April 17, 2011

On Being a Vegetarian, Part 2: The Gelatin Question

A few weeks ago, I wrote this post about why I am a vegetarian, as well as the ethical "gray areas" I struggle with as a vegetarian.  After some thought, I decided to say goodbye to the gelatin in my diet...

*whispers* bye gelatin :(

My brother, who is wonderful but once told me that veganism is a marketing scam (I still don't understand what the hell that means, but I chose to move on rather than get into a ludicrous argument with a very stubborn individual...), doesn't understand why I would feel wrong about eating gelatin when animals are not being killed to produce gelatin.  (Note: from my albeit limited research, it seems that the skin and bones that are used to make gelatin are typically slaughterhouse waste.)  I feel wrong about consuming any animal product that an animal had to die to give me, whether they were killed specifically for that purpose or not.  It just makes sense to me right now.

It actually hasn't been too challenging, but I had a mini-panic attack when, after making that choice, I started researching gelatin-containing foods...Holy Pigs Hooves, it is in EVERYTHING!!! (exaggerating, but that's how I felt!)  Who knew that the following foods (besides jell-o) ALL contain gelatin...

frosted mini-wheats cereal * pop-tarts * some yogurts, including dannon and yoplait * mentos * altoids (huh??) * starburst * valentine's conversation hearts * Planter's dry roasted peanuts (turns out it holds the salt on...WHAT???) * margarine (Promise and I can't believe it's not butter brands) * junior mints * certain kinds of frozen vegetables (that's just scary...) * many other packaged desserts (ex. Sara Lee French Silk Pie * gummy bears & worms (my favorite candy... :( ) * marshmallows

I felt more than a little overwhelmed after browsing the internet and finding all of these foods that have secretly been hiding gelatin...but just as I was mourning the loss of altoids and frosted mini-wheats, I discovered this gem of information:


Hallelujah.  I will just fill the gummy bear void in my life with fish.  Swedish fish, that is.  (Sour Patch Kids are also gelatin-free.)

I feel good about this choice and don't think it will be hard.  It will just take a little more ingredient-list reading for awhile, but that's no big deal.  Just like going vegetarian, all you have to do is replace the things you can't eat anymore with wonderful yummy things you CAN eat.  It's no problem to replace the yoplait yogurt in my life with yummy greek all-natural greek yogurt that not only tastes better in my opinion, but is better for my body.

As part of my venture into a gelatin-free lifestyle, my dad and I took an field trip to Whole Foods today on a quest for Vegan Marshmallows and some other yummies.  I've had a hankering for rice crispy treats lately, and honestly I was just curious about gelatin-free marshmallows.  I almost NEVER go to Whole Paycheck  Foods because I get super excited and spend more than I make, but every now and then for a special treat is okay, right? :)

Voila!  Vegan Marshmallows!  And they are DELICIOUS!!!!!  I almost don't want to waste these ($$$) babies in rice crispy treats...but then again, I probably don't need to just eat them straight from the bag either...
These are Dandies vanilla flavor vegan marshmallows.  Read more about them here...

Of course we bought a few other goodies...but the best part was when we spotted the Grind Your Own Peanut Butter station!  OH MY GOSH!  Holy PB goodness!  Peanut Butter is my favorite food after blueberry pancakes (which dad just happened to make this morning...this is why I am 23-almost-24-and-still-living-at-home...), and I inherited this love from my Dad.  While he doesn't attack the jar with a spoon or drizzle it over everything from oats to sweet potatoes, he did teach me the beautiful simplicity of a PBJ.  Obv we had to grind some honey roasted peanut butter...

 He thought I was a little silly for needing a picture of this, but come on.  How could you NOT document this amazing experience???
 Result: quite possibly the most delicious peanut butter I have ever tasted.  Worth its weight in gold.  (Which is almost what it cost!)  Oh Whole Foods...I love you so much...why must everything in your magical store cost more than I make in a day???

To sum up, I am feeling really great about my gelatin decision.  And happy that I don't have to miss out on yummies like Smores and rice crispy treats just because I'd prefer not to ingest pig skin and bones... :)

Note: Again, I am sharing this information because it is a part of who I am.  In no way do I believe that this is the *best* or *only* lifestyle out there.  Everyone in my family and most of my friends choose to eat meat, and there is nothing wrong with that.  Also, if you are a vegetarian that chooses to eat gelatin, that's okay too! I am doing what I feel good about and what works for me and my body.  Please do the same. :)


  1. I had no idea gelatin was in so many items! I'm especially shocked by the junior mints... those are my favorite candy. I've justified eating gelatin because I didn't think I ate much of it - I really thought I was just getting it from my gummy vitamins, which I stick to because the pill kind make me sick :-/ This will definitely make me think aobut some of the foods currently in my diet...

  2. I know, isn't it INSANE?!? I about had a heart attack when I started researching...but man, those vegan marshmallows are insanely yummy!


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