I recently traveled to the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif. — a convention center turned food-lover’s mecca for three days. The show boasts old, natural food heroes as well as up-and-coming stars. As a life coach, foodie and fitness instructor, I'm always inspired to find new, clean products to fuel my body and mind. I sampled my way through the show, discovering the best of the best.
This year, the show was full of coconut water, popcorn, ice cream, chip products, chia seeds, bars, jerky, granola, and chocolate companies galore. After hitting my sample limit, there were only a couple of products that wowed me and made me crave more. In no particular order, I give you my top five products of Expo West:
This delicious, healthy and nutritious cereal has a satisfying taste and texture. Emmy’s uses sprouted buckwheat as its base, and depending on the variety you choose, there could be coconut chips, cashews, dried blueberries, almonds, cacao nibs and much more! Everything is sweetened with organic coconut nectar — nothing is refined — and there's a perfect amount of sweetness to balance out the rich buckwheat flavor. I loved this cereal so much because it didn’t taste like I was eating cardboard, yet I knew I was feeding my body amazing ingredients while enjoying something satisfying. The fact that the founders, Ian and Samantha, are such warm and lovely people only makes their products taste that much better!
2. Krave Jerky
YUM! This company makes the best jerky I've ever had! I have to admit that I am not a jerky connoisseur. However, I am a foodie who knows what she likes, and I definitely love this brand. They have several flavors to choice from, and also offer turkey jerky. My favorite was the Lemon Garlic Turkey Jerky. This is a great snack to eat in moderation, where you get enough protein without too much sugar or sodium. Each flavor is unique, so try them all until you find your favorite.
I'm not usually a huge fan of eating bars. However, these bars are perfect for a midmorning or afternoon pick-me-up. They are a great boost of energy for both pre and post workouts, allowing you to feel revitalized and focused. Health Warrior uses chia seeds as the base and glue for all of the delicious and creative flavors. This tiny bar is only 100 calories yet full of energy, omega-3s, fiber and protein. Their products are soy free, dairy free, gluten free and vegan. My favorite flavors are chocolate peanut butter and coffee. They have an unusual yet enticing texture.
4. Wtrmln Wtr
Have you heard of it? If you haven’t, you will. This is the next big drink to hit the market. Say goodbye to coconut water, and say hello to Wtrmln Wtr: a cold-pressed watermelon juice that is chock full of potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, a splash of lemon juice, and no added water or sugar. It is refreshing, hydrating, and fun to drink! It feels like summer in a bottle all year long. I'm typically not a fan of watermelon-flavored foods, but there's nothing artificial about this product. This drink is a great option to add to your day if you're tired of drinking plain water or desire something more refreshing.
I know she's my sister, but these cookies really were one of my favorite products at Expo West. Despite snacking all day, I still craved me some Sweet Loren’s. The new Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip flavor is the perfect combination of chewy, peanut-y goodness with the added benefit of delicious chocolate chunks. These cookies are the perfect balance of sweet and salty, without having an overly powerful peanut flavor. There is nothing else on the market that is comparable to Sweet Loren’s. The taste and quality of the ingredients is never compromised. Treat yourself and feel good about it.