In our house we use milk alternatives for cooking and baking, for dipping and dunking that perfect cookie that needs a bit of milk served with it, and for drizzling over some homemade granola fresh from the oven. We typically have our favorite coconut milk in stock, but from time to time we do enjoy the opportunity to create our own.
While we have gotten into a groove experimenting with almond and cashew variations, we do appreciate new recipes that feature ingredients not common to our household. When Jamie Hartman, also known as the inspirational blogger behind Gutsy By Nature, shared her guest post featuring a recipe for hemp milk we were intrigued. We have heard mixed feedback within the real food community on the nutritional role that hemp plays, but found Jamie’s write-up to be very informative. Plus, the flavor of her recipe sounds like it would make for a nice addition to our standard rotation.
This recipe is just a glimpse into the kind of recipes that Jamie is known for – we love her site for all the AIP-friendly recipes it features. Be sure to check her site out to see more!
If you want a Paleo alternative to dairy milk, you have two choices: almond milk or coconut milk. Right? Wrong! It’s time to consider a third option: hemp milk.
Hemp milk is made from the seeds of the edible part of the same plant (Cannabis sativa L) used to make marijuana, but don’t worry – it won’t make you high as the seeds don’t contain any detectable THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana.
Hemp seeds have a rich, nutty flavor, described as being similar to that of sunflower seeds. It is made in much the same way that almond milk and other non-dairy milks are made – by pulverizing the seeds in a high speed blender with water and then straining out the solid residue.
Is hemp milk healthy?
It has the seal of approval from mainstream health experts like Dr. Weil, who states: “Overall, I think hemp milk is a good thing. Try it,” and points out that it is rich in nutrients like magnesium, phytosterols, ascorbic acid, beta carotene, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, riboflavin, niacin and thiamin.
Dr. Oz also recommends consuming hemp seeds and hemp milk, in part because it is a rare plant protein that actually contains all the essential amino acids we need.
But is hemp milk paleo?
Primal guru Mark Sisson says that hemp and other seeds should not be main primal fair but that hemp is good in a supporting role. He notes that it is very high in poly unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and has an omega-6 to omega-3 ration of 3:1, which is short of the primal ideal of 1:1 but much better than the ratios found in other dairy alternatives (namely soy milk, which most Paleo eaters eschew, but also better than almond milk which contains no omega-3).
Sisson also points out that hemp seems to be fairly well tolerated and doesn’t contain the same anti-nutrients that nuts and legumes have. It also appears to be a low-FODMAP food, which makes it a good option for people who may not be able to tolerate coconut milk or almond milk.
Of course, hemp milk is made from the seeds of the plant, which means that it is not appropriate for people on the elimination phase of the Paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP). However, some people with digestive and autoimmune conditions (like me!) have been able to reintroduce it without any problem at all.
Where do I get hemp milk?
There are commercially available brands of hemp milk available, but be careful to read labels and watch for sweeteners and additives like xanthum gum and carrageenan that may be harmful to the digestive tract. Thankfully, it is extremely easy to make hemp milk at home if you have a decent blender.
My favorite thing about making hemp milk is that you don’t have to soak the seeds ahead of time, so it just takes a matter of minutes to turn a cup of shelled seeds (also known as hemp hearts) into a delicious beverage that you can drink straight or use in recipes as one would any other milk or milk substitute.
Where do I get hemp seeds?
You should be able to find them in most well stocked health food stores, from online retailers, and now even Trader Joe’s carries them. Remember that the high PUFA content does come at a price of increased susceptibility to rancidity, so be sure to buy from a source that you know has good turnover in stock, check expiration dates, and store the unused portion in your refrigerator.
- 1 cup hemp hearts
- 4 cups filtered water
- 2 medjool dates, pitted
- a pinch of salt
- OPTIONAL: a teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend on high speed for 90 seconds, or until completely blended and milky in color.
- Use a cheesecloth lined strainer or a nut milk bag to strain out the pulp.
- Note: Because your homemade hemp milk doesn’t have any added stabilizers it will separate in the refrigerator. Simply give it a vigorous shake before consuming.
- I have used this hemp milk in both sweet and savory recipes and think it is wonderful. It is also delicious as chocolate milk – add 1-3 tablespoons cocoa powder when blending!
- Keep in refrigerator and try to consume within 4-5 days.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://paleoparents.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/IMG_0096-225×300.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Jaime Hartman blogs at Gutsy By Nature, where she shares recipes and research relating to her story of healing and managing Crohn’s disease through a real foods, gluten free, mostly Paleo diet. She lives in northern Virginia with her husband and two pampered pets. By day she works in literacy education and is a part-time yoga teacher. Connect with Jaime: Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter | Google+[/author_info] [/author]