Gelatin serves both nutritional and culinary roles in
nonvegetarian diets; however, a lot of vegetarians and
all vegans do not consume gelatin in its many forms
because it is often created out of boiled pig skins and
dissolved veal cartilage and bones.
This leaves vegetarians with a gap in cooking
functionality when a recipe calls for a gel or thickening
agent. It also leaves vegetarians with fewer options if they
need a source of gelatin to increase bone and cartilage
If you are a vegetarian and you are looking for something
to replace gelatin, do not despair. Here are some alternative
options for you:
1. Use a rice starch alternative. A&B Ingredients recently
developed a rice starch alternative to gelatins that mimics
the cooking functionality of gelatins closely.
2. Use a soy-based alternative. 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.
3. Use seaweed-based alternatives. Agar-agar, for instance,
is a seaweed based alternative to gelatin that can simulate
the culinary functions of gelatin.
4. Increase your calcium intake. One component of gelatin
supplements that allegedly 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 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.
6. 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.
To reiterate – gelatin has two major functions: it works
as a thickening agent for foods and is rumored to improve
joint health; both of these functions can easily
be mimicked by structural and nutritional alternatives.