Hi there! I had a fantastically busy weekend, which combined with the time change, has me doing a little bit of yawning. but I’d rather be tired and busy than tired and bored, ya know? On Saturday, I picked up the fabulous AJ from Confessions of a Fat Girl and we were on our way to Anaheim for ExpoWest, a natural food and product show with over 2,100 exhibitors and last year, over 63,000 attendees. I had a list of brands I wanted to connect with based on previous reviews here on the DCD, but I also had a few new ones I wanted to meet. Below are some of my favorites from the show, and stay tuned in the next few weeks for some reviews and giveaways for you. I promise, there’s some good stuff comin’! (Note: I’m writing this post of my own desire. This is not sponsored in any way, though I did eat my way through most of these booths on free samples!)
Alyssa’s personal heaven with Jeff’s Naturals.
1) You guys know how I love olives. A relatively new joy of mine, I embraced the olive when I first went low-carb and was looking for something deliciously salty without any sugars. I started with Kalmata olives and then graduated into the green olives, and finally found my briny passion, the Castelvetrano. I splurge every now and then on a tub of them from Whole Foods, but the price point makes me try not to go wild on ’em. I always thought Whole Foods Castelvetrano were the cream of the crop, but I was wrong — it’s the Castlevetrano olives from Jeff’s Naturals. These things are buttery, nutty, rich and delicious! They were kind enough to send me home with a jar and I actually sent an awkward selfie of myself and the jar to my husband with the caption “day made.” Even cooler? It was a happy coincidence when I noticed the company is based in Petaluma, which is where I grew up! I’m hoping we can do a giveaway soon, because you guys have to try these. Deeeelish! (The jar is already half gone. For reals. I have an olive problem!)
2) Remember how I had a weird fear of ‘fish burps’? They were enough to keep me away from fish oil for a long time, and I finally got over it after trying some Nordic Naturals on Fitcation. For the past few months, I’ve been diligently taking Nordic Naturals Omegas. The reasons for wanting to take omegas are plenty; they reduce inflammation in the body, can help lessen stress and anxiety, improve arteries, lungs, joints and bones… all good stuff. While you pay a little more for a premium fish oil brand like Nordic Naturals, when researching fish oil and learning about how the oil is harvested, I’m happy to plunk down a few more coins for a fantastic fishy experience rather than something that just stinks like a dead fish. The folks at Nordic Naturals dressed up me up in this lovely Gone with the Wind get up, and then I got to try some of their new products, like gummy vitamin D-3s, which are mixed berry flavor.
Did Scarlett O’Hara like Omegas?
3) You know I couldn’t go to ExpoWest without paying homage to the ruler of the snack world… POPCORN! I had to stop by and give some love to SkinnyPop, who have recently introduced a black pepper, cheddar, and sweet popcorn to their mix. The cheddar popcorn was my desired crunch snack of choice during the trafficky drive home. Thankfully I had yummy corn and AJ’s fantastic rendition of “Let It Go” to keep me from going bonkers at 10 miles per hour. I also popped my top for:
- Pop Gourmet, who had a mind-blowing parmesan garlic popcorn and SRIRACHA POPCORN! Respect the rooster! They also had a “Rogue Blue” blue cheese popcorn which I didn’t try (was trying to conserve my belly space), but rumor had it it was pretty fantastic.
PopGourmet’s offerings include Sriracha, Garlic, Kale, and many more!
- Quinn Popcorn, which has a notable new snack in that its the first “do it yourself” organic microwave popcorn with cool flavors (hello, herb and olive oil). The paper microwave bag is fully compostable, and after you pop the corn, you toss it with the included oil packet and then add the seasoning packet. I got to meet the founder of the company, and I loved that he started the company with his wife, and named it in honor of his son Quinn.
- Kettle Pop, which started as kettle corn in Farmer’s Markets and is now packaged. This corn is 100% organic and has a lovely lightly sweet, fluffy taste. I have a couple bags in my pantry now and I love that they come in 100 calorie packs — giving me my popcorn fix without the “Oops, I just ate 1,200 calories worth of popcorn in one sitting” problem. (True story.)
There were a bunch of other popcorn peeps I missed, but that’s ok — I’ll catch them next time, when I haven’t eaten 10,000 olives.
4) I was on a mission to discover new teas, and discover, I DID! Did you guys know Numi makes savory teas, in wild flavors like Carrot Curry, Fennel Spice and Beet Cabbage? I tried both the Carrot and Fennel, and it wasn’t bad at all. They reminded me of broth based soups. Not necessarily what I’d go for for my cuppa, but as a pairing to a meal, I could definitely see it working. While I’m a little more traditional with my tea, I loved the creativity of it. I tried a super yummy Cacao Earl Grey, and I need to get my hands on some “Emperor’s Pu-Erh”, which was a really earthy, full-bodied tea that some use as a coffee alternative. Mighty Leaf also opened up my eyes to some delicious Arnold Palmer recipes, in addition to their organic African Nectar.
4.5) Some other notable people I met with that I can’t wait to learn more about? BioRay, who has a detox product I’ve been using for quite awhile that I love and will share about soon, New Chapter, which are vitamins you can take on an empty stomach, and Oregon’s Wild Harvest, high quality organic vitamins and tonics.
5) The best thing about ExpoWest wasn’t the things: it was the people! I was so happy to get to meet my friend Jody from Truth to Being Fit, and then catch up with my pal Annabel from Feed Me, I’m Cranky, Monica from My Life is a Journey, and Angela from Nine More Months. It’s always so wonderful to see the faces of people you interact with all the time online. Hugs just aren’t the same virtually 🙂
Top left: Me and AJ from Confessions of a Fat Girl. Top Right: Angela, Monica and Me. Lower Left: Me and Jody. Lower right: Me and Annabel.
So as you can see — ExpoWest was a fantastic whirlwind experience. I have no idea how some people do it for four days — after one day and 11,000 steps, my dogs were barkin’ and I was ready to sit on my duff and eat popcorn and olives. However, I didn’t have much rest before my next adventure… waking up at 4:00 A.M. to bring my husband to the Los Angeles Marathon! Stay tuned for the next post about his courageous 26.2, and I’ll be talking to you soon. Have a wonderful day!