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The Advantages Of Being A Vegetarian - What Does A Vegan Use Instead Of Gelatin

 


What Does A Vegan Use Instead Of Gelatin

So many dishes are made with gelatin. They include many summer favorites. Both sweet and savory dishes have been based on gelatin.

Children love fruit flavored gelatin based dishes such as jello. A more adult dinner table can be graced with a salad in a gelatin mould. Mousses and cheesecakes can both call for gelatin.

So what can a vegan or a strict vegetarian use who wants to avoid animal products. Even meat eaters may wish to use an alternative to gelatin for health reasons.

Gelatin is derived from beef or pork. Cooks sometimes make their own by boiling bones or pigs'trotters but most often it is bought in powder form ready made in packets. It can then simply be added to water that is just below boiling point. This provides the basis for a whole range of jellied dishes.

A vegan or vegetarian can use rice starch, arrowroot or potato starch for some of these dishes. A fruit or vegetable flan can be covered in a jelly like glaze by blending a little of one of these products with water and then adding it to boiling water. It is important to stir the mixture vigorously to prevent lumps forming. If lumps do form use a food processor to remove them.

But for a molded jelly shape you will need something different. A seaweed based product called agar-agar is the thing to use here. This can be bought in powder form and added to hot water just like gelatin. It is even available to buy it in flavored forms that will make the traditional jello that children and many adults love.

Be careful not to keep an agar-agar jelly too long. They should be eaten on the same day as they are made because they provide an ideal environment for bacteria to grow.

But they are quick to make and quicker than gelatin to set. So it is not really a problem to make one quickly just before you need it.

In powder form agar- agar will keep for months. That makes it a good stand by to keep in your store cupboard.

Many non-vegetarians will find it useful to keep some handy for visiting vegetarians. In many ways it is easier to use than gelatin which can easily go "stringy" if the water used is too hot. Agar-agar is almost fool proof.

Vegetarianism And Cancer: The Evidence

Vegetarianism has the reputation of being a healthy diet because it is low in fat and high in vegetable products and fibre. An increasing number of scientific studies are showing that a vegetarian diet can help to prevent cancer and can assist the body to recover from cancer when combined with chemo-therapy or radiation therapy.

A vegetarian diet is not an alternative to conventional forms of treatment. It would be unwise to reject medical treatments that have been shown to work. Only the irresponsible would recommend a cancer patient to reject conventional medical treatment. What a vegetarian diet can do for a patient who is undergoing cancer treatment is to help their body cope with the side effects. A diet high in natural fruit and vegetable juices will provide the body with important nutrients that help the natural healing process.

Patients who adopt a vegetarian diet often report an improvement in their general outlook and their attitude to the disease. In part this may be because they are eating a nutrient rich diet. But the psychological effect of switching to a vegetarian diet can be as important as the nutritional value. Cancer patients suffer from a feeling of loss of control because their whole life becomes dominated by a complex regime of treatment that is in the hands of specialists. When they change to a vegetarian diet they regain their sense of control over their own lives.

The effect of psychology on disease should never be underestimated. It is well documented in the medical literature as the placebo effect. Feeling better should not be dismissed in cancer treatment. Vegetarianism will do not harm and it may do some good.

But it is in cancer prevention that the benefits of vegetarianism are most thoroughly documented. A diet which contains many soya based products has been shown to be associated with a low risk of cancer. Breast cancer in particular is very rare among women who eat a soy based diet. Vegetarianism is the soy based diet par excellence.

Diets which are high in meat, especially red meat like beef, has been shown to be associated with a higher incidence of colon cancer. Animal fat may also be associated with a higher level of breast cancer in younger women. Dairy products may be associated with an elevated risk of ovarian cancer.

A vegetarian diet alone can never eliminate the risk of cancer because there are so many environmental and genetic factors involved. But it can reduce the risk because it is high in fruit and vegetables that contain substances called flavonoids and other antioxidants that destroy the free radicals which can cause cancer.

Free radicals are molecules that damage the DNA of cells. We are exposed to free radicals through pollution as well as diet so they are almost impossible to avoid. But by eating a vegetarian diet that is rich in fruit in vegetables we can help our bodies to resist their effects.

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