The Anaheim Convention Center was bulging at the seams, as Natural Products Expo West produced by New Hope Natural Media set record numbers at the four-day event in March. Expo West had at it all; they featured some of the most respected speakers in the world in organics to accompany some of the latest and most creative organic products to hit the market along with just a weekend of celebrations that included concerts and parties galore.
Expo West kicked off with a media breakfast from LYFE Kitchen and featured a panel of speakers that included; Stephen Sidwell, President & CEO of LYFE Kitchen, Grocery, Janet Evans, Four-Time Olympic Gold Medalist, Dr. Alan Greene MD FAAP, Founder DrGreene.com, Author Feeding Baby Green, Practicing Pediatrician and Carlotta Mast, Senior Director of Content & Insights, New Hope Natural Media.
Stephen provided breakfast from LYFE Kitchen in that were steam cooked in their own proprietary paper pouches, creating a moist, fresh and flavorful entrée. Trying the Steel-Cut Oatmeal with quinoa & mixed fruit (vegan) was an eye opener as this was unlike any other oatmeal I have had before, the combination of the ingredients made for a really flavorful dish, but it really left you satisfied. Everyone in attendance was blown away by the freshness of the entrees and the flavor combinations such as; Farmer's Market Frittata with mushrooms, goat cheese & sweet potato hash and Southwest Breakfast Wrap with masa corn crepe & black beans. LYFE Kitchen showed that you can satisfy people that are expecting a typical classic breakfast entrée with something healthy that will also be satisfying just by making a few tweaks along the way.
Dr. Greene brought the conversation full-circle with a discussion about the health issues of children today. Dr. Greene stated that two-thirds of American children ages 12-18 have at least one of what is considered to be a middle aged health condition. Another problem that leads to the obesity problem is that 16 million children are food insecure, meaning they are worried that they will run out of food, this leads to poor eating habits. Trying to reach children at a young age to create better habits early and then working with more companies like LYFE Kitchen that are trying to bring healthier food to the mainstream are key to combatting these issues.
Janet Evans really was able to put into perspective the importance of LYFE Kitchen and the need to change eating habits as she went from an Olympic swimmer eating whatever she wanted as a teenager, to changing her own habits to a healthier eating lifestyle and finally becoming a mother and trying to make decisions that will positively impact her own children’s eating habits.
“LYFE Kitchen was such a great vision, I was on board from the beginning,” Janet said. “I went to all of the tastings and helped them in developing their children’s menu; it really was a collaboration of minds from all different sides of the spectrum.”
Janet had her own children eating healthy right away, but she does find it a challenge whether it is giving her own kids spinach as a snack and having the other kids give a typical kid response of “ugh” and turning it down to going to a birthday party and see it just catered with sugar and processed food. But she does view LYFE Kitchen as a great way to provide people with a chance to see how amazing something that is health and good for you can taste along with her favorite snacks of pineapple and kale.
“I think the whole mission of LYFE Kitchen is great tasting food. I will admit that if I am going to eat something I want it to taste good, if we are gong to eat it we want it to taste good and that is LYFE Kitchen’s mission,” Janet said. “So it is like try this breakfast because it is really good for you, but the most important thing is taste and it really does taste great. People are responsive because we want to be responsive, we want to eat healthy, but we don’t want it shoved down our throats all the time, there is a really fine line.”
Expo West once again provided hundreds of great products, some of the latest and greatest that you might have never heard of and needed to get introduced to and some were just classics that might have had a new product or just love being part of the entire organic experience. We picked a few of our favorites from the weekend and hopefully a few will find their way into your shopping cart.
The pools are opening in Las Vegas and the California sun is starting to nudge people outdoors so that means sunscreen should be out in full force. Even those of you that are still stuck in the snow, you should be applying sunscreen with that snow glare hitting your face and at Expo West regardless of the weather or conditions I will have to say the only thing you should be applying to your skin is Badger Natural Sunscreens. While people are becoming more concerned with what they are eating, not as many people have yet to be concerned with what they are putting on their skin and then in your pores. Badger’s new line is natural and organic and use the safest active ingredients and are also hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic. At Expo West Badger introduced its new line of daily SPF 30 sunscreen lotions to go along with its family of active and sport sunscreens. The new line comes in three varieties; Aloe Vera, Kids with Tangerine & Vanilla, and Baby with Chamomile & Calendula and while they all use USP grade non-nano zinc oxide, they also use a light lotion base that utilizes novel food-grade emulsifiers and natural preservatives. What does this mean for you, well you are getting great protection that is gentle on the skin and it also won’t leave that white residue that is associated with zinc based products. In terms of safety all you have to do is visit the independent database website of the Environmental Working Group at www.ewg.org where the have they rate products from 0-10 with 0 being the best and 10 being the worst and you will find Badger with a rating of 1. You will find the common big name brands with ratings that are much higher, so don’t grab the first thing you see on the shelf, do a little homework. For more information on Badger products, visit: www.badgerbalm.com
Certified USDA Organic Rooibee Red Tea also is naturally caffeine-free, gluten free, rich in anti-oxidants and has a full serving of Vitamin C. The tea comes from Rooibos, which only grows in Africa and has been used for its medicinal properties for years and to back this up Rooibos provides 1.5 times the antioxidants of green tea. This is certainly a turn away from the many drinks that have caffeine or other additives, Rooibee is a perfect match for the summer season that will soon be upon us, a drink that you can feel safe giving to anyone and any age. Rooibee should certainly be a favorite of any parent as this is the perfect drink to give to your kids and trust me, they will love the watermelon mint, a tremendous flavor combination. For more information on Rooibee Red Tea, visit: www.rooibeeredtea.com
Looking for organic engergy? Well we found it with the Chi Bar™ line of engergy bars. One bite of a Chi Bar and you get an instant feeling of goodness with all of the amazing ingredients. The Chi Bar comes in four flavors: Berry Berry, Papaya Pineapple, Mango Ginger, and Cacoa Cherry. If you like berries, the Berry Berry will not disappoint. Completely organic, what makes the Chi Bar a true engergy bar is that it contatins: Omega 3, potassium, amino acids and complex carbohydrates and unlike a lot of healthy, organic energy bars, the Chi Bars all taste great. For more information on the Chi Bar™, visit: www.organic-energy-bars.com
KeVita formulator Chakra Levy had been looking to add some new flavors to the KeVita family of probiotic sparkling drinks and the new additions, KeVita Mojita and KeVita Daily Cleanse, were greeted with happy faces at Expo West. While the majority of probiotics are in a dairy form, KeVita provides a great alternative with their variety of sparkling flavors. Chakra is definitely a proponent of adding probiotics to your daily diet as they have the ability to support digestive health as well as assist with acid reflux and indigestion just to name a few. The daily cleanse features a combination of lemon and cayenne that makes for a great light flush as opposed to a full heavy cleanse, this allows you to drink this daily and the contrasting flavors makes for a flavorful drink. Both new products also only contain ten calories along with two grams of sugar and all KeVita Sparkling Probiotic Drinks are certified organic and non-GMO. For more information on KeVita, visit: www.kevita.com
Follow Your Heart is already home to some of the tastiest vegan products such as Vegenaise, an egg-free, dairy-free mayonnaise alternative, Vegan Gourmet cheese alternatives and salad dressings, but at Expo West they made your cooking a little easier with the debut of their new dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, vegan shredded cheese alternative that comes in three flavors. The shredded cheese alternative is great for quesadillas, macaroni & cheese, pizza, there are so many options you can really use it on anything. While that might sound great what sets Follow Your Heart apart from other similar cheese alternatives is the taste. If you put on a blindfold and had a regular grilled cheese and a Follow Your Heart grilled cheese it would be a 50-50 proposition you would know which was which. Follow Your Heart is dedicated to making sure all of their products not only meet their standards but that they also meet the consumers standards in terms of flavor. To find out more about Follow Your Heart and to check out a great vegan macaroni n’ cheese recipe, visit: http://followyourheart.com/
It is a bold move to create a chocolate bar and name it “The Most Awesome Chocolate Bar EVER!” But that is exactly what Jeff Shepard, owner of Lillie Belle Farms, did and anyone who tastes “The Most Awesome Chocolate Bar EVER!” never questions the name. The thing you will learn quickly about Jeff and why his entire line of chocolate is so spectacular is that he would rather make just five amazing chocolate bars as opposed to making 100 really, really good chocolate bars. chocolatier, recently was named one of the Top 10 Chocolatiers in North America by Dessert Professional magazine and picked up two honors at the 2013 Good Food Awards for his aptly named, “The Most Awesome Chocolate Bar EVER!”
The energy drink shelves are filled with similar products so NEO Water decided to create a drink that not only separates itself, but would create their own entire niche market. At Expo West NEO Energy, a certified organic energy drink made with electrolytes, was unveiled. NEO Energy is meant to not only resonate with people looking for an organic energy drink, but also with people who want an energy drink that will actually benefit them with their workouts. NEO Energy contains a blend of organic guarana and green tea extracts, B-vitamins, electrolytes and antioxidants, and is sweetened with organic cane sugar, giving you an energy boost while also helping with hydration. For more information on NEO Energy, visit: http://poweredbyneo.com/pages/neo-super-energy
While Expo West was mainly focused on organic products, SIGG bottles was showcasing it’s very cool and stylish water bottles which include the new Tony Hawk line of bottles. Plastic water bottles filling up landfills has become a very serious issue in recent years, so finding a water bottle that is durable, easy to use and one that you will love being seen with is what SIGG has created and provides a great alternative to plastic bottles. SIGG offers bottles ranging from Tony Hawk bottles to a number of kids favorites including Hello Kitty to pretty much any design to fit your personality. SIGG Switzerland and Tony Hawk are also recently kicked off the “Design for Tony Hawk and SIGG” contest, which launched on February 19th, 2013. The contest will yield four winning designs, with each winner earning a trip to the 2013 Stand Up For Skateparks event in Beverly Hills and $1,000. Additionally, the design with the most social votes will receive $500 and a skateboard signed by Tony Hawk. If your design is chosen, it will be included as part of the 2013 product offering from SIGG and will be available for purchase worldwide. The contest will take place on the new global SIGG Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/SIGGOriginal. For more information on SIGG, visit: www.SIGG.com
Hyland’s Homeopathic Remedies was spreading the word about their amazing product line that is so far ranging that whatever ails you they are sure to have a remedy. But this year Hyland’s is promoting the Hyland’s 7-Day Sleep Challenge in an attempt to fight the epidemic of sleep deprivation in this country. From stress, to television and electronic gadgets and simply having too much on your plate, people are having a more difficult time not only getting enough sleep, but also actually falling asleep. The 7-Day Challenge provides great tips to help you make small changes in your life that will hopefully allow you to get a better nights sleep and then have a happier and more prosperous day when you wake up. When you do have those times when nothing seems to help however, Hyland's Calms Forté™ is a great product to help you fall asleep and of course it is 100% all-natural and helps you get past simple nervous tension as well as insomnia. For more information on Hyland’s, visit: www.hylands.com
Bon Ami is far from a new product, it has been a staple in American homes for more than 125 years and was likely on the organic forefront before anyone even thought about creating an organic product line. Bon Ami is America's original non-toxic home cleaner and they have always stayed that way, avoiding bleach or any other chemicals so you can feel safe what you are cleaning with. There are so many things that you clean that you don’t even give a second thought as to what you are cleaning with. Do you want to put a boat covered with cleaning chemicals into the ocean or have your fish swim in a aquarium with who knows what that just made that glass look clean or finally how about that baby bathtub? Although Bon Ami is great for people with sensitive skin or allergies, it really makes sense for everyone. With spring cleaning so near, give the Bon Ami liquid cleanser, all-purpose cleaner, powder cleanser and dish soap a try, you will not only be happy with how clean your house looks but you will also be able to feel good about what you cleaned it with. For more information on Bon Ami, visit: www.bonami.com
Eating organic, vegan or gluten-free are all personal choices, but whatever path you choose eating even a little better or mixing in organics once in a while will certainly benefit you in the long run. Expo West once again proved that eating healthy does not have to mean that you are losing out on flavor or taste, with all of the amazing products on the market you will quickly find that you lose nothing by eating organic but you are certain to gain a lot.