I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last post! I dropped the ball in a major way, but I do have an excuse. Alas, I’ve moved yet again. This time, however, I think I’ll stay awhile. My globe trotting and nomadic lifestyle has been fun, but I might be ready to make some roots.
As I was searching for a place on trulia, zillow, padmapper, craiglist, and all the other fun sites that host lease listings, I came across one from a registered dietician. I’ve been desperately searching for an RD to help me with the nutrition label for my famed mini vegan cheesecakes, so I just had to reach out and see if she could lend her services. Being a certified nutritionist and having my bachelor’s in genetics, I’m proficient enough to do my own labeling, but I always like to go the extra mile and have state licensed professionals on my team.
I decided to meet up with the RD, and as we chatted over cheesecakes (they are my #1 companion everywhere I go), she let me know about the Natural Food Expo that would be taking place in Anaheim March 8-10th. She suggested I go, as the opportunity to make contacts would be unrivaled. So go, I did! This was my experience.
As a distributor of Sun Warrior products, I was granted admission, but at a steep price. They were asking $400 for the coveted 3 day pass. Sure, it covered dozens of educational seminars, over 2000 exhibits, morning yoga, breakfasts, networking events, and samples up the wazoo; but, I figured I’d save my money. A friend was in need of some extra help at his booth, so I became a Just Pure Foods gal for the weekend.
Parking was a headache, at best, and just as I finally made it to the front of the line, parking enforcement deemed the lot full and turned me away (I wasn’t in the mood to hustle). As the next lot was over 2 miles away, and shuttles were gridlocked, I decided to park in a nearby residential area. The weather was great, and the walk was enjoyable. I was bombarded with freebies from street-side vendors, and as I had no idea what I would be walking into, I gladly hoarded the stevia sweetened vitamin orange juice and greek yogurt laced nut bars into my shoulder bag.
Registration was quick and painless, and the grab-and-go breakfast provided by Glutino, Udi’s and Earth Balance, although carb heavy, was yummy. I enjoyed a kale, banana smoothie and a gluten-free lemon muffin (I shouldn’t lie, I had a gluten-free apple pop tart too, ugh). Feeling full and energetic (gluten-free does not mean sugar free…) I headed down to Hall E. At 9:45 am, the place was chock full of people, but I made it to the Just Pure booth, with limited distractions.
I was first introduced to Just Pure dehydrated veggie snacks from a sampling at Whole Foods. It was there that I fell in love with the zucchini chips. If you follow my blog, you’ll remember my post and baked zucchini coins recipe. To my tasting pleasure, I had burnt the first batch and they came out crispy, like chips. So it was pure destiny that I’d end up befriending the owner of a company with snacks after my own heart.
In my post, I had also mentioned that I was not a fan of kale chips. Now Just Pure has gone and changed my mind (and if you know me, you’ll know I don’t usually take change well). Even though I get down on nutritional yeast in my dressings and roasted vegetables, all their 10 flavors are yeast-free. I was skeptical about the “cheesy kale,” but the soy free miso made all the difference. The flavor is on point and just melts in your mouth. Their line of nut-free kale-nola is also unbelievable. Rather than oats, they use the kale as a base, so it keeps the carb count down (another point for them!). They also manage to keep all their flavors vegan, which means their chocolate kale-nola is free of milk and lactose so I can munch away without the belly bloat! As I’m writing this post, I’m enjoying the sour cream and onion zucchini chips and some raw tahini dip. <I smile>
We had a lot of great support at our booth, which allowed me some free time to chat and also check out the expo with closer detail. I met some fabulous and inspiring people that came up to our booth, like the girls from Vegan Cuts (a marketplace for the World’s best vegan products – side note, they loved my cheesecakes!), the VP of Mary’s Gone Crackers (I might have given her a phenomenal idea for a holiday pretzel! crossing fingers), and organic food activist and musician Billy Bramblett.
It was incredibly uplifting and motivating to see so many pioneers of natural and organic foods and beverages living their dream. I stopped by and enjoyed alkalized, antioxidant Neo water, stevia sweetened non-gmo Lily’s dark chocolate bars, carrot apple muffins with Nutiva coconut manna, a quinoa bowl with Ojio coconut aminos and the Ojio sport sprouted brown rice protein shake at the Ultimate Superfoods booth, the divine olive and bruschetta bar from Divina, the most savory high protein yuba strips from Hodo Soy, and tons of other amazing offerings that kept my head spinning in a veritable dream world.
I also got to meet the movers and shakers of some of my favorite brands, that I use on a daily basis. We shared our passion for food and the memories, and gifts will stay with me forever (or at least until I eat them all)! My friends at Stevia in the Raw (who I use to sweeten everything from my morning oats to my mini cheesecakes) hooked me up with the biggest take home goodie box. La Tourangelle, makers of premium gourmet oils, gifted me with a priceless bottle of white truffle oil. Garden of Life gave me probiotics, fish oil and jugs of vegan protein powder (my loyalty is with Sun Warrior but I admire and support any company that is for a healthier world and a creator of allergen-free products); but, it was Farmhouse Culture that made the show for me.
Ever since my health issues and digestive drama last year, I’ve been consuming sauerkraut on the regular. With it’s high levels of probiotic cultures, it keeps my intestinal flora happy and my bowels functioning smoothly. Maybe it’s an exaggeration but I feel like I’ve tried nearly every brand on the market, but it’s Farmhouse Culture that tickles my fancy. I’ve been keeping it nightshade jalapeño free for the most part, but their kraut just does it for me. Perhaps because the jalapeño is fermented it doesn’t give me problems, or maybe the God’s just give it a pass. This stuff is to die for. I put it on everything from my grain-free crust pizza, to my sweet potato turkey chili. It’s a must have for competition season, and for true foodies. In exchange for an interview (and a few bags of JustPure spicy jalapeno tomato chips, thanks Justin for letting me swap!) they gifted me with a tub, yes I said a TUB!, of their newest… Ginger Beet kraut!!!
I took home lots of other swag and a list of lifelong contacts. I feel like I’m right where I need to be. As a dear friend has said, and I agree with, I am in universal alignment. I am content with what I have and I am rejoicing in the way things are. There is nothing lacking in my world. I am one step closer to my dream.
~FUN FIT TRAVEL GIRL