Hemp. Now before your mind starts imagining people in dreadlocks smoking a “cigarette” which leaves them both happy and hungry, please read on.
To give you a very simple explanation: In Medieval Europe, hemp meant fibre, but in the 1930s the US Bureau of Narcotics started using it to describe all forms of Cannabis or what is commonly now today as marijuana. This is when people started getting confused; There are not only botanical differences in the Cannabis plants, but also differences in the way they are used. (Read this) Hemp, or a variety of Cannabis sativa, is a plant that is grown for it’s fibres and seeds and not for smoking and getting high. The fibres have long been used for making rope, fabric, paper and animal bedding. The seeds are used for making oil, hemp milk, consumed like any other seeds and are also ground into a powder or flour.
However it is that you use or consume hemp, you don’t have to worry about failing a drug test. Hemp has very minimal traces (if any) of THC , which is the psychoactive substance found in marijuana. Just like you wouldn’t worry about eating poppy seeds you shouldn’t worry about eating hemp. But unfortunately its legality is disputed from one country or state to another, seems a bit silly and over-reactive. I can tell you from personal experience that I’ve never felt “funny” after consuming hemp flour or seeds. I have found the taste to be deliciously nutty and you can’t beat all of the health benefits! The flour is a wonderful gluten, wheat and grain free ingredient to experiment and cook/bake with. The seeds have added a crunchy topping to my morning muesli as well as a nutty taste to steak sauce and smoothies.
I’d like to now share some facts and recipes with you so that you may, perhaps, give hemp a taste and reap its health benefits. If you have any doubts, you should contact your physician first.
Health Benefits and Facts
• Considered to be one of the most nutritious plants, hemp contains all essential amino acids; This makes it a fantastic source of protein.
• Hemp is loaded with fibre, magnesium, phytosterols, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin and thiamin.
• A good source of Vitamin E and therefore an antioxidant, which are recommended for cancer prevention.
• Hemp seeds are a wonderful source of omega-6 and omega-3. The omega-3 is good for cardiovascular health and the omega-6 helps brain function, bone health and regulate your metabolism, among many other things.
• It is an anti-inflammatory and also help improve circulation. (If you suffer from RA or Arthritis make sure to check into this.)
• The high protein and fibre content means they will leave you feeling full longer. Additionally this helps slow digestion and therefore prevents blood sugar spikes. (This is a good thing for diabetics and people who suffer from hypoglycaemia.)
• Hemps seeds are believed to aid in reducing blood cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
• Hemp oil is a very popular ingredient in high-end cosmetics because it helps promote cell growth for softer and smoother skin. Additionally it is used for treating dry skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
• When hulled, the seeds are called hemp hearts.
• It is perfectly safe to eat hemp seeds with the outer shell still attached
• Hemp flour is gluten-free
How To Use Hemp Flour and Hemp Seeds
• Hemp Milk: Melissa of My Whole Food Life likes to grind the seeds to make her own hemp milk — it’s super easy too!
• Chocolate Coconut Paleo Crack: Charmian, The Messy Baker, and her sister developed these tasty snacks using hemp hearts.
• Healthy Power Muffins (Gluten-Free and Vegan): Alisa of Go Dairy Free uses hemp hearts for her energising muffin recipe.
• Vegan Quinoa-Flax-Hemp Granola Bars w/ Walnuts & Apricots: Heather of Girlichef adds hemp hearts to her healthy granola bars.
• Protein Packed Monster Breakfast Cookies: Megan of Allergy Free Alaska takes the guilt out of eating cookies for breakfast with her grain, egg and nut free recipe. ( Uses hemp seeds)
I also like to add them to my muesli for an extra nutty crunch.
•Spinach, Pepper and Hemp Bread: Ceri of Natural Kitchen Adventures uses hemp flour to bake a delicious looking gluten-free bread.
• Divine Hemp Chocolate Brownie: Shauna of Eating with S.O.L.E has us brownie lovers covered with her hemp flour using recipe.
• Homemade Protein Bars by Yummy Mummy Kitchen (recipe uses hemp seeds)
• Hemp Hummus by PETA (recipe uses hemp seeds)
•Blueberry Hemp Smoothie by This Rawsome Vegan (recipe uses hemp seeds)
• Hemp Tofu Scramble Breakfast Pizza Topped with Hash Brown Potatoes by Vegan Richa (recipe uses hemp tofu)
• Apple, Kale & Hemp Seed Green Smoothie by In Pursuit of More (recipe uses hemp hearts)
• Pesto-Coated Carrot and Parsnip Fettuccini by Almost All The Truth (recipe uses hemp oil)
• Pumpkin Coconut Flour Pancakes – Low Carb and Gluten-Free by All Day I Dream About Food (recipe uses hemp protein powder)
• Peanut Butter & Hemp Seed Dog Treats by Free People Blog
• Gluten-Free, Vegan Hemp Bread by Nourishing Meals
• Low Carb & Gluten Free Pizza Crust by I Breathe I’m Hungry
How about you, have you cooked or baked with either hemp flour or seeds?
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But in the meantime it’s your time to give back.:) There is a young man in California that needs our help. He was just accepted to Cal State Long Beach and is currently raising funds to pay for a car so he can drive to college this autumn. His story is very touching, and he isn’t asking for much. I really hope we can all help by either making a donation (no donation is too small) or by spreading the word on Social Media. Use #ACarForTony Come on friends let get this kid to school!!