Plant-based protein: what a freaking HOT TOPIC!
If you’re plant-based or are leaning into a more plant-based lifestyle, you’ve probably been asked, thought about, or researched protein. There’s a common misconception that plant-based diets do not contain enough protein.
Well- I’m happy to say that they do totally contain enough protein, if you are eating a well-rounded diet of whole food fruits and veggies. Because, plants have protein! In fact, there are so many awesome sources of plant protein, I wanted to get into the nitty gritty of them and try to help dispel this myth.
So today, we’re going in on HEMP SEEDS. Let’s do this!
What is hemp?
Hemp is a super strong, versatile plant that, before not too long ago, was illegal to grow in the US. It’s from the same family as marijuana, which is still considered in some states as a Schedule 1 narcotic. (Personally- I find this pretty crazy. The fact that cigarettes, which have been directly linked to a higher mortality rate, are legal but marijuana isn’t is just insane. But different topic for a different day.)
Hemp grows tall, has a strong inner bark, and thin leaves. The stalks can be used to make everything from clothes to biofuel, the seeds can be ingested (hello protein!), and the flowers can be used to extract CBD.
Is hemp cannabis?
Yes! It’s fancy plant name is Cannabis Sativa L.
So what’s the difference between hemp and marijuana?
Since hemp and marijuana are from the same plant family, they are both considered Cannabis. Their differences lie in how much Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) they contain. THC is what causes the intoxication effect of weed btw.
Hemp plants have a level of .3% or lower of THC. Anything higher than .3% is considered marijuana.
Is hemp legal?
Hemp is now legal in the United States. 🙂
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (what we refer to as CBD) is extracted from the flower of the hemp plant. It has these phytocannabinoids that work with our endocannabinoid system to create homeostasis and an overall sense of well being.
And I’m also freaking obsessed with it. I mentioned this in the video, but I sometimes get neck pain from working at a computer all day. When I wake up, a topical CBD is the first thing I reach for to ease the neck pain. (My favorite topical is by Blue Ridge Hemp Co btw.)
What is hemp oil?
Hemp oil is the oil that’s derived from cold-pressing the seeds of the hemp plant. It has a lot of different uses- everything from food to skincare products.
What are the benefits of hemp seeds?
They are packed with protein! Seriously, hemp seeds are an awesome source of this macronutrient because they are a complete protein. This means that they contain all 9 essential amino acids that are the building blocks of protein. Our bodies need protein to grow and develop, repair and regenerate muscles.
Hemp seeds also contain fiber! We need fiber in our diets for healthy digestion. If you’re ever feeling bloated, it might be a sign that you haven’t been getting enough fiber. Hemp seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber contains a lot of digestion-important nutrients. Insoluble fiber helps to add bulk our stool (tmi, but true) which aids overall digestion.
Hemp seeds are also packed with minerals. When you eat them, you’re getting magnesium, which can hemp to regulate blood pressure. They also contain iron which is crucial for energy, healthy metabolism, and red blood cell function. Since hemp seeds contain non-heme iron (which is harder for our bodies to absorb compared to heme iron), you want to be partnering the hemp seeds with some type of Vitamin C to increase absorption. Good sources of Vitamin C include guava, oranges, papaya, strawberries, and red peppers.
How do you eat hemp seeds?
However you want! Seriously- they are so freaking versatile. You can put them in smoothies, on top of smoothies (this would be a great smoothie bowl to top with hemp seeds since it’s rich with Vitamin C), mix them into sauces or dressings, or use them to make vegan parmesan. I’ve linked up a bunch of delicious hemp seed recipes below.
Hemp seeds are kind of incredible, because whatever you add hemp seeds to, they’ll make your dish creamier. I even love adding them to pasta sauce to increase the marinara creaminess and kick up the protein. (I’ll also pair the pasta sauce with a lentil pasta for even more protein.) Hemp milk is another awesome option for enjoying all of hemp’s benefits!
How much should you eat?
Start with a tablespoon and see how you feel. If you’d like to up your protein intake, up the amount to 2 tablespoons.
Where do you buy hemp seeds?
They’re sold at most grocery stores. Like any food you buy, you have to be a little bit of a detective and check the label. You want to look for a product that is grown organically in Canada or the US. Typically, hemp seeds coming from Canada are good quality- but always check the label to find out where the seeds are coming from. Many countries do not have regulations on farming which could mean a really poor quality product.
Hemp Seed Recipes:
First, I’ve picked out some of my favorite smoothies to top or blend in hemp seeds to: