Food & Drink, Kitchen Staples

How to Make Vegan Chocolate – 3 Ways

Want to know how to make vegan chocolate? I’ve got three easy sugar-free chocolate recipes for you today.

Joanne Wood from the blog The Balanced Kitchen has got this fantastic recipe for dark chocolate chilli and orange vegan chocolate. And not only is it vegan, but it’s also free from refined sugar too, for that healthier edge.

how to make vegan chocolate, three ways

Joanna has helpfully shown us how to make the chocolate in three different ways, depending on our preferences and budget. She’ll talk you through the differences each option makes to the chocolate, to help you decide which option suits you best.

How to Make Vegan Chocolate – 3 Ways

Prep time: 5 minutes 

Cook time: 5 minutes 

Chilling time: 3 hours 

Servings: 15 chocolates 

Equipment required: Floral silicone moulds*

Vegan Chocolate Option 1 – With Coconut Oil

Coconut oil gives a creamier texture to your vegan chocolate. However, it does tend to melt more easily in warmer weather if left at room temperature.  It’s the cheapest option and the easiest to prepare.

  • 100 g coconut oil (the white solid oil, not the fractionated liquid oil)
  • 25 g raw cacao powder 
  • 1.5 TBSP powdered xylitol – grind the xylitol to a powder in a coffee grinder 
  • 2 tsp orange zest 
  • 1 pinch chilli powder

Option 2 – 100% Dark Chocolate

100% dark chocolate is becoming more widely available in supermarkets and shops. This recipe is mid-price. And of the three vegan chocolate options, it’s easy to prepare and gives a nice, hard consistency for the finished chocolates.

  • 100 g 100% dark chocolate 
  • 1.5 TBSP xylitol – grind the xylitol to a powder in a coffee grinder 
  • 2 tsp orange zest 
  • 1 pinch chilli powder

Option 3 – Cacao Butter and Cocoa Powder

Cacao Butter is more expensive and harder to source than the other recipes. You will need to visit a health shop or buy it online. The good news, however, is that cacao butter can be kept in the freezer and melted down as needed.  It’s best bought in button-sized pieces for ease of using the quantity needed.  Cacao butter gives a harder consistency than coconut oil for the vegan chocolates once prepared.

  • 100 g cacao butter 
  • 25 g dark cocoa powder 
  • 1.5 TBSP xylitol – grind the xylitol to a powder in a coffee grinder 
  • 2 tsp orange zest 
  • 1 pinch chilli powder

Method

  1. For all options, begin by melting the coconut oil / Dark Chocolate / Cacao Butter in a bain-marie. To make a bain-marie, simply place the ingredients in a bowl and pop the bowl over the top of a pan which has two inches of water in it. Heat the water over a medium heat until the ingredients have melted, stirring continuously. Do not allow the bowl to touch the water.
  1. Once the coconut oil / dark chocolate / cacao butter has melted, remove the bowl from the pan and turn off the heat. Place the bowl on a heat-proof surface and stir in the raw cacao or dark cocoa powder. Please, note, you do not need to add chocolate to the 100% dark chocolate option.
  1. Next, add the powdered xylitol and a pinch of chilli powder and stir until combined.
  1. Place the chocolate silicone mould onto a moveable flat surface. A baking tray or chopping board works well.
  1. Sprinkle a small amount of orange zest into each mould. 
  1. Now spoon the vegan chocolate mixture on top until each mould is full.
  1. Leave to set in the fridge for a few hours before removing each chocolate from its mould. Store your chocolates in a suitable airtight container.
  1. It is best to eat these within 4 days of making them – not that they will last that long! This is because the chocolate can start to crystallise after then.

You can also check out my post on healthier baking tips, which includes healthy vegan alternatives to dairy products. And don’t forget to check out Joanne’s blog, or follow her on Instagram.

Health & Beauty, Life & Style

The Best Eco-Friendly Toothpaste in 2021

Do you need to brush up on the best plastic-free and eco-friendly toothpaste in 2021 in the UK? You’re in luck! I’ve got you covered with my pick of the ten best brands.

This post contains affiliate links denoted by *

Looking for a more sustainable and eco-friendly toothpaste? Perhaps one that’s plastic-free, and packaged in a glass jar? Perhaps some eco-friendly toothpaste tablets? Or maybe you’d prefer toothpaste that comes in a recyclable metal tube? Or maybe even toothpaste that comes in a refillable tube? The good news is that the eco-friendly toothpaste market has expanded massively in the last year or so, and there’s now an option for almost every variable.

What’s Wrong With Conventional Tubes?

Toothpaste tubes and other types of squeezable tubes are difficult to recycle because they combine different materials. Toothpaste tubes in particular often contain a thin layer of aluminium, sandwiched between various types of plastic. It’s too tricky and too costly for recycling centres to separate and process them, so they get sent to landfill.

Terracycle does collect conventional toothpaste tubes for recycling, however, you need to have a collection point near you. Depending on where you live, this may or may not be accessible to you.

Ten of The Best Eco-Friendly Toothpaste Brands

The good news I’ve been doing some digging and found the best green toothpaste brands in the UK right now, that should be fully recyclable in most parts of the UK. I’ve also specifically looked for the brands that offer fluoride and fluoride-free eco-friendly toothpaste options, to cater to a range of dental needs. I’ve even found palm oil free brands and eco-friendly brands that cater to sensitive teeth. Brush up on my favourite brands!

Ben and Anna

ben and anna eco-friendly toothpaste

Ben and Anna* make a range of different flavoured eco-friendly toothpaste, catering for a range of differing dental needs. From toothpaste with fluoride to toothpaste without fluoride to whitening toothpaste, to toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. What’s more, each is packaged in a recyclable glass jar and cardboard box.

Their effective cruelty-free formulas are made from natural ingredients, such as sea-buckthorn, chamomile, activated charcoal, cinnamon, and calcium for strong, shiny teeth and healthy gums. And even better, all of their toothpaste is free from phthalates, parabens, microplastics, SLS, and formaldehyde.

They also make a natural mouthwash (that’s not made from coconut oil) that is also packaged in a glass bottle.

Prices start from £8.95.

Boca

boca plastic-free toothpaste

BOCA has produced day and night tubes of toothpaste crafted from organic and vegan ingredients. You can even choose from fluoride or fluoride-free options, depending on your preferences. What’s more, the toothpaste features the world’s first refill and reuse tube system, which is currently on trial in the UK only.

How it works is that every 8 weeks BOCA sends you replacement compostable tube refill cartridges. All you have to do is pop the empty tube in the dishwasher or clean it with hot water, then refill your tubes and reseal them with the BOCA system, before composting your empty refill cartridges.

If you don’t get on with toothpaste in a glass jar or toothpaste tablets then this could be one to try. Sometimes eco-friendly swaps are easier to make if they’re similar to what you’ve been used to.

Prices start from £9.99.

Brushd

brushd plastic free dental care

Brushd* makes a great range of plastic-free dental hygiene products, including toothpaste tablets, that come in fluoride or fluoride-free varieties. They also have a range of mouthwash tablets and plastic-free dental floss. When your toothpaste or mouthwash jar is empty, there’s no need to put it in the glass recycling. Instead buy a refill that comes in a cardboard container.

Brushd also makes bamboo interdental brushes*. To be honest, I’m on the fence about bamboo interdental brushes. They’re made of mixed materials, so will have to be sent to landfill, where biodegradable materials do not breakdown. Bamboo isn’t native to Europe so it has to be shipped from abroad. This possibly gives it a heavier carbon footprint than a plastic interdental brush. It’s a more expensive “eco” swap that may not make a discernible difference to the environment. It’s certainly something to think about, and if you want to read more you can read about why plastic-free isn’t always better for the environment.

Toothpaste tablets start from £4.99.

DENTtabs

DENTtabs toothpaste tablets

DENTtabs* teeth cleaning tablets with fluoride are a great eco-friendly alternative to toothpaste. These tablets are 100% plastic-free, with no preservatives. They come in a fully home compostable bag made from cornstarch, and carry the official home composting certification. When the bag arrives in the post, simply rip it open and pop the toothpaste tablets in one of your own reused jars.

One bag is equivalent to 2 tubes of toothpaste, and kid’s versions are available too.

Priced at £5.55.

Georganics

Georganics*  specialise in natural, sustainable, and ethical dental care, creating plastic-free products that promote good oral health. Made by hand in the UK, each formula includes locally sourced, organic natural ingredients that are kind to you, your teeth, and the planet.

From refillable jars of toothpaste tablets to tooth soap and toothpowder, their teeth cleaning range is extensive. Meanwhile, their mouthwash tablets and plastic-free dental floss also promote good oral hygiene.

Their vegan-friendly products are free from fluoride, parabens, SLS, SLES, mineral oil, microbeads, phthalates, triclosan, palm oil and synthetic fragrances.

Prices start from £6.90 for toothpaste.

Happier

happier plastic free toothpaste in tubes

Happier* is another plastic-free toothpaste that comes in a tube if dental tablets are not your thing. The Happier eco-friendly toothpaste comes in an old-school aluminium tube, which can be recycled in with your metal recycling. To help you squeeze out every last drop, you can buy a reusable “Squeeze Key”. This can be used on all aluminium tubes, such as my favourite Weleda Skin Food, or even your tomato puree!

This fluoride toothpaste is free from SLS, triclosan, parabens, petrochemicals, colours, artificial flavours, or artificial sweeteners. What’s more, it’s cruelty-free and vegan-friendly. Happier Toothpaste has also been specially formulated for sensitive teeth.

Priced from £12, with discounts available for repeat subscriptions.

Parla

Parla zero-waste toothpaste tablets

Parla’s eco-friendly toothpaste tablets* was founded by three award-winning cosmetic dentists from London. As dentists, they believe toothpaste should first and foremost protect people’s smiles but not harm people, animals, or the planet in the process.

Their tablets are available in two different-sized glass jars – either as 62 tablets or 248 tablets. And when you need a refill, you can buy a 248 tablet refill that comes in a cardboard box. Not sure what size would suit you? 62 Tabs is a 1 month supply for 1 person brushing twice daily. Meanwhile, 248 Tabs is a 4 month supply for 1 person brushing twice daily.

Prices start at £6.95.

Truthpaste

truthpaste palm oil free toothpaste

Truthpaste* is a palm oil free toothpaste, that’s also free from fluoride, SLS/SLES, triclosan, glycerin, and palm oil. Nor does it doesn’t contain any foaming agents, bleaching agents, colourants, or artificial ingredients. Even better, Truthpaste is 100% vegan and cruelty free too.

This eco-friendly toothpaste comes in a glass jar with a metal lid, making it fully recyclable when you’re done.

Priced at £8.95

Truthtabs

Not to be confused with Truthpaste, Truthtabs* are a different company!

Simply pop one UK-made Truthtab into your mouth, bite and brush. Truthtabs foam and clean just like toothpaste. Meanwhile, the fresh Wild Mint flavour leaves your teeth sparkling and your breath fresh.

These come in a cardboard box, which can be decanted into your own glass jar, for lower carbon shipping.

Prices start at £4.50

Weleda

Finally, Weleda* offers this plant-based formulation in a metal tube. This toothpaste is especially good for those with sensitive teeth.

It’s vegan-friendly and not tested on animals. What’s more, it’s free from sugar, artificial sweeteners, surfactants, synthetic preservatives, flavours, colourants, and raw materials derived from mineral oils. It’s only available in a fluoride-free option.

Priced at £4.95.

Didn’t You Forget About Lush?

So, yes, Lush does make toothpaste tablets. Ane no, I’m not recommending them. Personally, I am not a fan of Lush. I dislike their intensely pushy sales tactics. The last time I was in their store, they used some pretty abhorrent and problematic sales tactics on my kids who were just 3 and 7 at the time. As such, I’ve not bought any of their products since.

Whilst that’s my own personal grudge against Lush, there are bigger reasons that make Lush problematic. In December it was reported that Lush donated a four-figure sum to an anti-trans group. They have since apologised, but I personally feel uneasy supporting this company.

What If I Can’t Afford These Eco-Friendly Toothpaste Brands?

All of these eco-friendly toothpaste brands do come at a much higher price point than your average £1 tube of toothpaste. If they’re out of reach, then you can try to buy toothpaste that comes in a pump, rather than a tube, if this is accessible to you. Recycle Now says that pump action toothpaste tubes are easier to recycle and can be placed in your recycling bin if your local authority also collects plastic pots, tubs, and trays.

How Can We As Consumers Bring About Change?

Something that is important for us all to do, whether we can afford to buy these eco alternatives or not, is to write to toothpaste manufacturers to consider switching to recyclable packaging.

In terms of accessibilty, I don’t know if toothpaste tubes or pumps are more accessible to people with mobility problems (see the plastic straw ban conversation if you are new to these issues). I would therefore be loath to suggest that all manufacturers switch to toothpaste pumps without fully understanding any potential impacts.

Colgate has, however, introduced a fully recyclable toothpaste tube. This shows the technology and materials are there, and more manufacturers should be encouraged to adopt this packaging. Frustratingly, Colgate hasn’t introduced this recyclable tube across their whole range. I smell greenwashing – having one recyclable product amongst a sea of non-recyclable products does not make for an eco-friendly toothpaste brand. So Colgate should also be encouraged to roll this packaging out across their whole range. In the absence of strong Governmental actions on plastic packaging, they will only do this with consumer pressure from us.

Enjoyed this post? Do also check out my posts on the best fluoride-free toothpaste and how to reduce plastic in the bathroom.