Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Bliss: Our New Milk Sub

When I found out that my old standby milk substitute, Living Harvest Hempmilk, was run on shared equipment with soy beverages (more HERE), I went looking for a new milk sub.

(Aug. 1, 2008) I had a lovely conversation with Autumn at Manitoba Harvest yesterday. She took the time to explain in detail their process for making their Hemp Bliss. Our discussion taught me many new things that I wanted to share with you all. But to make sure I don't mess up any of the information, I invited Autumn to be a guest poster here. Read her post by clicking HERE.

While I'm sure the Living Harvest people follow strict allergen control procedures, I've learned over the past 9 months or so that my son reacts to residual/trace amounts of soy in products. And I had definitely noticed that he seemed to like the Living Harvest a bit *too* much -- as in the way he seems to like ANYTHING *too* much if it has residual gluten, casein, or soy.

The first place I went to look was Manitoba Harvest, who also makes hempmilk. We had tried their hempmilk before and were not happy with the taste. I communicated back and forth with the company (AWESOME group of people, by the way), and here's what I have learned:

Reformulated Taste!
Manitoba Harvest changed their taste profile on their Hemp Bliss hempmilk in May 2008. The new stuff tastes much better (I have tried it). This means that if you already bought some, and the "best by" date on the top is anything BEFORE May 2009, you have the old version. And if you are going out to try to find it at a store, look for the ones that are "best by" dated ON or AFTER May 2009. Those are the new, better tasting ones.

Discontinued at Whole Foods
The Mid-Atlantic Region (where I am) of Whole Foods Market has discontinued Manitoba Harvest's hempmilk and will no longer sell it on their shelves. (That is why you will find it on sale right now if you live in the Mid-Atlantic region.) Whole Foods Market made the decision to discontinue the Manitoba hempmilk BEFORE they even bothered to try the reformulated taste. (So the ones you can buy on sale are the old versions.) However, most Whole Foods Markets still carry other Manitoba Harvest products (like their hemp protein powder), so you can talk to somebody at Whole Foods and special order a case of the hempmilk.

*NO* Allergens or Cross-Contamination Issues
This is from their website (HERE), and I have confirmed it with their staff:
Manitoba Harvest™ owns and operates a hemp dedicated facility where no other ingredients touch our machinery. We do not carry an allergen disclaimer on our labels because there is no chance for contamination.
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Bliss contains no synthetic flavors, vitamins, minerals, additives, or preservatives. It is gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free, nut-free, and rice-free.

It's Organic
Manitoba Harvest's hempmilk is made from organic hemp seeds and pure organic ingredients. (The other hempmilk, Living Harvest, is not organic.)

Omega 3-6-9 Essential Fats
Manitoba Harvest's hempmilk has 1,200 mg of Omega 3, 4,000 mg of Omega 6, and 1,000 mg of Omega 9. This is great! (Living Harvest was about half of that.)

All flavors of Hemp Bliss have 5 grams of digestible protein per serving. (Living Harvest has 4 grams.)

The Sugar Issue
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Bliss is sweetened with organic evaporated cane juice (not brown rice syrup like Living Harvest).

New Unsweetened Version
They also came out with an UNSWEETENED version that has the following ingredients: filtered water, organic hemp seeds, xanthum gum, and sea salt. It has 1 gram of total carbs. This means that you could get the unsweetened version and sweeten it yourself with agave or whatever you like to use.

The Calcium Issue
One reason I loved Living Harvest was because it had 40% of a day's worth of calcium. The Manitoba Harvest only has 2% (chocolate version has 4%). I asked if they were considering adding calcium to the hempmilk, and they said no, they don't have plans for that right now. The more I think about it, though, I think that's good. I rather they not put extra stuff in there and run the risk of introducing new allergens or other issues when they've got such a sweet thing going now.

Where To Buy
While I know that Hemp Bliss is discontinued in Mid-Atlantic Region Whole Foods Stores, I don't know about the rest of the country. (Remember, though, to check that the "best by" date is ON or AFTER May 2009.) You also can order Hemp Bliss direct from Manitoba Harvest via their website (click HERE). They ship to both Canada and the United States. Shipping is free if you order $100 or more of products (about 20 cartons of Hemp Bliss). They are shelf-stable, so buying in bulk might be a good option.

I hope this helps somebody! Please post a comment and let me know what you think.


Julee said...

Oh Tori, you have made me SO HAPPY.

Let me tell you a story. My son has been acting CRAZY GRUMPY sort of like... a SOY infraction. Well, I told my husband... uhh I have been giving him hemp milk again... Husband: "WHAT??!! That is so unlike you! I may be sckeptical about some things, but we've proven he can't do hemp milk!" I don't know what I was thinking.. actually I was thinking, he likes chocolate milk and hemp milk tastes so much better and has a better consistency than rice milk!

So we are off hemp again because we were using Living Harvest, we just have to live through this soy infraction. I know Living Harvest says they clean their machines like a hospital, but you've seen HOW MANY of us on the GFCFKIDS board who have had problems with it!

I will try to find this new formulation of this new brand. I didn't read if you had tried it or not? If you find out how your son tolerates it, let me know!

Thanks Tori, you're doing such a great job, I know this is a lot of work and you have a lot on your gfcfsfef/roation diet/etc plate. ;)

Tori said...

Hi Julee! Yes, I am happy too. My son drank Living Harvest like there was no tomorrow. He would come in the door from school, stomp around, and go right to the fridge to look for his "milk." If it wasn't there or if I told him he couldn't have it, he FREAKED OUT and had major tantrums. It was kind of like the withdrawal stages of the diet in the beginning.

Yes, I tried the new formulations. (They sent me some for free to try since I had complained about the old stuff.) So far I've only tried vanilla I think, and it's much better than the old version. I gave some to my son, and he drank it down. (He used to take one sip of the old formulation and push it away.) He's not having the same love affair with it as he did with the Living Harvest, but I think that is probably a good thing! Tonight I mixed some Living Harvest in with the Manitoba Harvest (and some coconut milk too) and he drank that fine. I'm going to wean him off the Living Harvest and then get Manitoba from here on out.

granolachic said...

oh i am excited, too!! jaden reacted immediately to the other hemp milks we've tried...but i bet it's soy CC...AND...we tried pacific rice milk...he also reacted...

hmmm...i am beginning to see...he's weird (as in doesn't want more)...i can usually tell if it doesn't have something in it b/c he'll refuse to try it again...i guess he's figuring out that it makes his body feel bad.

i agree with are doing exactly what i told my husband i wished was available...esp concerning the soy free part!! now if you just go ahead and do life would be so easy!! LOL!! JOKE!

take care!


M. said...

LOVE HempBliss hemp milk!

Anonymous said...

I just purchased Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Protein & Fiber Powder. I had a hard time deciding between Living Harvest and Manitoba Harvest. Once I returned home, I did an on-line search on both products. Living Harvest's website states that they use 0.00% THC: "3. Will I flunk a drug test if I consume Hemp food products?
No. You will not flunk a drug test using Living Harvest™ hemp food products. We guarantee that there is 0.00% THC in our hemp foods. All hemp seeds harvested for Living Harvest™ food products is bred with low THC content and is monitored by the Government of Canada." Manitoba Harvest's website states the following under FAQ: "b) Will I get 'high' eating Manitoba Harvest™ products?
No, eating our products will not get you 'high'. Manitoba Harvest™ hemp foods & oils are made with a hemp seed that has under 10ppm THC, as required by Canadian hemp food laws."

I wonder if the "0.00% THC" is equivalent to "under 10ppm THC"?

BTW, Living Harvest is certified organic.

Manitoba Harvest appears to have more essential amino acids (ESA's). Their label lists the amino acid in mg per 30g serving. Living Harvest's label has a serving size of 30g (4 tbsp). The funny thing is on their website they provide a label for under "Hemp 101" that states "amino acid mg per 100g. It appears Manitoba Harvest has more amino acids per serving.

johndaddy said...

The introduction of cotton and petroleum products and new processing techniques for these products lead to the demise.
Manitoba Hemp Products

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