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Hemp Rides High As Health Food


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It has been smoked, worn and baked in brownies, but now hemp has hit a new high as the latest eco-health food.

Hemp seed is a key ingredient in Nature's Path's new hemp oatmeal, touted as a porridge richer in proteins, omega oils and antioxidants than traditional oats.

The product, unveiled at the Grocery Showcase West at the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre, is the latest in the company's line of hemp granola, hemp waffles and, last but not least, hemp brownies.

"That one is fun," said Helen Midwood, Canadian national sales manager of Nature's Path. "It's kind of like 'you wanna hemp brownie?' "

Hemp wasn't the only healthy alternative at the show, which drew 3,000 grocers and 900 exhibitors Sunday and Monday.

Pomegranates juiced their way into a Rockstar Pomegranate energy drink, while Aloe juice, a thick green concoction with crushed flecks of aloe vera designed to flush out the digestive tract, also made its debut.

"There's a lot of organic and natural products. What's heartening for us is they're being accepted," said Mark Vickers, CEO of Choices Market. "Fifteen years ago, people looked at us askance, like 'where are your Birkenstocks, do you have your hemp shirt on?' "

Now, judging by the wares, it appears people are clamouring for wafer sticks, rice milk chocolate and two slices of prebiotic bread, which is made with chicory root and inulin fibre and provides as much bacteria culture as a dozen servings of probiotic yogurt.

"The Food Network has made the average joe a foodie," Midwood said. "So many folks are looking for the health benefit."

Yet skeptics remain. Although Nature's Path exports 70 per cent of its products to the U.S., Americans are "still afraid of hemp" because of its connection to cannabis, she said.

And grocer Keith Patterson of Alberta's Ponoko Foods Ltd. said his shop had to pull its organic foods before they went bad.

"We're in cattle country," Patterson said. "Everybody likes their steaks."

Newshawk: CoZmO - 420Magazine.com
Source: The Vancouver Sun (Canada)
Author: Kelly Sinoski
Contact: ksinoski@png.canwest.com
Copyright: 2007 The Vancouver Sun
Website: Vancouver Sun


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I want some hemp oatmeal.
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