The Best of Expo West 2014 & a Fabulous Giveaway!
In all my days as an Hollywood reporter and with all the lavish gifting suites I’ve gone to, I have never before received a mound of swag as large as the one I scored at Expo West.
Just look how Mr. Chow pales in comparison.
For weeks, Natural Products Expo West 2014 was all anyone in the health industry could talk about.
I listened, mystified, to their tales of endless booths of delicious snacks and warnings to forgo breakfast that day, as I would probably be full for an entire week afterward.
But nothing could have prepared me for the behemoth that I witnessed last week.
I headed down to Anaheim on Friday with my pals Gigi of Gigi Eats Celebrities and CJ, aka “The Dude,” behind Vegetarian Dude. Before we could even walk in the convention center doors, we were greeted by an onslaught of product pushers.
Never one to turn down a free, healthy treat, I eagerly began filling my bag.
Inside I was overwhelmed by the expanse of the expo and the sheer number of bodies. With over 2600 booths, reports estimate that about 67,000 people passed through this weekend.
Naively, we only scheduled one day to explore, so we had to be efficient, stuffing our faces as quickly as possible. Fun fact: after you’ve eaten about 347 different kind of protein bars…they all start to taste the same.
While many products I tried seemed to be pretty run-of-the-mill, a few stood out to me. Here are the coolest, new (at least to me), natural food products from Expo West.
These chewy little bites of dehydrated banana are sooo good. At 110 calories a serving, they have absolutely no added sugar and about 4 grams of fiber per serving. I love the original but they also come in chocolate, peanut butter, and coconut-covered.
You would never guess what this cereal is made of just from looking at it. Ok fine, I’ll tell you. It’s beans!
Don’t cringe, they’re really good.
This is the first thing I tried when I got home. I topped mine with strawberries, coconut flakes, chia seeds, and a sprinkle of stevia and I couldn’t even tell the difference between them and Cherrios.
The original O’s are only 60 cals, 3 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and 1 gram of sugar. They also come in strawberry, cocoa, and honey flavor.
I’ve enjoyed SeaSnax original seaweed strips before, but now they’ve come out with a chip form of their beloved snack.
The “Chomperz” are made of seaweed and brown rice and come in several tasty flavors like Barbeque and Onion. They’re incredibly addictive and perfect for picky kids (and adults) who don’t like the more “in-your-face” taste of the solid seaweed product.
They’re only 40 calories a serving and 4 grams of protein. With 2 servings a bag, so you can down the whole thing without a care.
Cruncha Ma Me
Unsurprisingly (I mean, have you seen my logo), I love edamame. While I’ll eat it in pod form all day long, it would be so much nicer to have a refrigerator-free version to take with me on the road.
This little pouch of amazingness contains more protein than an egg, 4 grams of healthy fat, and 90 calories of fuel to get you through that afternoon slump at work, or in my case, boring Chemistry classes.
They come in a ton of awesome flavors and are only seasoned with natural spices like garlic, onions, and parsley. Major love here.
Explore Asian Black Bean Pasta
This stuff got me all hot and bothered… and not just because they were serving it with spicy curry sauce.
I was floored by just how delicious this gluten-free pasta, made solely of black beans, tastes. Even more impressive though is it’s nutritional stats. One serving is 180 calories (same as wheat pasta) but with 25 grams of protein!
It’s the perfect option to get those muscle-building macros in your meat-free meals.
Eden Brown Rice Mochi
I almost passed this up because I thought they were serving “Mochi Ice Cream”— in other words, totally not healthy.
However, this stuff (which can be used to make mochi ice cream) is simply steamed and pounded 100% whole-grain brown rice. It puffs up when you cook it and you can use it to make the tastiest little low-cal waffles, with no sugar and practically no fat.
I forgot to take a picture of the waffles they were making, but trust me, it was like magic. I plan on recreating it here soon.
Pure Organic Ancient Grains Bars
Pure bars are nothing new to me. I’ve been pounding these babies for ages. Their new “ancient grains” line is though, and it’s awesome. These bars feature a fabulous blend of quinoa, amaranth, flax, and hemp.
As you may recall, I have a pretty intense love affair with grains going on. And if grains are my primary love, nut butter is my mistress. Pure has combined the two and made a hopeless romantic out of me, all for a mere 160 calories.
Along with trying out all these fab new products, I also got to meet my friends at Zevia face-to-face.
You may be aware, I’m a “Zevia Certified Smart Person.” That says nothing about my actual intellect, just that I make great beverage choices.
I ended the day with a much-needed dance party at their booth which was serving up Zevia-spiked cocktails to the tunes of Biz Markie.
Zevia’s originality and fun, funky vibe is precisely why I consider it so much more than just a friend.
Ok, so have I made you sufficiently jealous that you didn’t get to go to Expo West? Don’t worry, I won’t play you like that.
I’m spreading love, friends. I have divvied up my swag and I’m giving a TON of it away to you.
Enter the giveaway below to score this humongous swag bag full of healthy snacks, coupons, and even a sweet pair of shades. The giveaway runs until Sunday.