handful of hemp seedsHemp seeds, which are full of all kinds of good stuff for the body, are finding their place on the shelves of many grocery stores. Look around the next time you’re shopping; you’re bound to find them. Once you discover them, take the next leap and actually try them. They’re wonderful, little, nutty things.

Ok, before we get any further, I’ll answer a question that’s probably on your mind. “Yes, hemp seeds are related to marijuana.” They’re like cousins, but hemp comes from a completely different part of the plant and has no drug value.

Now, back to business. Hemp seeds, considered a complete protein, are soft- shelled and taste like a mix of sunflower seeds and pine nuts. They are packed with essential omega fatty acids, magnesium and about twice the amount of protein as chia or flex seeds. Like these other two seeds, hemp seeds can be sprinkled in with your steamed and roasted vegetables, soups, fruit salads, cereals, stir fry and ice cream. I love to use them in smoothies, salad dressings, homemade granola and as a breading for chicken.

Once you experiment with the seeds and discover you really like the taste, give Hemp milk is a try. No you don’t have to make it yourself. Just pick some up at the store.  This beverage is made by blending hemp seeds with water to produce a drink with a distinctive nutty flavor. Hemp milk contains more protein then rice and coconut milk beverages and is super rich in omega-3 fat. You can use the milk in baked goods, pancake batter, pureed creamy soups, and it’s perfect over gluten- free granola and cereal.

I’m not off my hemp seed bandwagon yet because there is another product made from hemp seed and it’s called hemp oil. It’s rich in anti-inflammatory components. Although it’s far too delicate to use in cooking, you can use it for dips recipes, pesto and salad dressings. Store it in the refrigerator once opened.

Hemp seeds are a perfect addition to so many dishes. Don’t bypass these little gems of goodness.