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Mar-20-2012 12:30printcomments

Not Just Fish Bait and Cockatoo Nibbles Anymore. Mikey Likes It!

Remember, there's no weed in these hemp seeds!

Hemp food
Photo: Lower Island NEWS

(VICTORIA, B.C.) - “Tastes like sunflower, looks like sesame”, a clever little catch-phrase I picked up along the way which coins hempseed-as-a-food to a tee. Be it hemp morning shakes, peanut chocolate energy balls made of hemp, almond goji powerballs, apple-power porridge (available right here in Victoria BC), finger licking brownies, hemp “cornchips”, veggie burgers or seeds in a salad dressing, there›s no doubt hemp is super-food. Not just hype; it is actually good for you.

Hemp has been called the new soy and it’s ever more popular.

Now right off-the-bat for goodness sake, do not confuse it with grass! Whether or not you smoke MJ or even like it or support pot use, you can enjoy eating the seeds. And nope you can’t get high from eating hemp seed. Sorry. Many people confuse hemp with marijuana but hempfood ingestion is not mind altering.

The Canadian government regulates these plants to have less than, 10 ppm THC (which is the psychoactive marijuana agent). Most producers and distributors will tell you that no THC can be detected in hemp food produce. In 1998 Health Canada amended the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act adding regulations on how it’s legal to grow hemp.

In order to grow hemp one must obtain a licence. The produce: Hemp seed and oil. Hemp nut and hemp meal. All food(s) in and of themselves.

Hemp seeds can be eaten in their raw form. They can be made into a cereal-type form. They can be sprouted. There is also hemp milk, hemp tea, and of course it can be widely used in baking. The fresh leaves can also be eaten in salads (I saw that recently at an organic potluck!). I’ve also seen hemp tofu and nut butters.

The inside of the hemp seed is the hempnut and it is made up of protein and oil. The oil is a rich source of essential fatty acids. Some eat the entire seed, some only the hempnut. Others press the oil out of the seed and use the oil and the meal (which is the rest of it) in yummy and diverse recipes. More on those later from a local fave whole food store.

Many people ask if hemp seed is like flax because it looks similar but darker. The answer is no. Although they both contain Omega 3 and 6, the constitution of each is in inverted proportions. Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio in hemp is roughly 3:1, while in flax it’s 1:3. Also the hemp plant produced-for-food is taller and stalkier than the one produced for marijuana.

Hemp seed is 35% protein called Globulin Edestin and classified as a plasma protein. It’s ideal for pregnant mothers, particularly those worried about mercury-intake levels as it’s thought to be an “absorbent” of sorts. There are 567 calories to 100 grams but you wouldn’t eat that much in one sitting therefore hemp seed “qualifies” as diet food. So not to worry if you track on that.

Dietary supplement hemp oil has been shown to relieve the symptoms of eczema rashes. We need more sources to verify allergy considerations but no adverse reactions have been readily recorded.

Hemp oil has anti-inflammatory properties and the studies are still underway as to the extent of its efficacy in dealing with inflammatory conditions, but certainly its diet inclusion hasn’t been shown to make health conditions any worse. Unlike soy which is increasingly being genetically modified, hemp seed does not contain any such organisms (GMO’s), and, being shelled, natural and raw, it is pesticide herbicide and chemical free.

So the question is why isn’t hemp more front-and-centre on mainstream media front pages? Well quite simply, “Big business drives it out,” as Rosanne Barr once said on TV. Even despite the burger kings popping up, hemp is beginning to creep its way into the commonplace diet, especially now that health food stores who seem to love to specialize in carrying hemp are happily frequented here in Victoria.

Feeling a little peckish as I was sauntering along looking for something yummy to snack-on whilst at The Market on Yates, I bumped into a fella right in the aisle who was hosting a trade-booth promoting hemp seeds! By-golly!

Offering me a little white cup I poked my finger in, to pull out a seed or two, and—he said— “Just throw ‘em back. That’s usually how people like to eat hemp seeds.”

And sure enough he was right. They were crunchy, tasty, even sweet. “Thank you,” I said—“And, oh by the way, I’ll be callin’ ya.”

I did manage catch up briefly with Blake of “the good seed” company, owner-operator, behind that booth. His hemp-seed snack bag and his more heavy-duty cooking packets can be found at the Market on Yates or you can get more info on his radical business at Check it out!

There are other companies that have been well-vetted over the past five years but that are not necessarily based out of Victoria or even BC or Canada for that matter. It’s always better to supper local in my view. Brands such as Living Harvest hemp-milk, Nutiva shakes, Nature’s Path granola bread and bagels and also quite popular is Alpsnack hemp snacks.

More locally and more to the point—Don’t miss a visit to Ingredients Health Food and Apple Café on Store Street. It’s a veggie-lover’s dream haunt and it’s owned by Cindy Holopainen Dreger, with partner, Deanna Danychuk.

A real gem of a character, Cindy’s quite obliging in sharing good info. We always appreciate this... go to her store, folks!

She explains succinctly, that, “People that are anemic can eat hemp and it can help boost their hemoglobin count. It’s not super high in iron but the iron that’s in it is very bioavailable (meaning the body recognizes it as a nutrient and utilizes it readily). Hemp has an almost perfect blend of the essential fatty acids (especially 3, 6 and 9).”

Going on to say, “A vegetarian source of Omega 3 that so many people are deficient in, can be remedied by a regular intake of Hemp. Hemp’s vegetable protein, a macro nutrient that many vegetarians are short on, is really easy to take. Just a couple of tablespoons added to shakes, salads or pretty much anything can significantly boost your protein requirements for the day.

She adds, “Most households have a regular old blender and all you have to do is add ¼ - ½ cup of hemp seeds (dependant on how rich you’re feeling...) to 2 cups of water, blend till smooth and VOILA! The tastiest milk imaginable! Unlike most nut milks, you don’t have to strain hemp milk through a nutmilk bag or cheesecloth. It’s almost like a tasty milk shake, a little bit thicker too. You can add a bit of vanilla or agave or maple syrup or honey if you like it sweeter and you’ll never go back to nasty, nasty tetra packs!”

Cindy wants us to know that Ingredients Health Food have lots to choose from at the APPLE Café with Hemp Hearts. She was also kind enough to share a recipe for those just getting started in eating hemp. “Our most famous, easy, and nutritious goodie is our Hemp Chia Power Porridge. You could really live off of this stuff! Betcha won’t need to eat again till lunchtime?”

Enough for the week: Mix together:
1 c. Hemp seeds
1 c. Chia seeds
½ c. Sunflower seeds
½ c. Pumpkin seeds
½ c. Coconut shreds
½ c. Raisins or cranberries
½ c. Goji berries
1 T. True Cinnamon.
For one serving in your favourite bowl, add ½ c. mixture to ¼ c. hot water mixed with ¼ c homemade almond, hemp or cashew milk. Cover with a plate, let stand 5-10 min and serve with more milk, yogurt, diced apples and cinnamon.

Love the animal aura! Comes with the hemp awareness experience... Unfortunately there is a wee bit of a fuddy-duddy side to the hemp food debate which may or may not be worth mentioning. But...some people seem to worry about being considered a stoner if they eat hemp seed. This is nothing but preposterous. That’s really not an over-statement. The facts are indisputable: You CANNOT fail a US or Canadian or any counties’ drug test even if you eat hoards and hoards of hemp seed. There was a comprehensive study out of Berkeley which confirms that it’s safe and legal. See:

In fact, many enthusiasts argue that hemp oil is medicine. See and this is a subject worth perusing.

From sowing a seed, we’ve made a movement—a movement that can’t be denied in Victoria, BC, at least where hemp-eating pioneers are everywhere! The local movement, which is not over-run by capitalistic fast-food joints, but where wholesome people eat happily and healthily and create alternative food pathways to social justice. Hemp is good food.

So, we’ve been talking about hemp foods and the wide range of products and the versatility of the seed—and hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed penning it. Spread the word—and the seed!


See Cindy's Ingredients:
The article was originally published in The Lower Island NEWS


Diane Walsh, MA, is an investigative journalist based in the Pacific Northwest. She contributes to new media outlets, newspapers which by some miracle haven't gone under, and magazines in the US, Canada and Europe. Diane became acquainted with the team during a recent speaking tour that included Canada. She is a welcome addition to our lineup of truth-bound thoughtful and extremely talented writers.

For more information on specific publications and to reach Diane directly, please visit:

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ANWAR BALUCH March 21, 2012 12:22 pm (Pacific time)


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