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Natural Products Expo West Recap

As I mentioned in my previous Natural Products Expo West post, I got to meet with a variety of wonderful brands and learn more about their products.  You already heard all about Justin’s, so here are some other products & brands I think you should check out.

Annie Chun’s & Bibigo:

Natural Products Expo WestI normally shy away from pre-packaged foods, but when I heard about the new seaweed crisps that Annie Chun’s was debuting, I was intrigued.

I was pleasantly surprised by the seaweed crisps!  They weren’t overly salty, and had a nice light crunch.  I also liked that they were gluten-free and had minimal ingredients.  I can definitely see having these as a snack on the go, or packing for travel.

I didn’t get to try the Bibigo Gochujang sauce (because of my soy allergy) but my husband did and loved it!  He’s used it on stir fries and other dishes so it’s safe to say we’ll be buying that again as well for our house.

Brewla Bars:

Natural Products Expo West BrewlaLindsay from Fit and Awesome introduced me to Brewla Bars and I am so glad she did!  They are popsicles made with all-natural ingredients and NO artificial flavors or sweeteners.

I tried the Strawberry and Hibiscus Tea flavor which was delicious!  And with each bar clocking in between 20-50 calories and with less than 10g of sugar, they are definitely the perfect summer treat.  Plus, they have unique flavors like Root Beer Float and Tropical Fruits White Tea, so what’s not to love?  (also, I really want to try the root beer one!).  Right now Brewla Bars are available in Gelson’s markets, but they are hoping to expand more soon.

Gold Mine Natural Foods:

natural products expo west natural foodsGold Mine Natural Foods specializes in sustainable macrobiotic foods such as organic kimchi, sauerkraut and kelp noodles.  The brand also has pantry staples such as black rice and pasta.

I was able to try the sauerkraut and kimchi, which was great!  I’m always trying to get more fermented foods into my diet, and the sauerkraut was a great addition to many of our dinners.  I was a fan of just the classic kraut, but the Englishman really loved the garlic flavor.

Nikki’s Coconut Butter:

Nikkis Coconut ButterI just recently started using coconut butter in recipes, and absolutely love Nikki’s Vanilla Cake Batter flavor.  I’ve used it in smoothies, in my homemade hot chocolate, and love adding it for a touch of natural sweetness in baked goods.  It’s loaded with heart healthy fats and not too high in sugar which is awesome.  Sometimes I eat it straight from the jar with a spoon!

Whole Me Clusters:

natural products expo west whole meI wrote about Whole Me last year, but this year I got to try their new Lemon Berry Chia Clusters and I am in love.  I adore just about lemon everything, but these clusters took it to another level.  The Almond Coconut and Cinnamon Banana Chip were also quite tasty, but I LOVED the Lemon Berry.

If you attended the Natural Products Expo West this year what products were your fave?  Any finds that are a must-try?

Natural Products Expo West: Justin’s

A couple of years ago I attended my first Natural Products Expo West and had a blast meeting a bunch of different vendors, trying new products and immersing myself in some of the best healthy and natural products on the market.  I couldn’t attend last year due to being in the thick of wedding planning, so this year I was excited to return AND meet with one of my favorite brands.  So consider this recap the Natural Products Expo West: Justin’s edition.

justins nut butter expo westFor those not familiar, Justin’s is a company specializing in nut butters and peanut butter cups using all-natural ingredients and NO preservatives.  The company uses organic ingredients when possible, and offers a line of almond butter, peanut butter, and natural PB cups that taste 1000x better than a Reese’s in my opinion. The Englishman and I always have a jar of Justin’s Almond Butter in our house, and I always take the to-go squeeze packs whenever I travel.  So when I had the opportunity to meet THE Justin at Expo West this year I jumped at the chance.

natural products expo west justinsJustin was incredibly nice (as expected) and was happy to chat about his products, what’s new, and what’s coming up for 2015.  First up is the dark + milk chocolate peanut butter minis, which at 70 calories a pop, are the perfect little treat when you are craving something sweet.

justins mini pb cupsI have already shared some of the minis with my friends and they were all big fans.  I can’t wait to stock up on more when these hit shelves starting in April.

In addition to the minis, Justin also has plans to create more healthy snacks by the end of 2015.  He explained that everything is still in the very early formulation stages, but he did share that he’s looking for that “snackability” factor and to expect lots of peanut butter and almond butter combos with more traditional snacks like pretzels and crackers.  PB and pretzels?  Sign me up.

Justin also shared that one goal of the brand this year is to become more green with their packaging and using more sustainable materials, which I thought I was great.  It’s so nice to see a brand constantly evolving and taking steps forward to be more environmentally friendly.

Not only was Justin incredibly nice and great to chat with, I could see how passionate he is about his brand, which definitely reflects in his products, cause they all taste great!  If you haven’t tried Justin’s yet, I recommend starting with the Maple Almond Butter or the Dark Chocolate PB cups.  Or even the Chocolate Hazelnut Butter.  Or Classic Almond Butter.  Obviously I don’t discriminate.

expo west justinsJustin’s products can be found at most supermarkets, Target and even Starbucks, and the new minis will be available starting in April.

Thanks again to Justin and his team for the great meeting at Expo West!

Natural Products Expo West – Sambazon

The fourth and final installment of the Natural Products Expo West Series.  Be sure to check out parts 1, 2, and 3!

The last brand that I met with at Expo West was Sambazon, who is probably best known for their acai juice blends, smoothie packs and sorbet.  The company is committed to providing natural, organic products free of GMOs.  Sambazon is also currently working to sustainably manage millions of acres in the Amazon forest and have constructed new schools, buildings and other centers in the villages where they work (in Brazil).  After learning more about the company and their commitment to sustainable harvesting practices in South America, I have to say I’m pretty impressed.  Plus, their products taste great!

sambazon_naturalproductsexpowestAt the Natural Products Expo West this year, Sambazon was introducing some of their new smoothies that are loaded with lots of superfoods, protein and other fresh ingredients.

First up was the Mocha Java Energy smoothie that has 80mg of organic caffeine and 9g of food protein per bottle.

Sambazon_MochaJavaSmoothieThis drink has a soymilk base and includes acai extract, yerba mate, and green tea extract.  If you are looking for a more natural energy boost, then I recommend trying this!

Next was the Blended Breakfast, which is comprised of amaranth, quinoa, chia and fresh fruit to provide a complete breakfast for those on the go.

Sambazon Blended Breakfast SmoothieThis drink has 4g of fiber and a soymilk base, so it should keep you feeling fuller longer than other smoothie drinks.

The protein smoothie is made with Chocolate, Almond and Coconut Milk and is the perfect recovery drink for after a hard workout or if you need a little extra protein boost.

Sambazon Protein SmoothieThis smoothie is perfect if you are craving a sweet chocolate flavor but still want to get a nutrient boost.  There is 8g of protein in the smoothie and over 90 acai berries!

Last but not least is the Supergreens smoothie that is made with a kale and ginger base.

Sambazon_Supergreens SmoothieThe supergreens smoothie is a great way to get your extra greens for the day and includes amazing grass supergreens, over 120 acai berries, and delivers three servings of fruits and veggies.

All of these products can be found at a local grocery store near you – I recommend checking them out!  Thanks Sambazon for teaching me more about your great company and products.




Natural Products Expo West – Bob’s Red Mill

Missed parts 1 and 2 of the Natural Products Expo West recap?  Check them out here and here.

When I found out that Bob’s Red Mill was going to be at the Natural Products Expo West, I was pretty excited because many of Bob’s Red Mill products are a staple in our house.  Everything from the Whole Wheat Pastry Flour to the specialty items such as Garbanzo Bean Flour and Almond Meal can be found in our pantry.  Bob’s also has a large line of gluten-free baking mixes and grains that are produced in a separate gluten-free recipe.  The company truly has something for everyone.

bobsredmill_expowestThis year, Bob’s Red Mill was debuting their new “Nine Grains of Discovery” at the Natural Products Expo West.  These products were developed due to a rising interest in ancient grains and heirloom foods and are incredibly healthy for you (plus 5 of them are gluten-free).  The new products won’t hit stores until the end of June, but here’s a little sneak peek at these nine awesome grains (picture courtesy of Bob’s Red Mill).

grainsof discovery_bobsredmill

Organic Amaranth – Amaranth is a gluten-free seed that was a staple of the ancient Aztecs and contains essential amino acids along with dietary fiber, iron and magnesium.  This seed is perfect in breads or even snack bars.

Chia Seeds – Chia seeds are becoming more and more popular in healthy recipes.  The chia seed is loaded with omega 3s and goes great in puddings, smoothies and other baked goods.

Organic Farro – Farro is a Mediterranean grain that is used in a variety of soups, salads and even as a whole wheat replacement for pasta.

Organic Kamut – Kamut is an ancient wheat varietal that was discovered around 6,000 B.C.  Kamut berries are a great source of protein and fiber and can be used in rice pilaf, soups and salads.

Millet – Millet is a naturally gluten-free grain derived from ancient China and is great in breads, stir-fries and granola bars.

Organic Quinoa – Quinoa is a very popular gluten-free seed that is native to South America.  Quinoa is high in iron and protein and is often used as a replacement in many pasta dishes.  Quinoa is also great alternative for oatmeal as well.

Sorghum – Sorghum is a gluten-free whole grain that originated in Africa.  It has a hearty texture which is great in pilaf and salads.

Organic Spelt – Spelt was discovered in the Near East over 8,000 years ago and is considered to be a relative of modern-day wheat.  Spelt is a great replacement for traditional whole-wheat bread and can also be used instead of rice in rice pilaf.

Teff – Teff is a gluten-free grain that originated in Ethiopia and is high in fiber, protein, iron and calcium and works as a nice addition to baked goods.

I’m really excited for the Farro and Sorghum to come out since they are both brand new to Bob’s Red Mill.  And the Quinoa, Chia and Spelt will for sure be making an appearance in our home as well.

If the new Nine Grains of Discovery weren’t enough, the Bob of Bob’s Red Mill was on hand to sign copies of his new book, People Before Profit.  To say I was excited to meet Bob is an understatement.

bobsredmill_productexpowestIf you are unfamiliar with Bob’s Red Mill or have never tried their products, I highly recommend checking them out.  All of the products that are developed within the company are natural, healthy and available at a reasonable price.  Thanks again for the meeting Bob’s Red Mill!