Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hemp Seed Milk

As much as I love all things dairy (cheese, ice cream, gelato, and yogurt), the idea of straight up cows milk kind of skeeves me out (yeah, I know... add it to the list of my weird food phobias).  For some reason it just tastes too much like cow teet or something.  I don't know....

Most people that give up dairy products for health reasons turn to soy milk as an alternative, but there are so many other options out there. Rice milk, oat milk, almond milk, hemp seed milk and even flax seed milk.  Health food stores and food co-op usually have a section for these alternative milks, packaged in shelf stable cartons.  You can choose from sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla or chocolate, full fat, low-fat or fat-free.  Many of them are even fortified with calcium, vitamin D and other essential vitamins.  Having these options at our disposal is great for convenience sake, but when it comes down to it, these alternative milks are highly processed, not to mention expensive. 

Most people don't realize that you can make your own nut/seed or grain milk from home. Not only is it way cheaper, it's alot healthier than anything you would buy in the store.  Most store bought alternative milks contain natural and artificial flavors (whatever those may be) and can be high in sugar.  Many of them claim to be high in vitamin B12, omega 3 fatty acids or calcium, but most of these are added back in because many of those nutrients were destroyed during processing.  When you make milk at home you are left with two ingredients: water and whatever nut/seed/grain you used. All of the vitamins and minerals are left intact and you are left with a delicious, healthy beverage. 

Two of my absolute favorite milks to make at home are almond and hemp seed milk.  Almond milk is probably my favorite but that requires soaking your nuts for at least eight hours and sometimes I'm not that good at planning ahead.  Hemp seed milk can be made in minutes.  Throw some hemp seeds in a blender, add some water and blend.  You can even add some sweetneer like honey or agave or vanilla extract if you like. 

Not only do hemp seeds make a great milk substitute but they are loaded with all essential amino acids, iron, folic acid, potassium, calcium, zinc, and are also rich in easily digestible plant based proteins. They are the only food that contain gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid. In fact, its essential fatty acid ratio is absolutely perfect for our bodies.  Hemp has gotten a bad reputation due to the fact that some people think that it contains THC, the active chemical in marijuana that will get you high. Chill out.  There is none of that going on here.... just creamy deliciousness.

Hemp Seed Milk (makes 1 quart)

1/2 c. hemp seeds
4 c. water
raw honey or agave (opt)

Place hemp seeds and water in a blender. Blend on low for one minute then crank it up to high and blend for an additional 30 seconds. If you want it on the sweet side, add a bit of agave or raw honey and blend for another 10 seconds, or so. Pour into a glass jar or bottle and store in the fridge for 3-4 days. Shake well before using.

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