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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!

A common question we receive about hemp is, “Can it help me lose weight?”.

One might expect a self-described health company like us to display our product’s weight management information in sky writing – after all, weight loss products are an easy sell! However, we at HempE pride ourselves on being both a heart-lead business that puts our principles before our pocketbooks, and an evidence-based information and education center, ensuring that truth trumps profit. As such, we would like to unpack this loaded question, and offer what we believe is an accurate, but fresh, perspective.

Sometimes, when someone is asking about weight loss, they are actually asking, “Will this product improve my health?” The answer, of course, is an emphatic YES! Hemp is an excellent source of Protein, Essential Fatty Acids, Vitamin E, and more! We’ve written about some of the ways it can improve your health in past blogs, which you can read here, here and here.

Other times, the question means just what it says, “Will it make me skinny?”. We, as a culture, have become obsessed with thinness. We have come to see it as synonymous with health, and even as a barometer for worthiness. We have created a toxic climate that fosters disordered eating, mental illness, and shame.

Of course, acting as your own bus driver, you are allowed to choose whatever path to health you feel called to, including intentional weight loss. There are a lot of articles that support the idea that hemp will aid you in your weight loss journey, which you can read here, or here, or literally thousands of places that a quick Google search will reveal to you. However, before you go, we would like to offer some ways you can support your mind and spirit while you seek health for your body:

  1. Honor your hunger: Our bodies are amazingly intuitive, and if we pay attention, they are actually telling us exactly what they need to be healthy and satisfied. Often, diets ask us to ignore what our body is telling us, but by doing this we are undermining our bodies inherent wisdom. If we deny ourselves for too long, we trigger a biological (not psychological) drive to overeat, and we eventually lose the ability to hear what our body is saying at all!
  2. Give yourself permission to eat – the ‘Satisfaction Factor’: These days most of us have sectioned off a portion of our psyche for the Food Police to obsess over every calorie. The Food Police are the ones with the internal megaphone that tell you you’re ‘good’ if you eat nothing but celery, or ‘bad’ if you enjoy a cookie. We get so wrapped up in our anxiety fueled self-denial that we overlook one of the most basic blessings of life – the pleasure and satisfaction we gain from eating good food. The Food Police won’t tell you this, but when you allow yourself to eat what you really want, the pleasure you gain from that experience is a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied. If you do this while listening to your body, you’ll find that you need a lot less food to decide you’ve had ‘enough’.
  3. Respect your fullness: Slow down, breathe, taste your food and listen to what your body is saying. When we are present in our bodies while we eat, not only do we enjoy the experience of eating more, we are also more likely to hear our body tell us when we are comfortably full.
  4. Honor your feelings without using food: Negative feelings, such as anxiety, loneliness, boredom or anger are very difficult emotions to sit with. It is natural to seek comfort or even just numbness from the pain. Food may feel nice for the short term, but it doesn’t solve the problem. If anything, once the food hangover wears off, we are left with the same difficult emotions along with a dollop of food shame on the side. Sooner or later, you’ll be left to deal with the source of your pain, as well as that bloaty feeling. 
  5. Respect your body: Your body is worthy of love and respect just as it is, in this moment. Really. Our bodies do so much for us every day and we don’t always remember to treat them with gentleness and gratitude. When we learn to respect our bodies, and let go of our self-criticism, we can finally seek a more holistic health that supports our mind and spirit, as well as our body.
  6. Pleasurable Movement: Cross fit will definitely get your heart pumping, and if this is your jam then high fives all around. However, if your local gym feels more like a medieval torture chamber to you, it can be hard to motivate yourself to stop pressing the snooze button to get there on time. This is especially true when we are exercising because we are unhappy with our bodies and not because they are precious, and we want to take care of them. Find an activity that brings you a sense of joy and connection with your body. Go for a walk in the park, pick up a hula hoop, join a soccer team, find something that is accessible to you, and makes you feel good in your body. There are more ways to fitness than burpees and flipping tractor tires.
  7. Honor your health: While it is true that our diets don’t have to be perfect, we still need to make food choices that honor both our taste buds and our health. Consistently adding nutritious choices, like hemp, to your diet can go a long way towards making you feel well. That is, after all, what we at HempE are really here for. We want to honor your health, the health of your family, and the health of our planet, with love. We want you to know that no matter what path to wellness you chose, you are worthy of gentleness, respect and delicious food.

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 [email protected].