The munchies... Once a novel secretive slang term used exclusively among tokers from the past, has since become mainstream terminology. It represents one of the main examples of how Cannabis has medicinal value. Anyone who smokes cannabis will have experienced the sudden, almost explosive urge to chow down on food. And more often than not, not just any type of food, but the fastest shortcut to a big belly. The munchies have this incredible power to make us crave the sweetest, greasiest or even spiciest choice on the menu, the fridge or closest 24/7 convenience store.
This is normal, and no one should feel at fault about giving in to these guilty pleasures. Just remember, bad food is bad for you! And when was the last time you heard a stoner crave a salad? There is a lesson to be learned right here.
We are what we eat, and the only real danger about the munchies is in the bad choices we make, as our brain slacks in nutritional reasoning. And that, unfortunately (or fortunately?), is equally valid for those who don’t smoke Cannabis. Here we present you with our Top 5 choices of healthy snacks you can indulge in that have the potential to both satiate and bring you some health benefits.
Bruschetta is an Italian antipasto (starter dish), so theoretically it can qualify as a quick snack too. Traditionally, it is grilled bread that is rubbed with a mix of garlic, olive oil and tomato, topped with all sorts of delicacies: from cheeses to beans, and cured meat to vegetables. Think of it as a turbo-charged slice of pizza.
Add a sprinkle of imagination, and it can be much more than that. The Strawberry & Avocado Bruschetta is packed with flavours ranging from very sweet to spicy and umami. It is one of those recipes where you feel more delight in the surprising mix of tastes rather than a dopamine overload from cheap, overprocessed sweets. It is full of fibers from the red onion, balanced carbohydrates from the bread, and packed with lots of vitamin C and antioxidants to cleanse your body. There is such richness in the visual component that you’ll soon be salivating over a bite.
How to make it! This recipe serves 2 people:
Combine the first six ingredients in a mixing bowl. Season to taste with the desired amount of salt and pepper. Brush a little extra olive oil onto every bread slice. Toast in a hot oven until browned. Cover each slice with tasty, ripe, mashed up avocado before adding your strawberry goodness on top. Top with a basil leaf for some extra culinary attitude and serve with a smile.
This one is more for those who love spicy food. Even those who think they can’t take hot spice, please read on. Spicy food is very healthy! First of all, you can quickly get used to the burning sensation by starting low and slowly increasing the amount. In fact, people who frequently indulge in hot chili or tabasco pepper sauces will tell you just how addictive they become. In just the right amount it can open a whole new dimension of taste. The second reason is how healthy they are. Not only the frequent consumption of hot peppers substantially reduces the prevalence of heart attacks and strokes, but numerous studies have also shown how capsaicin – the active ingredient that makes it hot – actively reduces the effects of our bad cholesterol - LDL
So why no try this combo, at least as an experiment? A great selection some particularly tasty fruits chopped into a salad bowl and sprinkled with some chili powder. You can use whatever you like really, but picking up a nicely ripened mango, blueberries and kiwis will certainly boost the effect. Things like watermelons or apples will obviously work too, just not so well.
If you have ever been to an Indian restaurant, you will surely have tasted the very typical Spicy Mango Chili Sauce. They go very nicely together
How to make it! This recipe serves 2 people:
Dump the first four ingredients into a large bowl. Combine the lime juice and syrup/honey/nectar in a small bowl, whisk the mixture and pour it over the fruit mix. Sprinkle on salt and chili powder with bits at a time, lightly tossing the salad to coat all the pieces of fruity goodness. Final step: Indulge and feel like a bonafide fitgirl/fitboy!
A good assortment of nuts is one of the best munchie-tamers and health boosters around. Examples are cashews, walnuts, almonds, hazelnut, pistachios, macadamia, the list goes on and on. Maybe stay away from peanuts as they have an insanely high fat content.
They are super practical to carry around, have a long shelf life if packed airtight, and their health benefits are quite phenomenal. Nuts are great by themselves, but also work wonders as condiments or toppings. You can use them in roasts, on ice cream, in soups, salads, yoghurts – there is really no reason not to experiment with nuts and whatever your next meal is. Surely you have seen pistachio ice-cream at one point or another. Homemade peanut butter? Why not try the same with cashews?
Critics say they are overly expensive, and quite frankly if you do not know where to shop and just grab what is on the top shelf in the health section of a major supermarket chain – they are probably right. But, with a little digging into local markets or the internet, and you can buy any sort of nut by the bagfuls for less than half the price.
Quick word to the wise – many nuts require roasting before they can be consumed. So if they appear to be excessively cheap, check if they have been roasted or not, or if they need to be - like cashews and peanuts.
If we are going to talk about nuts, we have to add chocolate to the mix. Contrary to popular belief, chocolate is actually quite healthy as a food. But we do mean quality chocolate, not processed, industrial type chocolate we usually find in ice-cream buckets or cheap candy bars.
Generally, non-GMO dark chocolate - that is a little more expensive than most - will probably be a good choice but do check the label beforehand. What you want is something that has above 70% pure cocoa. If the nutritional label says “processed with alkali” it means the chocolate went through a process called “dutching” – meaning, they process the cocoa to make it taste milder and sweeter, and it is, therefore, less healthy. Good chocolate contains flavonoids and polyphenols; both are great allies to your well being. They help lower blood pressure and improve vascular function. They also boost our brain’s cognitive processes and believe or not, help protect the skin from those harmful UV rays.
Chocolate containing upwards of 85% non-GMO cocoa is considered a super-food. It is a strong anti-oxidant and potentially prevents cancer. Butter made from this chocolate will contain high levels of oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat that you will also find in olive oil. The only thing left to do is to add some nuts to your chocolate for the ultimate munchy delight. Or use it as a dressing for our next suggestion...
Popcorn is a fantastic munchie snack. It is very fast and easy to make at home and has an extremely low caloric value of 375 kcal per 100g. But again, we are not talking about the supermarket, microwave-ready, industrial butter-covered type. A regular old-school type bag of corn kernels dropped into a pan with just a little olive oil will make for the healthy kind. It is full of fibres and contains high levels of polyphenols, which is one of the best ways to clean free radicals from your body.
Not many people experiment with popcorn, mainly due to the tradition of going to the movies and having the instant choice of either sugar-sweet or butter-salty. The fact is that the plain taste of popcorn is not that exciting. But with a little imagination, it can become something truly delicious.
You can try all sorts of toppings and seasonings – for example, furikake, which is a finger-licking mix of seaweed, sesame seeds, sugar, salt and even dried fish flakes. It becomes an exciting and crunchy gourmet novelty. You could also try glazing popcorn with maple syrup, red pepper powder, and dry roasted cashews. Or go the complete opposite way and add parmesan cheese, parsley and sea salt. The more adventurous could try a stronger mix of garlic and cayenne pepper with unsalted butter.
There is an adage in the Cannabis community that says “Never go shopping when you are high.” Wise words to live by.
Cannabinoids bind to our CB1 receptors, which in turn stimulates smell and taste. So eating while high becomes physiologically more pleasurable. THC also stimulates the nucleus accumbens in the brain, a region of the frontal lobe that mediates dopamine. So when you are high and go to the supermarket, you are pre-conditioned to obtain the quickest satisfaction, and that is where the marketing guys trick you into buying all those unhealthy sugar-packed foods that boost dopamine release.
So plan ahead, and plan healthy. Have fun in the process and be creative. Buy a few of the ingredients mentioned here, go home and smoke a big fat one, and then let your imagination and creativity run free. Use these suggestions as a template, mix and match at will. You will have double the pleasure and double the satisfaction knowing you invented your perfect munchie snack. Not only that but that they actually contribute to you being healthier.