Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why Hemp Should Be Part Of Your Diet! Hemp Seeds, Hemp Oil, Hemp Milk And Hemp Ice Cream - It's Heathy, Vegan And Gluten Free!

There are many delicious ways to consume hemp!

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A Food For Long Life
Hemp is one of the best sources of nutrition on the planet. It is definitely on my list of "Foods For Long Life". Unfortunately many people are not familiar with it as a food. In fact, many people get it confused with marijuana and think that it can get you high! 

Because hemp is in the same species as marijuana, Cannabis sativa, it has been caught up in the war on drugs and is no longer grown in the U.S. Before 1950, it was grown here commercially and used for such things as textiles, paper and food. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp! Banning hemp today because it has a minuscule amount of THC is like requiring someone be 21 to buy vanilla extract because it contains alcohol! Over 30 industrialized nations, such as Canada, distinguish hemp from marijuana and freely cultivate it.  Hopefully someday our farmers will be encouraged and not prohibited to grow healthy crops like hemp instead of millions of acres of King Corn. But even though our farmers cannot grow this wonderful plant, we can thankfully buy food products made from imported hemp.

Great Source of Protein
Everyone knows that eggs are a great source of protein. But did you know that 3 tablespoons of delicious, nutty hemp seeds have the same amount of protein as 2 hard boiled eggs? And, without the cholesterol!
And hemp seeds contain all the essential amino acids making it a "complete" protein. In fact, I think hemp seeds are one of the best sources of vegetarian protein there is.

3 tablespoons of raw, shelled hemp seeds provide:
174 calories
11 grams of protein
Zero cholesterol

Source of ALA Omega-3 Fatty Acid 
There has been a great deal written about how the Standard American Diet is devoid of beneficial omega-3 fatty acid and abundant in omega-6. Many experts associate this imbalance with the increase in illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. A healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is 4:1 or less. The American diet is more like 20:1. 

Many seeds have an unfavorable balance of omega-6 to omega-3, except for our other wonderful power seeds, flax and chia that actually have more omega-3 than omega-6! Unfortunately many seeds and seed oils have a much higher amount of omega-6 than omega-3. For example:
* Sunflower seeds have over 300 times the amount of omega-6 than omega-3.
* Pumpkin seeds have an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 114:1.
* Sesame seeds have a ratio of 57:1.

Although there are many other reasons to continue eating these healthy seeds, you should be careful not to consume their oils and not to eat too many seeds without balancing them out with foods high in omega-3. Hemp oil and seeds, on the other hand, have an optimal ratio of about 3:1!

Unlike chia and flax seeds which require soaking or grinding to make them edible and to get their benefits, hemp can be eaten "as is". Sprinkle over salads and desserts or eat them right out of the bag!

Hemp Oil
This lovely oil is delicious in salad dressings. Because omega-3 fatty acids are destroyed by high heat, never use hemp oil (or flax seed oil) for cooking. Substitute canola or olive oil with cold-pressed hemp oil in any salad dressing recipe.

Hemp oil has a beautiful dark green color.
It's lovely nutty flavor is great in salad dressings.
Each tablespoon provides 2.5 g ALA omega-3.

Hemp Milk
Being lactose intolerant, I'm always looking for a good non-dairy milk. Hemp milk, whether you buy it or make it, is a good candidate. Living Harvest, Tempt is my favorite commercial hemp milk. But you can also make your own if you have a good blender and a nut bag (or cheese cloth).

Tempt is my favorite commercial hemp milk.
It  provides over 1 gram of ALA omega-3 per cup.
It comes in several flavors.

To make your own hemp milk, just blend:

1/2 cup of raw hemp seeds
4 cups of filtered water
4 to 8 drops of stevia 
Pinch of salt, if desired

Blend until smooth in a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix or a Blendtec. Filter through a nylon nut bag or strain through a double layer of cheese cloth.

Blend hemp seeds with water, stevia and salt
Pour into a nut bag
Strain and squeeze out milk
Pour and enjoy!
It settles in the refrigerator so stir before pouring.

Hemp Ice Cream
Living Harvest also makes a delicious non-dairy ice cream. Although it is certainly not considered a "health food", it is a great substitute for a dairy-based ice cream. Unfortunately this product doesn't contain significant amounts of omega-3. 

To make a healthy ice cream with omega-3, just use Tempt Original or Vanilla Hemp milk, or home-made hemp milk, as the base for any ice cream recipe. Last night we made strawberry ice cream by blending:

2 cups of fresh sliced strawberries 
4 dates soaked in 2 cups of hemp milk
2 tablespoons of cold-pressed hemp oil

After blending, we placed the mixture in a Cuisinart ice cream maker for 30 minutes and voila, incredible healthy strawberry ice cream!

Home-made strawberry hemp ice cream

Lots of Choices
Whether you sprinkle hemp seeds on a bowl of fruit, blend hemp milk into your smoothies, make a balsamic vinaigrette using hemp oil or just drink a tall glass of cold hemp milk, it would truly do good things for your body to add this healthful food to your diet. 


Ana Manwaring said...

You've convinced me! Linda has been raving about your chia seed chocolate pudding and I'm going to try that in hemp milk.

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

Wonderful! You'll get a double dose of omega-3. Life doesn't get better than that!

anamanwaring said...

I found Tempt at Olivers in the "health foods" section. It's delish. Creamier than almond milk. Good in coffee. Thanks.