My Hemp Addiction
Wednesday 17th May 2017
Whoa, before you wonder whether I've lost my mind, you're not going to find me rolling any joints up, outside the backdoor of my kitchen in a cloud of smoke. I also won't be creating little "cakes" to brighten up even the dreariest of days to secretly munch on when I have run out of wine! No. I'm a law abiding, Nutritional Chef!
When I refer to "hemp" here, I would like to clearly state that I refer to the culinary and industrial hemp of which I have developed a rather large craving for. There are definitely no symptoms from this type of hemp that would resemble those created by the hemp known as "cannabis" or "marijuana, and now I have made that very clear, I can tell you the difference between the two.
- The hemp plant has been bred to produce some strains with extremely low levels of tetrahydrocannabino (or THC), which is where all the hallucination affects are. Plants high in these cannabinoids are illegal.
- In my kitchen, using culinary hemp, with the nearly untraceable levels of THC compounds, I am quite safe and definitely within the confines of the British Laws!
However, many moons ago, long before the narcotics laws came in to place in the early 20th Century, us humans were cultivating, using and eating hemp and reaping many benefits. This ancient seed or pseudograin, along with so many, is making a comeback and when I have been researching and using it, I can see why. Firstly, it is an organic, growing plant. It needs no fertilizer to thrive, it has few biological pests, can restore depleted soil, is easy to grow and can provide a canopy within 5-6 weeks, therefore eliminating time and chemicals to deal with weeds. Even the most newbie gardener could give this a go!
So, what was it being used for years ago? Initially it was used for materials, textiles, animal feed, human feed, housing materials and fibres for all sorts of uses. It was extremely versatile and widely grown. More recently, it has suddenly found its way in to the healthy product fashion pages and now part of the production of paper, cosmetics, textiles and plastics too. Labelled as a Superfood there are now many of us buying a regular supply and enjoying it as part of a healthy diet - how do you eat yours?
Why Are They So Super To Eat?
These seeds have a great collection of nutrients to feed our body and mind.
• They contain the perfect balance of Omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids that helps boost both brain and heart health.
• They are a plant source of complete proteins and therefore a great addition to any vegan or vegetarian diet.
• They are an excellent source of fibre to help with digestion
• They contain a source of phytosterols (plant hormones) that can help lower the cholesterol in our bodies.
• They are known to reduce inflammation and keep skin and joints in good health
• They can assist in reducing menopausal and PMS symptoms with high levels of gamma linolenic acid (GLA).
• They are high in Vitamin E, giving all the benefits of this great antioxidant nutrient.
• Can help reduce sugar cravings.
• Can help with weight loss as it acts as an appetite suppressor.
How To Eat Them?
Hemp Seed Oil
This slightly nutty tasting oil is a great base for a drizzle/dressing. It does not have a stable heating point though so keep it out of the frying pan. It has a lovely, fresh green tint to it so marry it up with some other tasty greens and keep it as untouched and natural as possible.
Hemp Seed Protein Powder
This is such an easy to use, versatile ingredient. Add to it a smoothie, whizz it up in a shake, add it to biscuit recipes, energy balls and soups.
Whole & shelled (hulled) hemp seeds
It is best to buy these seeds shelled or hulled so they can be used immediately. They are great sprinkled on to salads, added in to breads and biscuits or freshly ground to add to smoothies. They have quite a mellow nutty flavour.
I have just taken order of a very large sack of these lovely little seeds. My family have already declared they have eaten far too much, however, I am undeterred. I am quite taken with the sweet, grassy, nuttiness, with such a wonderful texture (I refer to the hulled variety), that I could quite easily walk past that sack, grab a spoon and munch...all day long! However, with anything, I always consume in moderation, even if I am in love! So, I will be using them to add to a balanced diet and enjoy experimenting with, to inspire you to try!
I would like to add a point about cost here, hemp seeds that haven't been hulled are quite a bit cheaper than the seeded/hulled variety. I will be honest, I have followed a number of internet, YouTube and Blog instructions on how to hull them yourself to save money - however, I have spent a large amount of time over the past weeks hoovering up, finding, sweeping up and generally being annoyed by the little seeds ALL OVER MY KITCHEN! My youngest son found it quite amusing to watch them shoot across the room, declaring that "see Mummy, you make a mess too". Not funny. So, my advice...if you're making milk (and it's the most delicious milk I have ever made), use the unhulled seeds. Whizz them up (as in the recipe on the site), and pass through a cheese cloth, it really doesn't matter if you have shells with this. Save the more expensive, prepared seeds for baking/eating from the SACK! However, if you do find yourself with an abundance of patience, time and cleaning up effort, knock yourself out, get bashing away at them!
So, grab a bag, give the recipes a go, and add a new flavour and bunch of nutrients to your diet that your stomach will love you for.