The supermarket dairy aisle is increasingly the aisle of alterna-milks… but it all started with soy milk. Nadia Berenstein‘s deep dive into the history of soy milk at Serious Eats explains how soy milk was a hard sell for Americans until the Seventh-Day Adventists — who are vegetarian as a matter of of faith and are responsible for inventing many plant-based meat substitutes — decided to have a go at it.

Adventism’s soy-milk saint is Harry W. Miller, a doctor and medical missionary who spent decades in Japan and China, where he first became interested in soy foods. In 1931, Miller established an Adventist medical center in Shanghai, where cow’s milk was scarce and costly and where, though a handful of commercial soy-milk factories had recently begun operations, soy milk was usually not considered suitable for young children. In a series of feeding experiments, Miller and his medical staff showed…

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