Protein. Tell someone you’re vegetarian, and they’ll ask how you get protein.
I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. I don’t worry about protein. Or any nutrient, for that matter. I just eat a variety of whole foods, and I get what I need to feel great and support my training.
And whey and soy protein powder, by the way, aren’t whole foods. They’re isolates. The other nutrients have been removed to boost the protein concentration. They’re highly processed, acid-forming foods. (Ever wonder how they got to be pure white?) I stopped eating them a few months ago.
Enter hemp protein. Raw, vegan, minimally processed. Made by simply milling whole hemp seeds. And it’s green, because it still contains that wonderful alkaline-forming chlorophyll.
Warning! If you’re one of those I-need-30-grams-of-protein-every-morning-in-my-smoothie types, then hemp protein isn’t for you. Go back to the snow-white stuff. Most hemp protein contains less than 15 grams of protein per serving. Again, because it’s not an isolate! In addition to the protein, there’s still a good amount of healthy carbohydrate and fat in it. But that’s just the point. It’s a whole food, so you’re getting the fiber, omega-3′s and other goodies in their natural state, not as additives.
Living Harvest, the same people who make Tempt non-dairy products, sent me some coupons to try their hemp protein powders. I’ve been using hemp products for a few months now, since reading Thrive, so I was really excited to try some of their stuff.
I tried three products: unflavored organic hemp protein, vanilla spice flavor hemp protein, and hemp oil. I tested all of these products out in my morning smoothies, putting the unflavored hemp protein in my mango jalapeno smoothie and the vanilla-spice in my blueberry rooibos smoothie. And I put the hemp oil in both smoothies, in place of my normal Udo’s oil blend.
And wouldn’t you know it, both protein powders were delicious. Or, at least, they didn’t mess up the smoothies, because I could hardly taste them. And isn’t that the idea? The vanilla-spice flavor did come through a little bit in the blueberry smoothie, but it was a good, natural flavor. (It’s made from organic spices and vanilla bean.)
The hemp oil did impart a little bit of a taste to the smoothies, but I got used to it almost immediately. It’s just like with flaxseed oil or Udo’s blend; it’s a little weird at first but very easy to adjust to. And the health benefits of these oils make adding them to your smoothies a no-brainer. (Brendan Brazier chooses hemp oil over the other types of oil. If it’s good enough for B-squared, it’s good enough for me.)
I will say this: on both protein canisters, it says “mix with your favorite non-dairy beverage to make a delicious smoothie.” I tried this with both kinds, and they were most definitely not delicious. They tasted very green and weird. In fact, I couldn’t finish either one of them. I’ll think I’ll stick to my other smoothies.
The one drawback of hemp protein, at least from the perspective of a full-time grad student, is the cost. The price is just over a dollar per serving. If you want bang for your protein buck, it’s not the way to go. But when you look at it in terms of total nutrition and get away from that protein fetish (come on, admit it, you know you still have one), it starts to seem a little more reasonable. Plus, Erin and I have been using only about half a serving in our smoothies, since that’s what’s called for in the Thrive recipes.
Overall, great products and I highly recommend them. Just not mixed with non-dairy beverage and nothing else. Thanks Living Harvest!