Natural Products Expo West & Los Angeles Recap

This post is sponsored by Best Fiends. 

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw that I flew to Los Angeles last week. I filmed two TV segments (one was on The Hallmark Channel, pictured above) to promote my new cookbook, No Excuses Detox. I was also able to attend the 2017 Natural Products Expo West— the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products event. Needless to say, it was a busy week!

Expo West

Even though I lived in Los Angeles for years, this year was my first time attending Expo West. I only made it through TWO floors of this huge event during my two days there, but I was encouraged by much of what I saw. Lots of new organic options are going to be entering the market this year, and many of my already-favorite brands will be adding new healthy products to their lines!

Here are a few of my favorite finds from the Expo last week:

C2O Pure Organic Coconut Water. I tried several brands of coconut water during my two days at the Expo, and I think this brand is my new favorite. I haven’t noticed it in my local stores yet, but now I’m going to be looking for it! It tastes JUST like the water you’d find in a fresh coconut (unlike many other bottles and cans on the market) and it’s 100% organic. The representative at the booth told me that they don’t use High Pressure Pasteurization on their coconut water, but she couldn’t remember what they used instead… so stay tuned on that. It tastes as close to fresh raw coconut water as you can get without cracking open a coconut yourself. (FYI: My other favorite brand of coconut water is Harmless Harvest, which sometimes I can find at Costco.)

Schmidt’s Deodorant. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve probably heard me talk about my deodorant dilemma through the years. I gave up traditional deodorant years ago, but once I got pregnant and started breastfeeding my hormones changed and made me STINK. (The kind of stink where you can smell me from miles away). One of my good friends introduced me to Schmidt’s about a year ago, and it changed my life. The Bergamot + Lime scent smells SO GOOD, and it actually keeps me smelling good all day long. For those of you with sensitive underarms, they also have a sensitive skin line made without baking soda. After talking with the founder at the Expo, I also learned that they have an AMAZING recycling program for their glass jars (they’ll send you a free deodorant for every 5 jars that you return to them!) and they have a new Charcoal + Magnesium Deodorant for a mineral-rich deodorant that leaves you smelling fresh. I thought the new deodorant might smell “manly,” but it actually smells very fresh and clean– it might be my new favorite scent.

Made in Nature. I love everything that Made in Nature makes because their products are ALWAYS organic, dairy-free, and avoid refined sugar. During the Expo, they introduced some new snacks they have coming out, including a peanut butter & jelly-like snack that I devoured before I remembered to take a picture. (I don’t believe it actually included peanuts… I think it was almond butter!) Wouldn’t you love to see a snack machine like the one pictured above? It was loaded with organic, naturally sweet snacks!

Funny Farm Foods (by LaLoo’s). I stumbled across Laloo’s booth at the Expo right before I was leaving, and was introduced to their other company, Funny Farm Foods. They have a new goat cheddar popcorn and goat cheddar mac n’ cheese coming out, and both were delicious! I don’t see myself making boxed mac n’ cheese very often, but it’s nice to see higher quality options coming to the marketplace.

Hail Merry. I almost walked right past the booth for Hail Merry because they completely rebranded themselves with new white packaging. I wanted to share a picture so you wouldn’t miss their products, too! If you’re not familiar with Hail Merry, they make desserts that are raw, vegan, and paleo-friendly, sold in the refrigerated section at Whole Foods and Costco. I love their Chocolate Almond Butter and Meyer Lemon tarts so much! (The Peppermint Fudge Bars in my first book, Everyday Detox, are inspired by their Chocolate Mint Tarts… I had to start making them at home because I was buying them too often.) They have mini two-packs of their tarts coming out, which will be a fun and healthier alternative to other popular two-pack candy bars.

Miyoko’s Kitchen. This is hands-down the best vegan cheese I’ve ever tasted. Truly. At the booth I was lucky enough to try a chive “cream cheese,” a few aged & smoked cheeses, a grilled “cheese” sandwich, and a vegan butter that melts in your mouth. No other vegan cheese even compares. And it’s made from cultured nuts, which is a nice alternative to all the processed soy products on the market.

Evo Hemp Snacks. I was sharing a lot of my Expo finds in my Instagram “stories” last week, and several of you asked me to seek out some nut-free healthy snacks while I was there. These hemp-based snacks fit the bill! I don’t believe they are in stores yet, but I’ll keep you posted when I see them out this Spring.

Simple Mills. I’ve seen this brand popping up on blogs and in stores, but it wasn’t until I visited their booth that I realized their products are all made with almond flour! These Everything sprouted seed crackers are a great grain-free option, similar in flavor to my other favorite Mary’s Gone Crackers.

Go Raw. I already love this brand for their raw cookies, as they are a healthy option to give my son on the go. (He loves their crunchy sprouted cookies made with dates and sesame seeds!) I got to try their new protein bars and flax snacks at the Expo, and I love that they are made with such simple real ingredients. They’d make great convenience snacks!

TV Segments

Once the Expo was over on Sunday, we drove up to Los Angeles to prepare for my two TV segments. I’ve been on Home & Family on The Hallmark Channel before, but this was my first time bringing a baby on set. (You can see us hanging out in my trailer above.) As you can see, I had to keep my hair back in a ponytail to keep her from pulling my hair, so getting “TV ready” was a little different this time around! I think Austin has a new appreciation for what women have to go through to look “normal” on camera. Ha!

We could see the Harry Potter amusement park from the set (we filmed on the Universal Studios lot), but didn’t want to tackle the crowds with a baby. Maybe we’ll try the next time we visit!

You can see my cooking segment on Home & Family here: 

http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/home-and-family/recipes/cauliflower-baked-ziti

The next day, I was on KTLA 5 news live, sharing 5 dishes from my new book. You can see a clip of it here:

http://ktla.com/2017/03/14/100-recipes-to-help-you-eat-healthy-everyday/

The two anchors continued to devour the food when our segment was over, and took home the books I brought for display, so I’ll take that as a good sign!!

Travel Entertainment

Traveling with a baby was exhausting, but our little girl was such a trooper during our brief 4-day trip. She slept well for Austin during both of my TV segments, and slept for almost our entire flight home, too. I, on the other hand, couldn’t sleep while she slept (I’m too scared of dropping her from my lap!) so I was really happy that I had downloaded a new game on my phone to keep me entertained on our flight. I’m always so work-oriented that it was fun to challenge my brain in a different way for a change.

I don’t play many games on my phone, but Best Fiends is perfect for road trips and flights because you don’t need a wifi connection to play. If you like puzzles as much as I do, be warned… this game can be addictive. You collect and upgrade characters by matching same-colored objects to defeat slugs, sort of like an upgraded version of tic-tac-toe, with tons of in-game events and challenges. Just last night I reached level 29; I dare you to beat me!

The first 100 readers to download the FREE game and get to level 10 will get $4.99 worth of gold and diamonds for free. Go download the game here for free!

Food Highlights

We didn’t get to dine out as much as we’d like to thanks to my unexpected stomach bug, but as a former Los Angeles native, I thought I’d share the places we *had* to return to while we were in town. Be warned– they’re not all healthy!

  • Esquela Taqeria. Our favorite tacos in California. Their housemade guacamole is the best I’ve ever had.
  • Juice Served Here. They make the best green milk!! I also love there ginger shots, and Austin loves their “redhead” juice.
  • Pressed Juicery. Their vanilla “soft serve” (made with dates, almonds, vanilla, and salt) topped with fresh strawberries is one of my favorite treats ever.
  • Take A Bao. The Chinese Cabbage Salad in my first book, Everyday Detox, is inspired by this place. I’m obsessed. Their 5-Spice sweet potato fries are also a delicious side to share.
  • Umami Burger. I didn’t make it there this trip, but their truffle fries are my weakness, and they’re worth any stomach ache I might have later… (You have to like the taste of truffle oil, though. Austin doesn’t like them, so we don’t share.)
  • Stella Barra Pizzeria. This pizza place has the best peanut butter cookie I’ve ever tasted. It’s not healthy in the least, but it’s a fun treat for a special visit. We usually got one on our way to an Arclight movie, as it’s next to the theater.

I hope you enjoyed this little recap of our trip! If you’ve been to LA, do you have any “must visit” places on your list? Or are there any new products you’ve discovered lately that I need to know about? Feel free to share links in the comments!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Best Fiends. I received free product samples while at the Expo, just like all of the other attendees, but none of the other brands I mentioned above have paid me to name them in this post. I just wanted to share what I found with you!

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Meet Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned certified nutritionist consultant, trying to make healthy living as easy as possible. I believe in eating delicious whole foods on a regular basis to help naturally support the body’s detox organs— no juice fasting required. (Unless you want to!) If you make one of my healthy recipes, tag @detoxinista on Instagram or Facebook so I can see!

6 thoughts on “Natural Products Expo West & Los Angeles Recap

  1. Jennifer

    I also use and love Schmidt’s! For some reason after baby #2, my body decided to be sensitive to it all the sudden. I had no idea they have a baking soda free one or about the recycling. That is super rad. Thanks for the info!

    Also, would love one of those Made in Nature machines in my office. I love all of those snacks as well.

    Reply
  2. Rachel @ Health My Lifestyle

    I REALLY want to go to this expo next year–it looks awesome! I love that there always seem to be more and more new vegan products coming out, which makes me super happy. I will have to look in to the Miyoko’s Kitchen vegan cheeses. Even though I advocate a whole food diet, I like having good recommendations for replacements for friends and family who want to cut out meat and dairy.

    Reply
  3. Cindy

    We love the C20 organic coconut water — it’s definitely our favorite as well. I have never seen in bottles, though, what we get is in a 17.5 oz can. Love Made in Nature dried fruits—have tried the apricots and figs–love them! Those snack machines would be a great idea!! Too many junk things in those machines! Sometimes when you are out you just want to find a healthy snack! Loved your segments on H&F & Ktla! You definitely seemed more at ease this time on H&F. You had said you were nervous the first time but I didn’t notice that. I think you are a natural! 🙂

    Reply
  4. Kay

    I flew there from NYC to the show. I so love that show it is such a benefit for those of us in the industry. I have been attending the east for 8 years now, this was my second year at west and it was so much bigger than last year. Congrats on what you are doing!

    Reply
  5. Wendy

    Thank you Megan! EVO Hemp is my son’s! Did you meet him? Congrats on your book and all that you do! I love supporting all of you and your amazing work!

    Reply

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