Friday, January 05, 2007

What Alternatives are there to Gelatin?

If you are a vegetarian or vegan and you are looking for something to replace gelatin, do not despair. There are ingredients that you can use instead.

Gelatin serves both nutritional and culinary roles in nonvegetarian diets, but all vegans and many vegetarians and do not consume gelatin in its many forms. This is because it is often created out of boiled pig skins and dissolved veal cartilage and bones.

This leaves vegetarians with a problem when a recipe requires a gel or a thickening
agent. It also leaves vegetarians with less options if they need a source of gelatin to increase bone and cartilage health.

Here are some alternatives to Gelatin:

1) Soy-based alternatives. Soyfoods USA developed
NuSoy Gel, a gelatin alternative which was created
entirely out of of soy isoflavones and contains 100% of
your vitamin c recommended daily allowance.

2) Seaweed-based alternatives. Agar-agar, for instance,
is a seaweed based alternative to gelatin that can simulate
the culinary functions of gelatin.

3) Rice starch alternatives. A&B Ingredients recently developed a rice starch alternative to gelatins that mimics
the cooking functionality of gelatins closely.

4) Increase your calcium intake. One component of gelatin sulplements that increases joint health is calcium. If you want to increase your calcium intake without eating gelatin, you can simply consume more
calcium-fortified foods and even take supplements.

5) Increase your glucosamine intake. No foods contain glucosamine, but you can increase your intake by purchasing supplements at your local grocery store or pharmacy. This is rumored to improve joint health if taken regularly.

6) Increase your vitamin c intake. Another component of gelatin supplements that allegedly increases joint health is vitamin c. You can increase your vitamin c intake by consuming more citrus fruit.

To summarise, gelatin has two main functions: it works as a thickening agent for foods and is alledged to improve joint health. Both of these functions can easily be mimicked by alternatives.

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