Friday, May 16, 2008

Strawberry Hemp Milk Smoothie

Hemp milk caught my eye about a year ago when I was shopping at my local consumer co-op. My first thought was “Can this be legal?” I was tempted to buy it out of curiosity but the nutritional claims seemed too good to be true. It took me about a year for my curiosity to get the best of me and give it a try.

It was worth getting over my skepticism. Hemp milk is delicious alternative milk with a thick, creamy texture and slightly nutty taste. This non-dairy beverage may not be what most people picture pouring over their cereal or dipping their chocolate chip cookies into but it qualifies as a “super food” for someone like me who has allergy or intolerance to dairy and IBS/stomach issues. It scored well with both problems.

Each eight-ounce serving has about 130 calories that pack a powerhouse of nutrition with:
A perfect one-to-three ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.
All 10 essential amino acids
4 grams of digestible protein
Essential Vitamins A, B12, D, E, Riboflavin and Folic Acid.
Essential minerals: magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, iron, zinc.
46 percent of RDA of calciuim

Hemp milk is made from water and hemp seeds, which apparently are one of the plant kingdom’s most complete sources of protein, as well as an ample supply of omega 3 and 6, magnesium and antioxidants, like Vitamin E and chlorophyll. The milk is fortified to supply additional vitamins and minerals.

Hemp milk is available in plain, vanilla and chocolate, and offered by two companies, “Living Harvest Hempmilk” and “Hemp Bliss.” I tried out vanilla Living Harvest Hempmilk since that what was available at my co-op. One of my first concerns was “Would I be able to tolerate it?” I’ve tried other alternative dairy beverages (soy, nut, rice milks) and had “issues” with all except rice milk which has great taste but comes up short in the nutritional area.

Hemp milk can be tolerated by most individuals with food allergies because it’s free of all the top allergens: milk/dairy, wheat/gluten, soy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts. The vanilla hemp milk is vegan and contains brown rice syrup, rather than cane sugar. It is close to milk in taste and consistency, and can be poured over cereal, consumed straight from a glass or used to make a smoothie.

The downside is hemp milk doesn’t do well when heated and tends to separate. Supposedly you can use it in cooking as long it’s not heated above a certain temperature. I tried pouring it in my hot tea, and it separated. I plan to do more experimenting with cooking with hemp milk.

I did make and enjoy a “Strawberry Hemp Milk Smoothie.” I was impressed by how thick and creamy it was. Here’s the recipe:

Strawberry Hemp Milk Smoothie

1 cup chilled vanilla hemp milk
1 T. vegan rice protein powder
1 cup frozen strawberries
Blend on high in blender. Pour in a glass and enjoy.

My conclusion: I plan to purchase more hemp milk but at $3-$4 a quart I may have to restrain myself. Actually, compared to other alternative milks, it’s not all that spendy. My next indulgence will be trying the chocolate flavor.

Also, I found out if you have the time and proper equipment you can make hemp milk yourself. The pluses are you skip all the sweeteners and other add-ons, and it's definitely cheaper. You can buy a five pound bag of hemp seeds from Manitoba Harvest or Nutiva for about $60. You also need a good blender like a Vitamix or a K-Tec. This is my next investment and project.

1 comment:

Jia Jia said...

Did you try making you own?