How to Avoid Carrageenan & Make Your Own Organic Hemp Milk

by deborah on October 30, 2013 · 25 comments

in Health & Wellness, Nourish, Raw Food Diet, Recipes

How to Avoid Carrageenan & Make Your Own Organic Hemp Milk

Now you can avoid carrageenan and make your own organic hemp milk.

For many years, I have replaced cow’s milk with nondairy, plant-based milks.

Of course, I am not alone.

There are growing concerns about the benefits and safety of cow’s milk, and many people are looking

for alternatives.

Also, lactose intolerance and allergies to cow’s milk are on the rise, causing people to seek other

nutrient-rich beverages.

One such alternative is hemp milk.

I started using soy milk many years ago, but after learning some of the reasons why soy milk may not

be the best nondairy milk option for me–more on that in another post–I switched to rice milk, almond

milk and finally, my favorite, hemp milk.

The commercial, organic hemp milk I purchased at my local health food store had a rich, creamy

consistency which blended well in my morning mug of green tea or occasional coffee.

Plus, it was loaded with many of the nutrients I needed–especially as a vegan.

Little did I know “what price creaminess” cost!

The Benefits of Organic Hemp Milk

How to Avoid Carrageenan & Make Your Own Organic Hemp Milk

Hemp Bliss Organic Beverage
Photo source: Manitoba Harvest screen shot

Hemp milk is high in essential fatty acids, so organic hemp milk is the best choice.

Most toxins are fat-soluble, which means that conventionally grown foods that are high in fat–

including “good” fa–tend to contain a higher concentration of toxins.

Organic hemp milk is made from plants that have not been exposed to synthetic fertilizers,

herbicides, or other toxic substances, so the “good” fats are purer and even better!

Why Hemp Milk is Good for You

How to Avoid Carrageenan & Make Your Own Organic Hemp Milk

In addition to Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, fortified hemp milk also contains Vitamins D, E and A,
as well as calcium, phosphorous, riboflavin, and other nutrients.

In one 8-ounce glass of unfortified hemp milk, you will find Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids,

at least grams of protein, 1 gram of fiber, and 20% of the US RDA for iron.

Fortified versions of organic hemp milk contain 46% of the US RDA for calcium, compared to

the 30% found in cow’s milk.

These are just some of the valuable nutrients found in this plant-based milk.

Fortified hemp milk also contains Vitamins D, E and A, as well as phosphorous, riboflavin, and

other nutrients.

Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are vital to health–that is why they are called essential fatty acids.

The body cannot make them, so dietary sources are necessary to meet your nutritional requirement.

These healthy fats aid in cognitive function and have anti-inflammatory properties.

If you or your children suffer from allergic and inflammatory reactions from dairy products, hemp milk

could be a healing and tasty alternative.

And hemp milk is completely free from any growth hormones, antibiotics, or other substances given to

dairy cows that often end up in milk.

For parents with small children, it is a good thing to note that hemp milk has a higher fat content than

other plant-based milks (such as soy and rice milks).

Some brands of hemp milk can be high in added sugar, but not all brands add the same amount of sugar.

It also comes in unsweetened varieties.

That’s why I always bought unsweetened hemp milk.

However, my happy hemp bubble burst this year when I learned about the health concerns associated

with the seaweed-derived, “so-called-natural-additive” carrageenan which was lurking–not just in my

hemp milk–but in practiclally every nondairy milk label I examined.

Oops, There is Carrageenan in My Hemp Milk!

How to Avoid Carrageenan & Make Your Own Organic Hemp Milk

Pacific Hemp Unsweetened Milk 
Photo source: Pacific Foods web site screen shot

There it is, the third ingredient down in the right column: Carrageenan.

Carrageenan is a common food additive has been used as a thickener and emulsifier to improve the

texture of a wide variety of processed foods including:

*dairy alternatives- i.e. hemp milk, soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk

*dairy products – i.e. chocolate milk, whipping cream, ice cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, nonfat sour cream

*nutritional drinks

*infant formula

*frozen dinners

*prepared poultry

*cold cuts

It is extracted from Chondrus crispus, a red seaweed, which is popularly known as Irish moss, but

carrageenan itself  has no known nutritional value.

Decades of disturbing findings from scientific studies has led many health professionals 

to warn against the inclusion of this questionable additive in our diets.

Harmful side effects of carrageenan consumption have included gastrointestinal inflammation,

colon tumors, colitis, IBS and higher rates of colon cancer in laboratory animals. 

How to Avoid Carrageenan & Make Your Own Organic Hemp Milk

The Cornucopia Institute has taken aggressive actions to raise consumer
awareness and encourage us to petition the FDA to remove carrageenan from the U.S. food supply.
Photo source: The Cornucopia Institute web site screen shot

According to The Cornucopia Institute:

“For decades, companies have spread misinformation—

often, outright lies—about carrageenan’s safety.

Carrageenan can even be found in many foods,

even foods labeled “natural” and “organic.”

In view of that, The Cornucopia Institute has taken aggressive actions to raise consumer

awareness, empower and inform shoppers, and encourage us to petition the FDA  to remove

carrageenan from the U.S. food supply.

A Better Alternative: Make Your Own Hemp Milk

How to Avoid Carrageenan & Make Your Own Organic Hemp Milk

Avoid Carrageenan. Make Your Own Organic Hemp Milk.

I searched, but I could not find a brand of unsweetened hemp milk that did not contain


So I decided to make my own.

Hemp milk is made from the tiny seeds/nuts of the hemp plant.

Hemp seeds are blended with pure water, and sometimes a natural sweetener such as

soaked dates or raisins can be added.

All but the tiniest particles of hemp seed are filtered out, leaving a smooth, milky beverage.

It’s quite simple make your own in a high-speed blender.

Basic Homemade Organic Hemp Milk

How to Avoid Carrageenan & Make Your Own Organic Hemp Milk

To make my own creamy, delicious hemp milk without any harmful
additive, I start with Organic Hemp Seeds.

1 cup shelled, organic hemp seeds

How to Avoid Carrageenan & Make Your Own Organic Hemp Milk

Use a few soaked, organic dates for sweetness.

5-6 dates (soaked)

How to Avoid Carrageenan & Make Your Own Organic Hemp Milk

Add natural vanilla flavoring, if you choose. This is optional.

A pinch of natural vanilla flavoring (optional)

5 cups water (add more water if you like it thinner)





Add ingredients to a high speed blender. I use a Vitamix.

Blend the ingredients until they are smooth and creamy.

After blending, you will need to strain the hemp milk blend through

the cheesecloth.

Place the cheesecloth or strainer inside of a bowl.

Pour the blended hemp seed mixture into your strainer.

Allow liquid to drip for a few minutes.

Next, bring the cheesecloth cloth up and twist it.

Squeeze and twist the cloth gently until all of the hemp milk is released.

Pour the strained liquid into a glass or mason jars.

Save what you don’t drink immediately in covered mason jars and refrigerate them.

Enjoy your nutritious homemade hemp milk!

Flavoring options:

Once you create a your basic hemp milk, you can use this drink as a the creative,

nutrient-rich base for all kinds of smoothies by adding other fruits and vegetables.

Use what you have on hand in your kitchen to make your smoothies.

The sky is the limit.

Orange Banana Hemp Smoothie

Today I peeled an orange and a banana, added them to the hemp milk in the Vitamix and created

a delicious Orange Banana Hemp Smoothie.

How to Avoid Carrageenan & Make Your Own Organic Hemp Milk


What a delicious, nutrient-rich breakfast–or anytime–smoothie.

Orange Banana Hemp Smoothie

 Have you made your own hemp milk? What other “milks” do you make at home?

Urban Living healthy, green and natural by design

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The material on this website represents the opinions and conclusions of the author; it should not be taken as medical advice. Readers are encouraged to conduct their own further research.











{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne-Marie Bilella November 4, 2013 at 11:05 am

Awesome post!!! I had no idea about the side effects of carrangeenan. Thank you for sharing on Wildcrafting Wednesday. 🙂


deborah November 4, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Hi Anne-Maria,
I really enjoy participating in Wildcrafting Wednesday. I get so many new ideas. And yes, carrageenan is quite a disturbing additive for some people.


Shannon November 4, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Thanks for your informative post!! I had no idea that carrageenan was added to dairy foods, too.

I’m still saving up for a Vitamix – right now I’m making my nut milk etc in the food processor and I am probably getting a lower yield than a blender would. 🙂


deborah November 4, 2013 at 7:41 pm

Hi Shannon,
I am so glad that you found this post informative. Yes, unfortunately, carrageenan is often found in many common foods. I hope you get your Vitamix soon. It will make nut milk prep a lot easier. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.


Heather @Gluten-Free Cat November 6, 2013 at 3:04 pm

I am a huge fan of making nut milks, but I’ve never made hemp milk before. I’m going to make a batch tonight and will be featuring your post on Raw Foods Thursdays tomorrow. I appreciate all of the nutritional information you shared too. I’ve always wondered what carrageenan was. I tend not to purchase anything that has a mystery ingredient like “natural flavors” too!


deborah November 7, 2013 at 12:33 am

Hi Heather,
I am so glad that you are going to try making hemp milk. It is so healthy and delicious. I am thrilled that you will be featuring the post on Raw Foods Thursday! Thank you so much for your support! I sincerely appreciate it.


Brittney Minor November 8, 2013 at 12:13 am

I will have to try this! Thanks for sharing!


deborah November 8, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Hi Brittney,
I hope you enjoy making your own hemp milk. It’s my favorite. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it.


Dawn @ Peeling Back the Onion Layers November 8, 2013 at 10:43 am

This is so awesome! I really dislike carrageenan and would never feed it to my family. Thank you for sharing this at Healing With Food Friday! Come back again this week – we are LIVE now!


deborah November 8, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Hi Dawn,
I am so glad you found this post interesting. I will be back to participate in Healing with Good Friday again. It’s great! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. I appreciate it.


Bruce November 23, 2013 at 8:27 pm

I’m curious–what is it about carrageenan that is so bad for humans?

I know that it’s an extract (extracts and isolates can sometimes be over-processed and thus, not come with their healthful, complimentary constituants), though Irish moss is considered to be helpful.


Sara December 30, 2013 at 4:47 pm

I absolutely love this post! Too many people either are unaware of how horrible carrageenan is or they think it can’t be avoided. This is such a great post because it shows there are alternatives, & you can make your own. I’ve been making fruit infused coconut milk and coconut mayo for the very reason of avoiding carrageenan.


Ally @ Om Nom Ally January 16, 2014 at 4:44 pm

I love this post as I’m such an advocate of making our own non-dairy milks and avoiding all those nasty ingredients! Thanks for sharing this post at the Weekend Wholefood Blender Party and for bringing my attention towards the carrageenan petition, I went over to sign straight away 😀


Amber Neal January 24, 2014 at 10:35 am

Thanks for sharing this for MMM link up party this week! I love all of your posts!! I am sharing this today on Adventures in Mindful Livings FB page!
Have a mindfully great day!!


Marla February 9, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Great information and idea to make your own hemp seed. I don’t understand why carrageenan are allowed in organic foods. I check labels all the time for this and I have seen it so often – its really distributing. I am so glad you linked up to Real Food Fridays Deb!


deborah February 10, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Thank you, Marla. It was very disconcerting to find out about the dangers of this additive and how prevalent it is in so many processed foods. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. I appreciate it. All the best, Deb


Marla February 12, 2014 at 10:58 am

Hi Deb,
I am featuring this post about making your own hempseed and carrageenan on Real Food Fridays tomorrow Feb 13th started @ 7EST. Thanks for sharing and helping educate people on the dangers of ingredients. Have a wonderful healthy day! Marla


Joyce @ It's Your Life February 13, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Noooooooo!!!!! I just had a cup of the Pacific chocolate hemp drink this morning, oh it was good, but obviously not good for you. I went to the fridge and took out the container, praying it wasn’t so, but there it was. Thanks for the information, and the recipe. Hemp is to good to give up, but I will leave the carrageenan behind, pinned to two boards, and shared on g+. Thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays, I was going to feature your post, but Marla got to you first. With this link up growing there are so many great posts, thanks for being one of them.


Jen June 27, 2014 at 10:57 pm

I have not tried hemp milk yet. I normally use almond and coconut milk, but recently tried flax milk which I loved. Unfortunately I learned about the inflammatory ingredient carageenan and saw that the flax milk contained it. I did recently get a high speed blender which I’ve been experimenting with. I’ve pinned this post for future reference in case I do decide to try making my own hemp milk. Thank you for sharing this!


INGREDIENTS SOLUTIONS July 2, 2014 at 10:14 am

Regarding the safety of carrageenan, there has been an amazing amount of misinformation being blogged about carrageenan being unsafe as a food ingredient. In spite of this misinformation, carrageenan continues as the safe food ingredient it has always been. If it were not, the principal regulatory agencies of the world (US FDA, FAO/WHO JECFA, EU EFSA, and Japan Ministry of Health) would not approve its use, and all of them give the necessary approvals. The only application restricted as a precautionary measure is stabilizing liquid infant formula and a definitive toxicology is about to be published that is expected to remove this restriction.
Why all the concern about the safety of using carrageenan in foods? Starting in the 1960s there have been research studies showing that if excessive doses of carrageenan are consumed in animal trials inflammation can be induced in the small intestine. Likewise, inappropriate methods of introducing the carrageenan into the animals, i.e. in the animals’ only source of drinking water, have induced an inflammatory response in the small intestine. However, there has never been a validated inflammatory response in humans over the seventy plus years carrageenan has been used in foods. The anecdotal “upset tummies” reported in blogs as coming from consuming a food containing carrageenan are hardly
reliable sources of information on the safety of carrageenan.
Inflammatory responses in animals only occur when carrageenan can cross the blood membrane barrier of the small intestine. This only occurs when the extreme feeding conditions mentioned above are employed. Normal feeding regimes induce no such response.
Over the last decade a group of molecular biologists at the University of Illinois at Chicago lead by Dr Joanne Tobacman have been exploring the in vitro interaction of carrageenan with various genes and conclude that carrageenan can cause inflammation in the gut via a binding mechanism involving TLR-4 receptors. This group also concluded that carrageenan degrades in the gut and the degraded carrageenan can permeate the membrane barrier. Recent studies refute both of these claims, and furthermore this recent research questions the validity using in vitro studies to mimic the in vivo events in the GI tract when a human consumes a food containing carrageenan.
The bottom line on the safety issue is that in spite of all the efforts to downgrade or question the safety of carrageenan, particularly by bloggers, carrageenan is a safe food ingredient in all of the major regulatory jurisdictions of the world.


Nancy A June 4, 2015 at 1:48 pm

Dear Deborah, Thanks so much for this blog post about how to make your own hemp milk. Just what I need. I want to get into making my own too. The post points up the importance of reading every label and keeping up with health research and findings.
The basic recipe sounds simple and the additional ideas yummy. I pinned it and shared it on FB. Warm regards, Nancy Andres,
Health & Lifestyle Writer, Author of “Colors of Joy: A Woman’s Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss.” P.S. If you get a chance, please see my post there too: Vividly Colored Plant-Based Dish Has Eye and Taste Appeal.


Joanna June 20, 2016 at 1:21 pm

My daughter is diary intolerance and I have started to make my own hemp milk for her instead of formula. She is just over 1. is hemp reach in calcium naturally or should I enhance it with supplement of calcium? Please help as I’ve been searching for it a lot and can’t find clear answer


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