But we’re talking about hemp seeds today, and for good reason.
As you can see below, hemp seeds contain 4 of Jess’ 5 essential nutrients for kids!
Not only that, but they’re the leader for both zinc and magnesium, and in the top 3 for omega 3s and iron too!
Because protein breaks down slowly, the foods you eat at 7am will continue to nourish your body throughout the day.
That protein will support growth and repair, your immune system, and it also keeps your brain firing and your tummy feeling full for longer.
Bearing that in mind, protein is a great thing to get into your kids at breakfast, and in their lunch box at school.
Before we go any further, two things:
1. Protein deficiencies are very uncommon in our society.
So unless you’re working out a lot, or have some other special protein need, you don’t need specialised WPI powders or even vegan protein powders in your life on the regular.
2. Not all protein is created equal
Instead, we can get the protein we all need from a quality whole-food source that contains all 9 essential amino acids your body craves. Amino acids are the building blocks for protein.
What are some examples of a quality wholefood source of protein?
Here are my go-to’s: Hemp seeds (of course!), rolled oats, nuts, seeds, yoghurt, coconut cream, chickpeas.
Hemp seeds are a great protein source, as more than 25% of their total calories are from high-quality protein (that’s considerably more than similar foods like chia seeds and flaxseeds, whose calories are 16–18% protein).
Did you know that hemp seeds contain more protein per gram than chicken?! (36.7g/100g, compared with 18.7g/100g).
In fact, by weight, hemp seeds provide similar amounts of protein as beef and lamb — 30 grams of hemp seeds, or 2–3 tablespoons, provide about 11 grams of protein [ref].
What’s more, they’re considered a ‘complete protein’ (rare in the plant kingdom), which means they contain all the essential amino acids, like quinoa does.
Your body can’t produce essential amino acids, so you must obtain them from your diet.
Good fats are great for brain function, long-lasting energy and satiation, supporting your gut health, and radiant hair, skin and nails.
My fave go-to’s are: Hemp seeds (of course), avocado, nuts, nuts butter, coconut cream, cultured coconut cream yoghurt, and seeds.
Hemp seeds contain over 30% fat (the good kind).
They are exceptionally rich in two essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3).
They also contain gamma-linolenic acid, which has been linked to several health benefits (1).
Hemp seeds are also a great source of vitamin E (for immunity, hair, skin and nails), and minerals, such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc.
You can see how zinc is a leader in at least 3 of those minerals by scrolling up to the infographics.
Hemp seeds may reduce symptoms associated with PMS and menopause, thanks to its high levels of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).
And with up to 80% of women suffering physical or emotional symptoms caused by PMS, this is an issue well worth addressing. 
Scientists believe the symptoms are likely caused by sensitivity to the hormone prolactin .
Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), found in hemp seeds, produces prostaglandin E1, which reduces the effects of prolactin [4, 5, 6]
Some studies have found that women with PMS who take 1 gram of essential fatty acids (including 210mg of GLA) per day, enjoyed a significant decrease in symptoms including breast pain, depression, irritability, and fluid retention [see references above].
Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide! By far. Check this out…
And it’s preventable!
Largely by our food choices.
It blows my mind there is not more work being done to educate people on the power of food to heal and prevent disease.
Hemp seeds are a great source of arginine and gamma-linolenic acid, which have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.
To learn more about how it does it, and see info about studies, click here.
Date paste is a highly nutritious substitute for refined white sugar (we know regular sugar does our body and mind NO favours!).
Turning dates into a paste sounds like quite a task but it is as easy as soaking them in water and blending them up later. Date paste stores well and is easily added to anything that requires some extra sweetness.
Smoothies, curries, overnight oats, porridge, bliss balls… you get the picture.
Use as a 1:1 replacement for a granular sugar. Cookies will come out a little softer and cake-like, but still amazing.
When replacing maple syrup, use double the amount of date paste than syrup that the recipe calls for.
Fill a jar with very tightly packed dates, and just cover with water.
Soak for 2-8 hours. If you’re in a hurry, use boiling water and soak for as little as 10mins.
Empty jar into a food processor.
Optional: Add a pinch of salt and a little vanilla. I never, ever bother with this.
Blend until paste is creamy. This can take a few mins. It might be tempting to stop after a minute or two, but don’t. While the taste will be the same, the texture will improve!
We (as a society) spend a ridiculous amount of time and money treating and managing disease and ill-health.
Our healthcare system is basically a disease management system. We focus so much on what can go wrong with our bodies.
I love how Dr Christine Northrup chooses instead to focus on what can go right with our bodies!
I feel incredibly drawn to learning about this stuff.
I hope something I share with you today will help you to take preventative measures so you don’t end up in the disease management system. And if you’re already there, help you to get out.
We can give our bodies what they need to cause all sorts of right things to happen. And that means we’re taking steps to thrive.
Cashews can be one of those stepping stones.
Check out some amazing info below (and keep scrolling for ways to use them!).
Sprouting like a tail from the bottom of an oddly-shaped fruit, the cashew, in its natural state, is very weird-looking.
Before we get stuck into how cashews feed us up with powerful things to help us thrive, here’s a word on ethical sourcing…
A Word about Working Conditions of Cashew Processors
One of our beautiful community members (and my friend) Tamara, raised her concerns about the horrendous working conditions of cashew processors in India (where most cashews come from).
Removing the double shell of the cashew that contains a potent poison similar to poison ivy, is something many factory workers are doing by hand, causing damaged hands, burning eyes and night time fevers. This is so incredibly sad, and something we have a responsibility not to be a part of.
Now for some truth bombs about the power of cashews for our health
We immediately contacted our supplier and requested documentation showing working conditions of those handling our cashews. Thankfully, they could easily provide it and our minds were put as ease. You can read more and watch the videos of both factories here.
Do yourself a favour and do a little deep dive with me on these little guys.
Cashews boast what I’ve come to call ‘The Big 4’:
Antioxidants(the warriors that go in to fight free radicals in our bodies that cause ageing, disease, sickness & cancer)
They’re the protective caps on our chromosomes that slow the ageing process (kinda like the plastic cap on the end of a shoelace that protects the whole shoelace from being worn down and frayed).
And the longer they are, the longer and healthier our lives will tend to be. As we age, our telomeres naturally shorten. And we want to actually protect our telomeres!
Well, nuts (and other whole foods) have been shown to increase their length, and hence decrease the ageing process!
In fact, a large Spanish study concluded that eating just 3 serves of nuts (1 serve = a tablespoon, which is about 9 cashews) increased telomeres, slowed the ageing of cells, and decreased mortality by 39%! Incredible.
[Ref: Dr William Li, The Food Revolution Summit 2020]
Dr. Fuhrman advocates eating healthy fats, like seeds and nuts, for health and longevity. One study found that one serving a day of nuts and seeds decreased all-cause mortality by about 30% and cardiovascular mortality by 40%.
“Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotic bacteria. They pass through the gastrointestinal tract undigested, which stimulates the growth and/or activity of certain ‘good’ bacteria in the large intestine.
Prebiotics are naturally present in cashews.
While some people choose to take a prebiotic supplement if they do not consume enough prebiotic-containing foods, there is no substitute for a ‘real food’ way of eating when it comes to our health and vitality.”
~ Dr Libby Weaver
Cashews help fight inflammation and support immunity because of these rockstar compounds:
Zinc, Antioxidants, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Protein (protein comes in close second with a few other nuts, to almonds).
You might already know how much I love using zinc-rich foods to maintain a healthy immune system.
Dr Libby Weaver has likened our immune system to a castle, and zinc – to the mote around the castle that protects it from invaders.
Zinc is a superstar mineral that enables our immune cells to develop and function properly, and helps protect against collateral damage when we’re fighting an infection. It’s also been shown to decrease the length and severity of the common cold.
Our body can’t make zinc, so all of our intake needs to come from what we put in our mouth!
Nuts and seeds are well known for being great sources of zinc, and cashews are the highest in zinc of them all!
Vitamin B6 ups our antibodies to fight infections, and encourages our bodies to make glutathione (my fave antioxidant for the role it plays in reducing oxidative stress, which we know is largely responsible for much of the health issues we have collectively in society). When we don’t have enough B6 is our system, it can disrupt our immune system.
Cashews are also packed with Vitamin E and antioxidants which help to regulate and maintain a healthy immune system.
Tip: Activate (soak and dry) your cashews before eating to increase the zinc bioavailability. (No, I don’t do this every time, even though I want to!)
We’ve all heard that carrots are good for your eyes, but it might come as a surprise that cashews are, too.
Antioxidants are so fun to learn about. There’s 2 kinds of them in cashews (lutein and zeaxanthin) that when eaten daily, may lower your risk of retinal damage, age-related macular degeneration, and cataracts.
Red blood cells The copper and iron in cashews work together to help the body form and use red blood cells. These red blood cells are really important because they keep blood vessels, nerves, bones, and the immune system healthy and functioning properly.
Blood clotting Cashews also help our blood to clot when needed, thanks to them being rich in vitamin K! Note: If you’re on blood-thinning medications, consult with your doctor before increasing your intake of vitamin-K-rich foods.
Preventing Anemia Cashews are high in iron and may prevent iron-deficiency anemia. To increase your absorption of iron from plant-foods, consume it with a source of vitamin C.
Blood Sugar Control Certain compounds in cashews may help with blood sugar control in people with diabetes, but more research is needed.
Good fats can help you maintain a healthy weight! Crazy hey. They help you feel full and satisfied.
Did you know that when you have adequate magnesium in your diet, not only do you benefit from the more well-known effects (like better sleep, muscle health & energy production), but you enjoy the lesser-known benefit of lipolysis. It’s what your body does to release fat from it’s stores, and flush out those gunky toxins! (Dr Daniel Ahmen).
Cashews are a great source of magnesium, but I bet you never thought of them as fat-fighting food!
Dr Neil Barnard (well known for his work in food and brain science) says his no. 1 tip to significantly reduce your risk of Alzheimers is to increase your intake of a particular vitamin – Vitamin E.
He often references a study where those who consumed 8mg of vitamin E a day enjoyed 50% less cases of Alzheimers than those who neglected their vitamin E intake. Nuts and seeds (including cashews) are a great source of Vitamin E, with sunflower seeds being the leader.
[Ref: Dr Neil Barnard, Food Revolution Summit 2020]
Cashews are loaded with copper! Which believe it or not, regulates the production of collagen and elastin – two proteins that give skin its youthful elasticity and strength.
They’re also a good source of Vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant that helps to keep skin youthful, and may be effective at reducing UV damage in skin. Interestingly, natural vitamin E is more potent than its synthetic version.
Protect and nourish your skin from the inside out with real food.
This is the soup I go to when anyone in the house is coming down with something, or just on those nights when there’s a chill in the air. Even the kids love it when I make it (and they’re not soup fans).
It’s a super forgiving recipe. If you don’t have something, omit it! If you have a different vegetable in your fridge to use up, do! Just do not omit the lemon, corn, onion, garlic or ginger. That’s your base right there.
If you like a traditional chicken corn soup without all the other veg, go ahead and do it! It’s still going to boost that immunity through all the other goodness in the base.
Do you have a mix of meat eaters and non-meat eaters at your place? This is your soup! Check out the video of my daughter and I making this soup to see how I handle that at my place. It’s a handy little hack:
This is not a recipe for when you only have 20mins up your sleep to get dinner on the table. It’s a batch night meal. Make a massive batch, eat it for dinner twice, lunch twice. Or if you can’t stand the same meal twice in a row (I know you’re out there), then this is perfect to freeze in lunch portion sizes. I love doing having frozen soups on hand, because lunch is often my down-fall.
Immune-boosting components of the soup:
Onion: Packed with nutrients like selenium, sulfur compounds, zinc, and vitamin C that boost the immune system. It is also one of the best sources of quercetin and antioxidant.
Garlic: Garlic contains alliin that turns into allicin when it’s crushed or chewed. This compound helps boost the disease-fighting response of the body.
Black garlic: Studies show black garlic has a more powerful effect on stimulating immunity than raw garlic, with double the antioxidants.
Ginger: Ginger is packed with gingerols, paradols, sesquiterpenes, shogaols, and zingerone which have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
Turmeric: Contains curcumin that possesses anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal activity.
Bone broth: Great source of amino acids, glycine (and therefore my fave antioxidant – glutathione). It helps restore gut health and immune function, as well as reduce inflammation. Glutathione also helps cleanse the liver, and we need our liver to be in tip-top shape when we’re trying to fight viruses.
Mushroom: Mushrooms are jam-packed with healing antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components that destroy infections and super-charge your immune system.
Parsley: Contains apigenin, an antioxidant that regulates immune function by reducing inflammation and preventing cellular damage.
Lemon: Lemons are best known for their high level of vitamin C content which is a natural antioxidant that enhances the immune system and has antiviral and antibacterial properties.
*You’ll need a big saucepan for this baby!
2 T olive oil 2 medium onions Fresh garlic (enough to make 1/3 – 1/2 cup when finely diced) A few black garlic cloves (not essential, but studies show black garlic has a more powerful effect on stimulating immunity than raw garlic, with double the antioxidants) Fresh ginger (enough to make 1/3 – 1/2 half a cup, finely diced) 1 – 2 T fresh turmeric, finely diced (can sub for turmeric paste/turmeric powder. If using powder, reduce to no more than 2t)
2 T olive oil 3 x corn cobs – slice down the sides of the cob to remove the kernels (or use canned)
Veggies: Whatever you have on hand really. I happened to have…
3 x sticks celery 1-2 zucchini 1 big red capsicum 2 big carrots 1 parsnip 6 mushrooms
1 cup barley, soaked for 2-12 hours (optional, but it aids digestion and speeds up cooking time) 2 chicken breasts (optional) 1 T vegetable bouillon broth powder (optional, but tastes a-mazing! Add some herb salt if omitting) 4 T heaped, bone broth powder(or 2 cups of liquid broth) 1 T seaweed salt(or any good quality salt – the seaweed salt is just a great way to get an extra boost from a little seaweed) 4 cups liquid vegetable stock, or water (stock is optional, but adds more flavour and nutrients. Simply keep your veggie scraps from the week and pop them in the slow cooker with water for 12 hours. Strain and voila! If you want to get fancy you can add some bay leaves, black pepper kernels and onions, but it’s not necessary). 1 T red miso paste (adds a beautiful earthiness and saltiness to the soup. You can buy it from many fruit stores)
1 lemon, juiced Parsley/celery leaves to stir through at the end
1. Use a mandolin to dice alllll that veg (including the garlic cloves) in 5 mins flat. The only veg I don’t use the mandolin for is the red capsicum and mushroom.
2. Heat 2T of olive oil in a BIG saucepan.
3. Add onion, ginger, turmeric, and both kids of garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally until browned and fragrant. Remove from the pan.
4. Heat the other 2T of olive oil.
5. Add the corn to the saucepan. You want the oil to be hot enough for the corn to ‘shock’ when it hits the pan, and make a big sizzle noise. This is how to get the most flavour out of your corn kernels. Don’t stir the corn much while it cooks – you almost want to char it, but don’t worry if it doesn’t brown. If it smells lovely and looks bright yellow then it’s ready.
6. Remove the corn from the saucepan and add to the onion mix.
7. Add a splash of water to the saucepan (no more need for oil here), and add alllll that veg. Cook for just a few mins to begin the cooking process and release some of those flavours. You don’t want them cooking too long and going mushy.
8. Add your stock/water to the veggies, and return your corn and onion mix to the saucepan too. Now it’s time to add all the rest in.
9. If adding chicken, now’s the time to add it in. I usually slice the breasts into 2 or 3 pieces each (to cut down the cooking time), and place them whole into the soup, counting them as I go so I know how many to retrieve for shredding when cooked.
10. Add the bouillon, salt, broth powder and miso to the saucepan. To ensure the miso gets smoothly distributed through the soup, take a small amount of soup liquid, pop it into a small bowl or cup, add the miso, stir it around until it’s dissolved, then pour into the soup.
Resist the urge to taste test until the lemon goes in. Do not underestimate the power of the lemon 😉
11. Add your lemon juice and parsley/celery leaves.
12. Remove the chicken breast pieces when they’re cooked through, and shred them on a chopping board. If anyone in your family doesn’t eat meat, now is the time to serve their soup.
13. Return the chicken to the saucepan and serve to everyone else!