Expo West is a massive natural products expo where established brands go to do business and showcase their new products and emerging brands hope to be discovered. This year the expo had not one, but three hotel ballrooms filled with natural products in addition to the three floors inside the Anaheim Convention Center. You can imagine how difficult it is to cover the show as one writer, so Lindsay brought me onboard to scope out the expo, too.
Last year I was on a mission for premade foods without any added sugar and vegan items that would excite an omnivore palate. I went to the expo with the same mission this year but quickly realized my stomach was not up for the task. I’ve been experiencing a lot of stomach issues the past 6 months, and after my first round of sampling without a care, my stomach grew twice its size. I’ll admit I was chicken to try any soy chicken after the grumbling from my oversampled gut. I stuck with items that I knew would not set off my stomach or would calm the beast within. Here are my top 5 finds over the course of 3 days at Expo West.
Julie’s Real: I have tried a lot of nut butter in my life, and the Vanilla Cinnamon Cashew Butter was awe-inspiring. It’s only sweetened with honey, and I was shocked at how good a nut butter with only a touch of honey could taste. I love honey as it’s the only sweetener that my fiancé can eat without having a reactive hypoglycemic episode. Sadly, because Justin’s butters are sweetened with sugar and maple sugar, I don’t ever buy it. Now that I know about Julie’s Real I can have a sweet nut butter in my home. The Vanilla Cinnamon Cashew Butter is so delicious; I will go as far to say it is the healthy version of Speculoos aka Cookie Butter.
Good Pop: We met the friendly founder of Good Pop, and he gave us a sample of their latest flavor, Orange N’ Cream. It’s just like an Orange Creamsicle or 50/50 Bar, but Vegan! It was awesome, and I know my sister (who’s vegan) will be all over these good pops come summer time. As a mother of three kids under the age of 10, she loves having vegan treats in the house that her kids will enjoy, too. I’m not even a huge ice cream/popsicle fan, but I loved the energy and mission of Good Pop. So when I want an icy treat, I’ll be choosing them.
Cookie Chips: Ok, I know. It’s a natural products expo, so you’re thinking healthy foods -aka foods that meet some dietary restriction or can fuel your next marathon. Well, Cookie Chips fueled a marathon, but the marathon was on my bed as I binge watched an Amazon Prime original series. I LOVE Cookie Chips. Like, I really love them. I was given a bag of them last year in our press bag, and I finished it off in a few days. This year the press bag had a new flavor, Sea Salted Caramel. It wasn’t gluten free, so Lindsay gave me her press bag of Cookie Chips. I finished both bags by Monday. Cookie Chips are dangerous because they are made with premium ingredients with just the right amount of crispiness. You will want to eat one cookie after another. Hi, my name is Bekka and I’m a Cookie Chip addict.
Numi Tea: One thing that helps to calm my stomach is a Turmeric Latte. I started making them last year, and the process can get a little messy. I only know the proper measurements for two lattes. Whenever I try to make one cup for myself, my ratio of turmeric to almond milk is off. Because of my personal dilemma, I was excited to discover Numi Tea has come out with a subtle and delightful Turmeric Chai Latte. The chai flavor isn’t overpowering, and neither is the turmeric, it’s a friendly blend of both flavors. The powder is loose in the can but has clear instructions for usage. I think this will be a great way to introduce turmeric latte newbies to the powerful anti-inflammatory benefits of golden milk.
Mr. Mak’s Gin Bao: A drink made for ginger lovers. Mr. Mak’s Gin Bao is a ginseng and ginger beverage with a solid kick. It’s based on traditional Chinese medicine, intended to be ingested daily and at room temperature to help your immune system, aid in digestion, and increase one’s energy. I loved the branding of Mr. Mak’s Gin Bao and can’t wait until they are more readily available on the West Coast. Ginger and ginseng are powerful ingredients when paired together, and from my one sip, I can tell my body could benefit from the magic of Gin Bao.
Have you tried any of these brands? What was your favorite Expo West find?