Zoe Bingley-Pullin is a Nutritionist, Chef, Mother and founder of Nutritional Edge Consultancy company in Sydney. You may also recognise Zoe from Channel Ten's Good Chef Bad Chef.
I had the pleasure of meeting Zoe at the recent Thompson's Hemp launch where she shared delicious, healthy hemp recipes and cleared up some of the common misconceptions around the nutrient dense superfood.
Zoe share's her day on a plate, favourite ways to cook with hemp and let's us in on the health benefits of hemp.
1. What are some of your favourite ways to cook with hemp?
Hemp seeds are a great addition to your pantry because they taste fantastic and are also incredibly nutritious!
They have a nice, mild nutty flavour and the new Thompson’s Hemp range is extremely versatile. The subtle flavour of hemp seeds makes them very easy to add into meals without needing to hide them when cooking for picky eaters.
The seeds can be easily sprinkled on top of smoothies, added to bliss balls or toasted as a nice textured topping for salads. You can also use it to crust fish or chicken. You can also make hemp seed milk from the seeds which is a nice non-dairy option.
The hemp wholefood powder is a great substitute for recipes calling for regular flour and the oil is perfect for delicious salad dressings as well as homemade dips or sauces like pesto.
2. As hemp is a species of the cannabis plant, can you please clear up the common misconception that surrounds hemp being safe to eat?
Working in health and nutrition, I’ve been a fan of hemp and I was rather surprised at how many people have misconceptions about hemp foods. I’ve known about its nutritional profile for many years but for many people this might be the first time they’ve heard of it. It is important to know that while hemp foods are derived from the seed of the plant, hemp seeds contain only a very small amount (<.5%) of the psychoactive element THC so they aren’t going to affect your state of mind in any way.
A recent national survey conducted by Thompson’s and Galaxy Research revealed more than a third of Australians (36%) are not even aware hemp foods can be eaten and only 6% were aware that hemp foods have any nutritional benefits at all.
These misconceptions are causing lots of people to miss out on one of the most nutritious foods now available in Australia, which is why I’m so passionate about educating people on the benefits of hemp seed foods!
3. What is your typical day on a plate?
I always start my day with a probiotic and glass of water with a squeeze of fresh lemon or dash of apple cider vinegar.
I follow this with a cold pressed juice made by my husband.
Breakfast is usually hemp banana pancakes using hemp wholefood powder, avocado and eggs on toast or my homemade muesli.
I will have a coffee or early grey tea sometime during the morning and for lunch if I am out and about, I will opt for a protein rich salad. If at home, I will make up a wrap or sandwich or vegetarian bowl of pasta using hemp seeds in the pasta sauce.
If my lunch is late, I often won’t feel the need for an afternoon snack, especially because we eat dinner quite early.
Dinner may be a small piece of eye fillet with coriander and sweet potato mash and a salad or some other version
of a small piece of protein and lots of veg! I may have a glass of wine with dinner also if felt like.
4. What are the health benefits of hemp?
Hemp seeds are one of the best kept secrets for healthy eating. From a nutrition point of view, they are full of goodness that helps keep our bodies functioning at their peak!
Hemp is a great plant-based source of essential fatty acids. They actually contain all 20 EFA’s including Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9 in the perfect ratio (3:1) needed for our bodies to process.
Essential fatty acids are crucial to support the structure and function of all our cells in our body. Hemp seeds are considered a “complete protein” and can help boost the healing and repair of muscle and body tissue.
Hemp seeds are also high in good fats and this gives a smooth texture helping create a sensation of creaminess in recipes – similar to the effect you get with something like avocado.
So, you can see why they are considered one of 2018’s “superfoods”, besides their many nutritional benefits, hemp seeds are also low allergy, naturally free from gluten and great for anyone who is allergic to nuts. They are also appropriate for both vegans and vegetarians.
5. What are your top 3 essential ingredients to keep in the pantry?
1. Good quality extra olive oil – for cooking and drizzling on dishes or used in salad dressing
2. Avocado – for toast toppings, adding to salads or used to make a creamy salad dressing
3. A selection of nuts and seeds including hemp seeds - incredibly versatile and a great way to boost the nutrient content of meals
6. What is your favourite way to indulge?
I don’t really use the term ‘indulge’ when talking about food. An indulgence for me is spending good quality time with my husband and daughter. This means the phones and computers are off and we have no distractions. Other than this, a long walk followed by a leisurely breakfast with family and friends is one of my favourite ways to indulge.