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Hemp: The Alpha of Omega

We’re always hearing about the importance of Omega-3 fatty acids in our diet, and rightly so! Omega-3s are nutrients that are vital to our:

  • Metabolism
  • immune system
  • brain health
  • eye health
  • heart health
  • joint health
  • lung health

just to name the top few things!

As mammals, we are unable to produce this important compound ourselves, and must obtain it all through our diet. However, today’s common diet of fast/processed foods and reliance on vegetable oils – all low in critical nutrients like Omega-3  – means most of us could use some extra help getting the nutrition we need.

According to the Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health, our bodies are required to maintain a Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio of anywhere between 1:1 and 4:1, but the average North American diet gives us 14-25 times more Omega-6 than Omega-3, which can lead to a laundry list of health problems (heart disease, inflammation, metabolic disfunction, etc.).

Doctors and health professionals have traditionally recommended fish oil supplement capsules to help us get enough of this essential fatty acid – but is this really what’s best for our bodies?

Hemp vs Fish: The Ultimate Smackdown

As Cyndal, CEO of HempE, sat pregnant in the medical clinic 2 years ago her doctor cautioned her, “Be careful how much fish you eat; we are concerned about the mercury levels in the ocean. Don’t eat fish more than twice per week.” She was alarmed to find that the research agrees; our oceans and fresh water have been saturated with toxins like mercury, PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyl) and dioxins that get stored in the liver and fat cells of marine life. Labdoor, an independent supplement research company, did a study on 54 of the bestselling fish oil supplement capsules on the market, and the results are more than a little fishy. Every product contained measurable amounts of mercury, with 3 products recording 50% or greater of the allowable mercury content/serving. Additionally, every supplement contained measurable amounts of mercury, with the category averaging 2.4 PPB (part per billion) of mercury. For the non-biochemists out there, that’s too much mercury.

When the fish are caught, they are brought to a factory to be sectioned, steamed and pressed to produce the fish oil. This steaming process can pose serious health risks, as all omega oils have a very low heat tolerance. You know that smell of day old fish in the trashcan? That is the smell of the fish and all its polyunsaturated goodness oxidizing (aka going rancid). In that same study by Labdoor mentioned above, it was found that all products recorded measurable levels of oxidization, with 14 out of the 54 supplements tested measuring at or above the upper limit of 10 meq/kg. This is a disturbing fact- think of all those nasty ‘fish burps’ those supplements can cause. Gross!

In our books, the idea of consuming rancid fish product for health purposes just doesn’t pass the taste (or smell) test.

Perhaps the most serious effects produced by fish oil supplements are those of an environmental nature. Fish do not produce the Omega fatty acids themselves, but like us, obtain it from their diet, which consists of algae and other plants. By the time the fish is caught it has already digested much of the fatty acid leaving us with an incomplete Omega-3 profile (more on that here). We could easily just harvest the algae, but still we insist on having fleets of colossal fishing tankers (that also, by the way, destroy other marine life by dragging nets across the ocean floor). These methods devastate entire ecosystems, and are so indiscriminate that many of the fish caught are unwanted. Sadly, they are just discarded back into the ocean, dead. Let’s do better for our planet!

So, what’s a mammal to do for their omega-3s? Have no fear, hemp is here!

Hemp is a superfood that offers the richest and most balanced natural source of EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids) and it naturally provides us with a 3:1 Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio (well within the perfect ratio). Just one tablespoon of hemp oil contains all the omega-3 & omega-6 you need in a day, and exhibits the highest phenolic content and antioxidant activity when compared to other plant based oils. It also has naturally occurring properties that are anticarcinogenic, relieve systemic inflammation, eczema, psoriasis, autoimmune conditions, psychiatric/mental health disorders, promotes eye and brain health, etc. Additionally, because hemp seed oil is plant-based, it can be cold pressed, packaged and stored appropriately so it does not oxidize and spoil as easily. Also, since it hasn’t been partially digested by a fish, it provides the complete nutritional profile of Omega-3.

Long story short: hemp provides your body with a whole host of amazing nutritional benefits you’re likely missing in your diet, and can go a long way toward optimizing your health!

Hemp is also an incredibly sustainable, and earth conscious alternative to the destructive commercial fishing industry. It is easily grown without the use of herbicides or pesticides, and removes a larger amount of carbon dioxide per acre than most plant life. It has thousands of commercial applications including paper, textiles, clothing, 100% biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, animal feed and even concrete! It requires no overfishing or ecosystem destruction, it is 100% recyclable and non-toxic. The possibilities are endless!

When it comes to Omega-3 fatty acids, hemp is the reigning champion. Whether it’s about your health or environmental impact, fish oil supplements just don’t measure up.

So, ditch the fish burps and discover all the benefits of hemp for yourself!

To learn more, you can head to the HempE website or contact Cyndal directly at info@hempe.ca.

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Seeds are the Source of Life – Part 1

Seeds are the Source of Life

Have you ever thought about the power of a single seed?  

When you eat seeds, sure, it takes a good handful to gain nutrients from them.  But what about when you plant one?  A single seed grows into so much more come harvest time.  The journey from seed to mature crop is unique and important to understand for farmers – both professional and hobby – as well as end product customers.

No matter which end of the spectrum you fall under, learning about the growth stages from germination to harvest can be quite intriguing!

Germination

This is where it all begins.  The seed comes to life with water, oxygen, a favourable temperature, and time.  Whether you are germinating seeds directly in the Earth or in little pots indoors, this initial step is what gets everything started.  

You’ll want to take this first step in early Spring, and take proper measures to deal with your particular climate zone.  The germination stage lasts between 2-10 days, so be patient as you wait for something green to sprout.

Seedling

Perhaps one of the most exciting stages, the point when the little seeds pops out from the Earth and begins to develop a stem and small leaves.  This is when the seed is becoming established, and starting to take roots.  

Keep in mind, all stages of plant growth require patience – especially these first two.  A lot is happening underground, so it’s normal not to see a lot happening with your seedling.  This is when you want your plant to grow down, establishing strong roots.  

If you have your plants in small pots at this time, find the ideal place in your garden, and get them in nutrient rich soil by adding compost when preparing the soil.  Consider putting a protective guard like chicken wire around them, as they are particularly fragile in the beginning phases.

Vegetation

Spring is quickly turning to Summer, and your plants are starting to grow up.  When a seed grows out of the seedling phase, vegetation starts to show.  Leaves become bigger and broader, the stem gets thicker and stronger.  Roots are well established, so avoid moving these plants around in your garden. 

Depending on the health of your soil, you may consider adding a nitrogen boost during this stage of the growth process.  Here are some great tips on how to apply organic fertilizer to your garden.

You might also consider adding some potassium to your soil at this point – check out this helpful article to learn more.

Checking In

If you have a garden in your backyard, now’s a great time to check in.  Take a look at the overall health of the plants.  Are the dead leaves weighing it down?  Do you have little holes in the foliage?  How’s the pH of your soil?

Assessing your garden today will give you the chance to make any improvements to the conditions in order to ensure a better harvest in the months to come.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog post where we will cover the next stages in plant growth.  If you have any tips that you’d like to share with others, join the conversation on our Facebook Page – HempE Health & Beauty

About the Author ~ Leah Feor
Leah is a strategic advisor and content creator for Simply Sustainable™. Balancing a triple bottom line for organizations and individuals is her utmost goal. She’s a big picture thinker with an eye for detail. Her passion for the environment and social impact bring her business background to life. Outdoor adventures, healthy living, and continuous learning are just a few of her favourite things. simplysustainableblog.com