Sunday, May 25, 2014

Natural Products Expo West 2014

Try as I might to break this treacherous habit, I procrastinate.  I find myself, nearly three months later, writing about the Natural Products Expo West that now feels like ancient history to most.  Because this has been covered by many and long ago, I will attempt brevity.

The new (or new-to-me) products that stood out the most to me are:

1.  Emmy's Organics.  Emmy's is a family-owned-and-operated vegan, raw, gluten-free, certified organic company that offers delectable macaroons (dipped in chocolate or not), buckwheat granola, and chocolate sauce(!).  Delightful co-founders Samantha and Ian sent me home with a package of each macaroon flavor, a box of Apricot Vanilla Super Cereal, and a jar of chocolate sauce.  What I love about Emmy's treats is that they are rich and sweet while also being full of nutrients and committed to integrity.

2.  North Coast Organics.  Most of us in the vegan community are aware of the dangers of conventional deodorant/antiperspirant and choose options that contain natural ingredients instead, but are less effective than their mainstream counterparts.  I had been using unscented Tom's from Trader Joe's for some time until North Coast Organics came into my life.  Another family-owned-and-operated company, North Coast makes 100% vegan, cruelty-free, USDA Organic, certified organic by EcoCert deodorants, lotion bars, and lip balms.

I have been so incredibly impressed by these deodorants, using them exclusively for months.  The two scented varieties don't irritate my sensitive skin and there is also an unscented option.  Most importantly, their protection lasts all day.  Since they are coconut oil-based, they are easily massaged into skin if there's a little lingering on the surface.


3.  Bee Free Honee.  The honey alternative, made from USDA certified organic apples, launched four new varieties at Expo West:  Slippery Elm, Mint, Chocolate, and Ancho Chile.  Of course, I'd love to have a bottle of each with which to experiment at home, but I'm most excited about the Slippery Elm.  I'm a singer and many singers treat a sore throat with a hot water, lemon, and honey mixture.  As a vegan, honey hasn't been an option, but slippery elm has medicinal properties that soothe a sore throat.  This is my new go-to remedy.

4.  Hilary's Eat Well.  This non-GMO certified company has been making wonderful vegan burgers for a few years and is now introducing a line of dressings.  There are four new dressings (Ranch Chia, Creamy Remoulade, Apple Fennel, and Balsamic Thyme), each delicious, and three out of the four contain specific health benefits through the inclusion of Omega-3s, Eyebright, and dandelion root.  I had a small taste of each at the Expo and am hoping to get my hands on full bottles soon!

 Also noteworthy are Daiya's new cheeses and pizzas, Tender Grown raw leaf chips (kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts chips), So Delicious's new unsweetened coconut yogurt (both regular and Greek styles) and Cococcino (coconut milk coffee drinks), Life Factory's new line of to-go containers and glasses, Amella's new caramel sauce, The Good Bean roasted chickpea snacks, Brussel Bytes raw Brussels sprouts chips, Hope Spreads dark chocolate dips, Parmela's new Creamy Treenut Cheeses, Love Bean fudge, and Phoney Baloney's coconut bacon.    

One interesting trend was the multitude of beauty products geared toward teenage girls.  There were deodorants, skin care lines, nail polishes, and hair care specifically for that age group.  

I'm deeply grateful and honored to have gone to Expo West this year with the team from Happy Cow.  Be on the lookout for their new cookbook debuting in a couple weeks!