Milk is the primary source of nutrition for all infant mammals, but only humans continue to consume milk as part of an adult diet. This was not always the case; however, initially, adult humans did not produce lactase, the enzyme needed to digest the lactose in milk. Approximately 7,500 years ago, a chance mutation spread, starting in Central Europe, which changed this and led to the adaptation in our biology. Scientists have also found lactase-persistence genes in Africa, which appear to be of non-European origin. We don’t yet know precisely how it all started, but milk can now be processed into various products and is fully present in today’s mainstream diet.
Non Dairy Products
Today, consumers are increasingly looking to replace dairy milk with some non-dairy alternative, either for health reasons or dietary preferences. Most supermarkets have expanded their range of milk varieties to include these dairy-free alternatives, many of which can be nutritious and delicious. In terms of taste and consumers’ requirements, these different milk substitutes have various advantages and disadvantages, including nutritional value, the presence of possible allergens, and a range of calorie counts. Making dairy-free milk at home is relatively straightforward: place 100g (3.5 oz) of oats or 150g (5.5 oz) of whole raw almonds or cashews in a large bowl and fill it with water. Cover the bowl and leave the oats or nuts to soak overnight or in the refrigerator for up to two days. Drain, rinse well, and blend the oats or nuts with 750ml (1.5 pints) of fresh water until smooth. Pour the mixture into a nut milk bag or a muslin-lined sieve set over a jug, and allow it to drip through.