As more individuals try to adopt a more inclusive lifestyle, they are moving away from a cuisine that consumes meat and animal-based dairy. With the advent of nut-bused and other organically sourced dairies, there is now an alternative for people that are allergic to nuts, lactose intolerant and vegan. The new kid on the block after soy, almond and rice are hemp seeds. Most hemp milk startups make their hemp milk from dates, hemp, water and blend it all in with some sea salt. After it is combined, it is strained through a wire mesh to end up with the nutty and walnut-like flavour of hemp milk. A drink similar to modern day hemp milk was drunk in China thousands of years ago. It was only in November of 2017 that the ANZ forum on Food Regulation met to change the Food Standards Code in the country to include low-THC hemp-based foods as well. Nearly two decades since industrial hemp made an entry in Australia, the potential of the hemp plant as a nutritious and delicious food source was plain to see. Hemp milk is a global staple in the diets of people that were looking to have food products that are grown without pesticides and with non-GMO seeds. Many people who have tasted hemp milk describe it as tasting like lightly spiced milk with a hint of pumpkin and cucumber! You can add hemp milk to your cereal, your coffee or your post-workout smoothie.
Hemp Milk in Australia
In response to an overwhelmingly positive response to hemp milk, a range of Australian startups have popped up to take advantage of a growing market. At least 10% of Australians like to source their milk from non-dairy sources. For a large number of people that suffer from nut allergies or are uncomfortable with GMO crops, a shift to hemp milk is good news indeed. A large number of startups are now researching hemp seeds, the key ingredient in hemp milk. The ultimate aim is to have a production base for hemp crops in Australia without having to depend on importers for hemp products. In order to encourage more farmers to pledge their paddocks for hemp production, many hemp startups enter into contracts with farmers that guarantee farmers a pre-negotiated price for the hemp that they can produce and send to the processing units of startups. For Australian farmers, having hemp cultivated in their farms during a crop rotation makes sense.
Hemp is beneficial for Australian farmers for the following reasons:
- The fibre in hemp enhances nutrition in farm soil.
- Hemp can grow in different temperatures and harsh conditions.
- Hemp can grow all around the year in any weather.
- The hemp crop does not attract too many pests, and this means that the crop is usually raised without using pest control.
- Land use is low for hemp and can be raised in cramped areas.
- Hemp grows rapidly and means that farmers in Australia receive a highly productive crop for their farm.
How Can I Make Hemp Milk?
The critical ingredient of hemp milk is hemp seeds. Did you have a farm in Australia and were thinking of cultivating hemp crop in order to get hemp seeds? Getting into the hemp cultivation business is straightforward. Through assistance from startups, farmers in Australia have access to expert advice on the best farming practices and financial advice in a new market. Every hemp grower in Australia needs a license issued from a state authority in order to raise the crop. Doing hemp cultivation without a grower license is unlawful in Australia. If you have a Victorian farm, then the grower license comes from Agriculture Victoria. With a hemp grower license, farmers have the right to own low-THC hemp seeds, trade seeds with others and raise hemp on their farms.
Thankfully, the licensing process for a Grower License is pretty straightforward if you can follow these steps:
- Selecting paddocks to grow hemp, preferably further away from schools, hospitals, main roads and other public spaces.
- Giving clean police and medical records to the licensing authority.
- Depending on conditions, you may need to produce a plan of operation for raising hemp.
The shelf life of hemp milk is for a little over a week. This can be a complication for consumers who wanted a long-term option. For Australians that live far away from hemp milk processing facilities, they may not have access to hemp milk. Startups across Australia are looking at new milk pasteurisation techniques in order to extend the shelf life of hemp milk. It is expected that with high-pressure pasteurisation (HPP) methods, the shelf life of hemp milk can be increased to 4-5 weeks. Under the HPP technique, hemp seeds are placed under massive amounts of pressure under cold water in order to kill any microbes. As the shelf life increases, hemp milk can be transported across Australia and could be a product our nation can export in the future. At the moment, however, as the local hemp infrastructure remains undeveloped in Australia, the cost of inputs for hemp milk is high. Hemp seeds are an essential ingredient for hemp milk.
Hemp Milk and Health
With respect to other dairy alternatives, hemp has a healthy amount of calcium although it is much lesser than traditional dairy milk. What makes hemp milk an attractive product is a generous level of protein in the milk along with the healthy fatty acids that are present. The omega fats in hemp milk are in an ideal ratio that lowers cholesterol and promotes heart health. Compared to GMO crops such as soy, hemp is a non-GMO plant that is often raised without having to make use of toxic pesticides. Another issue with soy milk is that it is often made thicker with vegetable oils. With almost a third of hemp milk being protein, the protein content in hemp milk is higher than most types of almond milk.
Some of the other significant health benefits of having hemp milk are:
- Ample calcium content, with two glasses of hemp milk satisfying all the daily calcium needs of an average adult.
- Compared to traditional dairy sources, hemp milk is perfect for people who are watching their weight as the calorie count for a glass of hemp is quite low.
- Hemp milk is a valuable source of vitamin B, which helps us convert food into energy.
- Vitamin B12, which produces red blood cells is found in hemp milk.
- Vitamin D in hemp milk helps our body to absorb more calcium.
- The protein content in hemp milk is higher than most non-dairy based milk alternatives.
- Hemp milk is a top magnesium source which helps maintain our bones, nerves and muscles.
Hemp and the Environment
The soil is cleaned by cultivating hemp. Hemp has the properties of a “bio-accumulator”, meaning that it can suck up the dangerous toxins in farmland that may accumulate from pesticide use. When hemp crop was introduced in Ukraine following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the plant was able to suck up a lot of the radioactive waste that had leeched into the soil following the nuclear disaster in the 1980s. Compared to other nut-based dairy alternatives like almond, the water use of hemp crops is very less. When you consider that land use is limited for hemp crops as well, the environmental benefits for switching to hemp production is enormous for Australia. Hemp pulp is a viable alternative to produce paper compared to wood pulp that leads to the destruction of countless trees every year.
Hemp Milk: Changing Dairy
Hemp seeds are cold-pressed to make milk! Essentially, hemp seed is an essential part of the hemp milk production process and is an integral part of a lactose-free, nut-free, non-GMO, paleo-friendly diet. With hemp milk, you don’t have to ever worry about failing a drugs test.
The reasons why hemp milk can never make you “high” are:
- There is a difference between hemp and other strains of Cannabis Sativa that is also called Marijuana.
- Unlike the Marijuana strain, the Hemp strain has a low quantity of the compound called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
- Despite coming from the same Cannabis strain, hemp crop has no mind-altering properties as the level of THC is low.
In other words, hemp is just similar to most other traditional food crops. Hemp milk, however, has protein, minerals, calcium, magnesium and B vitamins. Swinburne University researchers from Melbourne say that the chances of failing a drugs test from having hemp seeds are far too low! The main reason is that the hemp seed varieties available in Australia are low-THC. Demand for hemp is growing in Australia as a useful building material, paper, biodiesel and textiles. Now the tide has shifted, and the need for hemp products is mainly for satisfying food demand. Get your first taste of hemp milk today! Grab a delicious bowl of cereal or blend a smoothie for yourself and taste the natural goodness of hemp milk!