High-Vibing with Hemp


March 28, 2013

Care of Laura Wright

TVA_hemp1Hemp seeds are teeny, nutty and deeply nutritious. They come in hulled and un-hulled varieties and are often labelled as “hemp nuts”. I generally reach for the un-hulled as I find their ease of use preferable (the hulls are quite tough). They’re a tasty addition to any salad, bowl of oatmeal or smoothie for sure. The crop itself seems to raise a few questions because of the natural linkage to marijuana, but have no fear. You won’t be tripping out after you eat some greens adorned with the stuff. The crop itself also yields edible oils and fibre for paper and cloth. Fun fact: the original Levi’s jeans were made from hemp-based fabric, but the incredible durability of the product didn’t translate to economic viability for the brand!

Let’s talk about THC:
Both marijuana and hemp seeds come from different strains of the Cannabis plant genus, a flowering annual herb. Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the naturally occurring substance in the plant (the flowers) that is responsible for the “high” effect in recreational marijuana. The level of THC in the dried flowers can reach upwards of 20 percent. It’s important to note that there is cannabis that is bred for fibre and seed, and cannabis that is bred for drug production. Marketable hemp seeds are derived from the former and generally contain less than 0.5 percent THC. So, nothing to worry about. The plants are certainly related by family/genus, sure, but they are completely different in their use. And make-up. Extra insurance: Health Canada regulates the seed and fibre cannabis crops very heavily.

Nutty + Powerful:
The hearty nuttiness of these teeny seeds works pretty well in almost anything you want to add them to, which is awesome because they are one of the rare vegan/vegetarian sources of complete protein. They contain all 20 amino acids (building blocks of proteins) and most importantly the 10 essential amino acids. The seeds are a great choice for post-workout munchies thanks to their levels of highly digestible/easily assimilated protein (over 3 grams per tablespoon) and immune boosting qualities. The digestive strain is minimal with hemp due to its high pH levels. This is high-net-gain protein for active people. As a bonus it contains the proper ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 Essential Fatty Acids for reduced inflammation and optimal circulation. Many wins there.

For the Heart of the Planet:
For such a high quality and nutritionally dense food-outcome, hemp crops are incredibly sustainable. They can grow almost anywhere with minimal impact on the land. The plants have been proven to thrive in areas with poor soil quality, short growing seasons and highly dry conditions. The cultivation of hemp requires very low levels of pesticides as well and is often available in affordable organic formats.

Filed under: elifelines Food of the Month Nutrition