April 18, 2010

The Sunday Sampler - Health

Welcome to another installment of The Sunday Sampler.  This is the day where I share my insights, thoughts, and opinions with you about different things in three categories: fitness, parenthood, and health, rotating each category each week.  I hope that makes sense! :)  
My hope is that I will be able to help you along your adventure just like so many others have helped me. So, let me know what you think!  I'd love to read about your perspectives on these things as well!  :) 

Hemp protein:
O-kay, don't let the word "hemp" scare you.  I'm not talking about good ole' Cannibus, but rather a protein source that is considered to be the "gold standard of plant protein."  I was first introduced to hemp protein in Brendan Brazier's book, Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life.  I was a little hesitant to eat it because of the whole "hemp" thing, but after doing further research, I realized that it is actually a wonderful product.
So, one thing I always got asked when I became a vegetarian was, "How do you get your protein?"  I soon realized that these people really didn't care how I got my protein, what they were really saying was that I was a fool for being a vegetarian and thinking I could still be an endurance athlete.  Turns out they were actually the fools.  It's interesting how much different information you can find about the protein requirements for athletes when you Google it.  Now, I am not a doctor or a sports dietitian, but I believe that how much protein you need is dependent on who you are, what you believe, what type of training you are doing, and what your goals are.  I think everyone is different and therefore requires different amounts of protein.  But, one thing is certain, we, as athletes, all need it in some amount or the other.  Why?  Here is some info. about protein from the book, Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes:
Protein plays an important role in the growth, repair, and muscle maintenance of muscles and other tissues in the body.  It is needed for the formation of hemoglobin, the substance that carries oxygen to the exercising muscles.  It can even serve as a fuel source during endurance exercise if your body's carbohydrate stores run low.  Protein is also crucial to controlling fluid volume in the body and maintaining water balance.  Insufficient protein can hinder muscle recovery in the hours after training because of protein's essential role in the building and repair of muscle tissue.   
Now, we all know that the best way to get protein is from whole foods, but sometimes it is nice to have easy access to it pre and post workout.  Here is where protein powder comes in, hence the reason for this post. :)

Why should we use hemp protein over other proteins out there?
*  It is a complete protein and contains all 10 essential amino acids
*  The proteins found in hemp are similar to the ones found in the human body
*  It provides the essential fatty acids Omega-6 and 3 in a healthy 3:1 ratio
*  Is a high source of fiber.  2Tbl. of hemp provides 8g of fiber, about 1/3 of our daily requirement
*  It has natural plant chlorophyll and alkalizes to maintain a Ph balance in your body
*  Since hemp protein is raw, the body is able to utilize it easily, reducing digestive strain
*  It is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, including calcium and iron
*  It is free of oligosaccharides, the component that can cause gas and upset stomach
*  It is gluten free, vegan, kosher, and non-genetically modified
*  It contains no sugar, saturated/trans fats, or cholesterol

How to incorporate hemp protein into your diet:
*  Add some protein powder to your smoothie, oatmeal, or yogurt
*  Add hemp seeds to salads, cereal, granola, soups, and stews.  They have a nice nutty flavor, kind of like sunflower seeds, and add a nice little crunch to food.
*  Sprinkle the seeds on steamed veggies (kind of like you would do with sesame seeds)
*  Use the seeds in baked goods (breads, muffins, cookies)
*  Add the powder or seeds to your favorite homemade granola bar recipe
*  Make hemp milk by blending 1C hemp seeds with 4C water
*  Use hemp oil as a salad dressing base (I have a great salad dressing recipe that uses hemp, flax, olive oil, and garlic! It is delicious! Let me know if you want the recipe)

Some things to be aware of:
*  Hemp seeds can easily turn rancid, so make sure to put them in the fridge or freezer to make them last longer
*  Store hemp protein powder and hemp oil in the fridge as well
*  If stored correctly, hemp products will last from 8-12 weeks.
*  Hemp products are free of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, so you can't get "high" from it
*  It's more expensive than other proteins out there, but I think it's worth it.
*  Check out this link for some FAQ about hemp products

Do any of you eat hemp products?  If so, what is your take on them?  
I hope you are all having a great weekend! :)


misszippy said...

This is such an informative post! I've never tried hemp, but now I am intrigued. I think you are so right about the protein thing. I think somewhere along the line our society has become obsesses with protein intake, probably b/c of all the protein-focused/low-carb diets. Anyhow, thanks for sharing this info!

Sherri said...

I am super excited to try hemp protein. I have actually heard great stuff about it from others in my family. None of which are endurance athletes! I loved your approach and advice! Thanks!

Velma said...

Very interesting. I have hemp clothing, but I have never tried it in food. I will have to give it a whirl.

teacherwoman said...

This is interesting! Thanks for sharing. I have never used Hemp in anything before.

Libby said...

I LOVE hemp oil. good stuff!! This is also a great vegan protein a friend introduced me too, love it!!
check out their greens too, great stuff!

Julie said...

Hi Aimee,
Thanks for sharing this great information on hemp. I have never tried it but will look for it in the future:) If it is a protein that helps with endurance...I am on it:)

Jon said...

You are AWESOME for posting this!

Amber Shea said...

I like hemp seeds, but I must admit I've struggled to use up the hemp protein powder I bought a few months ago. It's too gritty and earthy-tasting for me in smoothies, so I've mostly just stirred a spoonful or two into a puréed soup here or a curry sauce there.

Regina said...

Hmmm, I've been using whey protein, I might have to have a try at this. However, no THC? Damn ;)

thanks for the education!