The development process of vegetarian food

Abstract: Vegetarian diet is a diet that does not eat meat, poultry, seafood and other animal products, and sometimes dairy products and honey are absent or absent.

In modern society, there are more and more vegetarians, and the vegetarian population is becoming younger. Vegetarians also have no sense of moral superiority. Choosing a vegetarian diet is just choosing a diet that is good for their own health, respects other lives, cares for the environment, and conforms to the laws of nature. Vegetarianism has gradually become a lifestyle that conforms to the trend of the times.

Keywords: vegetarian food

Related products for this article: Soy protein products

Vegetarian food

Development History

Early Advocacy and Philosophical Roots

  • 1000 BC: Vegetarianism emerged in India and the eastern Mediterranean.
  • 6th Century BC: Greek philosopher Pythagoras advocated vegetarianism, emphasizing beans and other vegetarian foods. Other Greek philosophers like Plato, Epicurus, and Plutarch also supported vegetarianism.
  • 5th Century BC: Ampere Dokler shared similar views, believing in reincarnation and the ethical treatment of animals.

Religious and Cultural Practices

  • China: Ancient Chinese vegetarianism was linked to respect for gods rather than animal protection. Vegetarian practices were often followed by animal sacrifices.
  • India: Influenced by Jainism, which promoted non-violence towards all sentient beings, especially cattle. Emperor Wu’s influence helped spread vegetarianism throughout China and its cultural sphere, including Japan and Southeast Asia.
  • Hebrew Bible: Indicates a shift to meat consumption post-Noah’s flood. Early Jewish and Christian groups often viewed meat consumption as luxurious and cruel.
  • Middle Ages: European spiritual groups like the Cistercians and Trappists practiced vegetarianism for religious reasons.
  • Islam: While not widespread, some Sufi mystics and Emperor Akbar of India promoted vegetarianism.

Renaissance and Enlightenment

  • Renaissance Europe: Initially, meat was considered a luxury, but poor preservation methods made vegetarian food more appealing. Catherine de’ Medici influenced a more refined culinary culture that embraced vegetarianism.
  • 17th Century Britain: Religious groups began advocating vegetarianism. Prominent figures like Thomas Tryon influenced public opinion and even notable individuals like Benjamin Franklin.
  • 18th Century: Vegetarianism gained interest for economic, ethical, and nutritional reasons. Figures like Dr. William Lambe recommended vegetarian diets for health benefits, and advocates like Franklin and Voltaire promoted it.

Evolution process:

Whether it is from the early religious beliefs, or the current emphasis on environmental protection, health, and fashion, vegetarian food has always accompanied people’s lives. According to the development of vegetarian food, it can be roughly divided into the following five stages.

The first stage of tofu period (50 years ago)

Tofu was invented by Liu An, king of Huainan in the Western Han Dynasty. After the Tang dynasty monk Jianzhen traveled east to Japan, he introduced tofu technology to Japan, the Song Dynasty to North Korea, and to Europe, Africa and North America in the 19th century, and then gradually became a worldwide food. However, because tofu is very susceptible to microbial contamination during the production and sales process, it cannot be kept for long. Therefore, the vegetarian era with tofu as the theme is gradually replaced by gluten.

The second stage of gluten period (about 40-50 years ago)

Gluten is a gelatinous mixed protein unique to wheat flour. In fact, gluten has a long history. According to Huang Zhengyi’s “Things Cangzhu” in the Ming Dynasty, gluten was created as early as the Southern and Northern Dynasties. Because of its simple production, more than 40 years ago, vegetarians at that time made gluten into meat dishes-like vegetarian chicken, vegetarian goose and other materials for convenience, nutrition, and taste, making it a great place on the table. main body.

The third stage of the mushroom period (about 20-25 years ago)

Shiitake mushrooms are delicious, fragrant and nutritious. They contain 17 kinds of amino acids, many of which are necessary for the human body but cannot be synthesized and transformed. It has the functions of fighting cancer, preventing liver cirrhosis, removing blood toxins and lowering cholesterol. However, because of its relatively high price, although it is a very good health food, it was not until more than 20 years ago that the vegetarian industry widely used shiitake mushrooms in the production of materials. In the application of vegetarian food, dried shiitake mushrooms can be made into delicious and delicious vegetarian meat floss, vegetarian beef jerky, vegetarian lamb brisket and other foods through processes such as soaking, squeezing, and crushing.

The fourth stage: Konzhu period (about 10 years ago)

Konjac, also known as konjac, is a perennial herb in the Araceae family. China is the first country to research and use konjac. The main component of konjac is glucomannan, which has the characteristics of crude fiber and low fat. It can effectively eliminate constipation, prevent obesity, reduce blood sugar, blood fat and cholesterol, regulate endocrine, and prevent cancer. , Lipid-lowering, laxative and other magical effects. Medical research shows that konjac can prevent and treat modern diseases such as hyperlipidemia, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. As early as the Western Han Dynasty, konjac was used to treat diabetes.

The traditional way of eating konjac is to manually process fresh konjac or konjac horns to make gray-black konjac tofu, while modern technology is to make dried konjac into konjac powder, and then use konjac powder to make a variety of bionics Vegetarian foods such as vegetarian squid, vegetarian shrimp, vegetarian waist slices and so on.

The fifth stage of soy protein period

In this diversified society, no matter what the reason for vegetarians to join the ranks of vegetarians, it will bring unlimited business opportunities to businessmen, and at the same time promote the development of more vegetarian food technology. Soy protein extract is a revolutionary product born in this era.

Soy protein is the only complete protein from plant sources. Its protein content is twice that of meat, four times that of eggs, and twelve times that of milk. It also contains calcium, folic acid, cellulose, vitamins and phytonutrients. In addition, the isoflavones contained in soy protein can promote the decomposition of fat and reduce cholesterol, while also promoting bone calcification, inhibiting breast cancer cell proliferation, strong antioxidant activity, and protecting vascular endothelial cells and other special functions.

According to the characteristics of soy protein, vegetarians combine gluten, starch, gelatin and other ingredients to make meat-like vegetarian chicken, vegetarian ham, vegetarian prawns, vegetarian sausages, and vegetarian cakes. The natural color satisfies people’s mentality of eating “meat” and curiosity; coupled with the perfect combination of modern cooking technology, it greatly increases the taste buds of vegetarians.

Although there are chronological intervals in the five periods of vegetarian product development, each stage has a certain degree of relevance and permeability. According to relevant experts, extracting essence from plants will be the direction of vegetarian development in the future.