Last weekend, I attended the Natural Products Expo West, produced by New Hope Natural Media, for the first time. Held at the Anaheim Convention Center, the Expo showcased a record number of new natural and organic product launches and attracted more than 63,000 industry members and 2,428 exhibiting companies. From food items to cosmetics and other specialty goods, natural products are big business! Although I did not attend any of the conference sessions, I had a wonderful time tasting and sampling products at the Expo Floor, and meeting entrepreneurs at the Next Pavilion, which showcased new and upcoming brands.
I was warned by fellow bloggers that the expo could be a bit overwhelming, so my plan was to look for kids’ snacks, healthy office snacks, and coffee for future stories. I successfully resisted some of the really tasty samples and tried to keep my focus. Snack items were plenty, not so much coffee but plenty of tea! I ended up trying out so many probiotic treats it gave me indigestion but what was really satisfying was meeting the creators, founders, entrepreneurs and dreamers behind so many gluten-free, peanut-free, all-natural products. I will try to write about them in the upcoming weeks.
There were so many people at ExpoWest, it’s amazing that I bumped into someone I knew — the fabulous Christy Funk of , a pioneer of all-natural, eco-chic in Orange County. At the end of half a day, my shoulder was sore from lugging around a bag containing numerous sample products. Outside the air was cool, the sun was out, and there was a band playing. What a way to end an expo touting natural living!
I think it was a well organized event and New Hope Natural Media did great by emailing updates daily about the conference. They also had a mobile app that attendees used to plan their days.
We walk, run, and bike in different “thons” for charity but I wonder if we’re making any real difference.
These organized charity events successfully raise millions of dollars for research, but more than money, I realize that we are making a difference. We are creating awareness. We are creating a community of caring people.. We are showing support for those affected by these diseases. We are providing hope.
Forget the typical fried chicken nuggets and high fat mac n’ cheese, and French fries that dominate most children’s menus. This summer, the Hyatt Hotels and Resorts introduced a new, innovative and responsible children’s menu called “For Kids By Kids” in all of its full service hotels in North America. The menu is designed to make the healthier choice, the easier choice by providing more nutritious and healthy offerings for their youngest guests. Hyatt’s food and beverage philosophy, after all, is “Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served.”
Recently, my sons and I were invited to attend a preview of the kids menu at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa. Executive Chef Chris Savage did a cooking demo with the children. Together they prepared a healthy salad and waffles. The tasting buffet featured whole grain pastas with a choice of 2 sauces: tomato and cheese; a build your own taco bar, and waffle dipping sticks. All the items are part of the “For Kids by Kids” flavor journey menu tasted, tested and approved by a team of children led by 11 year old cooking enthusiast Haile Thomas.
One of the best things about the new menu is that it appeals to both kids and parents. The ingredients are fresh not frozen. But perhaps the biggest draw for kids is that they have a hand in making their food – sort of – because it all starts with making good choices. They can build their own whole wheat sub sandwich, for example, and create their own pasta by choosing the pasta (penne, spaghetti, gluten-free), sauce (tomato or cheese), protein (turkey meatballs, chicken breast), vegetable (peas, broccoli, carrots, spinach, zucchini).
Another wonderful aspect of this new menu is that world renowned food revolution pioneer and edible educator Alice Waters is a part of it. She has lent her inspiration and support to the new kids menu. According to Waters, “All children deserve to eat real food – fresh, seasonal, organic, and delicious.” She adds: “I wanted to do a small, three course meal, within the context of Hyatt’s initiative, that could be sourced exclusively from organic farms across the country. Of course it’s about taste and ripeness and seasonality-but it’s bigger than that, too: it’s about supporting the people who are taking care of the land for our future generations.”
My first mistake was going to two parties while on the cleanse. While I never had the urge to go to the bathroom every 5 minutes nor did I have this overwhelming hunger, the party food was very tempting. But you see, the #world knew I was on a cleanse so how was I going to cheat? That’s what you get when you announce to the world via Twitter that you are going on a cleanse.
Social Media makes you accountable. Post a status update about that new diet and your friends (or at least facebook friends) are sure to check up on you. Tweet a question or an idea and someone will call you on it. Cleansing was one of those things.. @terararestephens had talked about it then @cindywang and @thebigdebowski and I started chatting. Finally @ritualcleanse heard the chatter (or rather read it on twitter) and invited me to try a juice cleanse. Because I am a bit of a wimp, I only did it for 2 days.
Ritual Cleanse followed our Twitter Conversation and connected with me. Not long after, I picked up my 12 bottles of freshly pressed 100% organic juices packed in a snazzy green insulated bag and was good to go.
Since I had never done a cleanse before, one of the owners, Marra, suggested I do a “Seasonal Cleanse” which is still 6 juices like the Classic Cleanse but one Classic “Green” juice is replaced with a specially formulated blend that captures the best seasonal produce in a fresh new flavor. Lucky for me, pomegranate was in season. Yum!
I was never hungry on the cleanse and I didn’t go to the bathroom nearly half as much as I feared. The juices were, in fact, really tasty. On that first day however, I got really grumpy around dinner time. I figured it was the lack of caffeine. After drinking the last juice of the day, I was fine. The second day was easier.
For me, @RitualCleanse jump-started my new attitude towards health – that week I was to begin with my fitness trainer @lafitness
In the end, I didn’t lose weight (come on it was just two days) and my hair didn’t suddenly get all shiny as some had claimed but I did stop craving coffee -which was a most unexpected and happy side effect.
Would I go on a cleanse again? Yeah! Maybe we can do it together… Ritual Cleanse has a group discount program. Hmmm.