So as you look to your left, you can see Gummi Bears. Those delicious little fruity bears that, while they *are* my favorite candy, are no longer a part of my diet as such. Why? Because they contain gelatin, a substance that I avoid at all possible costs.
I know what you’re thinking. Gelatin, used in a variety things from Jello and it’s knockoffs to gummi bears to fruit snacks to the capsules medication comes in, isn’t that bad. It’s just gelatin. Think again. There is a reason that gelatin is among the things that vegetarians can’t/won’t eat. It comes from animals. Dead animals to be precise.
If you’ve never seen how gelatin is made, I invite you to watch the following video. I warn you, it’s pretty gross. At least I think it’s pretty gross. And it made me not ever want to consume gelatin again. (Credit to PETA on YouTube for the following video.)
There are times when I do consume gelatin, not because I particularly want to do so, but because there isn’t much of a choice. This comes when I need to take medications that are in capsules because nine times out of ten, my doctor doesn’t seem to care much about the fact that I’m vegetarian. Generally these are antibiotics that I’m not taking for more than 7-10 days anyway. However, if it is a medication I need to take on a regular basis, I will ask if there are non-capsule alternatives that I could take instead.
I do know that you can purchase plant-based empty capsules to put meds into, but it’s honestly just easier to either ask for a non-capsule alternative or suck it up and take the gelatin-based capsules for a few days.
However, I’ve found that there are some non-gelatin items that one can purchase to replace certain foods. Jello for example can be replaced by “Jel” – a gelatin-free version of Jello made by Bakol that can be found in some grocery stores and on Amazon.com. The flavor variety isn’t the greatest, just cherry, strawberry, orange, lemon, raspberry, and unflavored. But it is nice not to have to use actual Jello for recipes.
I also found a gummi bear replacement – Surf Sweets makes a gelatin-free gummi candy – peach rings, gummi bears, etc. They’re more gumdrop consistency, but they’re not bad. They do have some interesting flavors though – they included grapefruit, which isn’t my favorite, but I can deal with it. I eat Mott’s fruit snacks because they don’t contain gelatin.
Just be vigilant, check labels, and try to find suitable alternatives. Keep in mind that many alternatives may have to be purchased online – I can get Surf Sweets candy here, but I can’t get Jel, Dandies, or Sweet & Sara.