If human beings could cultivate only one plant, hemp would be a smart choice. It can supply the raw materials to build homes, make furniture, create decorative accessories and clothing, and produce a variety of foods. It can also add a touch of luxury in lotions and creams, keeping our skin soft.
The seeds or "nuts" of the hemp plant are the source of various hemp foods and hemp milk. Hemp nuts are rich in healthful fats and protein, and a good source of fiber.
Hemp is also good for the planet. Unlike most plants that are commercially cultivated, hemp is grown without pesticides because it is naturally resilient. And rather than depleting soil, hemp has a revitalizing effect. Agriculture Canada, that country's cousin to our USDA, estimates that per acre, hemp yields four times as much paper as trees and more digestible protein than any other food source. And it takes only three to four months for the plant to mature, making it an extremely sustainable commodity.
Can You Get High on Hemp?
No. Industrial hemp, the plant used to make food, fabric, and other commodities, comes from the same botanical family as marijuana, but is a different plant and does not contain THC, the psychoactive inredient in the drug.
"Don't cook with plant oils-instead, drizzle the unrefined oils on cooked or raw food," says Udo Erasmus, PhD, author of Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill. And to get the ideal ratio of fats in supplement form, try Flora Udo's Choice 3.6.9 Oil Blend.
We need an optimum balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fats. The optimum ratio is somewhere between 2:1 and 5:1. In hemp nuts, the ratio is approximately 3:1, in the optimum range. Hemp oil also contains this beneficial ratio. Hemp protein is easily digested and contains well-balanced amounts of all essential amino acids for older children and adults. (It isn't a complete protein for children under 5.)
How to Benefit from Hemp
Here are some ways to enjoy hemp:
- Eat the nuts as a snack or add them to salads or cereal.
- Eat hemp butter like nut butters.
- Drizzle hemp oil on salads or vegetables after cooking.
- Add plain or flavored hemp protein powder to smoothies or sprinkle an unflavored version on raw vegetables or salads.
- Drink hemp milk, plain or flavored, or add it to cereals or soup recipes.
- Bake with hemp flour.
- Try Living Harvest's new Tempt ice cream, made with hemp milk.
Today, the hemp in our food is grown in Canada (there is a ban on hemp cultivation in the United States). A few of our favorite hemp products are: Manitoba Harvest Dark CHOCOLATE HEMP PROTEIN POWDER, Olympian Labs ULTIMATE GREENS PROTEIN 8 IN 1, VANILLA-BANANA-BERRY flavor, and Nutiva ORGANIC SHELLED HEMP SEED.