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Austin360: Food Matters – Hemp seeds can help you

It is widely known the value of hemp seeds to the human body but this well written, fun and healthy article helped to remind me how great the hemp plant is!

From Austin360.com

Hemp seeds: Hemp food is healthyNew year, new you, right?

If you’re thinking about ways to improve your eating in 2012, consider adding hemp seeds to your diet. The seeds, which are gluten-free, are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and the heart- and skin-healthy fatty acids that can also help balance hormones. They have almost twice the protein as flax seeds and a higher percentage of protein than beef. They are also a complete protein that delivers a set of amino acids that our bodies can’t produce on their own.

“Even though the food has been around since 8,000 BC, most people don’t know about it,” says Tara Miko Grayless, who moved to Austin last year to launch her hemp seed company, Happy Hemp. She spends most Saturday mornings at the downtown farmers’ market explaining the nutritional benefits of hemp seeds, how to cook with them and the crop’s interesting role in American history.

Even though the Declaration of Independence was likely drafted on hemp paper and hemp fibers were used during World War II to make uniforms and rope, people often associate hemp with what Grayless calls “the black sheep” of the Cannabis sativa family: marijuana. According to the North American Industrial Hemp Council, both hemp and marijuana are members of Cannabis sativa, a species with hundreds of varieties, but industrial hemp is bred to maximize fiber, seed and/or oil, while marijuana varieties seek to maximize THC. Even though hemp is legal to sell and eat (and use to make clothing, oil, paper and even particle board), because of the botanical connection to marijuana, you can’t grow it in the U.S. without a Drug Enforcement Administration permit, so Grayless works with farmers in Canada to source her product.

You can eat the seeds raw, but Grayless has found a number of ways to use them in everyday cooking and baking. She posts three or four new recipes a week on her blog, happyhemp.wordpress.com. “I try to be as informative as possible and make recipes that aren’t complicated like chicken salads, turkey burger and chocolate chip cookies.” She even has a recipe for hemp seed dog biscuits that she feeds her three rescue dogs.

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