One of the major sources of protein in my diet is hemp. Hemp hearts, are tiny little seeds that pack a huge nutritional punch. The biggest benefit is that they contain all 21 amino acids, including the 9 essential ones our bodies need. They are also a main source of fat, including both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. 2 tablespoons sprinkled on a salad or blended in a smoothie will add 11 g protein, 14 g fat, and 16% DV iron to your diet.
Hemp comes in a variety of forms, stretching its uses across many varying applications:
- Hemp milk – a nuttier, higher protein alternative to almond or soy milk in cereals, smoothies, and baked goods.
- Hemp hearts (seeds) – extremely versatile, these little seeds can be tossed on salads, blended in smoothies, or ground into dips and sauces
- Hemp seed oil – while an acquired taste, hemp oil is terrific in salad dressings or as a fat boost in smoothies. Hemp seed oil has a very low smoking point and easily goes rancid, so it is not good for cooking and must stay in a dark, cool place. You can find it in dark bottles in the refrigerator section of your local health food store.
- Hemp protein powder – gives any baked good or shake a protein boost.
Check out these recipes for delicious, unique ways to add hemp to your diet:
- Apple Hemp Muffins
- Hemp Pesto
- Homemade Hemp Milk
- Lemon Herb Quinoa with Hemp Seeds, Spring Peas, and Basil
- Ultra Creamy Hemp Salad Dressing
And no, for those of you who are worried, commercial hemp and marijuana are not the same. Hemp is grown from a completely different variety of the Cannabis plant than marijuana and contains extremely low levels of THC, which is the cause of the drug response.