Forget soy milk, look who’s here!

An introduction to the benefits of hemp milk for the vegan at heart.

For some of you, the words ‘hemp milk’ might conjure up images of the protagonist of A Clockwork Orange getting intoxicated on ‘Moloko Plus’ (milk laced with drugs) and then proceeding to engage in an evening of ultra-violence. To these people, we’d like to say three things: firstly, the substance that is purportedly added to the milk in the novel is NOT marijuana, but a hallucinogenic like mescaline; secondly, the only kind of violence that pot can induce is ferocious ingestion of food; and thirdly and most importantly, hemp seeds don’t contain any THC – the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. So unless you actually take the effort of grinding some weed, adding it to boiling milk and letting it simmer for an hour, you can never get high on hemp milk. And if you’re one of those, you may want to read the rookie’s guide to cannabis-infused foods.

For vegans, it might be an ethical choice to avoid animal products and for the lactose-intolerant, it might be the non-allergy-causing alternative.

Even if you’re neither of the two, you can still make the healthier choice by drinking hemp milk for its immense nutritional value. A blend of hemp seeds and water made by soaking and grinding the former in the latter, hemp milk is cholesterol-free, low in saturated fat, rich in protein, and supplies a wealth of vitamins and minerals. These include calcium and phosphorus, which are essential for healthy bones and teeth; magnesium, which supports the normal function of muscles and nerves and also plays a role in keeping blood glucose and blood pressure normal; iron; potassium; vitamins A; E; B-12 and D. If you go for the unsweetened variety, hemp milk also doesn’t contain any added sugar.

Health benefits of drinking hemp milk regularly include strengthened immune system, clear skin (yes, cannabis is a beautiful skin cream), healthy hair, strong nails, healthy heart, improved circulation and a generally increased mental capacity.

While hemp milk can be bought from health food stores, it is also very easy to make at home. You will need:

1. Half a cup of raw, organic, shelled hemp seeds

2. Two cups of purified water

3. A piece of cheesecloth or a nut-milk bag.

Combine the water and hemp seeds in a blender for about three minutes, strain the mixture through the cheesecloth and enjoy a glass of some fresh hemp milk.

It tastes better cold so you can choose to chill it. If you buy the packaged version, then you don’t even need to refrigerate it.

So if you had to go for a plant-based milk, why would you choose hemp milk over other non-dairy alternatives? For one, hemp milk is the highest source of hormone-regulating omega-3 and anti-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids among all these options. A single serving of this milk provides an entire day’s recommended intake of the same, which is about four times as much as you’d get in soy milk. Then, because of its oligosaccharides content, soy milk can cause gas in some people. Also, since it’s made from soybeans which have a bitter taste, it is usually heavily processed and sweetened to make it more palatable. Hemp milk, on the other hand, with its thick, creamy consistency and nutty, earthy flavours, is naturally delicious.

As for the others on the alternate milk scene, almond milk does not offer much in terms of protein, oat milk is higher in sugar and calories, coconut milk (although the best-tasting) is also high in calories, and rice milk is not just low in protein and fibre but can be constipating as well.

Be it to support the recent movement of organic living and opting for cruelty-free products or to simply try a healthy, delicious product, it’s definitely time to include hemp milk in your diet.

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