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Chocolate Chips

BY: Andrea Nakayama

DATE: 2011-03-15

This month: chocolate chips

This past month I’ve been on a hunt for the perfect chocolate chip. Not chocolate chip cookies or chocolate chip muffins, just the plain old morsels that deliciously inhabit those treats. I can remember the days when I would savor a mini bowl of nuts, raisins, and chocolate chips as a satisfying in-between-meal snack, the flavors and textures combining beautifully in my mouth.

But while chocolate remains a part of my diet, several of the ingredients in standard chocolate chips no longer cross my lips. Still I was convinced that the perfect chocolate chip existed. That I just hadn’t found it.

The bad news: I was wrong! The good news: Nestle’s is not the only option.

Let me define my version of the perfect chocolate chip: It would be one I’d recommend without hesitation. I could universally advocate it to all my clients and friends. It would be free of gluten, dairy, and refined sugar. And since we’re going for perfection, it would be organic as well. The perfect chocolate chip would be one that even I would eat!

What I found is that when it comes to chocolate chips, it’s a trade-off. The gluten-free chips contain sugar. The sugar-free chips contain gluten.

The only store-bought fully allergy/sensitivity-free options are 100% chocolate or raw cacao nibs. These choices, while tasty, sometimes require a little recipe tweaking to ensure that the treat is sweet enough to offset the bitterness of the chocolate. (That said, the more mature chocolate palate might prefer the slightly tart taste of the unadulterated confection.)

Below is a list of your chocolate chip options, based on dietary needs and preferences. I hope this helps you to find your perfect nugget of chocolate. After all, there really is nothing like satisfying a chocolate fix.

Buying Chocolate Chips

Gluten-Free Options(contain sugar)

Dagoba 73% Chocolate Chips (all organic)
Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
Sunspire Organic Fair Trade Chocolate Chips
Note: Many commercial chocolate chips are gluten-free but may contain other allergens such as dairy, soy, peanuts or tree-nuts. Read ingredients carefully if this is a concern.
Sugar-Free / Grain Sweetened Options:(contain gluten)
Sunspire Dark Chocolate Baking Chips
Unsweetened Chocolate Chips:
Ghiradelli 100% Cacao Baking Chips
Note: I prefer to give these a pulse in the food processor to cut down their size. Once in a sweet cookie, or paired with a sweet fruit ~ like a dried cherry ~ the bitterness of the unsweetened chocolate is diffused.
You can also use any 100% chocolate bar for chocolate chunks instead of chips. Break the bar into pieces and pulse in a food processor. I keep them stored in a jar like this to use when it’s time for some “chips”.
Cacao Nibs

These are the real deal. Cacao nibs are small pieces from an actual cacao bean. They’re rich in antioxidants and minerals like magnesium. And the beauty is that they are free of all the major allergens ~ gluten, dairy, soy ~ that can often sneak into your chocolate. They contain just one ingredient, and that’s raw chocolate!

I get my cacao nibs from Our Community Pantry, a Food Buying Club here in Portland. They’re likely available at your health food store or co-op, or you can order them online from Navitas Naturals.

Making Chocolate Chips

It may be hard to consider the DIY version of chocolate chips, but it’s really not that hard.

Click here to get my Chocolate Nakayummy recipe.

Instead of filling mini muffin holders or ice cube molds, pour the raw chocolate into a pyrex pan. Allow to harden. Then take a mallet to it to break it into pieces to chop in the food processor. Store your DIY chips in a jar in the fridge!

And let’s not forget the cookies!

Everybody has a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, but here’s a winner for my grain-free friends out there.
Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Spunky Coconut

Andrea Nakayama

By: Andrea Nakayama, FxNA Founder & Functional Medicine Nutritionist

Functional Nutrition Alliance provides the comprehensive online Functional Nutrition training in the Science & Art of the Functional Nutrition practice. Learn to address the roots of your clients’ suffering with client education, diet & lifestyle modifications.


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