People start businesses for lots of reasons, but we can hope it's with good ideas and great intentions. Nutiva founder John Roulac did just that with his simple goal of nourishing people and the planet. Founded in 1999, Nutiva is now the nation's leading "superseed" company focused on hemp, coconut (it's biologically a seed!) and the latest seed-star, chia. As Hemp History Week is officially underway, we caught up with Roulac to talk about this revolutionary company and how hemp and his other products can change your life.
"I first became aware of hemp's environmental benefits in replacing wood, cotton and petrol-based products. Then I discovered the amazing nutritional qualities," John says of his foray into becoming a hemp advocate along with distributing the highest quality hemp products. The hemp seed is highly nutritious and the plant has many non-food applications too, which could make a difference in boosting the nation's economy, except that hemp, which is biologically the same plant as marijuana just without the active cannibanoids, is illegal like its cousin. "Seems so odd that one of the world's most nutritious seeds is also demonized by so many governments," says John.
And despite being illegal to grow in the U.S., finished hemp products can be legally sold in the U.S. Making it legal for farmers to grow hemp in the states, says John, "will add thousands of new jobs, cut down on pollution and lower the price of hemp products." Hemp is a remarkable plant with a huge history here in the U.S. prior to being made illegal (our founding fathers grew it, and during World War II Americans were encouraged to grow it to help war efforts).
At a time when 1/3 of Americans are now struggling with obesity and diet-related illnesses, it's an exceptionally important food to consider adding into our diets. "Hemp's 33 percent protein is the highest among any seed, and it's the only source (outside of black currant) that has both GLA and SDA, rare fats that doctors recommend," says John. Nutiva offers a variety of organic hemp seeds, proteins and oils that can easily be added to your diet, and the company's website also has a rich recipe section.
From his deep connection with hemp, John soon found himself exposed to other super nutritious seeds. Unlike nuts, seed allergies are rare; they're more digestible, and offer a panoply of nutritional benefits. Certified organic coconut oil has become one of Nutiva's top-selling products after beating years of disinfo on the product claiming it was a bad saturated fat, when in actuality, it's just the opposite, says John, "Coconut oil is the world's ideal all-purpose oil for cooking, skin and hair care and massage. Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fats and has no trans fats or cholesterol."
Chia seeds are the latest to join the Nutiva roster, and like hemp and coconut, the chia seed does not scrimp on benefits despite its teeny-tiny size. It's loaded with protein, healthy fats, fiber and antioxidants. "Seeds are nature's storehouse of energy, which contain the blueprints to a health life!"
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Image courtesy of Nutiva