Lately due to the controversies surrounding medicinal marijuana, Hemp is again in the center of many conversations. Irrespective of your personal position on this issue, the many medicinal remedies and benefits of this potent and natural plant, are indisputable.
Furthermore, in the recent years, this mega plant has been used to make organic clothing, make paper, and even build houses!
However years ago, when my father had to survive the horrors of WWII in Eastern Europe, he was able to do so by collecting and eating Hemp Seeds, also known as Hemp Hearts.
Since many are not aware of the vast benefits and the nutritional values of this power plant, I’d like to take this opportunity to share it with my readers.
What is it?
Just a little larger than a sesame seed when shelled, hemp hearts are the inner kernel of the hemp seed, or what’s left when the hard shell is removed. Hemp hearts can be eaten plain or pressed to make hemp seed oil, which can be used as a finishing oil (due to its delicacy, hemp seed oil should not be heated). Dating back at least 12,000 years, the first known evidence of hemp ceultivation was found in China dating from the neolithic period, when the plant was used to make everything from rope to clothing.
Hemp hearts aren’t just versatile, they’re also an incredible source of nutrition. Hemp hearts boast about 33% protein, making them one of the densest sources of plant protein out there (perfect for vegetarians and vegans, or anyone looking to add more clean plant protein to their diet). Along with the high protein content, hemp hearts are packed with Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA), which benefit skin, hair and brain health, and Omega-6 EFA, which regulates the reproductive system and metabolism and strengthens bones.
Three tablespoons of hemp hearts will provide about 10g of protein. Because of their protein profile, hemp hearts are a great alternative to highly processed protein powders. Toss them into smoothies, oatmeal, soups, yogurts, or mix a few tablespoons into baked goods. Hemp hearts are also a great alternative to grains in cold salads, and has been used as food for thousands of years!
From many of my previous blogs, you must have noticed my ardent passion for ethnic foods. In particular, I love exploring Indian, Asian, and Middle Eastern spices and herbs.
After all, I am a true foodie, as well as a zealous health and wellness advocate, thus, I share Hippocrates’ notion of “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.
In America, where the pharmaceutical industry is king, many medical doctors dismiss nutritional therapies as quack medicine. But many patients disagree, and they’re taking matters into their own hands.
The reality is, that our overall health begins in our gut, and many common ailments can be and are being cured with proper and balanced nutrition. Obviously, this path, like many other lifestyle choices, is a personal decision.
For me, as a trained attorney, who was raised by physicians, and is married to a brilliant scientist and an integrative medical doctor, I tend to be the devils advocate when it comes to any prescription, or over the counter drugs. Personally, I chose to treat my body as my temple, and manage my aches and pains holistically. Since I’ve started to adhere to this lifestyle many years ago, I’ve experienced significant improvement in my overall health, energy level, a sense of well-being.
With 5 herniated discs, a broken neck, and joint issues, due to a catastrophic automobile accident, I am now able to participate in my favorite sports, manage my pain, and run a Functional Fitness Clinic, where I am able to help others who suffered debilitating orthopedic injuries, and neurological conditions…and all of that, without relying on the Big Pharma!
Today, I’d like to share another fantastic Middle Eastern Vegan and Gluten Free recipe with you – Protein Loaded Tabbouleh – enhanced with Hemp Seeds, and another one of my favorite super foods – Avocado.
Raw Gluten- Free Vegan Hemp Tabbouleh Salad
Makes 4-6 servings
1 cup raw shelled hemp hearts
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 large tomato, diced, or a handful sliced cherry tomatoes
1 handful curly parsley, roughly chopped
1 handful fresh mint, roughly chopped
2 tbsp avocado oil, hemp oil, or olive oil
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Salt & pepper to taste
1 avocado, dicedy
4-6 radicchio leaves, to serve, or chopped kale
Optional: Seed crackers or sliced cucumbers for the side, tahini for the top ( see my previous blog for an excellent Israeli Tahini sauce recipe).
In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except salt & pepper and avocado. Stir to combine, taste, and add salt & pepper and more lemon juice as needed. Just before serving, mix in the diced avocado.
To serve: Spoon tabbouleh into radicchio leaves and add crackers and cucumbers for the side. Drizzle tahini over top, if using.
Store extra in a well-sealed container for up to two days.
Enjoy, and To Health!!!