“Can this be legal?” That was my first thought when a display of hemp milk caught my eye at my local consumer co-op. 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 a 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.
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.
The plants, used to make hemp milk, are grown as a food source in many countries, including limited locations in the U.S. The seeds are similar to sunflower seeds.
Hemp milk is available in original (plain), vanilla and chocolate, and offered by two companies, “Living Harvest Hempmilk” and “Hemp Bliss.” I tried out vanilla Living Harvest Hempmilk because that sounded the best to me. 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 is tasty but watery and 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:
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.