Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD, RD, LD

Licensed Nutritionist & Environmental Health Specialist

Archive for the ‘hemp’ tag

Hemp for Health

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Coconut-Date-SlicesIn October 2014 I attended the Hemp Conference in Las Vegas with the intent to better understand medical cannabis and find out why brownies were the food of choice by consumers of medical marijuana. I’d seen medical cannabis used in Amsterdam, China, Peru and at an Antartica base yet marijuana as medicine incorporated into a food is uniquely American.

The plant Cannabis sativa has numerous constituents. That component responsible for psychotropic effects is called THC (tetrahydrocannabidiol). The component used for medical purposes CBD (cannabidiol) is unlikely to be intoxicating since it has almost no THC. Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of American Botanical Council calls CBD “one of the most therapeutic compounds in cannabis”.

Some people consider the idea of medical marijuana a hoax but Ray Sahelian, M.D. , a California physician and author of Mind Boosters states, “I can see marijuana, mostly in the form of edibles, being available in health food stores to those who use it occasionally for relaxation, relief of insomnia, reduction of headache pain, and to stimulate appetite”.

As a hospice dietitian, families would frequently ask about marijuana for stimulating their loved ones appetite. All I could tell them was that it was safer than alcohol with natural therapeutic benefits but it was not legal in Florida. Cannabidiol is used in palliative care in other parts of the world but has yet to be accepted in the U.S.

But hemp seeds, hemp powder and hemp milk have been sold by the natural food industry for almost 20 years. These products contain CBD and are not in violation of state and federal laws. There are chewing gums and lozenges infused with hemp oil and rich in CBD formulated by Mastix Medical LLC, Hunt Valley, MD for those who want to improve their health and wellness.

My goal was to understand the “brownie connection” to medical marijuana. Once I tasted hemp oil with CBD it wasn’t rocket science to understand that chocolate and sugar are needed make the medicine go down. Those preparing the CBD foods are locked in a debate over whether the cannabidiols are affected by the baking. A tasty cookie that was not baked was marketed as a superior source of CBD. Once you look at the price of these delicacies, you want to make sure to get the best bargain.

This recipe for coconut date slices is a modified version of the non-baked CBD cookie mentioned above ( no CBD oil). The sugar replacement used in the recipe is erythritol but other sugars or replacement products can be substituted. This is a healthier version of rice krispie treat cookies than the one made with marshmallows! You can enjoy these cookies as a snack or dessert while waiting to see if anything like it ever becomes available in your local health food store.

Coconut Date Slices

1 cup finely chopped dates
3/4 cup sugar replacement
2 eggs
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
2 cups rice krispies cereal
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut

Combine dates, sugar replacement, and eggs in large skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture pulls away from sides of pan, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in nuts, vanilla, and cereal. Cool. Moisten hands in cold water and shape into two 6-inch logs, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Roll in coconut on waxed paper surface and wrap. Chill at least 1 hour before slicing into slices. Makes 24 cookies.

Calories 65 (89 made with sugar)
Protein 2 g
Carbohydrates 8 g
Fat 3 g
Sodium 186 mg

Written by bwsl

April 24th, 2015 at 12:46 pm

Pumpkin & Eye Health

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Pumpkin Banana MuffinsDon’t throw that Halloween pumpkin away! It could help improve your eyesight better than the carrots your mother told you to eat. As we age our eyesight begins to diminish and carotenoids from orange and green foods become more important.

Research suggests that oxidative damage on eye lens leads to cataract formation- one of the leading causes of age-related blindness in the U.S. A cataract is the process of clouding in the lens caused from free radicals. Carotenoids reduce free radicals within the eye and body.

While most canned pumpkin is really winter squash (pumpkins are in the squash family), it still contains lutein and zeaxanthin for macular eye health. I recently watched how the macular carotenoids were calculated in foods and dietary supplements. The darker green and deeper orange foods were the best foods to support eye health. Trace amounts of these carotenoids were even found in 21 samples of fish, shrimp and sea turtles. Eggs from chickens fed marigold flowers, oranges and peaches even showed levels of zeaxanthin, a carontenoid speciifically evaluated for macular degeneration protection.

A daily intake of 6 mg lutein/zeaxanthin is recommended to provide cataract and macular degeneration benefit. This equals 1/2 cup cooked pumpkin/winter squash or 1 cup cooked kale/spinach or broccoli daily.

Enjoying fresh cooked or canned pumpkin year round in tasty nutritious recipes like Pumpkin Banana Muffins is a great way to maintain eye health. The recipe is features whole grains and hemp hearts, the most nutrient packed gluten-free grain grown for centuries. Don’t risk eye health problems like glaucoma, macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy by using convenience foods loaded with sugar and unknown vegetable oils. Fresh homemade foods are better!

Pumpkin Banana Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup hemp hearts or hemp flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
2 ripe small bananas, peeled and mashed
1/3 cup honey
2 eggs
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup chopped almonds or pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking pan with muffin cups. Combine flour, hemp hearts, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves in mixing bowl. Beat together pumpkin, bananas, honey, eggs and oil. Pour into center of flour mixture. Stir until blended. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Top with chopped nuts. Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool or serve hot. Makes 12.

Calories per muffin 265
Protein 5 g
Carbohydrates 24g
Fat 11g
Sodium 189 mg

Written by bwsl

December 24th, 2014 at 7:32 pm