Long known for its strength and durability in products like clothing and paper, hemp might prove to be just as beneficial in another medium: food.
Turns out, hemp is a leading source of protein, especially beneficial for vegetarians and vegans, and contains all 10 essential amino acids. It's high in fiber, and it tastes good, too, if an acquired taste.
Christina Volgyesi, of Portland, Ore., stumbled upon hemp protein powder during a trip home from Canada.
"I really just became amazed," a founding partner of Living Harvest said during a recent phone interview.
Flaxseed oil is often prescribed by nutritionists for people wanting to get more essential fatty acids in their diet, but Margaret Hluch, demo chef at MOrganic Market in Frederick, Md., said hempseed oil is just as good.
"Not everyone can convert flaxseeds into their body," said Lissa Butler, wellness associate at MOM and also an herbal practitioner. "Hemp is easier for us to assimilate. And it tastes better," Hluch added.
Volgyesi and her husband began experimenting with hemp seeds, making their own hemp milk in a blender. They added sweeteners, like agave nectar and honey, until they found a recipe they liked.
Soon after, they became the founding partners of Living Harvest, a company that now offers an array of hemp products, including hemp milk in five flavors (original, unsweetened original, vanilla, unsweetened vanilla and chocolate).