The old dinner table
Growing up in a house of 8 children in rural Ireland in the 80’s sharpened both my wits and my reflexes. Our mother would place a pot of potatoes in the center of the table and as soon as she turned her back the race was on. Hands with forks descended into battle like tentacles all vying for the biggest potato. Screams of pain and victory filled the air as forks stabbed both potatoes and hands alike! Balance was only restored when mother returned to the table and what was left of the potatoes was returned to the rightful owners.
Today’s dinner table
My dinner table now a days is a far cry from old. The arguments that ensue now entail me firstly trying to get my three boys to the dinner table (a chore), trying to keep them at the table (a challenge) and trying to get them to eat all their dinner especially vegetables (a nightmare!)
But it is important they eat every piece as each contributes to the balanced nutrition they need.
My family’s weekly shop is not so different to many others. Fruit and vegetables are a certain to go in first. Then on to the meat section. I have this love-hate relationship with meat. I love the taste of meat but hate the price and I worry about its origins.
I would love to buy a chicken that was reared in a big field over several years eating seeds and forage while frolicking between pastures. All this frolicking of course would probably cost me $100 for that one chicken breast and so like most of us I end up with the very reasonably priced but very ethically challenging broiler chicken.
The Meat we eat
When I purchase meat be it white, red or fish the deciding factor tends to come down to price. The problem with cheap processed meat is that no amount of fancy packaging removes the conditions that reared those animals. The cramped quarters, poor sanitation, antibiotics and so on are synonymous with cheaper meat. And fish is just as frightening. Farmed fish are pumped with antibiotics (farmed fish are notorious for this due to the disease ridden environment). And wild fish swim in a polluted ocean ingesting waste toxins. Do the nutritional benefits outweigh the risks? Or better still; can we get the nutritional benefits without the risks?
Hemp as an Alternative to meat?
The cost to our environment 6 and in turn to human life is too great for us not to manage our meat consumption. But can we stop eating meat yet maintain the nutritional benefits?
The Hemp plant (non psychoactive) provides a multitude of uses.
Let’s look at two of hemp’s gifts:
1. Hemp seed Oil
Hemp seed oil is made from cold pressing hemp seeds. It contains the essential fatty acids omega 3 6 and 9 in a perfect ratio – it even outperforms oily fish. Hemp seed oil contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, C, E. Not to mention minerals calcium, potassium phosphorus, magnesium, copper. So how do we get hemp seed oil into our diet? Hemp seed oil can be used in dips, pesto, smoothies and most of all to salads as a delicious nutty dressing.
Note: It is not to be used as a cooking oil as it loses its nutrients this way.
2. Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are a fantastic source of protein and average around 32g per 100g which is on par with other meats and much greater than fish. Not to mention a great source of fiber, magnesium, zinc and iron, omega 3,6,9 and arginine! They are an ideal substitute for spaghetti bolognese and taco meat given the texture.
Given nature (hemp) was outlawed for the past 80 years on this planet; hemp is more expensive than it should be! But as laws are changing and growers are increasing expect lower prices in the near future. For now if your motto is ‘your health is your wealth’ choose hemp products. In comparison to the price of meat per 100g seeds are similar but the oil is more expensive.
Small changes to a better world
Between hemp seeds and hemp seed oil we can get all the nutritional benefits we require to live long healthy lives. Using hemp with vegetables we can continue to eat delicious nutritious food. Firstly by complimenting our existing meat diet. By reducing our fish consumption we can allow the oceans and the fish to replenish. Once the demand reduces so too will over fishing. When the demand for chickens reduces so too will the demand for cheap broiler chicken. It is the same for cattle. The next time we buy meat there will only be an organic option – the way nature intended.