Every year the natural food industry makes a 3 day exhausting pilgrimage to Anaheim for the Natural Products Expo West. It features the latest and greatest in natural and organic including food, personal care products, pet stuff, baby stuff, manufacturing, supplements, herbs, etc. It’s complete insanity and basically equates to Halloween for hippie adults because all of the exhibitors want you interested in purchasing their product for resell so there are LOTS of samples involved. Target audience is usually the big guns like Whole Foods but fortunately for us, health care practitioners are allowed access so that we can make recommendations to patients. Most of what you find there is complete crap and people taking advantage of an uninformed public so luckily we can quickly weed through these and find a few gems. So here is my summary of what we thought was useful this year.
This company features washable nursing pads made of cotton, hemp bamboo that are soft, thin, breathable and less visible. The only ones I could find that worked for me when nursing were made of hemp and basically could never be worn out in public because it looked like I totally stuffed my bra with paper towels. Keep in mind these are reusable which is a big deal to me! They also have Bamboobease Therapy Pillows that can be microwaved (the only reason to have a microwave by the way) and put in the fridge for engorgement and mastitis. These seem to be far superior to those of Earth Mama Angel Baby because these will actually stay put and you don’t have to mess around with them constantly. www.buybamboobies.com
This is a new toothpaste that incorporates salt and bentonite clay and does NOT have annoying ingredients like SLS and carrageenan. This formulation is genius because it not only benefits your teeth but also your gums while absorbing the nasty pathogenic oral bacteria we all have. www.redmondtrading.com
This is a toothpaste alternative that is in powder form for brushing teeth and gums while helping to heal and repair receding, bleeding or inflammed gums. Includes vitamin C, myrrh, peppermint, tea tree, cinnamon, cranberry, baking soda, sea salt and bioflavonoids. www.good-gums.com
What an awesome company. It’s so Northern California. They make artisan soy products from non-GMO (we hope?) soybeans including tofu and yuba. The thing that I literally can’t stop thinking about is that darn yuba. This is basically tofu skin that is silky and smooth and just so good. They don’t sell it in LA yet but I will be waiting with bated breath. www.hodosoy.com
Made of food grade hand silk screened silicone, these modern and artistic placemats are the perfect thing to occupy your kid while you’re trying to get food on the table. www.modern-twist.com
Not available in the US yet but this is probably the best organic maple syrup I have ever tried. The flavor is uncomparable and I’m going to have bribe my cousin from Montreal to bring it on the plane for me. The salesperson was talking about bringing this product to Smart and Final. WHAT??? No offense to Smart and Final but this is surely a Whole Foods-type item. www.elapierre.com
We always prefer loose leaf tea over bags because the quality is always better. But leaves getting stuck in your oral cavity gets pretty old and obstructs one’s tea experience. Enter Libre, a beautiful new tea-drinking vessel that has a glass interior and polycarbonate exterior as well as a BPA free lid and stainless steel filter to get those dregs out of the way. Hopefully the filter is small enough for rooibos leaves. www.libretea.com
Don’t know if this matches its claims but these new cookies have galactogogues to encourage breast milk production (Brewer’s yeast, oats). Might be a useful part of one’s arsenal to fatten up your baby. www.milkmakers.com
This has been on the market for a while now but I finally got to try it. This is soy-free and dairy-free creamer and whipping cream. I don’t drink coffee so I have no need for the creamer. But I did taste the whipping cream and it was DELICIOUS! It tastes nothing like whipped cream but it was still awesome. The ingredients looked relatively benign but of course Brandon the skeptic thought there was something weird about it. www.mimiccreme.com
It’s a struggle to find the perfect dog bed. Nice ones are pricey, cheap ones suck because you can’t remove the cover or wash them properly. Covers are made of cute fabric that can be filled up with old clothes, towels, sheets to make a cozy and aesthetically pleasing beds while keeping old rags out of a landfill. At least temporarily. www.mollymutt.com
It’s coming. By the summer of 2012, West Coast states will be able to have non-homogenized organic milk that is 100% grass fed from one of my favorite dairy companies, Organic Valley. They currently have pasture butter that is seasonal and it is really good. Years ago Brandon and I toured one of their ranches and were very impressed with their operation. The cows had room to roam in the grassy fields that were partially surrounded by almond trees. www.organicvalley.coop
Addictive gluten free cheese puff bread balls. Right now they are only available on the East coast but let’s all petition a local store to carry them! www.kessemfoods.com
This company has been around for a while and it’s been available in the fresh pasta section of Whole Foods, although somehow I missed it. The texture is really quite decent and it’s 100% gluten free. www.rpspasta.com
They have several types of cheeses but in their organic line, they differentiate themselves as being the only certified non-GMO organic cheese made with milk from Northern California. Mmm pepperjack. www.rumianocheese.com
This company features gluten free chips made from hummus and lentils. They’re both really good but the hummus line is questionable because of the “natural flavors” and corn flour. The lentil chips are a bit cleaner but the best product in their line from a minimalistic ingredient perspective is their sea salt lentil chip containing lentil flour, potato starch, safflower oil and sea salt. www.simply7snacks.com
Yet another kombucha company. The only product that caught my attention was their lavender kombucha that is made with real lavender buds. The taste is really striking and nice. Other lavender food items always taste to me like soap (although I still like it) but this is a little bit different and kind of infectious. www.thebukombucha.com
Such a cool product line! Sprouted non-GMO and organic grain tortilla chips with radish sprouts, broccoli sprouts, etc. Sure it’s sprouted, baked then fried which totally undoes the benefit that sprouting brings but hey at least they’re starting with good raw material. www.gowaybetter.com
We actually decided to bring Pema this year without any baby carrying equipment. After all, she’s no longer a baby. What a trooper. From 10 am-5 pm on your feet in an overly stimulating convention center is exhausting for anyone but can you imagine? She decided to sit her butt down in front of the display for Clif Bars and I actually liked their display but for the record, I do not approve of Clif Bars. Sketchy soy protein isolate chips and potential arsenic in the brown rice syrup? No thanks.
My thanks to Rena and Irina for their aggressive sampling at the Expo and for contributing to this post.