I admire those who blog daily, or at least consistently. Logging in to write this I see my last post is from February! I promise I think about the blog almost daily & have the next few weeks lined up with content. Starting with a recap of the excitement of the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim I attended March 7th & 8th.
"The Natural Products Expo brings together the natural, organic & healthy-lifestyle industry with thousands of products from passionate manufacturers."
Let's start with a recap of the good & the bad, then we'll launch into what I know you're waiting for, an introduction to some of my favorite product discoveries. THE BAD: As a first year attendee, I had no idea what to expect. I was there when the doors opened Friday & stayed until my back & feet hurt from carrying my large bag of samples & my stomach was too full to fit another bite. I came equipped with ibuprofen for day 2. I completely missed a whole bottom floor with some of my favorite companies because I didn't know it existed until 30 minutes before close my last day there. I also found some that some booths had company reps who were not familiar with the term vegan, or perhaps even the product they were representing. I am mortified to admit, I sampled an energy bar containing crickets, yes the insect, before I realized what I was sampling. I learned my lesson after that & read ingredients lists for myself.
THE GOOD: The good by far outweighed the bad. Part II of this post will share about the amazing bloggers & YouTubers I got to meet as well as some non-food products I'm excited about. Most companies were represented by the owners, creators, or folks passionate about what they represent. It was great chatting about why they do what they do. I brought home nearly a full suitcase full of samples that is still not depleted 4 weeks later.
Now onto the food. Here's just a peak of some of my favorite products.
I can't decide on an absolute favorite so I'll highlight a few.
Parmela Creamery: Creamy Treenut Cheese
One word, YUM. These spreadable cashew nut based cheeses were creamy as
promised. They were sampling original, black pepper & kalamata
olive. My fave was the olive.
Neat: A Healthy Replacement for Meat
Neat is top contender for absolute favorite discovery. This is a soy free, gluten-free ground beef alternative in original, Italian & Mexican. The ingredients list is as simple as pecans, garbanzo beans, gf whole grain oats, seat salt & spices. It can be used as ground, or shaped into burger patties or meatballs. But most importantly the texture & flavor are great.
Bee Free Honee
Bee Free Honee is a honey alternative made from apples. I had the opportunity to sample to original flavor before & knew I liked it. Their product line has expanded to include chocolate, mint, ancho-chili & slippery elm flavors. I sampled them all, and liked them all. I prefer the original, but I have ideas for uses of ancho-chili and chocolate. I'd also like to have slippery elm on hand for cold season. The biggest testament is that I brought home a sample for my husband & he's not using this in place of honey in his tea.
Hail Merry Macaroons
Hail Merry has other products including grawnolas & tarts, but this was my first time trying the macaroons. All 6 flavors are raw, gluten free & vegan. My favorite by far was cookie dough. I have passed by these in the store many times thinking I wouldn't like them due to coconut as a main ingredients, but next time they'll be hopping in the grocery cart.