OK, I'll Shut Up Now: Final Pics and Thoughts on Natural Products Expo West

By Crabby McSlacker

Regular readers are probably now vicariously nauseated and exhausted from our many virtual hours wandering through the convention halls together, eating everything in sight.  I "dead blogged" Natural Products Expo West on Monday and nattered on again with the Expo West musings on Wednesday and here we are again with more of the same on Friday. Sheesh!

The sad thing?  Still dozens of more pictures and thoughts, but enough is enough I'm thinking.  Natural Products Expo West  is a really humongous undertaking and a fun time. I hope to bore you with it again next year... if any of you are still hangin' in there by then.

But there were negatives as well as positives, and this is Cranky Fitness after all. That's the great thing about being an irascible swear-word-filled blog too scary to attract respectable corporate sponsorship: no pressure to be nice, ever!

But let's start with the pleasant, shall we?

What was Wonderful about Expo West:

There were plenty of product offerings that were WAY healthier than typical convenience foods most people eat, and some of them were actually tasty! (For additional and better coverage of more products, check out Feed Me I'm Cranky's Expo West Post, or the Fun and Fit gals, or Double Chin Diary's recaps).

Because here's the thing: despite our best efforts, even health-conscious folks sometimes find themselves in a position to need convenience foods.

For example, I would be quite pleased to see these in a vending machine or offered as a substitute for chips or pretzels on an airplane:


These Three Works Apple Chips are basically just freeze dried apples, they don't add sugar.


And there were other similar brands like Brothers-All-Natural which were also good, and I feel sorry for all these healthy snack people trying to duke it out for grocery store shelf space dominated by 96,345 different brands of greasy chemical-doused chips and other toxic snacks.

Another highlight was getting to snag a new flavor of my go-to brand of dark chocolate: Endangered Species.  I love them, and not just because of the animal wrappers and charity thing, but because they mange to make an over 70% cocoa chocolate that doesn't taste too dark.  And yeah, I know sophisticated purists like their dark chocolate to taste as bitter as 3 day old coffee grounds, but not me. Their bars taste rich and chocolaty yet sweet and light, at least compared to competing brands.


But the best thing of all?

The expo was a great excuse for two days of ABSOLUTE GLUTTONY!

For me, it's fun to let loose and have an all-bets-are-off greedfest every now and then.  I sampled all kinds of things that I don't let myself have as part of my normal diet, and loved every minute of the sugar and caffeine fueled buzz and did not waste a second feeling guilty.

Whee!

But There Was a Downside to Sampling Tons of Healthier, More Natural Products:

First off, as I've mentioned many times, many of the products featured "natural" ingredients like sugar, butter, and white flour or some equally nutritionally bankrupt gluten-free substitute. They may have been "natural" but there was nothing healthy about them.

But secondly, I was rudely reminded that:

"Healthy" for some people is not "healthy" for me!

After two days of eating whatever the hell I wanted, the intestinal ramifications were unpleasant.  As it happens, we were staying with some friends who are retired physicians, and they couldn't help but notice the massive post-porkfest bloating (I tried to keep the other aspects as inconspicuous as possible) and unofficially diagnosed me with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Which was a coincidence, because my own physician has also officially diagnosed me with IBS! But I kinda let myself forget about that; I don't like that conclusion because it's inconvenient.  I have a mild case, and just tend to avoid cow's milk and beans and wheat and soy, but I still bloat, and I know some healthy vegetables set me off too, and I've been too lazy/greedy to get serious about an elimination diet.

So I did pretty much confirm that eating all the wheat, soy, corn, legumes, and cow's milk I want is probably not the way to go. Even just eliminating those and switching back to goats milk for a few days helped a lot. But it was a good reminder that if I let myself eat like a normal person, the off-and-on bloating turns into something much more resembling full fledged IBS and I do NOT want to deal with that on a daily basis. Yikes.

But it's sad.  For example, these Nature's Bakery whole-wheat fig newton alternatives were great! They came in lots of fruity flavors, like mango and lemon and blueberry. And they'd make a great kid-friendly dessert to stick in a lunch bag or a nice treat for a non-kid who likes occasional treats that have some redeeming nutritional value.


And so I optimistically took a bunch home...


But given my reaction to wheat, I'm thinking I probably shouldn't eat them. Damn.

Likewise, I tasted a Go Fit vegetarian hamburger that was totally awesome! Really, I was shocked because it tasted very much like a real burger.


But it was made from soy. Sigh.

Another Problem: Greed Sometimes Begets More Greed

I mentioned that I felt no guilt for two days of unrestrained greed. Which is true!

However, despite my intentions to get back on track, it took 3 more days after the expo to get my snacking back under control.

I would tell myself I had sampled enough... and yet I literally could not control myself.  I was finally forced to give away a bunch of snacks, and I made the Lobster hide hers, and I gave myself a bag full of "for later" treats that now live in the freezer.


But it was a reminder about how powerless one can feel when in the clutches of Evil Tasty Convenient Snacks and Desserts!  So for those of you currently in their grasp, I make no judgments.

On the bright side, it's also a reminder of what a relief it is to go back to healthy eating after letting my myself go nuts. Finally finding the "stop" button and remembering how to press it feels quite empowering!

Any thoughts about any of this? How do you guys feel about letting loose sometimes and eating whatever you want? Do you, unlike me, have a modicum of self-restraint?


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