Saturday, Apr 01, 2023

Hemp and Health: A Quick Guide To This (Mis)Understood Super Plant

Hemp and Health: A Quick Guide To This (Mis)Understood Super Plant

The Indian market is opening up to Hemp-based products. Read to know how you can incorporate this superfood into your diet

Homemade smoothie made from oats milk, shelled hemp and honey
Homemade smoothie made from oats milk, shelled hemp and honey Shutterstock

Cannabis’ infamy follows it everywhere. While Marijuana has its own battle to fight, CBD and Hemp, its misunderstood siblings, have built their stronghold in India, thanks to an ever growing awareness around Hemp and its industrial/nutritional benefits. This power plant is being incorporated in varied ways into different products - from oils to clothes and food. 

Homemade Chocolate protein bars with hemp seeds and dates
Homemade Chocolate protein bars with hemp seeds and dates Shutterstock

How to incorporate Hemp into your diet

Sustainable, eco-friendly and multipurpose, this variety of Cannabis Sativa is a storehouse of protein, fibre and oil. “Hemp is an important superfood that contains plant-based proteins. They’re also a great source of healthy fats and essential amino acids. When eaten daily, they improve overall cognitive and physical performance. They also contain significant amounts of protein that aids with muscle-building as well,” says Loveena Sirohi, Co-Founder and Director, India Hemp Organics, who provide sustainably sourced, non-GMO, 100% plant-based, and preservative-free hemp products. 

However, the amount of protein and healthy fats in the hemp hearts and protein powders can cause digestive issues if consumed improperly. “To avoid any issues, we’d recommend eating 2 to 3 tablespoons of either hemp hearts, hemp powder, or hemp seed oil a day. Just 3 tablespoons of any hemp product contains up to 9.5 g of protein which is almost as much as a single egg,” she adds. 

Once you’ve got your hemp product, it’s best to start incorporating it into your breakfast or protein shakes. Consuming it in the morning helps you track your energy levels and digestive comfort throughout the day. Here are quick recipes to incorporate this superfood into your diet:

Hemp Protein Coffee

Hemp Protein Coffee
Hemp Protein Coffee India Hemp Organics

Coffee powder
Hemp Milk

Mix 1 tsp of coffee powder per cup of hot water and hemp milk solution.
Blend a spoon of hemp protein powder. Serve hot with desired amount of sweetness.

Hemp Salad

Hemp Salad
Hemp Salad India Hemp Organics

1 cup (30 grams) finely grated vegan cashew or parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon mustard
2 teaspoons of soy sauce
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sour cream (optional)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp Hearts

Instructions for dressing: 
Add vegan or parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice, mustard, and soy sauce to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Turn the machine on and let it run for 15 to 20 seconds. Then use a spatula to scrape down the sides. Turn the machine on and let it run for another 15 to 20 seconds. As the machine is running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and hemp seed oil for a nutty punch. Scrape down the sides. And if you are making a creamy dressing, add sour cream. Let the machine run for another 15 seconds to 20 seconds until thick and creamy.

Instructions for croutons:
Melt butter (vegan preferably) in a large frying pan over medium heat. When the butter begins to bubble, add bread cubes and cook, stirring occasionally until golden brown and crisp on all sides, about 5 to 8 minutes. Then lightly season with salt and pepper.

Serve the lettuce either tossed with hemp seed oil dressing or with the dressing drizzled on top. Then, top with butter croutons, and lots of cheese shavings. Sprinkle hemp hearts all over the salad for a finishing touch.

Hemp Protein Bombs

Hemp Protein Bombs
Hemp Protein Bombs India Hemp Organics

1 cup packed pitted dates
2 cups raw walnuts
6 tbsp Hemp Protein Powder
3 tbsp hemp seeds (plus more for rolling)
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp creamy almond butter (or other nut or seed butter)
1 tbsp melted coconut oil (optional / for extra fudgy texture)

Add dates to a food processor and pulse/mix until small bites remain or a ball forms. Scoop out and set aside. 
Add walnuts to the food processor and pulse into a fine meal. Then add Hemp Protein Powder, Hemp Hearts and sea salt. Pulse a few more times to combine.
Add the dates back in along with the almond butter and melted coconut oil (optional). Mix/pulse to combine. The result should be a moist dough-like mixture. If too wet, add a bit more hemp protein powder or hemp hearts.
Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Then scoop out rounded tablespoon amounts and carefully form into balls. The dough will be somewhat fragile, so use the warmth of your hands to gently form/roll them into balls. There should be about 20 energy bites total.
Roll in extra hemp hearts or hemp protein powder.
Store leftovers in a well-sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer up to 1 month.

Recipes by Loveena Sirohi, co-founder and Director, India Hemp Organics