If we are told to divide the world population on the basis of their diet choices, most people will go with two categories- Vegetarians and Non-vegetarians. But there is another diet practice or one could say, rather a lifestyle called “veganism” that is upon the rise. In the past few years, several celebrities have gone vegan and the supermarkets are being stocked up with vegan products. But what exactly is veganism and how it came into existence.
The term vegan was first coined in 1944 by a small group of vegetarians who broke away from the Leicester vegetarian society in England to form the vegan society. They choose to refrain from consuming any animal-derived food product like dairy or egg, in addition to avoiding meat.
Soon, the food choice turned into a lifestyle and currently is more accurately defined as a way of living. Vegans in today’s world attempt to exclude all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty, be it from food, clothing, or any other purpose.
There is about 1 million veganism population in the U.S itself and the numbers are inflating rapidly day by day. The U.K has the highest population, with 650,000 citizens turning vegan. People choose to be vegan mainly on the basis of three reasons-
• Potential health benefits, with the possibility of reducing the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and premature death
• Ethics, as they believe all the creatures have the right to live.
• Environmental concerns, in terms of climate change.
With the rise of veganism culture, the world has experimented its way into producing vegan substitutes which are in forms like soy milk or tofu, etc. Even the probiotic sector has paved its way into the vegan market, because commoners do not want to try their luck on something which is on-trend. The healthy lifestyle practiced by the vegans and their market presence are the other reasons that have encouraged the probiotic manufacturers to launch their own variants for the vegan population. Because everyone wants a healthy gut filled with good-bacteria and so do the vegans.
For the people who don’t know about probiotics, I really don’t know in what world you are living. But anyway, I will help you get aware of the term.
Probiotics are nothing but healthy microorganisms that when consumed provide various health benefits, generally by improving or restoring the gut flora. These are often taken as supplements as well as from foods prepared by bacterial fermentation. The most common probiotic bacterial groups include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium spp. Probiotics are marketed with claimed benefits that are supported with strong scientific evidence. Some of the health benefits are-
• Improving digestion.
• Improving mental health and helping with anxiety, depression, and autism.
• Reducing the risk of colorectal cancer and irritable bowel disease (IBD).
• Improving various metabolic diseases including obesity, diabetes, and liver disease.
The production of probiotics involves using a probiotic inoculum which ferments the food to be consumed. However, in the case of vegetarian probiotics, there rises an issue while using the probiotic inoculum. Vegetarian probiotic foods by definition must remain free from all animal-derived ingredients including the probiotic inoculum. And as these probiotic starter cultures are traditionally grown and stored in media containing milk or meat- derived ingredients, they are not considered suitable for vegan products.
This issue, however, can be resolved with the use of Veg Media. These tailor-made culture media are prepared by utilizing plant-delivered media bases like veg peptone from Soya bean. For example, Soya peptone and yeast extract can be used as the ideal vegetarian alternatives of animal-derived ingredients, providing the same amount of nutrients for culture growth. Soya peptone, derived from the enzymatic digestion of Soybean meal, acts as a potential source of nitrogen in the fermentation media that is used for the production of probiotic culture. These probiotic cultures are then blended with other food ingredients to make up the final product.
The plant-based ingredients also provide a solution for the growing health concerns, created by the emergence of TSE/BSE all over the world.
In conclusion, it can be said that the development of biological media bases has provided a pure vegetarian way of providing probiotics for vegans, restoring all the beneficial effects. And the veganism are surely going to be benefitted from their involvement in probiotic production.
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