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10 favorites from Natural Products Expo West

Last weekend the Delicious Living team sampled products from thousands of natural companies gathered at the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, California.

Last weekend the Delicious Living team sampled products from thousands of natural companies gathered at the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, California. The show floor was abuzz with hot trends in everything from superfoods (think acai, sea buckthorn, hempseed) to sustainable living (ecofriendly clothes, fair trade sweeteners). Indeed, it was overwhelming. But after a few days to digest (literally, I can’t count the number of samples I tried!), here are ten standout products from the notes of Delicious Living editors.

Honey New Zealand Organic Pumpkin Blossom Honey. Products from New Zealand had a big showing at this year’s Expo, and these folks had a huge lineup of unique honeys, both for therapeutic and culinary purposes. The pumpkin-blossom variety was mild, creamy, and almost like white chocolate.

Freekah. Yet another ancient superfood that’s being rediscovered (think quinoa, chia, hemp), we predict you’ll be hearing a lot more about this nutritious grain in coming months. A “green wheat,” freekah reportedly contains four times as much fiber and iron as brown rice. Freekah is currently only available in bulk distribution, but it’s delicious (we sampled a Southwestern Warm Freekah Salad with cumin, beans, and corn) and easy to cook, so we hope to see more of it in stores or blended into other products before long.

Fearless Chocolate Raw Organic Chocolate Bars. We’ve sampled a lot of chocolate, and these bars are truly unique. Made with 100 percent raw cocoa and other wholesome ingredients that have not been heated above 118 degrees, Fearless bars preserve even more of the chocolate’s natural antioxidants. And they are dairy free, gluten free, and soy free. Fearless also has a line of chocolate candy bars (sorry, not raw) featuring unusually delicious combinations of ingredients like tamarind, fig, goat cheese, and caramel. Yummmmy.

Vega Sport Natural Plant-Based Performance Optimizer. Formulated by former professional triathlete Brendan Brazier, this natural energy powder (empty into water 15 minutes before a workout) is jam-packed with ingredients that are good for your body and mind to keep you focused and energized during a big (or small) workout. Made for athletes but great for anyone, its sources of protein are all plant-based, including coconut seed, kombucha lead, yerba mate, green tea, rhodiola, and ginseng, and the powder comes in two flavors: acai and vanilla.

Promethius Springs Capsaicin Spiced Elixirs. The most original, exciting drink we tried at Expo, these kicky, organic refreshments contain antioxidant-rich extracts from chiles. When you sip it, you feel the burn (but not in a bad way) … but as you keep sipping, the fire subsides considerably, making these drinks are enjoyably spicy, different, and really fun. Flavors include Pomegranate Black Pepper, Lychee Wasabi, and Lemon Ginger.

Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar Drinks. Apple cider vinegar has a long history of therapeutic use (and a 2004 study in Diabetes Care showed that vinegar helped insulin metabolism for diabetics), but it’s pretty intense to drink it straight. Bragg’s solves the problem with delicious, drinkable mixes. In addition to their existing organic apple cider vinegar and honey blend, this year they introduced three new, stevia-sweetened flavors. Our favorite was the ginger spice, but also try the grape-acai and the apple-cinnamon.

MyChelle’s Plant Stem Cell products. These new products, set to hit shelves in June, are the first we’ve seen to use plant stem cells, crucial parts of the plant that promote your skin’s ability to regenerate cells to help fight signs of aging. Product launches include Fabulous Eye Cream (uses edelweiss plant stem cells), Capillary Calming Serum (uses gotu kola stem cells), and Apple Brightening Serum (uses apple fruit stem cells).

Gaia Herbs “Meet Your Herbs” traceability program. We’ve been a fan of this company’s products for years. About 70 percent of the herbs they sell are grown organically on their farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, and now they’re making it even easier for you to know what’s in the bottle on your countertop. Every box has an ID number printed on the back; when entered into their website or a free iPhone app, details about ingredients, organic status, harvest date, purity testing, lab data, and more appear.

Curamin. This natural pain relief supplement is a unique formulation that seems to dramatically help many people who have tried it. Curamin represents a great natural alternative to NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, which can cause digestive and other health problems. Curamin uses proprietary, potent extracts of Curcumin, which is the active ingredient in turmeric that lends the spice its bright yellow color, and Boswellia, another well-regarded anti-inflammatory herb. These herbs work synergistically with the other two ingredients: the amino acid DLPA (which increases serotonin levels in the brain) and nattokinase, an enzyme from fermented soy that may help with blood clots.

Earth Friendly DuoDish Detergent. Multi-purpose cleaning products get the job(s) done as I learned at this year’s Natural Products Expo West, which featured some great two-in-one options (cleaning can be, dare we say ... fun). My favorite, DuoDish Detergent, is both a hand and machine dish detergent. Have one or two dishes to clean up? Simply hand wash to avoid waste. Sink overflowing? Use that same bottle for a full machine load. Like all of the company’s products DuoDish is free of phosphates, 1,4-dioxane, formaldehyde, petroleum, bleach, and ammonia.

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