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Eats shoots and leaves: High on Health from hemp


Susan Jane White.

Susan Jane White.

Susan Jane White.

Yes, it comes from the same plant species as marijuana but it's entirely legal and non-psychoactive, I'm afraid. Hemp seeds are really tasty, so it's a welcome bonus that they're healthy too.

We love their omega-3 artillery during the festive season. Omega-3 fats help quench inflammatory markers in the body, so keep a stash of them in your medicine cabinet for sore livers and heads. Omega 3s are also crucial for manufacturing new brain cells, which is especially useful if we've killed a few the night before.

Did you know that hemp is a complete protein? Each seed contains all the essential amino acids required by the body to give it bragging rights as a buff protein source. But that ain't all, my wily little gym bunnies.

Hemp contains rich stores of iron, that mineral responsible for helping oxygen access all areas. Spinach pales in comparison - tough luck, Popeye.

Milled hemp is a great alternative protein drink to those dodgy sports shakes peddled to your teenage sons. Hemp powder tastes sweet, without the kick of saccharine chemicals. And because it's a good source of fibre, this particular protein source would be far more amenable to jolly pipes than those massive tubs of constipation sold across fitness centres' counters. We like.

Banana Bread Muffins

8 servings.

I love baking with coconut flour. It gives a wonderfully fluffy crumb, despite being gluten-free. With twice as much fibre as wheat, coconut flour helps give a feeling of fullness for longer - a handy hint for weight watchers and hungry little hands. Fibre is also associated with lower cholesterol levels and beautiful bowels, so don't forget to put these muffins within grandpa's reach.

The men in your life will love these muffins for a whole host of reasons; taste, muscle power, and grooming. Bananas are padded with potassium and vitamin B6, both crucial nutrients in preventing hair loss.

You will need:

90g (3½oz) oats

30g (1oz) coconut flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

Palmful of dried dates, de-stoned

4 tablespoons shelled hemp seeds

2 big bananas

2 eggs

4 tablespoons maple syrup

Good squeeze of lemon juice

5 tablespoons coconut oil or butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas 4. It's worth asking Santa for an oven thermometer - I reckon as many as 40pc of ovens lie to us. They can be just as contrary as a celebrity chef.

Using a food processor, briefly pulse the oats to break them down in size, being careful not to mill them down to a fine flour. Add the coconut flour, the cinnamon and the baking powder.

Roughly chop the de-stoned dried dates, and parachute these into the mix along with the shelled hemp seeds. Pulse again, for 6 seconds or so. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and set aside.

In a shallow dish, mash the bananas with a fork. Beat in the eggs, making sure they are thoroughly incorporated. Now fold through the maple syrup, the lemon juice and the coconut oil or melted butter, whichever you're using. Pour over the dry hemp-seed mixture you set aside earlier, and beat like crazy.

Scrape this gooey mix into a muffin tray, that has 8 paper cases. Bake for 22 minutes. Remove from oven, allowing each muffin to cool in their paper case on a wire rack. I make these for lunch boxes - they're excellent for those with an appetite of a mini hog.

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