In non-vegan diets, gelatin serves nutritional and culinary purposes; however, many vegans and vegans avoid gelatin in its various forms because it is frequently made from boiled pig skins and dissolved veal cartilage and bones.
When a recipe calls for a gel or thickening agent, this leaves vegans with a gap in their cooking capabilities. It also limits vegans’ options for obtaining gelatin, which is necessary for bone and cartilage health.
Don’t give up hope if you’re a vegan looking for a substitute for gelatin. Here are a few other possibilities for you to consider:
1. Use a rice starch substitute instead of cornstarch. A&B Ingredients recently developed a rice starch alternative to gelatins that closely resembles gelatin’s cooking functionality.
2. Replace the meat with a soy-based substitute. Soyfoods USA created NuSoy Gel; a gelatin substitute made entirely of soy isoflavones containing 100% of your daily vitamin C requirement.
3. Use seaweed-based alternatives as a substitute. For example, agar-agar is a seaweed-based alternative to gelatin that can mimic gelatin’s culinary functions.
4. Increase the amount of calcium you consume. Calcium is one of the ingredients in gelatin supplements that are said to help with joint health. You can increase your calcium intake without eating gelatin by eating more calcium-fortified foods and taking supplements.
5. Increase your vitamin C. Vitamin C intake is another component of gelatin supplements that are said to improve joint health. Consume more citrus fruits to increase your vitamin C intake.
6. Make glucosamine a part of your daily diet. Although there are no foods that contain glucosamine, you can supplement your diet by purchasing supplements at your local grocery store or pharmacy. If taken regularly, this is said to help with joint health.
To recap, gelatin serves two purposes: it thickens foods and is rumoured to improve joint health; both of these functions can be easily duplicated using structural and nutritional alternatives.