Happy Thursday, everyone! I hope this post finds each of you happy and well. Today, I am taking a moment to talk about one of my favorite superfoods: hemp. I’ve included recipes for hemp hearts and hemp protein powder over the years here on Power Hungry, but I’ve never spent much (ok, any!) time here discussing why hemp products–such as hemp hearts, hemp protein powder, hemp oil, or hemp milk–are worth adding to a clean and healthy eating/living/exercise routine. The time has come!
First things first: hemp is not marijuana and hemp products will not get you high. While hemp and marijuana are members of the same plant family (cannabis sativa), but they are not equivalent.
Hemp has been cultivated in China for thousands of years (in fact, sativa is derived from the Latin botanical adjective for “sown” or “cultivated”) for its myriad fiber uses, including ropes, fabrics and paper as well as a highly nutritious food crop. Its hemp’s remarkable nutrition profile–the seeds are rich in both protein and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids–that accounts for its (re)appearance in modern markets as a superfood.
Let’s talk about hemp’s protein first, which you can add to your diet in the form of hemp protein powder. Hemp protein is considered a superior source of protein–comparable to other sources of protein such as meat, milk, and eggs–because it contains 20 amino acids, including all nine of the essential amino acids that comprise a complete protein. It is also highly digestible, too (I can attest!), which is why it is one of my favorite protein powders for adding to smoothies, as well as for use in baking (e.g., my Hemp Protein Power Pucks!).
You can find hemp protein in various forms (fiber included, water-soluble, flavored, and more), with protein content ranging from 12 to 20 grams per serving. I am partial to plain varieties (with or without fiber), for their versatility, but choose what pleases you!
Not a fan of protein powder? Another way to glean the benefits of hemp is with hemp hearts, the shelled, soft-textured seeds of hemp plants:
Hemp hearts have a mild, nutty flavor and tender texture that reminds me of pine nuts (but far cheaper!). They are every bit as versatile as other nuts and seeds, so you can add them to baked goods, granola, salads, homemade energy bars, pesto, and whatever else inspires you.
You can also enjoy hemp hearts in milk form (it’s actually my favorite non-dairy milk). Hemp milk is made from pulverizing hemp seeds, blending with water and then straining out the solids. The result is creamy and delicious!
A benefit of hemp hearts, in general, over hemp protein powder is that the former is also rich in hemp oil (most of the oil is removed form hemp protein powders), and hemp oil is a nutritional powerhouse! Hemp seeds (hearts) are 44% edible oil, 80% of which is essential fatty acids (omega-6 and omega-3), but also antioxidants, and other essential nutrients and vitamins.
All of which brings me to my last option for adding superfood hemp to your routine, with ease: hemp oil, specifically, pure CBD oil:
Up until a few weeks past, CBD oil was unknown to me, but then I was given the opportunity to learn more about it courtesy of Receptra Naturals. I was especially interested in trying it given that I am so fond of hemp hearts and hemp protein powder, so I was excited to discover more.
Just to clarify, CBD is the pure oil from hemp seeds, plain and simple, and is patented by the US government as both an antioxidant and neuroprotectant. I felt especially comfortable using Receptra Naturals for my first foray into CBD oil:
*Receptra specializes in Hemp CBD Oil products (they also make topical CBD products, such as a body butter and targeted topical)
*The hemp used in their products is grown organically
I was pleased as soon as I received the bottle, because the oil is taken via a dropper rather than gigantic horse-size capsules. Hurray! The oil I received has a mild, all-natural berry flavor, which made it even easier to take. I used the oil straight from the dropper, but also added it to tea, smoothies, and juice, too. I liked it.
Finding a new plant-based oil supplement that contains both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is a significant drawing point, but I was also curious about some of the claims that CBD oil may help in muscle recovery and overall endurance by reducing inflammation. My running workouts have intensified in the past months with marathon training (ouch!), so I decided to give it a shot with a very non-scientific, week-long experiment.
Here’s what I did: for one week, I used the oil first thing in the morning and just before bed. Then I went about my planned running workout for the week, which included an intense new combination of hills and speedwork.
My very non-scientific conclusion? I felt pretty great by week’s end, whereas I would normally have expected soreness from the changeup in my workout type and variety. Could it be placebo effect? Sure. But I am pleased enough to keep using hemp oil and make it–along with hemp protein powder and hemp hearts–part of my hemp superfood options.
I hope you consider giving some hemp products, a try, too!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Receptra Naturals. The opinions and text are all mine.