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North Americans are facing increasing environmental concerns on multiple fronts, these days. Increased CO2 levels are causing our climate to change, non-biodegradable plastics are polluting our land and water, and our reliance on finite resources like wood and fossil fuels are destroying the delicate eco-systems that sustain us. The problems at hand can feel so large that no amount of recycling and repurposing can save us, but maybe the solution has been in front of us all along.

Hemp is an industrial crop that is related to marijuana, but does not contain the substances responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana. This one amazing crop has over 50,000 known uses (including food, fuel, textiles, plastic, and paper) all of which have a positive environmental impact. Here are a few of the great things hemp can do for our planet!

Benefits of Growing Hemp

Long before hemp gets turned into a useful product, it serves as a valuable caretaker for planet Earth. Acre for acre, it removes 4 times more CO2 from the air than trees, and it does not require herbicides or pesticides to grow. It also leaves the soil cleaner and rich in nutrients, which means farmers can grow food crops immediately after harvest without a fallow period. It has even been used at nuclear disaster sites like Chernobyl, to help clean the radioactive properties out of the soil.

 

Biofuel

Hemp can be used to make 2 different types of bio fuel: hemp biodiesel made from hemp seed oil, and hemp ethenol/methenol made from fermented hemp stalk. One acre of hemp yields 1,000 gallons or 3,785 liters of fuel, and the CO2 absorbed by the crop during the growth period offsets the CO2 released when the fuel is burned. These eco-friendly fossil fuel alternatives could reduce our reliance on coal and oil, which are major contributors to the global warming crisis.

 

Paper

Hemp has been used to make paper for at least 2,000 years, and it is more efficient and environmentally friendly to produce when compared to traditional paper made from trees. Hemp can produce 4 times more paper per acre than trees, and since it has a lower lignin content than wood, it can be turned into pulp faster and easier. Hemp pulp is naturally lighter than wood pulp, which means it does not need chlorine bleaching, which releases a toxic substance called dioxin into the environment. Finally, hemp can grow to maturity in just 90-110 days, making it is a far more sustainable option than trees, which take 15-20 years to reach adulthood.

 

Bioplastics

It is estimated that we manufacture 250 to 300 million petroleum-based plastic products every year. The production and disposal of these non-biodegradable products release tons of toxic substances into our air, water, and land. Luckily, hemp bio-plastics, which are made from the stalk of the hemp crop, can be produced in a 100% toxin free manner, and they bio-degrade completely in a matter of months. They can be used for everything plastic from disposable items like plastic cutlery, to sturdier items like furniture or even cars! Studies show that switching to bioplastics can reduce the plastic industries carbon emissions by 30-80%!

The environmental crisis we face today is daunting, but the solution is not beyond our reach. Replacing our toxic and unsustainable consumable items with hemp based products could have a lasting positive impact on the future of our planet. To learn more about the potential of this one amazing crop, check out the book Hemp Bound by Doug Fine, or simply head to our store to try out some great hemp products for yourself!

How much do you know about gut health? All of us have experienced abdominal discomfort at some point, enough to know that it is unpleasant to say the least! But did you know that our entire digestive tract, from top to tail, is lined with over 100 million sensitive neurochemical receptors like the ones found in your brain? That’s why scientists have named our stomaches the ‘Second Brain’. Not only can poor digestive health cause discomfort like IBS, but it can also effect your mental health, energy level, immune system, and joints!

There are many factors that can influence gut health, but a major culprit with tummy troubles is actually an imbalance in healthy digestive bacterial ecosystem, called microbiota. There are nearly 3 pounds of microbiota in your digestive tract, which is an average of 10 microbiota for every cell in your body.

Fortunately, if you are looking to support healthy gut bacteria, you need look no further than our favorite superfood: hemp! Not only is hemp one of the most useful and environmentally friendly crops on the planet, it’s also extremely beneficial for your belly. Here are some ways that adding hemp can improve your digestive health.

 

  1. Easy digestionHemp seeds are more digestible than any other high protein food including meat, whole eggs, cheese, human milk, and cows’ milk. This is because 65% of the protein found in hemp seeds is made of a globulin protein named Edestin. Edestin is known to aid in digestion and is also considered to be the backbone of our cells’ DNA. Hemp protein is also free of the trypsin inhibitors which block protein absorption, and free of oligosaccharides found in soy, which cause stomach upset and gas. This makes hemp seeds an excellent source of protein for mothers, fathers, babies, the elderly, body builders, and the health conscious alike.
  2. Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs)Short Chain Fatty Acids are fatty acids with fewer than 6 Carbon atoms, and hemp provides them for our bodies in two ways. First, the healthy microbiota in our GI tract produce them by fermenting the fiber in our colons. Second, hemp contains the Essential Fatty Acids Omega 3 and Omega 6, which our body can break down into their short chain forms. These SCFA’s can control intestinal inflammation, strengthen colon cells, kill cancer cells and reduce the risk of a cardiovascular event.
  3. FibreWhole hemp seeds are a great source of both soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre forms a gel-like substance in the gut, containing valuable nutrients for our microbiota, and may also reduce spikes in blood sugar and regulate cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber adds much needed roughage that helps food and waste pass through the gut. Consuming insoluble fibre has also been linked with a reduced risk of diabetes!
  4. ProteinHemp seeds are an excellent source of protein including all nine Essential Amino Acids that our bodies are unable to produce for themselves. These amino acids are the building blocks our bodies need for cell production. Dietary protein is also a major source of nitrogen for colonic microbial growth and is essential for converting carbohydrates into energy. Since hemp protein is so easy to digest, it does not come with the intestinal distress that other high protein foods can bring with them.

 

There are so many reasons to make hemp a part of your daily diet, even if you don’t regularly encounter digestive distress. Caring for your GI tract through diet can have far reaching health benefits that everyone can enjoy! Find out for yourself by trying any of our great hemp seed products, and by checking out our recipes page!

What do you think of, when you think of hemp? Some people think of the nutritious superfood, like hemp seeds (aka hemp hearts) or hemp oil. Some people mistakenly think of Marijuana, a psychoactive relative of hemp. But did you know that the hemp crop has over 50,000 known uses to date? One of the most surprising uses is a building material called Hempcrete!

Hempcrete is a mixture of hemp hurd (the inner woody core of the the hemp crop), lime and water. This process creates a building material that is superior to traditional building materials in nearly every way! It has a surprising number of applications from insulation to wall construction to flooring. Here are some of the surprising features of this new construction technology.

 

Efficiency

Hempcrete is so insulating, self regulating and energy efficient that in many climates it eliminates the need for heating and air conditioning all together! This results in huge energy savings for the homeowner and the planet. These features also result in superior sound proofing both inside and out, giving you extra peace from the noisy world outside.

 

Durability

The lifespan of Hempcrete is said to be measured in centuries rather than years or decades. In fact, humans have used it for most of modern history! Recently, an abutment on a still standing 6th century bridge in France was discovered to contain Hempcrete! It is also highly resistant to cracking when exposed to movement, making it an ideal building material for earthquake prone areas.

 

Highly Fire, Pest, Water, Rot and Mold Resistant

Not only can hemp provide superior protection from fires, pests, rot, mold and water, but it can do it without the use of harsh chemicals. It also accomplishes these amazing feats while remaining breathable, creating a healthier environment for your family.

Watch this short video demonstration of fire resistant capabilities of Hempcrete:

 

 

Sustainability

The hemp crop grows to maturity in 90-110 days, and grows nicely in our short Canadian summers. When compared to the amount of time it takes to grow a tree to maturity, it’s easy to see which material is more sustainable. Hemp also removes 4x the CO2 from the atmosphere than trees, and continues to remove this toxin from the air after it is processed and installed! If the Hempcrete needs to be torn down for any reason, it can simply be tilled into the soil as fertilizer.

 

 

It’s easy to see the incredible potential of this product. It is more sustainable, durable and efficient than traditional building materials, and provides a safer, cleaner home for its tenants. Hempcrete is just another amazing way that the industrial hemp crop can build a more sustainable future for us all.

Have you ever had one of those ‘gut feelings’ that you just had to listen to? How is it that our stomachs can hold so much wisdom and intuition? Scientists think they may have found the answer! They have found that our entire digestive system, from our esophagus to our posterior, is lined with over 100 million neurons, just like those found in our brains and central nervous systems. There are so many neurons in our digestive tract that scientists have nicknamed the gut the ‘second brain’ (though it is technically known as the Enteric Nervous System). In fact, almost 95% of our bodies Serotonin receptors (which are largely responsible for our feelings of happiness), can be found in our guts. Who knew?!

 

This new information is changing the way many people approach maintaining good mental health. Habits like getting enough sleep, regular exercise, and meditation are incredibly important for a sound mind, but it is becoming apparent that what we put in our stomachs is just as crucial. Luckily, we know of a certain super food that has a reputation for easing the symptoms of mental illness. Here are 3 reasons why adding hemp to your diet is a great way to support your mental health.

  1. Essential Fatty Acids

    Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) are absolutely crucial to brain health & development. In fact, the brain and the Myelin Sheath are composed of 75% fat. The Myelin Sheath is the protective layer of fat that serves to guard the neurons from toxins, while also absorbing life sustaining nutrients. Research has shown that EFA’s help with attention, depression, schizophrenia, and also neurological disorders like parkinson’s and alzheimer’s.Hemp offers the richest and most balanced natural source of EFA’s, and has the perfect ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 for maintaining optimal mental, hormone and heart health.   Read more about EFA’s here.

  2. Protein

    Protein isn’t just for your muscles, it is also essential for brain development and neurotransmitter function. Research has shown that insufficient protein during pregnancy and early childhood is linked to many behavioral disorders, and it can affect how our brain responds to the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is responsible for our feelings of motivation and drive.Hemp seeds are composed of around 25% Protein, and contain significant amounts of all 9 Essential Amino Acids. That is something very few plants can boast!

  3. Vitamin B

    B Vitamins in your diet are critical for your body to produce feelings of well being. They regulate the effects of stress in your body, they assist proper neurotransmitter function, and they boost metabolism and energy. They also assist the body in utilizing stored fuel reserves to nourish the brain and body.Hemp seeds are rich in almost all major B vitamins, including B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6.

These are just a few of the great benefits of including hemp in your daily diet. Other benefits that hemp supports are improved heart, lung, eye, gut, and joint health! There are some delicious recipes on our website that you can try, or you can try one of these great producs…

  • Hemp oil capsules – These are an easy way to make sure you get your daily requirements of EFAs!
  • Gorp Bars – These tasty snacks taste much better than the average Protein bar, and they contain 11g of Protein!
  • Toasted Hemp Seeds – Feeling snacky? These delicious Sea Salt Hemp Seeds are addicting!
  • Protein Powder – This nutrient packed Protein Powder is great in smoothies!

Set yourself up for success with hemp, today!

We have all been there: hair breakage, split ends, itchy scalp, flakes, no body, no shine, no fun! No one has time for bad hair days, and many shampoos can strip your hair and scalp of its natural protective oils. Luckily, Mother Nature has fantastic hair, and her secret is out! Hemp oil, whether taken internally or simply applied with hemp hair products, is so rich in the Essential Fatty Acids and Proteins that our hair follicles need to produce healthy cells. It is also non-greasy, organic and eco-friendly! Here are some of the benefits you can expect to enjoy when using hemp oil:

  1. Strengthens & Prevents BreakageOften, when we are experiencing hair breakage and split ends, it is because our body is lacking a Protein called Keratin. Hemp is packed full of Keratin, and so helps strengthen and restore the cellular structure in your hair. Additionally, because hemp is so moisturizing, it also improves the elasticity in your hair, which will prevent breakage due to brittleness.
  2. Stimulates Growth & Prevents LossOur hair needs an Essential Fatty Acid called Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) in order to grow. The more GLA we provide it with, the faster it will grow. By using hemp oil, which is rich in GLA, your hair can grow quickly and healthfully. It can also help prevent hair loss by moisturizing your hair and scalp, helping to ease dryness, eczema and irritation. Hemp oil can also help repair damaged membranes on your scalp.
  3. Adds Moisture & LusterHemp oil effectively penetrates hair and skin, to deliver the Essential Fatty Acids, Vitamin E and Protein right where we need them, without that greasy feeling. It dramatically softens hair, while also relieving any tightness and itchiness in the scalp. Additionally, the ceremides found in hemp oil serve to protect the moisture and protein levels in your hair, which is especially helpful during the dry winter months.

Hemp oil really is one of the best and most cost effective ways to care for your hair. Don’t just take our word for it, though! Try our organic hemp shampoo & conditioner set made here in Canada, or this recipe from Natural Oils for Hair for a Hemp Oil Hair Mask:

  1. Pour 5 tablespoons of hemp seed oil, 3 tablespoons of honey, 5 tablespoons of avocado oil, a banana and 5 – 10 drops of rosemary or eucalyptus essential oil into a blender.
  2. Blend together thoroughly. If you live in a dry/humid environment, leave out the honey or you can replace with 3 tablespoons of your favourite deep conditioner.
  3. Apply the mask to hair, cover with a cap and wait for about ½ an hour, then rinse out and style.Amounts can be increased or decreased depending on the length of your hair. In order to reap the full benefits, stick to the routine for 3 – 6 months. For optimum results, add hemp to your daily diet with hemp oil capsules or with one of our delicious recipes.

Humans the world over have used the hemp plant in many forms for thousands of years, and modern processing technologies have given it nearly unlimited applications. To date, over 50,000 applications have been found, and each one of them has the potential to shrink our carbon footprint. Also, since this plant can be easily grown in our unpredictable Alberta climate, it could give our local economy a much-needed boost. There are so many positives to embracing this super plant as part of our everyday lives.

Here’s 10 ways this crop is used today (some of them may surprise you)!

 

10. Pet Food

Whether it’s your 3 pound rabbit or that 500 pound bear you probably shouldn’t have domesticated, all mammals alike need their Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). Hemp oil is an excellent source for all your EFAs, and it is a natural way to improve your pet’s joint health, lower its risk of cancer, and improve their skin and coat. It can be used alongside any medications, and can reduce your pet’s anxiety levels!

 

9. Skin Care

Hemp seed oil’s EFA profile is very similar to our own human skin, making it a perfect moisturizer for any skin type (even sensitive skin). It conditions the skin naturally without clogging the pores, and the anti-inflammatory properties can reduce the appearance of redness and aging! It can be used to treat many skin conditions like dandruff, psoriasis, eczema, acne, and dermatitis. Try it in our popular beauty product line, or if you’re feeling crafty, you could try making your own skin care products!

 

8. Batteries

Traditional batteries use toxic chemicals that are dangerous to humans, wild life and our water sources. Luckily, researchers have demonstrated that hemp bast fibers have the ability to conduct electricity as efficiently as graphene. If you’re electrical engineering knowledge is rusty, think ultra-green and ultra-cheap batteries!

 

7. Wood Finish

Hemp oil can be used as a solvent-free wood finish. Traditional products are so toxic they require a well-ventilated space, whereas hemp oil is environmentally friendly, and smells like freshly crushed walnuts. It preserves the natural color of the wood, and it is safe for food preparation surfaces. Watch a quick video about it here!

 

6. Textiles

Hemp has been used to make clothing for millennia, in fact materials made from hemp were found in tombs dating back to 8,000 BC! It is one of the most durable natural fibers on the planet, and products made from it are long lasting, stretch resistant, mold resistant, antibacterial, light and breathable. It can be ethically produced right here in Canada, so we can sleep well knowing we are making positive consumer choices when we choose hemp. Yay, us!

 

5. Biodegradable Plastic

You can’t shake a stick on the internet without hitting a video of a sad turtle with too much plastic in its diet. Our addiction to plastic disposables is one of the biggest threats to our water and land. If only there were some kind of plant based plastic that is biodegradable, recyclable, durable, carbon neutral and versatile. Oh wait, there is! Hemp plastic and other bio-plastics are rising in popularity in North America. It is lighter, stronger, safer, less expensive and can be molded into any shape imaginable! The possibilities are limitless!

 

4. Hempcrete

Hempcrete (Hemp + Concrete) is an exciting new building material made from a mixture of hemp hurds and lime. This is concrete that literally acts like a living tree; breathing in Carbon CO2 and breathing out fresh, tasty Oxygen. It is also mold resistant, pest resistant, fire resistant and is an excellent insulator!

 

3. Bio-Fuel

As if this plant weren’t already amazing, it is also an environmentally friendly source of biofuel. Hemp biodiesel is a cost effective, environmentally safe and renewable fuel source. When used, it can extend the lifespan of the vehicle because it is more lubricating than petroleum diesel fuel. This application has massive potential for our economy and our environment!

 

2. Motor Vehicles

The world’s most eco-friendly car runs on, and is made of…you guessed it! Hemp! Vehicles made of hemp are 10 times stronger than steel, yet are ultra-light, making them impact resistant AND fuel efficient. Researchers believe that with the rise in environmental concerns, hemp fibers are likely to become a major component of cars around the world.

 

1. Nuclear Disaster Clean Up

For over a decade, industrial hemp has been planted at the site of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster. Why? Hemp crop literally cleans and enriches the soil it is planted in by breaking down pollutants and stabilizing metal contaminants. The crop is then used to make biofuel so that none of this plant goes to waste. Hemp is now being sought to help clean up environmental disasters around the world, including Fukushima!

 

It’s plain to see that hemp should not be underestimated. The nearly endless applications of this super plant will mean exciting and positive things for our environment, our economy and our future. Discover the benefits of hemp today!

Have you hurd the news? Hemp crops yield abundant eco-friendly uses and heal the Earth during the growth cycle.

At the core of the hemp stalk is the hurd, a wood like material also referred to as shives.  It is surrounded by the hemp fibre or bast which you might have read about in our last blog post.

Hurd History

The uses of this part of the crop are astonishing.  From construction materials to paper products, the benefits are just starting to be enjoyed once again in the North American market.

While its roots go back milleniums, due to different laws and regulations, not all countries have been able to enjoy this resilient, eco-friendly raw material at liberty in the last century.

Luckily, with public awareness and evolving regulations surrounding hemp, it is only a matter of time before production gears up and positive impacts are realized yet again.

Saving Forests

Since hemp can be used to make paper, it relieves stress on forests as an alternative to clear cutting trees for consumer products. The cellulose rich centre of the crop combined with the strong hemp fibres create a long lasting, chemical free option in the paper industry.

Sustainable Building

Hempcrete is a wonderful option as a carbon neutral construction material.  When hemp hurd is mixed with water and lime, great things happen.  Canadian company Just BioFiber highlights details on the carbon sequestration features of their building block in this article.    

Making the Most of our Miracle Crop

The hemp stalk, made up of hurd and fibre, is already being commercialized in Canada, however we are nowhere near full capacity.  Entrepreneurs are coming together with innovative solutions, and amazing products are being created.

HempE founder, Cyndal Johnston, visited with Dan Madlung of BioComposites Group in Alberta who shed a little light on the end products derived from the hemp stalk.

Biomass Fuels

As if the above mentioned uses weren’t enough, the stalk can also be converted into hemp biomass as a fuel source.  In fact, Henry Ford reaped the reward of hemp as a fuel source near 100 years ago.  

You might be wondering, why didn’t the idea stick?  That’s a bit complicated and goes back to issues of legality and economics.  

The Future is Green

The more we learn about hemp, the more we fall in love with this miracle crop.  From its many uses to its carbon sequestration and soil cleaning capabilities, demand is inevitably going to grow.

Though its commercialization still faces constraints in some parts of the world, once those barriers are broken, we’ll be growing our way to a cleaner, greener future.

How do you support the hemp industry? 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