The Power of Hemp!


Yesterday morning, I opened my eyes to a darkened apartment. I fumbled for the clock, making out the time: 6:24a.m. I sprang from bed with all the fervor of a child and quickly plugged in the Christmas tree. I could make out the distinct snowflakes drifting over the quiet streets, already having covered our balcony in a fine, white gloss. I scooped up our warm puppy and pressed start on the coffee maker, our home immediately filled with the rich aroma of an Italian roast. I ran back to the bedroom and peppered Alex with kisses: "It's Christmas!" I screamed. "It's here!"
The two of us proceeded to have a spectacular day, full of thoughtful gifts, strewn wrapping paper, Christmas movies, coffee and way too much food. Our brunch of soy sausages, fried eggs, buttermilk biscuits and hash browns packed with diced onions, peppers and garlic left us both in carbohydrate comas and wrecked our "vegan" diets for the day. The chocolate chip cookies I made later did little to help, as well as the leftover pasta I'd made for my parents the night before and about a million glasses of red wine.
Every year, I try to contain the damage around the holidays, but it's inevitable that there will be indulgences. However, I am getting to the point where these indulgences are really not worth it, because I end up feeling taxed, exhausted and unhealthy - not full of the normal energy I've become accustomed to. It wasn't until I started reading Thrive (about Ironman athlete Brendan Brazier's amazing food journey as a vegan, despite his athleticism), that I really thought about the foods I eat in terms of digestion. For instance, what foods might be hard to digest, and others that might be almost effortless for my body to break down. Is it a coincidence that when I eat pasta and bread, I feel exhausted, but when I eat a salad, I feel full of energy? People think about what they eat in terms of calories, carbs, fat and protein, and not necessarily about the quality of the food and how it breaks down in the body. For instance, when we had a salad packed with veggies yesterday, I perked up immediately. That's because my body wasn't using excess energy to try and break down empty calories. I couldn't believe that slight difference... and how so many things that we eat can work against us instead of in harmony with our bodies.
So, today, a massive trip to the store is in order, a hard workout, and a new menu for the week. On that list will be hemp seeds and hemp protein. One of the only complete plant proteins that contains all the essential amino acids, hemp has tons of antioxidants, protein, omega 3s and 6s, magnesium and iron. The seeds can be sprinkled in smoothies, on salads or on top of oatmeal for a good dose of healthy fats and a huge antioxidant boost. 
For breakfast this morning, we had oatmeal, topped with blueberries, cinnamon and hemp seeds and a steaming cup of black coffee. Try sprinkling these little guys on your morning cereals or porridges and start the day off right!
Hemp milk is another wonderful addition to your diet. It contains your omegas plus calcium, and it's a great alternative to dairy or soy. It's easier to digest, free of common allergens (like lactose), 100% vegetarian, and is completely versatile to use in coffee, tea, cereal, smoothies or even to make your own ice cream. If you are in the mood for something sweet, try this delicious recipe for chocolate hemp milk. Makes about 4 cups. 


Chocolate Hemp Milk

3 1/2 cups water
1 cup hemp seeds
2 tbs. roasted carob powder (or 2 tbs. cacao nibs)
2 tbs. agave nectar
In a blender, combine all ingredients (may be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks). 

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