The Naturals Foods Expo West is always an interesting show to attend – a “Disneyland” of new “organic processed junk food” as one colleague I follow on twitter so appropriately stated. However, amidst the 22,000 people who attend with more than 1500 exhibitors there are some finds in this needle stack of products. I go with “the list” of companies I want to visit as well as navigating the new products I need to try.
Jeffrey elected to stay home and work with our new puppy Perry, leaving me to have a fabulous time with my good friend and colleague Sara Latz, M.D. who had not previously attended.
I try to decipher what the theme or trends are for each year. Although it was not clear cut, a few things kept popping up: peanut butter companies now putting their natural nut butters in individual packets perfect for travel, school lunches and of course less temptation to eat the entire jar.
Next were “lentil chips,” as if they are somehow healthier than potato chips with the same old preservatives, additives and sodium. Finally, “noodles” without taste or calories – but I’ll get to that in a moment.
Let’s start with my finds. Number one on the list was H20 Spring Water. The founder, Julie Atherton, started the company out of her passion for finding an environmentally friendly alternative container rather than plastic bottles, which contain BPA and endocrine disruptors. The water tastes clean and fresh and the recyclable containers are easy to carry and comfortable in your hand – I know since it was my sidekick for most of the show.
Many of you know one of my FAVORITE foods is fresh ricotta cheese. Bellwether Farms, a company that makes great sheep’s milk yogurt was showcasing their new “basket ricotta” – hand-dipped ricotta that was beyond amazing – I even asked for a second taste and can’t wait till it comes out in 2 weeks.
My beef (pardon the pun) with veggie burgers are: multiple ingredients, mostly carbohydrates and GMO soy. This is one I would have missed if Sara had not stopped me. Hilary’s Eat Well makes 2 veggie burgers – one called The World’s Best Veggie Burger and the other one called Spicy Adzuki Bean Burger. Although not a significant source of protein (only 4-5 grams) they are quite tasty and made of good ingredients – millet, quinoa, organic sweet potatoes, coconut oil and miscellaneous spices. I would use this as your “healthy carb” and add more protein to your meal – you could eat these with eggs instead of hash browns or enjoy topped with melted cheese on top and a salad.
Now for the noodles. “Miracle Noodles” come in various flavors and are made of purified water, konnyaku and calcium hydroxide. Konnyaku is a type of soluble fiber that apparently has been used in Japan for hundreds of years. They claim it has no calories or fat and just goes through the body undigested. They really have no taste and just absorb whatever flavors you put on them. If you really wanted some “noodles” on your plate without the extra carbs this might be a good alternative.
I can’t count how many times a day my clients ask me if there are any healthy soups to purchase. They were at the show and are called Wild Veggie - six different flavors including broccoli, red bell pepper, carrot, butternut squash, beet and edamame. They are all made of the vegetable with the recommended less than 5 ingredients along with a great taste- a nice way to get your vegetables and they come in portable containers.
And finally a resounding topic with my clients – what about bread? I tasted gluten-free bread that actually tastes good without toasting: Arnel’s Organic Buckwheat Bread Mix. Don’t misunderstand - I am not recommending eating more bread. However, if you want bread once in a while this brand is made without wheat with good ingredients. It comes as a mix and contains the same amount of carbohydrates as regular bread so eat in moderation.
After a long day, I came home to find Jeffrey and Perry sacked out on the coach. It was like Halloween and I got to share the new treats with my boys.