Whether you're looking to add more protein into your diet as a result of being a vegetarian or vegan, to help give your workouts an extra boost, or because you simply aren't getting the daily recommended amount (46 grams for women, 56 grams for men), hemp protein can be utilized in a number of different ways. If you've never thought about using hemp that way, maybe it's time to explore the unknown.
By definition, hemp is a derivative of the cannabis plant, especially when grown for its fiber. If a red flag started waving in your mind immediately upon reading the word "cannabis" you're not alone. What differentiates hemp from marijuana, however, is the very small amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient of marijuana. Despite its lack of THC, hemp's connection to the cannabis plant is the reason why the Federal Pure Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act of 1938 has prohibited its production in the United States.
I'm willing to bet that the majority of you look at the cannabis plant as being solely marijuana, but there are actually many different varieties. While it is true that hemp and marijuana come from the same cannabis species, they are genetically distinct and differ even more in their use, chemical makeup, and cultivation methods. Like I said before, hemp contains a very small amount of THC (less than 1%) and refers to the non-psychoactive varieties of cannabis. Even with the taboo that comes along with the word 'hemp', it really isn't all that bad and has some pretty dope uses. Sorry, bad joke. Anyway...
Did you know that hemp seeds are a great source of plant-based protein? By weight, hemp seeds can provide you with an amount of protein that is similar to beef and lamb. They are considered a complete protein source, meaning that they provide you with all 21 known amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids that your body can't produce on its own and must take from dietary sources. I know there are at least a few of you who are reading this right now and thinking, "but that's why I use soy protein..." but one difference between consuming hemp versus soy is that, unlike soy beans, hemp has not been subjected to genetic modification. Hardly requiring any pesticides, herbicides or petrochemical fertilizers during the cultivation process, hemp is a safer plant source of protein.
One common method of preparation when it comes to incorporating hemp protein powder into your diet is through a protein shake. This seems to be a popular option because there isn't a singular "right" way to make a protein shake, although the total amount of nutrients you're getting from your drink will depend on what else you decide to put in your blender -- unless your idea of a fun time is consuming hemp protein powder by itself -- in that case, go for it. For those of us who aren't so dedicated, however, hemp protein powder does tend to have a bit of a bitter taste to it, so keep that in mind when doing your protein shake prep. Adding fresh fruit to your protein shake, for example, will give you more vitamins and minerals in addition to protein. I'll post a recipe further down for you to try if you're curious.
Going beyond just protein shakes, hemp protein powder can easily be snuck in, if you will, to other dishes with ease. Think of adding some to your oatmeal for breakfast or even stirring it into your soup for lunch or dinner. Hemp powder is even versatile enough to be used as a partial flour substitute in some baking recipes. You can replace about 25% of the total flour in certain recipes with hemp protein powder.
For a healthier alternative to one of your favorite desserts, try replacing the regular flour that you would normally use in a brownie recipe with hemp protein and cocoa powder. Using equal amounts of both powders along with whatever other ingredients you would use to make your brownies will yield a tasty result.
Now for that protein shake recipe that quickly became one of my favorites when I stumbled upon it. Using a few simple ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen cupboards, you can make a banana hemp smoothie that is both good and good for you...
For this recipe you'll need:
- 1 cup milk of your choice
- 1 medium-sized (frozen) banana
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds or hemp protein powder (you can use both if you'd like)
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- A touch of honey, stevia or another one of your favorite sweeteners if desired
*Combine all ingredients in your blender and blend until your desired consistency is reached.*
- 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 cup mixed berries
- 1 serving green superfood powder
- Calories: 252
- Fat: 10 g
- Protein: 7 g
- Carbohydrates: 35 g
- Fiber: 10 g
- Sugar: 15 g
- Vitamin A: 12% Recommended Daily Amount (RDA)
- Vitamin C: 17% RDA
- Calcium: 34% RDA
- Iron: 20% RDA
The hemp used in this smoothie will provide you with the essential fatty acids omega-6 and omega-3, many B vitamins, vitamins A, D and E, calcium, iron, and dietary fiber. While the recipe itself is relatively simple, adding the suggested add-ons or anything else that sounds good to you will help spruce it up. This recipe is just one of a number of protein shake-style recipes available online that incorporate hemp seed or hemp protein powder for an extra nutritional boost.
So hemp, not to be confused with marijuana, is actually pretty good for you after all. Remember, hemp varieties of cannabis contain virtually no THC, so your body processes it faster than you can smoke it, meaning you can't actually get high from it. The use of hemp as a nutritional add-in to some of your favorite foods has grown to be increasingly popular over the years and has yet to show any signs of slowing down. Hemp protein powder is just one of the many uses for hemp, and new, innovative products are being worked on and tested to further utilize hemp for its many health benefits.
Are you interested in learning more about hemp and its uses in regards to your health? Let us know and we'll be sure to keep you up-to-date with the latest hemp health trends!