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Cynthia's Three Favorite Vegan Things: July

I've been eating a lot of chocolate this month, so it's only fitting that my favorite things for July are cocoa-related.

1. Sjaaks Peanut Butter Cups


Vegans! Boxes of assorted chocolates are now ours too! Thanks to Sjaak's, a small, socially conscious, fair trade company whose aim is to create the highest quality organic chocolates. Thin mints? Check. Peanut butter cups? Check. Melt in your mouth truffles? Check. Nuts and chews? Check. You can even buy them individually.

Sjaak's also has special occasion chocolates, like Easter bunnies and Valentine's Day assortments. I don't know if they're available in retail stores. I order them from their site.

2. Chocolove Almonds and Sea Salt Bar


Obsessed with this chocolate bar. I buy four each time I walk through Whole Foods. Chocolove has a bunch of different bars, like Cherries and Almonds in Dark Chocolate, but this is my favorite. Most dark chocolate is vegan, but Chocolove is careful to not advertise themselves as vegan. Here is their statement on the matter:

We do not claim that Chocolove bars are vegan. Most of our dark chocolate arrives at our facility as kosher parve which means it is completely free of milk products, according to Jewish dietary law. The remainder arrives kosher dairy, which means the dark chocolate was made on equipment that also makes milk chocolate. Chocolove has separate equipment for melting and molding milk chocolate and dark chocolate. We take every measure to assure that milk chocolate is kept away from dark chocolate. You can expect our organic dark chocolate to be the least likely to contain any traces of milk chocolate.

3. Earth Balance Chocolate Milk


Truth be told, my lactose-intolerant boyfriend Brad, also on a plant-based diet, loves chocolate milk. He has tried every brand of vegan chocolate milk and says this is by far the best. I'm including it in my list of favorite things because I think you should know about it. I've tried it, and though it is super creamy and chocolatey, I prefer to eat my chocolate, not drink it.

It is made with soy--a topic that divides people as much as religion. Personally, I'm with those who think GMO (genetically modified organism)-free soy is just fine. The Japanese and Chinese people have made tofu a part of their daily diet--they often eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner--for 1,500 years, and studies show they are much, much healthier than we are. (By the way, if you haven't read The China Study, check it out. It's the book that the insightful and life-changing documentary Forks Over Knives is based on.) There are chocolate almond milks, if you're concerned about soy.

Full of protein, and no GMOs or cholesterol. All Earth Balance products are plant-based, vegan, made without artificial ingredients or hydrogenated oils, and are free of gluten, lactose, and eggs.

Okay, friends, that's it for July. We'll see if I can lay off the chocolate in August.

Do you have a favorite vegan chocolate thing? If so, it'd be wrong to keep it to yourself. Please share!