A New Non-Dairy Milk Alternative: Hemp Milk

Did you know that hemp seed contains more essential fatty acids than any other source? Did you also know that it is second only to soybeans in being a complete protein (although far more digestible for humans)? Hemp milk is a newer addition to your milk choices on the market just over the last two years. It may very well be the best alternative milk choice for the dairy free, but also have an appealing call to others as well, including myself. I originally heard about this product from a reader and began my own research. Come to find out, hemp milk is actually very nutritious for you!

According to the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette, “The “milk,” which just began to be sold this year (2007), is made from the “nuts” or seeds of the industrial hemp plant, which is illegal for U.S. farmers to grow.

That hasn’t been allowed, except for an experimental stint in Hawaii, since the late 1950s. This though the seeds and fibers from the industrial plant contain only trace amounts of the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is what makes the leaves and flowering tops of regular Cannabis sativa marijuana.” Most companies producing hemp milk including Living Harvest, highlighted below, promise that their beverage is completely THC-free.

I recently purchased a carton of the Living Harvest Hempmilk from my local Whole Foods and was pleasantly surprised by the pleasant nutty flavor. It was very smooth and delicious! I probably wouldn’t drink it everyday just like a glass a milk, but it worked very well added to our smoothies, replacing milk products in baking, and for other general uses. I would imagine you could even make your own hempmilk kefir with it!

One 8-Ounce glass contains the following healthy nutrients:

  • 900mg Omega-3 Fatty Acid
  • 2800mg Omega-6 Fatty Acid
  • All 10 Essential Amino Acids
  • 4 grams of Digestible Protein
  • 46% of RDA of Calcium
  • 0% Cholesterol
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorous
  • Riboflavin
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin B12
  • Folic Acid
  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • And more…

According to the box, for one cup (8 ounces) you can receive 46 percent of your daily calcium and 43 percent of your phosphorus. That’s pretty significant!

The beverage is fortified with other vitamins and minerals, including D2 (25 percent), B12 (25 percent) and riboflavin (31).

What it doesn’t present is any allergic reactions for those who can’t consume dairy, tree nuts or soy, and no cholesterol or cane sugar. Hemp protein, unlike soy protein, doesn’t contain high levels of enzyme inhibitors, phytates (“which can interfere with the proper assimilation of essential minerals”) or oligosaccharides (“which cause flatulence and stomach distress”). Although slightly more expensive then soy or rice milk, it’s nutritional benefits and digestibility far surpass them. Both soy and rice milks contain phytates which make it very difficult to digest and prevent your body from absorbing alot of the nutrients.

You can also make your own hempmilk very easily! If my math is correct, your savings unfortunately will not be significant, but it will be more fresh and a good way to avoid the waste of the milk containers. For a recipe for homemade hemp milk, visit here.

Hemp milk is a great alternative if you do not have access to raw cow’s milk, are dairy intolerant or vegetarian. It ranks up there with coconut milk and yet slightly cheaper in price.

Although I will not be abandoning my raw cow’s milk consumption, I have definitely decided to start supplementing our diet with this yummy hempmilk for all its nutritional benefits.

The Living Harvest site has a ton of great recipes for hemp milk -such as the Chocolate Coconut Shake (a combination of coconut milk & chocolate hemp milk). Sounds scrumptious! Sign up for their newsletter here and receive special offers and discounts.

The various applications for hemp are quite fascinating- check out some more amazing hemp facts!

Further Reading:

Weston A Price – Why Should you Avoid Soy?
Real Milk – The Benefits of Raw Milk
The Benefits of Organic Hemp milk

Sources:

Azure Standard -find organic shelled hempseed here. They also sell Living Harvest Hempmilk for $2.90 per container as their sale price this month!
Amazon – Living Harvest Hempmilk (case of 6) for $26.81
Whole Food Stores ($3.50-5 dollars per 32 oz depending upon if you get it on sale)

Have you tried hemp milk? What are your thoughts?

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

52 Responses to A New Non-Dairy Milk Alternative: Hemp Milk

  1. Angie September 23, 2011 at 3:58 am #

    Hi Lindsay,

    Yes, I have – she has such a sensitive tummy. I also tried goat yogurt and kefir as I hear those are more easily digested than milk. The last time I did a trial was about 4 months ago; perhaps I could give it another go and see if she’s ready as I agree it would be more suitable. We have a great goat farm pretty close by however their goats stop producing in the winter and begin again in the spring, I believe. My small health food store carries it – it was just cool to go to the farm – so fresh!! Anyway, thank you again. Hopefully we find a resolution soon!

  2. Qiana Weyant April 18, 2011 at 3:25 am #

    It is actually a nice and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Julie February 15, 2011 at 5:30 am #

    Has anyone tried making their own hemp milk? Here is a link explaining how: http://www.bryannaclarkgrogan.com/hemp_milk.html
    It sounds too easy to be true!

  4. rosi January 17, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    I recently bought some Vanilla Hemp milk (Pacific Natural Foods brand), and it is excellent! I haven’t used it in cooking yet, but for just plain drinking it’s great. If you see some the next time you’re at the store, try it. It´s so beautyful that I´ve found so much Information about hemp milk at http://www.hempmilk.org.

  5. Davey July 1, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

    I buy hemp seeds at Lassen’s Health Market. I think it costs like 8 bucks for a bag. They are good to eat straight out of the bag, and better toasted with a little olive oil and sea salt. They’re a little like sesame seeds, and no, they can’t be planted and grown into pot plants. They’ve been radiated or something so they have to be eaten and not grown. Also, Trader Joe’s has great hemp protein powder, hemp granola bars and hemp cereal. Mmm-mm, ganja-goodness!

  6. Kaylee Kreft June 17, 2010 at 3:59 pm #

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  7. Mandy June 13, 2009 at 4:44 am #

    Hi,
    I just had my son tested for allergens as he has had terrible eczema since he was 4 months old. He is now 9 1/2 months. The tests came back that he is allergic to wheat, eggs, and dairy. I am still nursing and so I am needing to change my diet until I wean him. I just purchased refrigerated coconut milk from Kroger and love it but read it’s high in calories. Is this okay for me to cook with and use in cereal? Also, do you recommend this or rice milk or soy milk when he is weaned?Thank you.

    • Lindsay June 13, 2009 at 8:48 pm #

      Yes, coconut milk, hemp milk, or goats milk would be excellent alternatives. The best thing to use once he is weaned is goats milk in my opinion if you can find a source.

  8. Soccy May 28, 2009 at 8:50 pm #

    Have you used the hemp seeds to make anything else?

    • Lindsay May 29, 2009 at 8:54 am #

      No, I have not tried hemp seeds as of yet.

      • Anna C. November 11, 2009 at 12:46 pm #

        Hemp seeds are currently illegal to buy or sell in most US states. However, Oregon is working on legalizing the cultivation of Hemp which will help in making the purchase of Hemp Milk a lot cheaper. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

  9. Kim May 27, 2009 at 9:07 pm #

    I love hemp milk. The vanilla flavor makes great hot chocolate. So much tastier than soy milk or rice milk and lots more nutritious. I work at Whole Foods Market so I can get it anytime, but you can’t find it in the regular grocery stores or at places like Trader Joes. They need to get on the ball and sell this great product…and get over their incorrect preconceived notions about what hemp actually is.

  10. ~M April 29, 2009 at 5:39 pm #

    Have you tried the Hemp Dream (it’s actually white, and comes in a groovy tie-dyed container) or So Delicious’ Coconut Milk (meant for drinking, comes in 64 oz container near the non-dairy refrigerated milks)? We especially love the coconut milk by So Delicious!

  11. Linda April 28, 2009 at 6:21 am #

    There’s such a thing as hemp-milk and we Dutchies don’t know about it? Wow! ;)

    So now they’ve finally given people an excuse to say when the cops come to their house and find a marihuana-plantation.. *lol* Just kidding..

    It’s amazing how many (good!) things can be made of hemp.. clothes, lotions.. and now MILK! I’m amazed, really! :D

    Greetings from the netherlands (you know, where we have lots of hemp, only we use and call it differently.. *lol*)

    • Kristen September 21, 2009 at 10:46 am #

      Linda, I am moving to the Netherlands soon and no one has heard of hemp milk there – no one! I would think the Naturwinkel or Markt would carry it, but nothing.

      Have you found it? I want to avoid shipping over a case and have to ration it. I am already doing that with maple syrup. ha!

  12. Chloe April 23, 2009 at 6:29 am #

    I really like the vanilla living harvest hemp milk, especially on my oatmeal. Sometimes they even come with a coupon ($1 off two cartons):)

  13. holly smith April 22, 2009 at 11:39 am #

    I do not care for the taste/texture of Hemp milk, though. It’s like chewing a bracelet!

  14. ashley April 22, 2009 at 4:54 am #

    I offered my daughter a mixture of hemp milk and homemade raw almond milk after weaning. She seemed to love the hemp milk…but I can make almond milk much cheaper, so we stick with that now and she is a big fan!

    • Angie September 22, 2011 at 8:15 am #

      Hi Ashley!

      How old was your daughter when you weaned her to hemp milk?

      I have a one year old. She cannot have dairy and I want to stay away from soy. I tried making my own rice milk w/ necessary essential oils and vitamins added – but she was pretty constipated. Also, homemade almond milk gave her loose stools and a rash:(

      Thank you for any info you may have!

  15. psz April 22, 2009 at 12:10 am #

    we have had problems with raw milk (both cow’s and goat’s) comsumption in my country (not u.s.) because of diseases spread by ticks (i mean a tiny insect that sucks blood). these problems can be avoided by boiling the milk for a while. well, i know this makes it “cooked” in a sense, but domestic processing is more acceptable than industrial for various reasons. that is the problem with hemp, soy, whatever milk too, unless you’re allergic to proper milk. i guess looking for more raw materials for producing food with industrial technologies is a wrong path in general.

  16. Jennett April 21, 2009 at 5:52 pm #

    We tried a case of sweetened hemp milk from Azure and enjoyed it on cereal. I will be ordering another case this week. It was nice to get something with more nutrition in it than fortified rice milk for my son who has many intolerances. We also really enjoy raw goat’s milk, but haven’t been able to find any since we moved recently.

  17. Jill April 21, 2009 at 3:09 pm #

    Raw milk is not available around here and I have gotten lots of criticism about wanting raw milk. It’s actually illegal in Kentucky. But I have been offered goats milk. Many say raw cows milk is too dangerous. Why wouldn’t they think raw goats milk is dangerous? What are your thoughts?

    • Talya April 26, 2009 at 4:01 am #

      Hi Jill,

      Regarding raw goat’s milk, our local goat farmer says that it is better for babies as it is more easily digested. It also contains many more nutrients than cow’s milk. I plan to give it to my son once he is weaned.

      Hope this is helpful!

  18. crunchypinkhair April 21, 2009 at 1:37 pm #

    I have recently stopped drinking cow milk, and have been looking for something that my 6 month old can do in the upcoming months after breast feeding. Did you start your daughter on Hemp, Coconut milk first after nursing and what do you plan to do for your new one when he reaches that age? I don’t use formula, nor do I want to, but it seems I may not be producing enough for him by myself, also I have found out that I’m expecting again. So I need the extra calories as well. Just a little more info, I really enjoy reading your thoughts and find your information very helpful. Thank you!

    • Lindsay April 21, 2009 at 3:34 pm #

      I used goat’s milk with Karis after we were done with nursing. I used a powered version found in the natural section of our local Fred Meyers. I followed that by giving her coconut milk and raw milk yogurt. That seemed to work well for us. Not sure how I will do it with Titus yet.

      • Amanda April 22, 2009 at 11:14 am #

        How did you serve the coconut milk, did you thin it with anything? I am looking for an alternative to dairy as well. We are highly allergic to the proteins in milk, not just cow but goat and sheep as well. Hemp milk is a great alternative I will be looking into. Thank you so much

        • Lindsay April 22, 2009 at 1:18 pm #

          Yes, I thin it with water and add a little stevia and sometimes vanilla. Check out Kimi’s coconut milk tonic.

  19. Julie April 21, 2009 at 1:16 pm #

    We have tried hemp milk and really liked the flavor…although you have to keep your eyes open because so many (esp the vanilla) have sugar added. However, we really love our raw goats milk that we get from a local farmer. Dairy allergies are prevalent in our family, but we are all do well with the raw goat milk. When my 10 month old weaned himself I pumped and gave him breastmilk until my supply ran out…then decided to try goat milk. He has flourished! I am really thankful for that, since I was very unsure what to do (I prefer to breastfeed into the second year…) This website: http://www.roseofsharonacres.com/raw_goat_milk_benefits was helpful for me.
    Sorry for rambling on off topic!

  20. Kim April 21, 2009 at 11:45 am #

    I have not tried regular or vanilla, but Living Harvest chocolate hemp milk is sooo good!

  21. Tammy L April 21, 2009 at 10:17 am #

    “Did you also know that it is second only to soybeans in being a complete protein…”

    Is this in regards to non-dairy, vegetarian foods and/or milks? :) I wasn’t sure if you were saying hemp is second only to soybeans in regards to protein as a food, or just as a dairy-alternative… :)

    Also, I was wondering what sort of processing is used for commercial hemp milk? Maybe it is superior in that is it less processed than some of the other dairy-alternatives, as well? :)

    • Lindsay April 21, 2009 at 3:40 pm #

      As to your first question, I believe it is second to soybeans as a food item not just dairy alternative because it has all the amino acids, but I may be wrong. I found that fact at this website: http://www.thehia.org under facts about hemp. Secondly, comercial hempmilk seems to go through very minimal processing as it is so easy to make, but you will want to check with the company. Living Harvest seems to be a solid organic company.

      • Tammy L April 22, 2009 at 10:57 am #

        “I believe it is second to soybeans as a food item not just dairy alternative because it has all the amino acids”

        I think quinoa is as well! Yum! :)

  22. Michele @ Frugal Granola April 21, 2009 at 9:01 am #

    I have loved this milk, too! I used it a lot last summer when I had to be dairy-free. There is a coupon for it in the Chinook Book right now, and I think it’s on sale at New Seasons this week. :)

    Blessings,
    Michele

  23. Sal! April 21, 2009 at 8:58 am #

    On the Weston Price website you should read about hemp. According the them it should NEVER be consumed by us.
    Here’s an excerpt by Sally Fallon:
    Hemp: Not For Human Consumption

    A number of companies are now selling hemp oil, toasted and shelled hemp seeds and granola bars containing hemp seeds. This is not a good use for hemp. Hemp may be appropriate for domestic animals and birds, but it should not be used for human food. In China, where cultivation of hemp originated, hemp oil was used occasionally, but there are no references in the Chinese literature to the use of hemp seeds as food for human beings. (Simoons, Food in China, 1991)

    Hemp oil has been promoted in recent years as a “heart healthy” oil that is rich in essential fatty acids and low in saturated fat. Hemp oil is indeed highly unsaturated, and this is exactly why it should be avoided. Hemp oil is over 75 percent polyunsaturated, containing about 55 percent omega-6 fatty acids and about 20% omega-3 fatty acids. It contains only about 10 percent saturated fatty acids and 10 percent monounsaturated fatty acids. It is, therefore, highly unstable and prone to oxidation; and the high content of linoleic acid makes it particularly unsuitable for human consumption. Diets containing an excess of polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly omega-6 fatty acids, have been linked not only to heart disease but also to cancer and autoimmune disease.

    An additional problem derives from the fact that hemp oil may contain traces of cannabinoids and these substances can then turn up in the urine of those who consume it. In one research project, seven adult volunteers purchased hemp oil from a health food store and ingested 15 milliliters each. Urine samples taken at 8, 24 and 48 hours after ingestion were positive for THC. (Journal of Analytical Toxicology October 1997 21(6):482-485.) If these volunteers had been obliged to give a urine sample to their employers, they would have failed their drug test.

    Because hemp oil is highly unsaturated, it makes an excellent base for paints and varnishes. In fact, there is no need to consider hemp for human consumption except in small quantities for medicinal purposes. There are many good fats and oils that humans can use and there are many good industrial uses for all the by-products of the hemp plant. Let’s not make the same mistake with hemp that we have made with soy, by promoting its inappropriate use as a human food.

    • Anna April 21, 2009 at 1:05 pm #

      I love Sally’s book, “Nourishing Traditions” but I have to completely disagree with her statement about Hemp Products. Scientists have found traces of the uses of Hemp both as industrial and consumption amongst the earliest of man. There are minimal traces of THC if anything in Hemp. I believe it to be propaganda when people want to make these claims.

      However, I respect your opinion and will do more research into your claims. I think it’s important to be knowledgeable of both sides.

      • Lindsay April 21, 2009 at 3:22 pm #

        I agree. There does not seem to be any foundation to her statements against hemp…plus she is mainly addressing hemp oil. Hempmilk is made from the seeds.

  24. Anna April 21, 2009 at 7:47 am #

    I’m so glad you decided to look into this non-dairy option. My husband and I used to buy it in bulk from New Seasons when they would have it on sale (2 for $6). In the last couple of months we have been making it at home. We love to share it with our family members who are vegan and I am looking into experimenting with making chocolate hemp milk! I’ll let you know how it turns out!

    It’s is also my favorite milk to use for oatmeal, it gives it a great sweet nutty flavor without having to add any brown sugar.

  25. Kristin April 21, 2009 at 7:44 am #

    I definitely prefer soy milk to cow’s milk, but this is an interesting alternative that I’ll have to try out!
    I used to have horrible allergies all year long that I was on two prescription medications twice a day to treat. My husband(who will officially be a doctor in a couple of weeks)told me that consuming dairy, even just milk byproducts such as casein in crackers, can increase a person’s sensitivity to common allergens (including our two dogs). I switched from cow’s milk to soy, cut out all dairy byproducts in my other foods, and was able to stop taking BOTH medications within a month!!! Every once in a while I’ll let myself eat a serving of dairy cheese(once a week or so) but most of the time I eat completely vegan.
    If anyone reading has allergies, I would encourage you to give hemp milk, soy milk, almond milk, or rice milk a shot and to cut dairy out of your diet. You won’t believe how healthy you’ll feel!

    • Kate April 21, 2009 at 12:26 pm #

      I’ve heard the exact same thing about allergies and dairy. We drink rice milk. We use to drink soy until I did some research on it.

  26. Kelly April 21, 2009 at 7:28 am #

    I started buying hemp milk as an alternative the soy milk, which we drink because my 2 yr old son is allergic to dairy. I wanted to reduce his intake of plant estrogens. Hemp milk is pretty tasty to me, but he didn’t like it “full-strength”, so I mix 1/2 soy milk with 1/2 hemp milk and now he loves it. It’s relatively expensive, so we buy it by the case to get a discount.

  27. Beth C April 21, 2009 at 7:14 am #

    All my kids are really allergic to milk. I didn’t want to pump them full of soy because of the estrogens. We primarily drink almond milk, but recently I bought a container of hemp milk and was pleasantly surprised. It is much nicer to use in baking because it is a lot thicker than almond or rice milk. I don’t think any of us preferred drinking it over the other kinds, but the baked goods I made with it were superior to using the other milks. I made a batch of pancakes for the kiddos using the hemp milk and they came out so fluffy and soft!

  28. lizzykristine @ Uplifted Eyes April 21, 2009 at 6:32 am #

    We can’t have dairy at the moment, so hemp milk has been a little lifesaver for us. I use it for baking and we’ve been experimenting with making chocolate ice cream…. Mmmmm. :)

  29. Becky@BoysRuleMyLife April 21, 2009 at 6:07 am #

    We are a dairy free family because of my youngest son’s life-threatening allergy. We have tried Hempmilk and personally did not enjoy the flavor for drinking straight like milk (we prefer almondmilk for that).

    I have heard wonderful things about cooking with it though, although I have not tried it. After re-visiting the nutritional benefits of hempmilk by reading this post, I think I just might give it a try in some of my cooking. :)

    If you do any trials on kefir with it, I would LOVE to hear about it!!

    Thanks for the refresher “course” on hempmilk! :)

  30. Kama April 21, 2009 at 5:48 am #

    I found hempmilk at my local grocery store on clearance once for 99 cents, so I picked one up for my husband. They had it in regular and vanilla flavor and I got regular. He said he thought he might like the vanilla flavor a little better. It looked quite grainy and had an odd flavor, but it wasn’t horrible!

  31. Laryssa @ Heaven In The Home April 21, 2009 at 5:30 am #

    Sounds interesting, I’ll have to try it! Thanks!

  32. Chele @ Saved Not Stupid April 21, 2009 at 5:26 am #

    Wow! I’ve seen the boxes of hemp milk when I pick up my rice milk, but never really thought about picking any of it up. I’ll have to try it this week when I go to the store. Thanks for the info!

  33. Rachael April 21, 2009 at 4:57 am #

    Thank you for all the hemp milk research you have done! I have tried a couple different brands of hemp milk, and Living Harvest is by far the best-tasting one. The other brand I have tried is called Hemp Bliss, and in my opinion, it tasted very bad. Something about it I just could not stomach. I ended up letting in sit in the fridge for many weeks, and having to throw it away! So, while I found Living Harvest very yummy, I advise all of you to be careful with other store-bought hemp milks. So, I think you are very smart to make your own hemp milk, Lindsay. Milk alternatives (almond, soy, rice, oat, etc) can be awfully expensive, especially the ones with the purest ingredients. uyyyyyyyyy—my cat just stepped on the keyboard and typed that. Anyhow, there are my two cents.

  34. Cris April 21, 2009 at 4:52 am #

    Thank you so much for this post. I love finding out about healthier alternatives for my daughter, who is allergic to the milk protein, casein. I’ll definitely be checking it out at my next Whole Foods visit.

  35. Tutti @ Tribal Talk April 20, 2009 at 9:14 pm #

    That’s great information about a product that I was not aware existed. I noted that you drink raw milk. Do you offer it to your daughter? Are you at all concerned about Ecoli infection? Do you have any articles you recommend reading about raw milk and the risk involved.

    • Lindsay April 21, 2009 at 7:16 am #

      I added the link above to Real Milk website that has great info about the benefits of raw milk. Yes, we all drink it and love it!

      • Angie September 22, 2011 at 8:20 am #

        Lindsay,

        Thank you for your great article!

        I’ve been tirelessly researching alternatives for my 1 year old. I’ve tried homemade almond, coconut tonic and rice milk – she’s had negative reactions to all (rashes, loose stools and/or constipation). I HOPE hemp milk will agree with her? I’m going to try it in the next week or so. I would prefer making it myself but will try the Living Harvest first.

        Do you think 20 ounces per 24 hours is too much? She is on a wide variety of solids sans egg white, nuts and dairy. Mostly veggies, fruits, egg yolk, grass fed meats at this point.

        Thank you!

        • Lindsay September 22, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

          Have you tried goats milk? I would start with a small quantity and gradually increase. I think it would be a bit much to start with 20 oz at once. You could also water it down a bit and then slowly decrease until it is not diluted.