Greedy and Grateful..."Naturally!"

So, I'm back from the Natural Products Expo West with an exciting report about everything that's new and hot and happening in the industry!

OK, let's be honest. I'm really back with some vague impressions and a bloated belly and the vestiges of a sugar coma and some random business cards and a HUGE CRAPLOAD of free samples.

Ah, life is good.

And yes, we did stick to the "one bag" rule, but there were two of us and we also had backpacks. Plus we were determined and relentless. While other members of the media were out interviewing natural product purveyors in order to obtain helpful information for their readerships, we were making sure we got our fair share of free snacks.

This show was huge and we pretty much covered ever food booth in the joint.

I'd declared in advance that this would be an "all bets are off" "eat whatever you want" day because, hello, all you can eat FREE natural products?

So I was kind of curious: would there be a point at which I would "naturally" feel sated and satisfied and stop eating?

As it turns out: the answer was NO.  Kinda what I thought. Self restraint? I haz none.

Yep, I must have deforested an entire acre of (hopefully sustainable) wood with the number of toothpick-speared morsels I scarfed, and I nearly drowned in a sea of natural teas, sodas, waters and other beverages. Seriously, I am not sure I will ever be able to look at another drawn and quartered power bar or cup full of kettlecorn or natural soda without feeling slightly barfy.

Anyway, while I may try to round up some review/giveaway opportunities in the future, I did a predictably shitty job at remembering which companies I flirted with and which ones seemed unapproachable and which products were yummy and which ones were weird.

In general, there were lots of interesting products I'd never seen in stores, although a good part of the show seemed to be dedicated to Power Bars, Chips, Kettlecorn, Yogurt and Chocolate in many and varied forms. My particular interest is in finding low-sugar, low-carb, naturally sweetened versions of tasty treats, and I found a few promising leads that I may follow up on and tell you about. There are a LOT more natural sweetener options than there used to be, for example.

However, we all know that the healthiest thing to eat is wholesome whole foods, and this was not a farmer's market. This was all about the "fun" snacky desserty part of eating a healthy diet, where you're trying to find alternatives to WTF mainstream conventional options. This was not about the 80-90% of daily food choices. And in fact, lots of these "natural" products were basically junk food made with "cane sugar" instead of HFCS. Which made roaming the aisles with a free pass from my normal eating habits especially awesome!

Oh, and we completely skipped the supplements and cosmetics and pets and babies and all that crap. Because, well, you can't eat shampoo or diapers or dog bowls, can you? And supplements are boring. So sorry, readership.

Though we did get the impression: It's totally happening in Head Lice this year! Just FYI, in case you're thinking of hosting some. 

So yeah, it was an awesome day of wandering and eating and chatting and eating and eating.

Oh, and at long last I got to meet Jody from Truth2BeingFit!

And there were a lot of other interesting characters roaming the halls as well, so I made the poor lobster take my picture with them.

Of course, just like with the food samples, once I started, I couldn't seem to stop.

Because where else can you just walk up to a guy and ask: "Hey, can we get a picture of me squeezing your balls?" and get a chipper, "yeah sure!"

Does anyone else go a little bit crazy when stuff is on offer for free?  And what sort of products would you want to hunt down at a Natural Expo?

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