Is Hemp a Good Source of Protein?
Emphatically, yes! Think seeds and oils, not Grateful Dead concerts. Hemp is commonly referred to as a "superfood" because of its amazing nutritional value. Hemp's amino acid profile dominates with its 8 essential amino acids (10 if you're elderly or a baby), making it a vegetarian source of "complete" protein. Hemp also comes naturally equipped with the World Health Organization's recommended ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. Hemp is also gaining popularity because it offers an easy to digest source of protein (unlike soy, which is difficult for some people to digest), as well as other important nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals like magnesium, iron, and phosphorus.
Last but definitely not least, hemp is an important industrial crop that is great for the earth. According to Keith Watson, a hemp crop specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, “Hemp is a sturdy crop that grows tall and fast, which means it outcompetes weeds.” Hemp is automatically organic because no pesticides or herbicides are needed to produce massive yields. This makes it one of the lowest cost, highest value crops on the planet.
Manitoba Harvest is my absolute favorite source for hemp products. I use their hemp seeds, powder and oil to make many delicious Raw vegan recipes all the time. See my ebook, Kristen Suzanne's Ultimate Raw Vegan Hemp Recipes.
The Crazy Legal Scoop on Hemp
In the US, hemp products can be purchased in healthfood stores and online. But hemp presently costs much more than it should, due to rather absurd laws that make it illegal to grow hemp in the US, but legal to import it, meaning all hemp products sold in the US are necessarily imported. Aside from hemp's amazing food uses, its fiber is comparable to cotton, but stronger and much longer-lasting. (Cotton is also one of the most pesticide-laden crops on the planet, whereas hemp uses none and lasts for years and years.) George Washington grew hemp on his plantation. Columbus' ships had sails made of hemp fabric. The Connestoga wagons that tamed the frontier were covered with hemp canvas.
But in 1970, growing hemp was outlawed in the US due to... get this... the shape of its leaf! Hemp has no narcotic properties, but it is in the same family as marijuana, with a similar-looking leaf. In the early days of the War on Drugs, federal regulators felt that legal hemp crops would make it difficult to enforce bans on growing marijuana due to possible confusion between the plants. Other countries followed suit with similar bans. After gauging the massive economic impact of several decades of this very flawed policy, in the 1990's, most Western countries reversed these laws. The US is the laggard, which is why we must import hemp today (mostly from Canada), to the detriment of American farmers and consumers' pocketbooks. Recently, consumers have become more aware of hemp's advantages, driving growing demand for hemp-based foods and textile products. As this demand has increased, so have import volumes. Then add the fact that hemp is a great source of biofuel, bio-degradable plastics, and chemicals currently made from foreign oil. Several agriculture-intensive US states have challenged the federal restrictions and it is probably just a matter of time before hemp farming is legalized in the US.
Back: Raw Food FAQ
The above is one of the more frequently asked questions that come up when I give classes and talks about Raw food. For a very comprehensive introduction to Raw Food lifestyle and expert tips and advice on making it work for you, see my ebook:
Kristen's Raw: The EASY Way to Get Started & SUCCEED with Raw Food