Natural Products Expo West 2015 Part FourApril 13, 2015 Written by JP [Font too small?]
One of the distinct pleasures of attending Natural Products Expo West is knowing that I can share my findings both here and directly with my clients. Over the years I’ve developed a profound appreciation for the highly individualized needs of every person I encounter. So, while some reporters marvel or even scoff at the sheer number of products displayed at Expo West, I see opportunities to address the unique requirements of my clientele and readers.
The inventive products featured today will undoubtedly fill some gaps in the natural food marketplace. There’s something for chocolate lovers, yogurt haters, gluten intolerants, paleo adherents and those looking for a different kind of plant-based protein powder. What’s more, if you study the labels of any of these products you won’t find any esoteric chemical additives or difficult to pronounce ingredients. In fact, each and every item listed below has a refreshingly simple composition. In other words, if you try any of these products, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting.
Food Find #1: Hope Foods Organic Dark Chocolate Spread (link)
The first ingredient in this decadent treat is organic garbanzo beans. But, you’d never know it by the taste. All your palate will register is a creamy, rich chocolaty flavor. Even a tablespoon or two will probably be enough to satisfy your sweet tooth. As importantly, your body will benefit from the health effects of enjoying organic cocoa regularly. Two recent studies reveal that dark chocolate intake reduces various cardiovascular risk factors and stress perception.
Food Find #2: Jarrow / Omega Nutrition Organic Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder (link)
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of essential fatty acids, fiber, minerals, phytochemicals and protein. This one-of-a-kind product removes the fat normally found in whole pumpkin seeds while carrying over all of the other beneficial components. You may be wondering why the world needs yet another protein source. Well, some people choose or need to avoid potentially allergenic proteins derived from dairy, eggs, peas, rice or soybeans. Additionally, there are those who may have other dietary or philosophical conflicts. For instance, followers of a Paleo lifestyle and vegans. Even if you don’t fall into any of these categories, there’s another reason to consider pumpkin seed protein: current studies report that pumpkin seeds may protect against health issues affecting older men including male pattern hair loss and urinary tract symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate.
Food Find #3: Elli Quark (link)
If kefir and yogurt are a bit too tart for your taste, meet quark! Elli Quark is milder and smoother than both of its cultured cousins. However, it still contains health promoting probiotics. Another benefit for those watching their weight is that each serving has only 80 – 90 calories while boasting an impressive 14 – 17 grams of protein. Factor in its low carb count (6 grams/per serving) and quark can be really appealing for dieters who tolerate dairy well. Another thing I like about this specific brand is that it features a creative array of natural flavors which are sweetened exclusively with erythritol and stevia.
Food Find #4: Mikey’s Muffins (link)
First off, I just want to say I like the simplicity of this product’s name! “I’m Mikey and this is my line of muffins!”. Having said that, what’s really commendable about this dairy-, gluten- and soy-free product line is its nutritional composition and taste. The original formula contains: eggs, almond flour, purified water, coconut flour, baking soda and kosher salt. There’s also a cinnamon-raisin and toasted onion flavor. The only ingredients added to the latter two are a touch of cinnamon, a few raisins and toasted onion flakes. That’s it! If you find making breakfast a challenge, consider trying these out with some added nut butter or Melt spread on top. And, for those of you who may still be weary of eating eggs or foods containing eggs, please note that the latest science refutes any link between egg consumption and cardiovascular damage. Plus, a recent trial demonstrated that including almonds in your diet lowers LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and fat accumulation in the abdomen and legs. The bottom line is there is nothing in this product to worry about and a lot to admire.
Food Find #5: Simple Mills Almond Flour Mixes (link)
Now that I’ve piqued your interest about almonds, let me introduce you to Simple Mills. In my opinion, it’s wonderful that there’s a growing list of products catering to consumers who can’t or don’t want to eat grains. The trouble is that many of these alternatives replace one problematic ingredient with a host of others – which are typically high in refined carbohydrates. Simple Mills skillfully avoids this trap. Their line of bake mixes is certified gluten-free, non-GMO and is relatively low on the glycemic index. There are a few savory options (artisan bread and pizza dough) and several sweet mixes such as chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin muffins and vanilla cake. As with the other brands listed above, the ingredient lists are short and understandable. When a sweetener is necessary, they opt for modest amounts of organic coconut sugar. Flax meal is included in some of the blends as well. I approve of this because ground flax has been shown to lower elevated blood pressure, cholesterol, inflammation and triglycerides in those at risk for cardiovascular disease.
Disclaimer: I was not compensated or paid in any way to endorse the items I’ve mentioned here today. I sampled several of the products directly on the show floor – Elli Quark, Mikey’s Muffins and Simple Mills. The folks at Hope Foods gave me a few samples of their chocolate spreads to try at home. Unfortunately, Jarrow Formulas didn’t have any pumpkin seed protein testers at the expo. So, I contacted them directly and they sent me a sample to try out – without any conditions attached. As always, I present my overview of Expo West 2015 in the hope that it will benefit you and those that you care about.
Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!
To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:
Study 1 – Effects of Chocolate Intake on Perceived Stress; A Controlled Clinical … (link)
Study 2 – Natural Cocoa Consumption: Potential to Reduce Atherogenic Factors? … (link)
Study 3 – Effects of Pumpkin Seed in Men with Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms … (link)
Study 4 – Pumpkin Seed Oil or Prazosin? Which One is Better in the Treatment … (link)
Study 5 – Effect of Pumpkin Seed Oil on Hair Growth In Men with Androgenetic … (link)
Study 6 – Association of Egg Consumption and Calcified Atherosclerotic Plaque … (link)
Study 7 – Influence of Resistance Training Combined with Daily Consumption … (link)
Study 8 – Flaxseed Consumption May Reduce Blood Pressure: A Systematic Review … (link)
Study 9 – Effect of Flaxseed on Blood Lipid Level in Hyperlipidemic Patients … (link)
Study 10 – Impact of Weight Loss Diet Associated with Flaxseed on Inflammatory … (link)
Pumpkin Seed Extract Improves Male Urinary Function
Source: J Tradit Complement Med. 2014 Jan;4(1):72-4. (link)
Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Nutritional Supplements