Yesterday I wrote about making my own Onnit Hemp Force protein powder because I found many of the ingredients at a local bulk food store. While I didn’t find hemp protein powder in bulk, I did find hulled hemp seeds in bulk, which got me thinking. Could I buy some hulled hemp seeds, toss them in my Blendtec Designer 625 blender and make my own hemp protein powder?
Turns out that I can’t. At least not easily. Hemp protein powder isn’t made by simply blending up hemp seeds into an ultra fine powder. In fact, to make hemp protein powder, you have to first separate the hemp seeds from the shell. Next, the seeds are separated from its natural oil, leaving three products: the hemp shells, the hemp seeds, and the hemp oil. The seeds are then dried to remove moisture. Finally, the seeds are added back with the shells and ground into a fine powder, producing hemp protein powder.
Hulled hemp seeds are whole hemp seeds that have the outer shell removed. As a result, it would be impossible for me to replicate store-bought hemp protein powder using hulled hemp seeds. However, all is not lost. Turns out that the absence of the outer shell removes the fiber and the minerals. This means that the total protein count is higher when compared to an equal amount or serving of whole hemp seeds.
Confusing, right? To complicate things further, some people prefer using ground hulled hemp seeds over manufactured hemp protein powder because virtually all protein powders contain chemicals (more on this in a future blog post.) So what can be done is to grind up hulled hemp seeds into a fine powder and use that instead of hemp protein powder. The one caveat is that you have to double or triple the amount of powder that you use to equal the protein of a store-bought hemp protein powder. However, you can rest easy knowing that you’re using something completely natural that you made yourself, 100% free of chemicals.
The unfamiliar may equate hemp with marijuana, and then conclude that there’s no way you could lose weight with hemp, as you’ll just want to sit around all day on the couch eating Cheetos. The fact is that hemp is not marijuana, it won’t get you high, and it can actually be used to help you lose weight. Of course a balanced diet and exercise is crucial, but adding hemp to your daily food routine could give you that edge to shed a few extra pounds.
The cocktail of calories, complex carbohydrates, and protein found in hemp hearts can give you the added boost of energy to muscle through a kettle bell or Battle Rope workout, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or just help you get through your day without feeling drained. Hemp provides you this energy without any caffeine or sugar that you’d find in an energy drink or coffee. In powder form, it’s easy to add it to your meals (in a smoothie, or mixed in with oatmeal) without changing your existing diet.
We know hemp is packed with protein, which is good because protein is crucial for making us feel full. This is especially useful during the stretches in between meals where we may be tempted to make a run for the office vending machine, making an impulse decision to inhale a bag of chips or a chocolate ball to satiate our hunger. If we can stay full longer, we can reduce impulsive eating and ultimately make healthier choices during mealtime.
If you’ve eaten poorly in the past, maybe during the holidays or at a point in your life when you made less intelligent decisions, you’ve likely had to deal with constipation. It’s definitely not pleasant to contend with, and if you’re trying to lose weight, can be a little defeating when you step on the scale and see you aren’t losing much weight. Hemp hearts are packed with fibre and they’re easily digestible, helping to keep you regular, remove waste, and see the number on the scale roll down.
The strange thing about hemp in the United States is that it’s legal to have a T-shirt made of hemp, legal to add hemp protein powder to your oatmeal or smoothie, and legal to have hemp oil for medicinal purposes. But don’t you think about growing hemp for its fiber, for food, or for medicinal use, because you’ll be tossed in prison! This doesn’t make any sense to me, especially since hemp is missing virtually all of the THC that makes marijuana so much fun.
On the bright side for you Americans, you can still import hemp from us Canadians and enjoy the many benefits of this Super Plant. While having clothes made from hemp may not interest most people, those who are looking to lose weight may want to consider adding hemp to their diets whenever possible. There are a wide range of hemp protein powders available from companies like Manitoba Harvest (made in Canada!) and the new Hemp Force protein powder from Onnit as well.
As I mentioned, hemp is an amazing source of protein and it won’t bloat you and leave you with gas the way that whey protein so often does. But hemp oil is also beneficial as its ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids is 3 or 4:1. The ratio of hemp oil is approximately this, and it’s one of the only seeds with a ratio that high. For adding to smoothies or shakes, hemp oil is a better choice than something like a flaxseed oil for instance.
Adding hemp to your diet long-term could also lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and help control your blood sugar as well since you’re obtaining fatty acids and protein from a source that isn’t full of refined carbohydrates, sugars, or starches. Diabetics also find that it helps improve circulation, as hemp can reduce inflammation.
And this is just scratching the surface in terms of health benefits of hemp. A little mind-blowing that this plant is still illegal, isn’t it?