As many of you know, Expo West was last weekend, and it was insane. Okay, that might have been a bit of an exaggeration, but it was pretty intense. Get ready for two very long recap posts. What else is new…
If you’re not familiar with Expo West, it’s basically a huge convention where thousands of companies showcase their “natural” products, both old products and new launches. It’s mainly food, but there are also makeup products, household items, and so on.
Expo West is like Christmas for foodies. It’s like Coachella for health freaks. In every way. I honestly felt like I came home from Coachella after my weekend at the convention – it was that tiring. People flew in from across the country to go to Expo West, all for different reasons. Some were there to meet with brands for future collaborations, some were there just to see what’s hot and new, some were there to make other random business deals, and I’m pretty sure some people were literally just there to eat. Not joking.
To be completely honest, the reason I was most excited about Expo West was because I was going to finally meet some of my closest friends in real life. I know, that sounds weird, but whatever. Kate flew in from Philly, Addie flew in from Chicago, I got to hang out with Kayleigh and Laura who drove up from San Diego, and so many more. Even though I ran into a ton of my favorite bloggers, I also didn’t see a lot of people. The convention is so huge that it’s a nightmare to actually find anyone. You either randomly bump into people or you spend an hour on the phone trying to locate each other.
I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into prior to attending. I didn’t realize how big it was or how many companies would be there. As soon as we arrived, I realized it was going to be impossible to see even a quarter of the companies there, so I just had to find my very very top faves and be happy with whatever else I ran into.
Because of that, I’m happy I got to spend some quality time with Kate the night before, and with Addie that weekend. Addie stayed with me at my apartment over the weekend, and I took her to a few of my favorite spots… A.K.A. turned her into an Erewhon addict. We also recorded a podcast episode, Instagram Lies Part 2, which you should definitely listen to.
I was not expecting how much Expo West was going to wipe us out. Like I said before, I literally felt like I got back from Coachella. And we were barely even there! I went with Betsy and Addie, and we only went Friday afternoon and the first part of Saturday, but it was so exhausting. I honestly felt like it took me all week to recover because I was so tired. #dramatic, I know. I’m just really not a convention kinda girl. First of all, you have to understand that within the convention itself it takes forever to get anywhere. It’s huge, there are multiple buildings, and there are just too many people to be comfortable. More people should wear deodorant.
Kidding, but not. Beyond that, though, everything is a line. We literally waited in line to cross the street. Getting from the parking lot to the convention was at least an hour ordeal. It should be called a snail, not a shuttle.
Okay, all joking aside, though, it was really cool to see everything. Another thing that bothered me was how many unhealthy products were there. You really had to search for the good stuff, and I was bitter they didn’t just put all of the actually healthy products in one area for my convenience. Oh, well. Also, most of the products I saw were products I’m already familiar with. It was really nice to meet some of the founders of different companies, and I did discover some exciting new products, but I don’t want people who didn’t get to go to Expo feel like they missed out on everything. You’re really fine, I promise.
I do want to share what I found, though. Some are old products I’ve known about for awhile and love, and some are new. Keep in mind, I literally went to .005% of the booths there. There were just too many. There are hundreds of cool new products I didn’t see, so I would definitely encourage you to check out all of the Expo West posts that you can!
I also thought I was going to be majorly bummed out because I couldn’t try most of the food since I’m on my strict protocol right now. However, I had tried a lot of the products before, and there were a few things I could sample. Also, I can usually tell what’s good or not based on ingredients, to be completely honest. This is more about education than anything else – what to keep an eye out for. Also, my friends sampled anything we were interested in, and they basically have the same taste buds as me.
I also kinda feel blessed that I was on the protocol during Expo because I probably would’ve sampled everything in sight and gotten really sick and felt like an even bigger mess than I already did. So, there’s always a silver lining.
One of the first things we saw that sparked my interest were these Pique tea crystals, which I’m so into. Basically, they’re little packets of tea crystals you pour straight into water, and you have instant hot or iced tea. I was very suspicious of this at first, but it’s totally clean! No additives or sweeteners – just instant, organic tea. As a tea lover, I was all over this. Also, the girl running the booth happened to play volleyball with me in high school, which was the weirdest coincidence ever. Definitely ordering some of these ASAP. I’m surprised someone hasn’t invented this before! You can find them on Amazon here.
Another thing I love is discovering clean nut butter brands. I always buy Artisana, but Georgia Grinders was another standout nut butter (that I could actually try!), because the ingredients are so clean. I know a lot of people have heard of this company before, but it was my first time trying this particular brand. Loved it. You can also order this on Amazon — my favorite was the Pecan nut butter. (Don’t worry, I checked – the nuts are dry roasted. Not roasted in any weird oils.)
Another nut butter I hadn’t tried before was Manna Butter. They have a ton of fun flavors. Some aren’t totally clean, but those are more dessert-style nut butters, anyways. The Coconut Cashew has no added sugar and looked the best to me. I can’t even imagine how good that would be dolloped on top of a sweet potato….They also have a flavor called Nuts ‘n Seeds, which is basically an epic combo of nuts – cashews, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, flaxseed, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and himalayan pink salt. All organic and dry roasted. DO IT.
Twinings isn’t the best tea brand, but I had to stop by the booth because I still love them. I can’t help it, I’m a sucker for every kind of tea. I have to alert you that I tried a new flavor called Buttermint that is absolutely divine. It’s a blend of peppermint and vanilla, and I am dreaming about it as we speak.
VITAL PROTEINS. Okay. They have a LOT of new stuff coming out. It’s pretty overwhelming. These were some of the most exciting new releases I saw. Quick rundown. There’s a new Collagen Veggie Blend, which is available right now for pre-order. It’s basically collagen blended with a bunch of organic fruits and veggies. They also have a new Collagen Sports Greens, which is chocolate flavored. I’m very curious about that, and I feel like it could make some bomb smoothies.
They’re also releasing some new “beauty waters.” I probably should’ve written down the flavors because I honestly totally forget. One was lavender something, one was mint something, something had aloe in it… I don’t even remember. Cucumber? Melon? I feel like one was melon. Not sure. They sounded very interesting though, so keep your eyes peeled.
They are also releasing some new supplements, including marine collagen pills and a “Beauty Boost” supplement. As you know, I already take way too many supplements, so I don’t really get that excited about new ones. That being said, I’m sure those will be fab for a lot of people who don’t take 800 pills a day like me and want to boost the amount of collagen in their diets.
What I freaked out about, though, were the new bone broth powders. Straight beef bone broth collagen and chicken bone broth collagen. Literally powders you can put into water. This is the best invention ever, and I especially appreciate it because of my current situation. Making bone broth can be time consuming, and all of the best pre-made brands add things into their broths to make them taste better. Usually, that’s a good thing, but right now I can’t consume garlic, onion, celery, carrots, pepper, etc., so I’m struggling in the bone broth department at times when I’m too lazy to make my own. Anyways, I think this bone broth powder will be a huge hit and will make a lot of people’s lives way easier. You need bone broth. Can’t wait for this release!
I also stopped by the Wrawp booth because it’s a brand I love, so I wanted to mention them. I don’t think they had any new flavors, but these are raw, organic veggie wraps that are a great bread/tortilla substitute if you’re gluten-free and want to make a wrap! They’re made from fruits, veggies, and seeds, and they’re so delicious. I’ve found them at most grocery stores, and Amazon!
We also stopped by the Hu Kitchen chocolate booth, and I was very sad I couldn’t try all of the flavors because of the protocol. However, word is that the cashew butter + vanilla bean chocolate bar is extra hot. (As in, you need this.) If you haven’t heard of Hu Kitchen, it’s basically the best restaurant in NY, in my humble opinion. Their chocolate is on point. It’s paleo, gluten-free, comes in a ton of flavors, and does not disappoint. I’d go for the variety pack, if you’re interested.
The Rebbl booth was especially active, and for good reason. Rebbl makes some delicious drinks, but I personally don’t think they should be consumed on a daily basis because of some of the ingredients. As a treat though, excellent option. I know they’re coming out with new flavors soon, but I don’t even know which ones are new because my Whole Foods only carries four of them. In other words, most of them looked new to me. They have some Protein flavors which I personally hadn’t seen before – Dark Chocolate, Cold Brew, and Vanilla Spice. The Ashwagandah Chai sounds amazing, and it’s only sweetened with stevia, which everyone was super excited about. As great as that is, it also has sunflower lecithin in it, so I’m not the biggest fan. If you’re unfamiliar with Rebbl, the reishi chocolate, matcha latte, and turmeric golden-milk flavors are all fan faves.
Another tea brand I was beyond excited about was Asante Mama. They’re relatively new – totally clean, organic, and straight from a reliable source. I tasted all of the flavors, and these might be the best teas I’ve ever had. The cinnamon had me drooling and is definitely my favorite. Another standout for me was the Moringa. I already ordered all of the flavors…because I’m crazy like that. You can find them on Amazon.
Another insanely exciting find – Raaka chocolate. Okay, we’ve all heard of Raaka before, but I didn’t know they have a chocolate bar called Maple & Nibs that is cane sugar-free and only sweetened with maple syrup. MY PRAYERS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED.
They also have a bar that’s only sweetened with yacon, which answers the other half of my prayers. It’s called Yacon. Do you guys know how hard it is to find clean chocolate bars? Almost impossible. They’re gluten-free, paleo, vegan, and Christina-approved. I am ordering these flavors as soon as I’m allowed to have chocolate again.
Another amazing brand – Teaonic. These are bottled, cold teas that are absolutely delicious and have different blends that are supposed to support different parts of your bod – brain, skin, gut, etc. There are no sweeteners, artificial flavors, or other weird additives. Just straight, delicious tea. Love this stuff!
My one problem with this company (and I know many others feel the same way) is that they have a tea called “I Love My Skinny Body.” I don’t really think I need to explain why I have such a problem with that name. However, at Expo West my friend Betsy chatted with the owner about the name of the product, and she agreed it was an error in judgment and that they will be changing the name as soon as they can. Basically, they released the product during a time when companies like Skinny Pop were exploding. Brands, competition, you get it. But rest assured, they know it’s a bad name and are going to address it.
And then I stumbled across my FAVORITE nondairy cream cheese spread – Leaf Cuisine! This stuff is seriously addicting and has 100% clean ingredients. It’s made from a cashew base and is so creamy and flavorful. I love this way more than Kite Hill. If you see it at the store, pick it up! My favorite flavor is Smokey Goudha.
Moving on to nut milks. There are a few nut milks I trust, and one of them is Three Trees. Their organic almond milk is literally just made from almonds, salt, and water, and it’s really thick and creamy. The vanilla almond milk just has added vanilla – no sweetener. I’ve only ever seen this in stores when I’m in the Bay Area, so it’s my go-to when I’m at home. I’m hounding my Whole Foods here to start carrying it. The founders are extremely nice, and overall, it’s just a company I really adore. One of my absolute fave products!
Aaaand then we have New Barn! I like the unsweetened, plain version because there are no weird additives or sweeteners, obviously. This is a great non-dairy milk option that’s more widely available than other brands. They also have a Barista almond milk that’s supposed to be extra good for frothing (because of the sugar), and they also had their non-dairy ice creams out for sampling! They’re not the cleanest ice creams in the game, but a great option for when you want something sweet and are GF and DF.
If you’re into fermented foods (which you should be), I’d highly recommend Mother in Law’s! They were sampling their liquid kimchi, which I had never seen before, as well as their chile sauce and different kimchi flavors. Kimchi has a kick to it, if you haven’t tried it before. Great for digestion and getting in those added probiotics. I love how this brand has so many different flavors and options, because it really does make fermented foods more accessible to the general public. Check them out!
We then ran into a bar company I had never heard of before – Roo’bar. I was seriously impressed with this product. You guys know that I’m generally not a fan of bars, but I always have my eye out for good ones to recommend to people. It’s really hard to find bars that don’t have a ton of sweeteners and weird additives. The founder explained that they started in England and are slowly making their way over to the U.S., and I’m so glad they are.
These bars are vegan, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and added-sugar-free. They’re sweetened naturally with dates, and they have a ton of flavors. They even have some bars that have added probiotics! THE FUTURE. Some also have higher protein than others, depending on what you’re looking for. The Almond with Cacao Nibs, Chia and Coconut, Coconut Vanilla, and Choc Chip Matcha all caught my eye. I stole a bunch of these… I won’t lie. They’re not all available in the U.S. yet, but they are making their way over. Some are available on Amazon!
We also visited the SafeCatch booth, which we all know is a winner. We had a really great chat with the founder, who explained his inspiration for founding the company and his process for finding the safest tuna out there for consumption. I have loved SafeCatch for a long time because of the company’s principles, and I was really excited to see they have some new flavors coming out that a lot of people will enjoy! There were four or five new flavors, and they’re all flavored with different seasonings and spices. Nothing weird, don’t worry. Be on the lookout for these when they release! I love to toss a can in a salad and mix it with avocado – so good. In the meantime, their plain tuna is delicious as ever. And it’s SAFE.
We also stumbled across a newer brand called Wonder Fuel, which was basically an MCT powered energy drink. This is very up my alley. I love coconut products in general – coconut milk, coconut oil, MCTs, etc., and this is a great energy boost without the typical weird additives in most drinks with a similar purpose. MCTs are great fuel for your brain and bod. I’d go for the classic version of this – totally clean!
MALK. Oh, how I love you. Not a new brand, but harder for me to find. I love Malk because their nut milks are super clean and very thick and creamy. Real deal. The unsweetened almond milk and unsweetened cashew milk are seriously to die for, and I’d recommend you pick them up if you find them at the store! We got to chat with the founders for awhile, and they were so incredibly sweet. If you want something a little more exciting, try the pecan milk! It’s sweetened with maple syrup, and I feel like it would be incredible as a base for some healthy hot chocolate!
Another oldie but goodie – Wildbrine. Back to the fermented foods! They have a new coleslaw flavor out, and if you’re into sauerkraut, I’m sure you’d love it! Not much to say on this front, but I love Wildbrine.
Our last stop of the day was the Four Sigmatic booth. I adore Four Sigmatic. I love to drink their Chaga Mushroom Elixir most nights before I go to sleep – it’s so calming and relaxing. It’s also the only one of their mushroom elixirs that doesn’t contain stevia, and I’m really not a fan of stevia. They have a lot of other mushroom elixirs though – cordyceps, lion’s mane, and reishi mushroom. The Chaga has the earthiest taste, and the others are earthy but less bitter – they have a sweeter kick. You can drink them plain or mix them in with other drinks or smoothies! If you enjoy coffee, I’d definitely recommend the mushroom coffee mix. It includes chaga, cordyceps, and 100% arabica coffee. I don’t know what that kind of coffee is, but it’s good. Mushrooms have so many health benefits – hop on it.
Aaaand that was it for Day 1. We were exhausted, to say the least. After waiting in line to cross the street, waiting in line to get on the shuttle, and finally getting to the car, we were hangry and tired, but it was so worth it. After Day 1, we had a much better idea about how to approach the next day – only hit our top faves.
So that’s it for Part 1. It seems like A LOT, but we barely even went to 1% of the booths! Part 2 will be up very soon.