The number one most exciting part of Natural Products Expo West is discovering new products - I think everyone who attends can agree upon that. Though for me, it’s not just about trying the unknown, but witnessing innovation.

Expo West is like a treasure hunt - every year I go in with a plan and strategically weave my way up and down the aisles. My eyes are constantly scanning for newfangled goodies that are not only vegan but organic, non-GMO, fair-trade, gluten-free, unprocessed, nutritionally-rich and in eco-friendly packaging. Finding a product that meets all of the above criteria is the Holy Grail of Expo, earning it an immediate photo upload to Instagram and Twitter, maybe even a spot in my video roundup! These products thrill me because they’re evidence of evolution: Expo West is where the cutting edge takes place. Throughout the convention center I can feel gears turning in each attendee’s head; ideas are born and later brought to life there.

I take Expo very seriously - while it’s a lot of fun, it’s business. My goal is to make connections: to connect with other attendees in order to learn how we can support one another, and to act as a connecting bridge between companies and the Eco-Vegan Gal community. It’s a curation process, as I want to offer a behind the scenes look at  beloved products.

Lives are altered at Expo - stop to listen and within minutes you’ll hear someone remark, “this is the product I’ve been waiting for!” I’ve literally seen people cry over dairy-free cheese. These are the moments I live for, not just for my own pleasure but because I’m witnessing change. Expo West is part of a movement to expand the possibilities and showcase how incredible natural products are; it’s a peek into a very healthy, sustainable future.

Editor's Note: Whitney blogs regularly at Eco-Vegan Gal.