think of are chicory root and the other is Maltitol.
Chicory Root, often on the label as Inulin: is a root fiber that is naturally sweet and contains zero-calories and zero-carbs. It is a perfect way to naturally sweetened Chocolate or desserts in general. I have nothing negative to say about this product except my own personal experience with it and after a quick google search, I’ve learned this is a common side effect. I’m talking about gas! and a lot of it. Chicory root is broken down in the large intestine, which may be the cause for the excess gas and discomfort.
Maltitol: is a sugar alcohol, which is low in calories and carb, and your body only absorbs 50% of the carbs, so it is a common sweetener used in low-carb foods, however there are common side effects of Maltitol as it is extremely hard on your digestive system. Those side effects include diarrhea, stomach pain & excess gas. The other negative thing about Maltitol is that it can have an impact on your blood glucose levels.
So if you find that these sugar-free sweeteners bother your tummy too, you might decide that just buying chocolates that have a high cocoa content are the way to go vs. looking for a sugar-free chocolate bar. Higher the cocoa content, lower the amount of sugar which = lower carb.
Here are a list of brands that happen to be some of my favorites in no particular order:
Lily’s Dark Chocolate Baking Bars: NON-GMO, Fair Trade certified, gluten-free certified, stevia sweetened, & vegan.
Endangered Species Panther, Dark Chocolate (88%): Grown ethically-traded cocoa beans from small family-owned farms
Equal Exchange Organic Extreme Dark Chocolate Bar (88%): Vegan & Soy-Free, Fairly Traded & USDA Certified Organic
Alter Eco – Dark Blackout Organic Chocolate (85%): Organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, carbon neutral, and sustainably sourced.
Macalat Chocolate (70%): Macalat is Certified Organic, Dairy free, Gluten Free, Stevia Free and Bitter Free. It’s a super creamy chocolate and I learned that I enjoy the flavor so much when I suck on it like a candy and it melts like milk chocolate in my mouth. Just like I did when I was a kid! And lastly I LOVE LOVE LOVE that they include organic mushroom extract in their blend! I am big on taking Reishi and Chaga mushrooms for so many reasons. This steps them above the rest. It’s quickly become my favorite. You can only buy it on their website here.
These happen to just be 5 of my favorite chocolate bars but there are so many other products and companies out there that make amazing chocolate bar products. I say never stop being curious about new chocolate as you never know where you will find your next favorite!
Where to Buy
You can normally find good high-quality chocolate at specialty food stores, some grocers and Amazon of course! Click on this link to be directed to my all time favorite dark chocolate bar with almonds and sea salt. Best darn thing I’ve ever eaten! Endangered Species Chocolate Bar, Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt & Almonds. mmm mmm good!
My Favorite Snack Ideas for Chocolate:
So I am not going to win any awards with these creations and I am pretty sure you all have the first one covered, like who doesn’t dip their chocolate in peanut butter right? But have you tried number 2?
- Dip it in peanut butter
- Melt it in microwave, stir in Almond butter and walnuts
A treat I missed when I went keto was a rice krispies, chocolate and peanut butter treat and this completely hit the mark for me. The walnuts take on the crunch from the rice krispies and the nut butter and chocolate are the same as original recipe. I urge you to give it a try!