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Slipstreaming Hemp Into Your Diet

The next time you go shopping, notice the number of hemp products you find on the shelf.

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Plant-based foods are the rage today. From grocery stores to fast-food restaurants, Americans are embracing non-meat meals. The success of Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods is proof positive that people are rethinking what they eat. This is by no means limited to existing vegans or vegetarians.

The dairy and meat industries are nervous about the redefinition of “milk” and “meat.” Some want to reserve those terms exclusively for animal products, but plant-based milks are a given in coffeehouses large and small. Heck, most offer two or more alternatives to cow milk.

I’m a big advocate for hemp as a food, however, I’m not advocating throwing out everything in your refrigerator and pantry and starting all over again. That would be foolish, as well as expensive. But how can you start shifting your shopping and eating? Think slipstreaming.

Take hemp milk for example. It is not, I repeat not, a one-for-one replacement for cow milk. It doesn’t taste the same, nor should it. Dip your toe in the water by ordering a hemp milk latte the next time you order coffee. Better yet, order a half hemp/half cow milk coffee drink. Added bonus: hemp milk is almost always organic, unlike dairy products.

The next time you go shopping, notice the number of hemp products you find on the shelf. Most stores intermingle hemp foods with what they already sell. Take breakfast cereal and bread: Most of us buy one or both during our regular shopping forays. Some cereals, especially granola, have hemp as an ingredient. Also, look for bread that has hemp in it for a new take on your morning toast or tuna sandwich. No big shift – just a lateral move to hemp foods.

Dehulled hemp seeds, also called hemp hearts, are protein-rich, gluten-free and a healthy source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Most of the hemp hearts sold in this country are from Manitoba Harvest, with some sold under their label and others repackaged by other companies. Hint: Flip the package over to see where it’s grown. Canada? Probably Manitoba Harvest.

Hemp hearts are one of the easiest ways to slipstream hemp into your family’s diet. Not only are they nutritious, they don’t have a distinct flavor of their own. Sprinkle a spoonful in your oatmeal or breakfast cereal. Baking cookies or edibles (infused or otherwise)? Toss in a quarter cup. Heart hearts can be a salad topping just like croutons. Recipe call for breadcrumbs or panko? Add hemp hearts to either one. Bored with your favorite yogurt? Add hemp hearts for a change.

Should you do all of the above right now? No. Take your time. Change at your own speed. Slipstream hemp into your diet. And don’t be afraid to reject what you don’t like … eating is supposed to be one of life’s little pleasures. Is a carton of hemp milk or a bag of hemp hearts more than your budget or sense of adventure will allow? Split it with someone else who wants to experiment. Seek out friends and relatives who are already eating hemp and ask for suggestions.

If you find a product you like, look at the company’s website for related products, recipes and other resources. Share your feedback with them. Ask questions. Follow them on social media. Once you’re well-versed, share your information and your food with those around you. Eating can be a social event and you shouldn’t keep new discoveries to yourself. Put it on your table…

This article was originally published in the March 2022 issue of All Magazines.

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