Notes from a Natural Products Expo rookie…
This past weekend I made it to my first Natural Foods Expo…Expo West as it is referred to here in SoCal. I worked my way in as a blogger since it’s not open to the public, but with over 70,000 in attendance, you wouldn’t know it.
In a word it was awesome! While this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, for me, I was in my element. Being surrounded by like-minded, health conscious people and forward thinking brands, I felt I had, at last, had found my Tribe!
First rookie mistake: I only made it down for one day, Saturday. While this one day was still amazing, it was not nearly enough time to do it all. It is a three day event and I now believe all three days are needed to meet, greet, see, sample and experience it all. Next year, I’ll plan on going for all three days.
Second rookie mistake: I was so stoked to meet some leaders in this field and so happy to enjoy all the samples from the companies I already knew and loved, that I failed to check out many of the up and coming companies and brands that I should have been researching. Next year, with more time to work with, I’ll visit them all!
So, there it is, my two rookie mistakes. Oh well, I’ll be more prepared next year. I was, however, still able to do quite a few cool things, including sneaking in early as people were setting up which made picture taking easier. There were some pretty awesome and elaborate booths.
So, I snapped a few photos and then left the expo hall (would stink to get kicked out:), and made it in time to hear Mark Bittman, the keynote speaker. His main message was to remind us to eat real foods. He said we all put too much emphasis on non-GMO and organic (not sure if I agree, but I get where he is going). “If you have a choice between an organic hamburger or a conventionally grown apple, eat the apple!” This, of course, does make sense to me. He concluded his address by quoting Michael Pollan’s eight famous words…“Eat real food, not too much, mostly plants” and, of course, I love that!
I then went back to the main expo hall, which was now, officially open and began visiting and sampling all the new and existing lines from my favorite brands and meeting some very cool people. Here are my favorites from the day:
Vega (where I got to make my own smoothie by riding a bike, fun!) (I also ran into Brendan Brazier again who I met a couple of years ago at The Seed).
Navitas (I got to meet and chat with Julie Morris, an amazing SuperFoods chef and author)
Living Intentions (raw, sprouted, gluten free, vegan)
Rawpothecary (nature’s pharmacy)
Nud (raw, organic, gluten free snacks)
Wild Harvest (biodynamic herbal tonics)
Health Warrior Chia Bars (based out of Richmond VA, my hometown, #goRVA). Here’s a few of their newest flavors.
LUMI (founder Hillary Lewis (middle) also from VA). We actually sell their juices at The Daily Kitchen & Bar so you know I already love them! (Kyra Oliver from Your Own Utopia on the left)
I was also thrilled to meet…
The lovely, talented and kind Alicia Silverstone, actor/activist/author/fellow vegan and creator of The Kind Life
The beautiful, sharp and driven Vani Hari aka the FoodBabe who works tirelessly to expose the toxic ingredients in our food and steer us toward a healthier, cleaner diet.
Much of the day was shared with two friends, Kyra from Your Own Utopia and Kristian from Brad’s Raw Foods. Along the way, I also ran into several other health conscious, wellness warriors that I now call friends. It’s a great feeling when you start to find your tribe. While I like to think (maybe wish) we all are on a journey to great health, not everyone seems as committed or as passionate about it as I am. On this day, however, I am reassured I am far from being alone.
I believe we are at a tipping point where people are beginning to empower themselves about their health and are making positive changes that will dramatically improve their lives. I am so happy to be a part of this growing movement, even if only in small ways. I do, however, want to make expanding this movement my work, my path, my life! I am not yet clear exactly how best to be of service but I am open to the possibilities. My mission remains…to create, live and inspire a happy, healthy, active, conscious and compassionate life.
So, I made a few rookie mistakes, but honestly, it was a pretty awesome day. My list, while extensive here, was a mere fraction of all that was present at ExpoWest. It was pretty amazing. I am already looking forward to next year and hope to see you there!
I appreciate you checking in.
Peace & plants,