I’m sure most of you, like me, are starting to read more about the benefits of Hemp as a food source in your favorite health magazines and blogs and perhaps even seeing it on your favorite health shows like Dr. Oz (The Power of Seeds).
It can be a lot of information to digest, no pun intended, LOL. So, I’ve done a little research and come up with a concise list of reasons why including hemp in your diet will be the best step to overall health you can make.
What is Hemp? What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?
Why is it good for you? What’s all the fuss?
How does it taste? Is it good?
How do I include it in my daily meals without creating added expense?
These are all questions I have asked myself, and so have my children. And from what I have read and learned, hemp is an amazing food source that without a doubt should be a part of every meal we consume.
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils
What is Hemp? What is the difference between Hemp and Marijuana?
Hemp and marijuana both belong to the Cannabis sativa family. Cannabis sativa L. subsp. sativa var. sativa, aka hemp, is known for its industrial use and as a food source. While C. sativa subsp. indica, also known as marijuana, is used for medicinal purposes.
Cannabis contains molecular compounds called cannabinoids. The cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is in marijuana (as much as 20%), which makes this plant medicinal. (See Juicing THC, Cannabis International and Wikipedia)
The cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) is predominantly in hemp (98.7%) which makes hemp a better food source and resource for other products such as biofuel, fibers for fabrics, paper, canvas, etc., plastics and construction material. (Hempcrete, Hemp Plastic, HempFarm)
Hemp is also vital to the environment. Hemp was planted around the Chernobyl nuclear disaster because of its ability to pull nuclear toxins from the soil. And it can be used as a weed control for crops eliminating the use of herbicides, pesticides and insecticides.
Hemp vs. Cotton
Cotton is grown in 1% of this country’s farmland, yet requires over 50% of all pesticides used in the U.S. Because hemp requires no pesticides, etc., to grow, it is far better for the environment than cotton. And one acre of hemp produces 2-3x more than 1 acre of cotton.
How Hemp Is Used for Food, Clothing, Building Materials and In Cars Like Lotus
7 Reasons to Include Hemp in Your Diet
Now that we know what hemp is and that we can eat it, why should we include it in our diets? What’s all the fuss?
According to Hemphasis.org, hemp is “is arguably the most nutritious single food item on the planet”, and here are the reasons why:
- Hemp seed is a complete source of protein and 20 amino acids. 33% of the hemp seed contains the unique protein Edestin. It is the most easily digestible plant protein on the planet, even better than soy.Hemp contains all 20 of the essential amino acids our body needs, ten of which we cannot produce ourselves and must get from another food source. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein necessary for repairing and rebuilding muscle, and for a healthy immune system.
- Hemp seed contains 80% essential fatty acids, more than any known oil. Essential fatty acids include Omega 3, Omega 6, and hemp also contains the elusive fatty acid Omega 9. These good fats cannot be produced by our bodies, but must be obtained through the foods we eat. Essential fatty acids help the body
- burn excess fat
- restore health to the cardiovascular system
- relieve arthritis pain and inflammation
- strengthen the immune system
- basically, EFAs keep you healthyOmega 6 and Omega 3 – hemp is perfectly balanced with the 3:1 ratio of Omega 6 and 3 recommended by the World Health Organization to maintain optimum health. When balanced correctly, these EFAs
- support the development and function of the brain
- support the reproductive system
- increase metabolism
- maintain healthy skin and hair
- improve energy production
- Hemp is free of any known allergens.
- Hemp is the perfect food for those who are unable to eat gluten, sugar, milk, nuts and meat.
- Hemp provides more energy than energy bars without the sugar and with less saturated fat.
- Hemp lowers LDL cholesterol levels and lowers blood pressure.
- Hemp seed shells are composed mainly of insoluble fiber. This is the good fiber that does not break down in your system thereby allowing for gentle cleaning of toxic buildup in the intestines and digestive tract. Hemp fiber can be found in hemp protein powder and hemp flour.
Now that you know why you want to include hemp in your diet, I want to share with you all the different types of hemp food available and how to use them.
But how does hemp taste? Does it taste good?
Hemp seed has a subtle, nutty flavor. You can eat it alone or with other foods.
Here is a list of hemp foods you can find at your local natural store or supermarket.
- Hemp Milk is creamy, with a mild, yet tasty nutty flavor. It can be found with the shelf-stable almond milk, soymilk or rice milk. Hemp milk comes in a variety of flavors including original, vanilla and chocolate.
- Hemp flour is made from ground hemp seed. It is an excellent source of fiber and is great for gluten-free diets. Use it along with other gluten-free flours to give your meal an added nutritional boost.
- Hemp seed nut butter is a lot like peanut butter or almond butter and can usually be found with these same products on your supermarket shelves. Use it on toast, with jam, or as a veggie dip. Hemp nut butter is rich in EFAs, folic acid, and protein, but did you know it also contains chlorophyll? It’s just one more reason to include hemp in your diet.
- Hemp seeds includes the hemp nut and the shell (which is high in insoluble fiber). The seed can be ground for hemp protein powder or hemp flour. Hemp seed is an excellent addition to trail mixes as well as your favorite granola bar recipe.
- Hemp nut (heart) is what remains after the hemp shell has been removed. It is full of protein and EFAs. The hemp nut is very versatile in recipes. I put it on my sandwiches, sweet or savory, sprinkle them on salads, and even add them to my bread, muffin and cookie recipes.
- Hemp protein powder includes the complete hemp seed ground into a powder. Add hemp protein powder to your favorite smoothie and it becomes a complete meal.
- Hempseed oil is extracted from the hemp seed. It has a stronger flavor than olive oil and can easily replace it in recipes. Hemp seed oil is excellent for you containing all the essential fatty acids your body needs.
Hemp Use In the Kitchen
Whenever I incorporate a new product in my pantry, I do it with the mindset of not trying to increase my grocery bill, but to actually maintain it or even lower it.
So when I started looking to buy hemp products, I wanted to be able to substitute unhealthy or less healthy items on my shelf with hemp-based foods.
Hemp is such a perfect food, that it can quite literally replace a lot of less healthy items you already use.
For example, hemp milk contains protein, 10 amino acids and essential fatty acids. It can easily replace dairy milk (especially if you are lactose intolerant), and can compete quite well with soymilk, almond milk and rice milk for flavor and nutrition.
Hemp flour is excellent for those on gluten-free diets. When included in your diet, hemp flour has the added benefit of containing insoluble fiber that is necessary for maintaining intestinal health. Hemp flour can replace any flour or flour substitute you are currently using. I would probably use hemp flour with other flours to add diversity and flavor.
Hemp seeds (whole) and hemp hearts (seeded) taste good and are good for you. The hemp seed has the added benefit of insoluble fiber, but the hemp hearts are excellent in just about anything. Use either to replace any other nut or seed in your pantry that you are tired of or just don’t feel your getting much benefit from. I keep my hemp hearts in the fridge so they last longer.
Hempseed oil has a stronger flavor than any other oil I use, so I tend to mix it with other oils to create a subtler taste. Use it in salad dressing recipes, or in any other recipe asking for oil. Again, because of the stronger flavor, you might want to ease into hemp seed oil.
Hemp nut butter puts our peanut butter to shame in the areas of nutrition and flavor. It has a fun, green color (contains chlorophyll, who knew??) that kids find intriguing. I use it in recipes and as a veggie or fruit dip.
What makes this so great for me is that I know every time I eat hemp, I am eating a perfect food. What more could you possibly want or need from food?
A Final Word About Hemp
Hemp unfortunately has received a lot of bad press due to its relationship with marijuana. In the United States, hemp is regulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency (even though it is not a drug) and not under the Department of Agriculture (as it should be). Because of this, it is illegal to grow.
All hemp products found in the United States have to be imported from either Canada or China. In fact, more hemp is exported to the U.S. than to any other country. If you want to know more about the history of hemp, please see this site. (Hemp.com)
I am convinced that hemp will save our planet and our economy worldwide. I am also convinced that if our nation weren’t run by corporations rather than by us, the people, as it should be, hemp would be legal to grow.
Most people out there have been so completely misled about hemp that they automatically turn a deaf ear to you when you try to talk to them about it. Well, I am here to set the record straight.
If you, like me, see the miracle that is hemp and what it can do for your family and our planet, then follow the link below and find out ways you can take action to help legalize hemp growth.
Something you can do right now, though, is simply buy hemp food and include it in your pantry and hemp clothing for your wardrobe. What we purchase everyday has tremendous power. Stores monitor consumer trends. So, buy organic, buy hemp clothing and foods, and the stores and our government will eventually have to pay attention.
Flex Your Consumer Muscle!
Hemp Books and Foods Available at Amazon
Hemp Foods Available at HempUSA.org
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