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Postcard from LA: Seed the world

March 20th 2013 / Kinvara Balfour

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In the USA, seed milk is the new must-have writes Kinvara Balfour

Over in the USA, they’re sowing the seeds of love and they’re milking them for all they’re worth. Which is quite a lot, if you value bouncy skin, thicker hair and better concentration. And that’s just for starters.

Move over rice, almond and soy: the new milk kid on the block is that of the humble seed – as in hemp, pumpkin, sesame, chia and flax. Seed milk has a lot to offer, or a little, whichever way you look at it. In short, it’s free: that’s dairy-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, trans fat-free, vegan and, most importantly, 100% nut-free. So it’s less likely to cause irritations like asthma and eczema which have lately been heavily associated with nuts, and is safer for adults and kids alike.

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Not only are these seeds full of vitamins (E, D, B6 etc), protein and fibre, they are also loaded (we’re talking proper billionaire, rather than measly millionaire – the kind who can afford an apartment in One Hyde Park and a Gulfstream IV) with omega 3 and 6, which does a myriad of things like keep hair thick and shiny, skin hydrated and thus wrinkle-free, and the brain functioning at an optimum level. These seeds are also great for the gut; consider them all very smooth operators.

MORE GLOSS: Why go gluten-free?

Rawpothecary, a new NY-based juice company, is one of the first to pioneer the seed milk libation. In addition to her superfruit and veg juices, founder Stephanie Walczak’s smoothies are made from the milk of various seeds and sweetened with dates - another humble and historic ingredient which is trending everywhere stateside these days as a natural sweetener (agave syrup is so last month) which also proffers a decent dose of fibre.

MORE GLOSS: Healthy but tasty - the power smoothie recipe

Using hemp milk, Rawpothecary’s ‘Heavenly Hemp’ drink contains a bunch of good-for-you fibre, protein and vitamins and – drum roll - all 20 amino acids. The ‘Wholly Cacao’, meanwhile, is made from raw chia seeds – another current American favourite and one which makes a star appearance in Synergy’s addictive Kombucha drink (a major hit all over USA and, soon, the world). Chias dears; this is genuinely delicious and oddly filling, despite its freakishly frogspawn-like consistency.

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In LA, there are hemp milk smoothies at the ever-popular Earth Bar in West Hollywood. The famous Beverly Hills Juice has just added a sunflower option for its famous Banana Manna Shake, while at Liquid Juice Bar on the nearby Melrose Avenue, flax oil is offered as a popular add-on to all juices, alongside bee pollen and coconut flakes.

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Back in the supermarket, Living Harvest’s hempmilk (choose from regular, chocolate or vanilla flavour) now takes pride of place on the shelves at Wholefoods alongside cartons of almond, rice and soy milk. Next to it is Sunflower Dream, a milk made entirely from sunflower seeds and Good Karma’s Flaxmilk.

It’s not yet clear how these seed milks mix with a cup of Earl Grey tea but you can be assured, this is no fad: it’s the next big thing in milk world and it’s set to arrive in the UK pretty soon. And there’s no harm in milking it when it does.

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