Natural Products Expo West 2011

This past week and weekend I attended Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA at the Convention Center.  There were thousands of exhibitors showing and sampling their food, food products, supplements, probiotics, pet foods, etc.  Three thousand plus booths to be exact.  

Everyone had a bar, a cookie, a protein powder, – their own ingredient, their own way of doing it, their own way of making it.  It was exciting to see the organic and natural products section – and that section takes up half of the expo!  I was there in a professional capacity for work, so I wasn’t able to see everything on the floor – the expo is huge! – but I did see enough to know that Raw, Organic and Gluten Free have a bright future.  Making foods with natural whole ingredients seems to be on the rise.

I checked out the Fresh Ideas tent which was my favorite part of the entire expo – it was a tent outside of the convention center with tons of raw and organic products and you could check it out the day before the expo officially opened which was great.    

After 48 plus hours of being at the Expo and seeing food product after food product, I sat down at a Starbucks to charge my phone.  A group of people sat down next to me and one of them mentioned that he was hungry.  I pulled out some bars etc from my sample bag and offered them up.  “No thanks”, the gentleman replied…”I need some REAL food.”

His statement summed up exactly how we all felt.

After hours of seeing food bars and veggie burgers and granola and protein drinks and sampling everything from the newest most delicious hemp to the grossest nastiest freeze dried fruit – why do we need freeze dried fruit again??!! (yes – there were some items I whole-heartedly did not like) ..

…all I wanted….


…all I was craving…


Real Food.    

It really made me laugh…the idea that I was at the largest natural products expo…full of natural “food items” and products, and ALL I WANTED was for someone to show me the way to the veggies.  

It is beyond amazing that people are taking the time to make “food products” with natural organic ingredients.

Somewhere between the first McDonald’s and now – the world wanted to make everything faster, bigger, cheaper.  And in that process, we lost quality.  We added chemicals.  We turned it all into one big factory.
People made money.  Cancer appeared and everyone has been getting sick.  

So for me to see these amazing people creating an all natural protein bar, or an all organic natural waffle, or banana coconut flax granola that is all natural and soy free, really makes my heart happy.  But I want to stress that all of these foods are not supposed to become your main source of nutrition.  Veggies, Fruits, Nuts, Seeds…those are the building blocks of nutrition.  Veggies keep you healthy.  Veggies are full of live energy.  

Do I think it’s okay for you to have some organic natural granola?  Sure.  Do I think it’s okay for you to buy some organic, all natural protein bars and raw cookies?  Of course.  I’d much rather you buy a pack of all natural organic cookies than a big pack of commercial-processed-50 chemicals on the label-cookies.  If you cannot pronounce the ingredients, you shouldn’t be putting them in your mouth.    People need to start making the connection between their health and how they feel, and the foods they put in their mouth.  The two are most definitely connected.  So it was very exciting to see natural, organic, and raw products at this expo.

I was saddened by the amount of veggie burgers out there that were full of soy and not so full of veggies…one person responded to me, “well, we have to put something in them!”  Really?  You’re calling it a veggie burger, correct?  How about you put some veggies in it?  Soy is NOT needed.  I must have stopped at 4 veggie burger booths in a row that were all soy.   Please please please people please stop putting soy in everything.  Put beans in the burger.  Put some rice in there.  You don’t need soy.  I’m going to make my own from scratch – which is the best thing to do anyway – but if I ever find a great tasting all natural -soy free- veggie burger that I LOVE, I will be sure to let you know.  Soy causes so many health issues for so many people – it caused a lot for me personally – and I cannot eat it.  Being raw ensures that I am not eating soy, but as natural and organic as they could be – there were STILL a lot of products at the expo full of soy.  I was not a happy girl reading some of those ingredient labels.

Here are some of the BEST of Natural Products Expo West:

These Hemp Hearts tasted so insanely good.  You could add them to cereal or sprinkle them on a salad or veggie wraps…or add to smoothies…but they tasted great on their own!

So you know coconut oil, but coconut manna?  It’s the WHOLE coconut in a jar.  Oil, meat, etc.  The whole thing.  And it’s like a smooth honey-like consistency…and it tastes divine.
Flackers.  Super yummy flax seed crackers.

The girls from NibMor chocolate are so incredible!  I kept running into them throughout the expo.  Such a healthy, delicious, good for you chocolate!

More Healthy Breads from Food for Life!
Stretch Island Fruit Co makes the best tasting all natural fruit leather I’ve tried so far!  And they don’t put any junk in it either.  I checked.
This flax granola was really good…more chewy, less crunchy.
The above photo is self explanatory.  🙂  No seriously, they have yummy nuts.  Their nuts aren’t raw, but they are slow roasted without oil if I remember correctly, which is much better than how conventional nuts are processed.  Their nuts tasted great.  (anyone laughing other than me yet?)  They really did taste great. YUMNUTS!
This Arriba salsa was amazing.  Just amazing. They use fire roasted tomatoes as the first ingredient, and you can taste it for sure.  I’ve made my own salsas, and tried almost every salsa brand out there – this one is my absolute favorite. Super clean ingredients (I was scrutinizing the food label) and I didn’t want to stop eating it!
This is a fresh frozen wheat grass juice – I didn’t get to try it but my sister did, she said it comes in a tray of wheat grass ice cubes and you put them in the freezer and then take one out when you want it.  She said it tasted awesome!  And it’s grown outdoors (vs a lot of places growing wheat grass inside)   I’ll have to try it out!

This was also her favorite wine… organic and sulfite free!
If YOU are interested in attending Expo next year as a visitor, or in exhibiting and having your own booth – just visit
More Photos posted on the Raw Is Sexy Fan Page on Facebook!

Lovely comments!

  1. Veggies, yessss 😀

  2. I know right?!!! Love those veggies!!!!!!

Leave a reply?