Evolution Of Milk: From Dairy to Plant-Based

The plant-based milk industry is booming. In the last few years, there has been an exponential increase in plant based milks such as almond, coconut and oat. This blog post will explore when humans started drinking animal milk and how attitudes towards animal milks have evolved over time. We’ll also discuss the historical origins of plant based milks and why they are becoming so popular in modern society.

History Of Milks:

The history of people drinking cow’s or any animal’s milk for nutrition is a relatively recent development. Milk has only been drank in the last few thousand years. Prior to that, humans did not have the ability to digest milk. In fact, there are many parts of the world where adults cannot drink milk or eat dairy products because they lack a gene that allows them to properly metabolize lactose after childhood! There are only a small amount of people, such as the Masai tribe in Kenya, that have the enzyme necessary to break down lactose.

Throughout history and even in some modern societies such as China, dairy consumption has been tabooed. One reason for this is that plant-based milks have always been a part of traditional diets throughout Asia and Africa, while animal based milks have been seen as more of a part of traditional diets in the West.

Ancient Attitudes:

In Ancient Greece and Rome, milk was considered an important food for children while adults did not drink it, due to its association with infancy.

When Romans encountered other civilisations and opponents in battles, they observed that they would consume animal’s milk. This made them think that these people were savage and less civilised than they were. As drinking animal milk is associated with childhood and was less socially acceptable in Roman society for adults.

In short, if you drank milk, especially a lot of it, you were considered a barbarian!

More Recent Ideas On Milk:

In the 19th century, plant based milks were used for infant feeding while cow’s milk was seen as an important staple food. During this time, plant-based milks were not commercially available and had to be made at home by soaking plant ingredients in water overnight then straining them through muslin cloths into pots before being boiled over the stove. During this time, plant based milks were mainly consumed by poorer families who could not afford cow’s milk or meat to feed their children and relied on plant ingredients for nourishment.

Milk is one of the most popular beverages consumed by people across all cultures and societies throughout history. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that man was able to produce plant based versions of cow or goat’s milk which could be consumed by people who were lactose intolerant or had other health issues that prevented them from drinking milk.

In the 20th century, plant-based milks started being commercially produced in a powdered form that had to be mixed with water before being consumed. These plant-based milks were first introduced as health beverages.

Mesoamerican Milk Traditions:

The evolution of milk has been a very interesting topic, especially as it pertains to humans and their diets around the world. In fact, there are over 7000 different languages spoken throughout the world today that have all developed words for milk. Some examples include the Chinese with their rice and soy drinks, India with its almond milk, and Mesoamerica’s corn drink.

The Aztecs consumed ‘Atole’, a mix of corn (masa), sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. It became a comfort food for many Mesoamericans. It is still popular today, particularly during the Day of the Dead festivities in Mexico.

Chemical Makeup of Milk:

As babies, our bodies produce an enzyme called lactase, specifically for the purpose of digesting the lactose present in our mother’s breast milk. As we grow older into adulthood, we lose the ability to produce this enzyme. Hence, why in most cultures, it isn’t as common to have a diet that includes frequent milk consumption as a fully matured adult.

In the past, many tribes and settlers consumed milk at their own expense, as they didn’t have the capacity to digest the milk effectively. Meaning a lot of upset stomachs! It’s only as generations have passed that humans have been able to comfortably digest milk and other dairy products.

However, people who lived in areas such as Kenya and Sudan made the most of caring for their cattle. In taking care of their livestock during harsher periods and withstanding poor water and sanitation, their cattle acted as water filters and a source of proteins and other nutrients.

As more people began to drink milk, natural selection took a hold and more and more people were producing lactase into adulthood. Evolution meant that a select few people were able to comfortably stomach milk.

Modern-Day Milk Habits:

Today, plant based milk brands are available in most countries around the world and plant based dairy free products can be found at all grocery stores regardless of socioeconomic status! Plant based milks are growing in popularity because plant based ingredients are healthy, environmentally friendly and plant-based milks have a lower carbon footprint than animal milk.

For several centuries, milk has been a staple in the diet of most cultures. However, plant-based alternatives to dairy are becoming more popular and companies have created plant based products that mimic some dairy foods like yogurt or cheese that people can enjoy while avoiding animal cruelty, reducing their carbon footprint and/or avoiding lactose.

A plant-based milk product is a non-dairy beverage that contains plant components such as nuts, seeds and grain based ingredients like rice or barley. The plant-based ingredients are often filtered with water infused with other plant extracts to give it a milky texture. These plant proteins can mimic the creamy mouthfeel of dairy milk because they have similar amino acid profiles. This plant-based milk has become a popular substitute for people with lactose intolerance, because it is easier to digest and absorb.

Plant-based milk does provide phytonutrients and antioxidants which can decrease cancer risks by fighting free radicals in your body. This plant protein also provides Vitamin B12 so this could be another reason for health conscious people to switch from dairy products to plant-based milk. More and more plant based milks are on the market now; oat, soy, coconut, almond, cashew etc., each with its own unique flavour profile because of how it was made.

Chocolate bars that use dairy alternatives aren’t simply an inferior ‘copy’ of popular milk chocolates, these bars are a unique standalone venture that deserve individual recognition.

When all is said and done, plant-based chocolate bars are inclusive, revolutionary and pretty damn tasty!

You can dive into the world of plant-based bars and visit us at mrpoppleschocolate.co.uk