I had such a great time at Expo West this past weekend. Unfortunately, I only made it to 2 out of the 3 days. A bad cold kept me home yesterday. Yesterday was also the day that I was planning to go back and take pictures of my favorite booths and vendors. Instead, I will just have to tell you who some of my favorites were without good visuals.
First, I would like to say that nearly every single vendor was amazing. I can’t talk about every single one though because that would take up a lot of my time. So let me just share a few that really stood out to me.
This company made a kraut fan out of me. My mother always eats kraut on New Years Day (German tradition), and I used to always run out of the house screaming. The kraut she made (I think it was Libby’s from a can) smelled like a combo of stinky feet and rotten eggs. So naturally, I assumed kraut was one of the nastiest foods on the planet. Not so. And Farmhouse Culture has the most amazing kraut, which proves that this stuff is actually quite tasty. I’m not too into sweet stuff, so I was super happy to sample something that wasn’t too high in sugar content. Stumbling across Farmhouse Culture all the way up on the 3rd floor of the Anaheim Convention Center was meant to be. My favorite flavor is Garlic Dill Pickle. But Ginger Beet is awesome too, mostly because it’s hot pink and reminds me of my artsy friend Michelle. I went out and bought some Garlic Dill Pickle kraut at Whole Foods yesterday. I suggest you do too.
Bucha Live Kombucha
Bucha made my list of favorites because their Torrance headquarters is so close to me, I can ride my bike there. Well, that’s not the only reason I like them. I originally wrote this stuff off as being too sweet for my liking (as all kombucha can be due to added sugar). A few weeks ago, I was in Whole Foods and saw this stuff on sale, 2 for $6. That’s quite a deal if you’re familiar with kombucha. So I bought 2 new-to-me flavors, lemongrass ginger and grapefruit sage. To my surprise, they were not too sweet at all. They were perfect. I had the opportunity to try Bucha’s new yuzu lemon flavor at Expo West. It was great, but I’m still sticking with lemongrass ginger as my favorite flavor of theirs. Blood orange and masala chai are good flavors too. Check them out if you’re into kombucha.
Cappellos Gluten Free
There were so many gluten free companies being represented at Expo West. But none were as great as Cappellos. Cappellos makes a grain-free pasta out of almond flour that’s actually edible. They also make incredible cookie dough. The best thing about them is that they sent me home with a tube of their grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, peanut-free, paleo-friendly, vegan cookie dough. Yum! I can’t wait ’til I’m able to buy this stuff at my local retailer. But for now, I’ll just have to order it online.
Last summer, my boyfriend and I decided that we were going to start lifting heavy things. This is tough, as injuries can occur. Enter protein powders. My boyfriend chose a disgusting, low-quality whey protein and I went with SunWarrior Blend. While I love SunWarrior, I’m not so sure it’s for extreme muscle recovery. It’s more of a replacement protein for vegans who need more protein in their diets. I was in the market for a stronger protein powder. Gnarly Whey was on my radar through various blogs because it’s a grass-fed whey protein. I heard grass-fed whey is the best. However, Gnarly Whey isn’t easy to find in stores. So I just kept purchasing SunWarrior and my boyfriend kept taking his low-quality whey protein. Meeting the GoGnarly team at Expo West convinced me that I need to do what it takes to get this protein powder. For starters, it’s all natural, grass-fed whey from New Zealand. Plus, the sample I tried tasted great. I’m hooked. Lucky for me, this stuff is quite affordable and is also on sale through the GoGnarly online store right now. I also have to mention that the GoGnarly team has excellent customer service. It was a pleasure meeting them at Expo West.
It was love at first bite with Steve’s PaleoGoods. I was able to buy some of their product from Liz Wolfe when she was in town for a seminar in the winter of 2013. I bought berky and an original flavor paleo crunch bar. Then, through the foodie pen pal program, I received a tropical flavor paleo crunch bar and tomato balsamic marinade. Every single one of these items was excellent. The only downside was that none of these items was available for purchase in stores in Southern California. Womp womp. They were at Expo West looking for west coast distributors. Hopefully I’ll be able to find this stuff in stores soon. Steve, and the paleogoods team, hooked me up with peach bbq marinade and paleo sirracha sauce until I can find it in stores. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Steve’s is the best. And I love that a portion of their sales is donated to help at risk youth.
I’m not a girly girl. I’m not super obsessed with make-up and I don’t understand why people waste money on manicures and pedicures. I’d rather paint my own toes for free instead of going to the salon and paying some random woman $30 to do it. I prefer to paint my toes with polishes that are void of harsh ingredients. Lucky for me, Mineral Fusion makes great nail polish colors that are formulated with natural minerals, cruelty-free and vegan. I got my finger nails painted Citrus Cove for free at their Expo West booth. I also got a makeover from one of their makeup artists. I love that all of their products are mineral-based. I can’t wait for Sprouts to have their quarterly 25% off health and beauty sale later this month so I can stock up on Mineral Fusion products.
I saw these Spoonk mats at Whole Foods a while ago and was intrigued, but never tried them until this past weekend. I actually planned to buy one of their display samples yesterday, but never made it down to Anaheim. I’m going to have to pick up one of these somewhere else. They’re acupressure mats that look silly but truly work to relax you. This is a product that I’m convinced I need.
There are several other companies that I was turned on to at Expo West. SenzaCare was one of them. They make sonic toothbrushes that are BPA free. SproutWatches was another company whose product I thought was adorable. Eco friendly watches with cute owl designs! Those watches are made for me. I’ll have to remember to put one of those on my Christmas wish list. As far as food products go, I’m now obsessing over InkaChips and Barnana snacks. I’m not sure that either of them is the healthiest choice, but I don’t care. They’re delicious! And, as expected, the new Hail Merry and Theo Chocolate flavors did not disappoint.
I’m already looking forward to attending Expo West in 2015. You can attend too! I had several friends volunteering at product booths. They had to do some work, but they did get in for free. I think it’s well worth it.
Did you go to Expo West?
What were some of your favorite booths?