Magic Carpet Ride

Today, the first Wednesday in June, is National Running Day! I’m not sure if this is only for the U.S. or also applies to our Northern America. Regardless, go out and run and then eat heartily after.

So, why the plant photo? I’ve got a suggestion for what to eat.

(Okay, wait a minute. I’ll interrupt you here to say that if you don’t want to read about the benefits of this food or were expecting to read something else, just wait for another day. If you have something you’d like me to write on, send me a comment. I’m totally open to topics and would love to hear from you! And now…)

After reading Run Inspired‘s take on the wonders of chia seeds, I thought it was time to go explore my own granola-goodness food. You can’t smoke it, but it comes from the same family of plants as those you can, and is completely versatile: hemp. For many years, hemp was banned from being grown under the Marijuana Tax Act and thought to contain excessive amounts of Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. (Later it was found that hemp contains only 0.001% THC. Negligible.)

Hemp seeds, or hemp hearts (shelled hemp seeds) as they are known, are a wonder food. They are a great source of protein and omega oils. They increase energy, reduce cravings and help the body to metabolize stored fat as energy. (Wheee!) They have a lovely nutty flavour, and you can add them to pretty much anything. I have them in my smoothie or just chomp them by the teaspoon, but you can also add them to toast (on any nut butter), in baking, on stir-fry, in soups and in salads.

Hemp hearts are full of essential goodness. They are packed with protein, containing all 10 essential amino acids, providing more than milk, meat or fish. They have the nearly optimal 3:1 ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 oils (EFAs – essential fatty acids), as recommended by the World Health Organization. Hemp hearts are a 3.75:1 ratio. This ratio has been cited as a balanced formula in supporting long-term health by decreasing the likeliness of developing heart disease, diabetes and depression. Hemp hearts also contain chlorophyll and Vitamin E, Vitamin B, Folic acid and phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and calcium. Who isn’t going to feel good with all this supporting you?

Hemp hearts vs the world: the takedown. Hemp hearts have more protein, Omega 3 and 6, and rare fatty acids than chia seeds. They also have less carbs than chia seeds and have been reported as being easier to digest and more balanced than soy.  It’s an easy way for vegetarians to get protein, as explained by hemp producers Manitoba Harvest (To be clear, I have no affiliation with Manitoba Harvest whatsoever; in fact, I buy the competitor’s product!)

Almost two-thirds of hemp protein is made up of edestin, a globulin protein found only in hemp seeds. This makes hemp the superior source for this protein in the plant kingdom. Edestin is a type of plant protein that is similar to protein found in the human body, and thus is perfectly suited to aid in meeting the body’s cellular needs such as DNA repair. Since much of hemp’s protein resembles that found in human blood, hemp protein is very easily digested and assimilated. In addition, another one-third of hemp’s protein is albumin, another high quality globulin protein also found in egg whites.

(The hemp plant also has versatility. Products made can replace common food allergens such as nuts, gluten, lactose or sugar by providing non-dairy milk, butters and protein powder. Hemp can be used to make clothing, rope, paper and oils, among other things. Who knew? Go Hemp!)

What’s in your cereal bowl? Have you ever tried hemp hearts? What’s your wonder food of choice? 


4 thoughts on “Magic Carpet Ride

    • I had the jingle for chia pets written in my post initially; it’s definitely ingrained!

      Yes, I love quinoa. Have you used quinoa flour in baking? Also very versatile.

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