Product Reviews

Natural Products Expo West 2015 Part Five

April 16, 2015 Written by JP

This marks my fifth and final column about Natural Products Expo West 2015. Today, the products highlighted don’t fall into the expected categories of foods, ingredients or supplements. The way we cook and what we apply to our skin are often neglected aspects of a comprehensive wellness program. These under appreciated factors have a very really impact on our well being whether we consider them or not. Fortunately, some manufacturers recognize the importance of providing simple, yet effective culinary and skin care products that won’t endanger your health. Below, you’ll find some of the best examples of this welcomed trend.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Product Reviews | 3 Comments & Updates

Natural Products Expo West 2015 Part Three

April 3, 2015 Written by JP

If you ever plan to attend Natural Products Expo West, make sure to go on an empty stomach. There are literally hundreds upon hundreds of exhibitors there who want to feed you for free! These distributors, manufacturers and retailers are downright eager to share their newest functional foods, meals-to-go, probiotic beverages, snacks and much, much more. For some, this may sound like a dream come true – lots of (mostly) delicious treats and giveaways with a healthy twist! But, the reality is that you have to carefully pace yourself if you have any hope of getting the most out of Expo West.

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Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Product Reviews | 10 Comments & Updates

Natural Products Expo West 2015 Part Two

March 26, 2015 Written by JP

In some ways, Natural Products Expo West is like a gigantic “candy store” for those of us who are passionate or, maybe, too passionate about natural health. There’s a seemingly endless array of brand new extracts and technologies with all of the bells and whistles that compete for attention. Because of this, some supplements containing time honored, well established ingredients are often overlooked. They’re simply not exciting or novel enough to make a splash. The truth is, just like many other industries, natural product buyers and sellers are susceptible to gimmicks and trends. The key, as a researcher and consumer, is not to fall prey to the flavors of the moment or unsubstantiated hype. Instead, it’s important to look for genuine substance in product formulations and to reward manufacturers who provide well crafted wares.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutritional Supplements, Product Reviews | 5 Comments & Updates

Natural Products Expo West 2013 Part Two

March 28, 2013 Written by JP

A highlight of Natural Products Expo West 2013 was a spellbinding presentation given by Paul Stamets, the famed mycologist. The talk was originally intended as a discussion about the effects of medicinal mushrooms on immunity. However, by the time Paul stepped off the stage, he had covered a broad range of applications for mushrooms which included their utility as non-toxic insecticides, in the promotion of greater biodiversity and as natural decontaminating agents for use during nuclear fallout and oil spills. But, as the lecture came to an end, Mr. Stamets also touched upon the potential of select mushrooms in bolstering the immune system. What’s more, he went on to describe how his mom used a specific mushroom alongside conventional care to heal herself of stage 4 breast cancer.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutritional Supplements, Product Reviews | 6 Comments & Updates

Low Carb Cracker Review

February 20, 2013 Written by JP

Every few weeks or so, a favorite hobby of mine is to slowly make my way down each and every aisle of a local health food store. I glance over the countless shelves waiting for specific items to grab my attention. On a recent visit to Whole Foods, in Venice, California, I spotted a line of crackers that go by the name of Skinny Crisps. Usually, I’d keep on moving since most crackers can’t exactly be classified as health foods. But, something about the simple, yet eye-catching package and label claim of “Low Carb & Gluten Free” slowed me down long enough to study the little white bags in more detail.

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Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Product Reviews | 3 Comments & Updates

Paleo Bread Review

October 24, 2012 Written by JP

I’ve long believed that there is a psychological component that partially explains why natural therapies are met with resistance in the modern health care environment. The current medical paradigm is centered on advanced technology such as gene testing, nano-pharmaceuticals and stem cell treatments. Therefore, the idea that traditional practices, used by our distant ancestors, can be even more important than modern technology in promoting health is often perceived as impossible.

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Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink, Product Reviews | 2 Comments & Updates

Natural Products Expo West 2012 Part Three

March 21, 2012 Written by JP

I’m always on the lookout for all-natural food products that make healthy living more practical. Based on what I saw at this year’s Expo West, many manufacturers are hoping to provide just that. However, my idea of what constitutes a healthy snack often differs from theirs. In many instances, natural food makers simply replace conventionally refined grains and sweeteners with organic counterparts. This is a step in the right direction. But, ultimately, these “new and improved” products are still largely comprised of nutrient-poor ingredients that are likely to cause unhealthy blood sugar fluctuations.

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Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Product Reviews | 3 Comments & Updates

Natural Products Expo West 2012 Part One

March 16, 2012 Written by JP

This past weekend, over 60,000 members of the natural product community converged at the Anaheim Convention Center in Orange County, California. Among them were manufacturers, product spokespeople and retailers. In all, over 2,000 companies exhibited products and services on a show floor that spanned an impressive one million square feet. This all bodes well for an industry that reported 8% growth in 2010, which equates to a total of $127 billion in sales in the U.S. alone. As in years gone by, I took part in the proceedings as an information gathering observer.

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Posted in Food and Drink, Nutritional Supplements, Product Reviews | 6 Comments & Updates

Natural Products Expo West 2011 Part Two

March 23, 2011 Written by JP

In case you haven’t already noticed, the slogan for this website is “Your Natural Health Critic”. And while I tend to focus on the more positive developments in the field of integrative and natural medicine, at times it’s necessary to point out some troubling trends as well. This year’s Natural Products Expo West was an excellent opportunity to flex my critical thinking in precisely this arena. In a recent press release, Adam Anderson, a spokesman for the Anaheim-based trade show, commented that “While the economy recovers, the natural and organic industry continues to grow. 2010 metrics including attendance and hundreds of new product introductions at Expo West are proof positive of the strategic value surrounding in-person business events”. The introduction of new products to the marketplace is an opportunity to show how innovative the natural health community can be. However, more often than not, the products in question fall short of my expectations.
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Posted in Children's Health, Nutritional Supplements, Product Reviews | 2 Comments & Updates

Natural Products Expo West 2011 Part One

March 16, 2011 Written by JP

Last Friday, Saturday and Sunday I walked the floor of the Anaheim Convention Center along with over 58,000 other members of the natural health community. I had my comfy Sanuk walking shoes on and a mission at hand: to survey the current trends in the natural food sector with a critical but fair eye. Some of what I saw left me hopeful, so that’s what I’ll focus on today. In my next installment on the Natural Products Expo West, I’ll discuss some of the more troublesome aspects of this colossal trade show.
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Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Nutritional Supplements, Product Reviews | 12 Comments & Updates

Juice Supplements

September 1, 2010 Written by JP

There are few topics in modern medicine that stir as much debate as nutritional supplementation. At first glance, it seems like such an innocuous subject matter. What could possibly be so controversial about the concept of supplementing in order to protect against a potential nutrient deficiency? On one side of the fence, you have some allopathic physicians who believe that supplements give license to patients to eat an unhealthy diet. Surprisingly, some on the naturopathic front share a similar perspective. They believe that the goodness found in natural, whole foods can’t possibly be matched by most supplements. In an ideal world, mankind could be expected to derive all that’s needed from the environment and food supply. But that’s a different world than the one we live in.
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Posted in Nutrition, Nutritional Supplements, Product Reviews | 6 Comments & Updates

Attune Chocolate Bars Review

June 9, 2010 Written by JP

One of my least favorite sayings is, “Everything in moderation”. I think it’s a problematic piece of advice for many people who think they need such guidance in the first place. You wouldn’t tell a mother to let her child eat lead-based paint in moderation. It would be foolhardy to suggest to an alcoholic or drug addict to indulge every once in awhile, provided that it’s done moderately. So why then do family, friends, nutritionists and physicians insist on passing along this ubiquitous adage when it comes to eating unhealthy food? In my opinion, it’s largely rooted in a belief that most people just aren’t capable of doing what’s right for themselves on a long term basis. But I think there’s a better solution. Read more »


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Posted in Food and Drink, Nutritional Supplements, Product Reviews | 18 Comments & Updates

Mitrogenol for Eye Health

May 26, 2010 Written by JP

Glaucoma is an eye condition which affects approximately 2.5 million men and women in the United States alone. It is characterized by increased inner eye pressure which can cause damage to the optic nerve and, thereby, result in vision loss. Fortunately, the combination of two nutraceutical ingredients has recently shown a reduction in intraocular pressure and an improvement overall eye health. (1)
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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutritional Supplements, Product Reviews | 6 Comments & Updates

Sugar Free Soda Alternative

April 2, 2010 Written by JP

I was listening recently to an interview with Dr. Richard Bernstein that was conducted by David Edelman of Diabetes Today. During the course of the interview David posed a few specific questions that I genuinely wanted to know the answers to: “What did you have for breakfast and for lunch?”. These aren’t exactly hard hitting inquiries or the kind of material that is likely to convert anyone to Dr. Bernstein’s philosophy for controlling blood sugar. But it does offer an intriguing glimpse into how a seasoned expert applies his own recommendations to his daily life. After all, isn’t that what we’d all like to know? How do we take the concepts and guidelines presented in books, magazines and websites, and incorporate them into our regular routines? One way to accomplish this is to replace damaging diet elements with healthier options. Read more »


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Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink, Product Reviews | 12 Comments & Updates

Stevia Giveaway

March 19, 2010 Written by JP

Last Friday I was zigzagging between exhibitor booths at the Anaheim Convention Center. One of the most pleasant surprises I discovered was the omnipresence of stevia-based items and finished products sweetened with stevia. Even the coffee shops and concession stands throughout the convention center provided only honey, sugar and stevia as condiments. There was nary an artificial sugar substitute to be found at this gathering. Read more »


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Posted in Product Reviews | 46 Comments & Updates

Herbal Sleep Study Results

February 17, 2010 Written by JP

There’s an old joke that goes: “If you want to hear God laugh, make a plan”. In November I hatched a plan to conduct a pilot study on a traditional herbal tea. The objective of the preliminary, mini-trial was to determine whether an herbal blend known as SLP Tea could help promote better sleep quality in a handful of my readers. I didn’t hear any divine chuckles, but not everything turned out quite as I had hoped. Initially, I enrolled 6 volunteers into my experiment. 3 of the 6 were ultimately able to comply with all of the guidelines I set for the study.
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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutritional Supplements, Product Reviews | 15 Comments & Updates