Most families enjoy keeping and sharing traditions, especially during the holidays. When Easter traditions include baskets of milk chocolate bunnies and jellybeans, dyed eggs and a ham or turkey dinner, however, vegetarians and vegans feel torn between their personal ethics and family loyalty.
But in most cases, there are plenty of ways to adapt classic Easter meals and activities into cruelty-free versions that everyone will love.
If you eat eggs, you know that the free-range varieties often have brown shells. While they take dyes, the colors aren’t as brilliant as with a white shell, so you might enjoy trying some egg decorating alternatives. Try coating the eggs with glue and then rolling them in glitter, or using decoupage glue and bits of thin paper to create patterns. Reader’s Digest suggests coating eggs with blackboard paint and drawing messages on them with chalk. Easter egg shrink wraps – plastic sleeves that fit over eggs and shrink to size when boiled – come in a plethora of designs, and can mimic the effects of beautiful Ukranian eggs.
For vegans, Alicia Silverstone designed a method of coloring gelatin-free marshmallows with natural dyes to mimic the effects of traditional Easter eggs. As Alicia points out, these are too sticky to use on an Easter egg hunt, so you might substitute plastic, foam or ceramic eggs for that activity.
Gelatin is commonly found in Easter basket treats like jelly beans and marshmallow eggs, so be sure to check the ingredients list before making a purchase. If you prefer your chocolate bunnies with no animal products whatsoever, Pangea and The Indie Store offer special lines of vegan Easter candy. To cut costs, fill the basket with these common, incidentally vegan candies available in any supermarket. Of course, you could skip the candy altogether and instead try some of these yummy-smelling and attractive Easter-themed bath products from cruelty-free cosmetics company LUSH.
Keep Easter dinner simple with a “fake” soy or seitan-based turkey or ham. If commercial veggie meats aren’t your taste, impress your family with one of many Easter meals. Find fresh spring veggies like asparagus, spinach, cabbage, brussel sprouts and kale your local farmer’s market to make your menu extra special.
This should be common knowledge to Greener Ideal readers, but before you start your last-minute Easter shopping, remember: don’t put live bunnies, chicks or ducklings in your child’s Easter basket unless you’re prepared for a long-term commitment. Though common impulse buys during the Easter season, real live animals are never toys. Instead, give your kid a real toy, like a stuffed rabbit or rubber duck.