Well, it’s Easter Sunday. Depending on your traditions, your family may have lamb, or ham, or, if you’re lucky, a Tofurkey roast or Field Roast for the vegetarians. Did you know that the lamb tradition comes from the Passover sacrifice to ensure the angel of God would not harm inhabitants of the house? Or, in the U.S., the ham tradition started because the pigs not quickly consumed after the fall slaughter had to be cured, which took so long they were ready about the time Easter rolled around? Pretty interesting stuff on About.com, huh?

Easter AisleWhatever the tradition, if you celebrate Easter, there’s a good chance you’ll see hard-boiled eggs and candy nearby. Aside from eating deviled eggs, egg salad, and hard-boiled snacks every meal for the next week, eggs don’t really interfere with the vegetarian style here. (Of course, if you are vegetarian for religious reasons, skip the eggs.) And candy, all that sugary sweetness – who can resist a heaping basket of Easter candy?

Maybe it’ll add a pound or help accelerate that cavity forming, but what else could sugar really do? Well, if you live a vegetarian lifestyle, some candy could hurt your meat-free existence. For instance, did you know that most marshmallows contain gelatin? Not all of them, of course, but the standard way to make a marshmallow requires gelatin. Sweet and Sara offers a vegan alternative in multiple flavors. Check the refrigerated section of your local Whole Foods.

If you would like to avoid gelatin, try Cadbury Mini Eggs, Whoppers Robin Eggs, or Cadbury Crème Egg. But the Crème eggs do contain powdered egg whites, so if you don’t eat actual eggs, these are probably not for you.

Another interesting tidbit about candy: “natural flavors,” particularly those in the vanilla line, could come from beaver secretions. Apparently the FDA doesn’t distinguish between vanilla plants and beavers, but if you prefer one to the other, you might have to do some research. Honestly, natural flavors could contain anything remotely considered natural, be it animal, vegetable, mineral, according to the oh-so-broad description. And the bug crushing for red dye is nothing new, right? Jaime Oliver even did an entire segment on it once.

Chocolate Easter BunnyBut wait, there’s more! Was that sweet treat made from processed sugar? The kind processed on cow’s bones? Basically, if we are eating candy (and we definitely are around here so you’re not alone), there’s a good chance we’re eating something we wouldn’t otherwise choose. Unless, that is, we seek out vegan alternatives. As always, we don’t judge. We’re about learning what we can and spreading the information as far as it will go. As long as you are making educated decisions with which you are happy, enjoy your experiences. And heck, you could even share your little-known secrets with us from time to time.

Until next we meet, enjoy great food and keep a happy heart.

Come back next week for another ride through cattle country.