Updated: Mar 3
When I decided to go full vegetarian a decade ago it was a long thought-out process. I tend to overthink my actions, weighing the pros and cons carefully. While fruits and vegies had always been my food of choice, I did enjoy meat-based meals. It’s very rare that I miss meat. Actually, I can tell you exactly when… when I am presented with the weird. Yes, I admit I will usually try a tiny bite, having an adventurous chef for a husband means many things have passed through our kitchen; camel, alligator, moose, elk, emu, just to name a few. Otherwise, I can honestly say that I do not miss consuming platefuls of meat.
As crazy as it sounds I love researching, I adore the sciency side of food. Things I subscribe to, and actually read, Science Daily-Food News and Medical News Today (mental health and nutrition editions). So, when hubby asked me to be a part of his cooking show and share my knowledge I was excited at the chance to research for a purpose!
In episode 4 of Big Flavour Lite Adam makes the British classic fish and chips. While gathering his ingredients he grabbed my bottle of hemp oil, thinking that it would add a nice flavour to his coleslaw dressing. He was right of course but what he didn’t realize was how wonderfully healthy this oil is.
The Hemp Plant
Hemp is not marijuana but it is a variety of Cannabis sativa L. Hemp seeds and oils only contain trace amounts of THC. The plant is harvested for a variety of reasons:
For its fiber to make things like fabrics, ropes, paper and building materials.
For protein (from the seeds)
Oil - both culinary and CBD
At any given time, a raid on my kitchen with bring up culinary hemp oil, hemp tea and hemp hearts. The seeds are extremely nutritious being composed of quality protein with 30% fat containing a healthy balance of alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) and linoleic acid (omega-6). For a vegetarian such as myself the fact that a little more than 25% of its calories come from protein is important.
Protein and healthy fats aside the seeds are also a great source of:
Sulfur (yes! you need this for metabolism, healthy skin, DNA production and repair)
My favourite way to enjoy hemp hearts are in my oatmeal or smoothies bowls. Of course you can also toss them over a salad, add them to granola, muffins, cookies and so much more!
Since I am not a fan of salad dressing I often just sprinkle my salads with a vinegar and either high quality olive or hemp oil (has a very pleasant nutty flavour) depending on the ingredients of my salad. It’s also interesting to note that hemp oil is lower in saturated fat as compared to other culinary oils while also being an excellent source of vitamins A and E. It’s important to know that you can not use hemp oil for cooking; it has a very low smoke point and cooking destroys any healthy properties.
While there are A LOT of articles out there toting the many health benefits of hemp I like to stick to the ones that have actual research behind them.
In 2011 a study showed promising findings that hemp oil and other sources of omega-3 can help reduce inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation can contribute to the occurrence of certain cancers and heart disease.
Since 2005 there have been multiple studies showing the benefits of hemp oil in the treatment of several skin conditions including acne, eczema, psoriasis and lichen planus. Most of the benefits are due to its antibacterial properties and healthy fat content.
Multiple studies have also shown us that women who experience PMS and/or the unpleasant symptoms of menopause see a noticeable decrease in symptoms when consuming hemp oil on a regular basis.
Above I mentioned that hemp tea could also be found in my cupboards. Hemp tea is a great detoxifier, helps to balance hormones and is said to improve gastrointestinal function. The antibacterial properties of the hemp plant are also translated to tea made from its leaves to promote oral health.
Consuming a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates and lipids is the key to creating optimal health. Adding hemp is not going to solve all your problems but it does contribute to a healthy diet that will lead to overall better health.
Have questions? Want to know more? Contact me 😊
Missed an episode of Big Flavour Lite? Watch them here