Tag Archives: Natural Products Expo East

ExpoFinds: Vegan Smart Shakes


When Vega came out on the market a few years ago, the world of vegan protein shakes was changed forever. Before that, you had limited options and most of them tasted  like sand mixed into your almond milk.

Meeting the folks from Naturade VeganSmart at EXPO, we wondered if their shake mix would hold up to Vega. And it DID! They even had a large chart on display, comparing their product to other various vegan protein companies, and VeganSmart was equal or better in nutrition, and better on price. Affordability goes a long way, too, especially since many folks have tight budgets and these kinds of products can be just too much to purchase. vegansmart_lrAround here, it’s a rare occasion when we actually drink vegan protein/nutrition shakes by themselves. We at least make a smoothie as a quick meal, and often, we use these mixes in recipes. And the folks at VeganSmart must feel the same way, since they have great recipes online like Oatmeal Chai Smoothies and No-Bake Chocolate Pie.

You know what else we like about VeganSmart? It’s **really easy to find** – like available at Vitamin Shoppes nationwide and at local grocers, like Safeway. That scores big points in our book. Of course, you can also buy it online, right on the VeganSmart website, too. These shakes come in Chai, Vanilla and Chocolate flavors. They are gluten free, soy free, trans-fat free, have fiber, are non-GMO and contain omega-3s and digestive enzymes.

We love this find from the Natural Products Expo East – and highly recommend it. We’ve used  Vegan Smart in several recipes (muffins, homemade energy bars, even raw no-bake cookies) and it’s wonderful! It’s also tasty just mixed into your almond milk, too, by the way. Nothing at all like sand.

ExpoFinds: Ener-C Drink Mix


When you roam the aisles of the Natural Products Expo East, there are hundreds of supplements vying for your attention. The small unassuming stand for Ener-C was lucky – they had a position on an end. So everyone got to see them and we’re glad about that, because their vitamin drink powders were wonderful!

First, don’t get confused, this is not the same company that makes Emergen-C. This is a small company, privately owned in Canada. Ener-C drinks mixes have B vitamins and potassium give you that non-caffeinated boost of energy without a crash.  B vitamins enable your body to generate energy naturally. And of course, as the name implies, there is 1000 mg of vitamin C as a mineral ascorbate mix that was designed for maximum absorption. Ener-C’s combination of vitamin C , Zinc , and vitamins A and E help maintain and build your immune system.


EnerC_lrWe noticed two things that made Ener-C stand out right away ~ first, it dissolved really well into water, which made it go down with no funny aftertaste or big glob of unmixed powder. That’s a big plus, but even more, it didn’t both either of our stomachs. With other vitamin powders, including Emergen-C, I often find they make me rush to the bathroom. But Ener-C went down and through my system smoothly. They were fizzy, but it wasn’t too much, because they didn’t make us feel burpy or gassy (without being too gross – sorry!).

I know, you’re thinking how can a vitamin drink be different – but it IS and you’ll know it right away, just like we did.

Ener-C comes in five flavors: Lemon Lime, Cranberry, Orange, Tangerine-Grapefriut and Raspberry. They are available at a variety of locations across the US and Canada, just check their retailers’ page. You can also request a FREE SAMPLE from their website, which is awesome! Here’s to your health ~ 🙂

ExpoFinds: Emmy’s Organics Macaroons


During our annual trip every summer to the Ithaca/Watkins Glen area, we always look forward to eating some Emmy’s Organics Macaroons. We usually pick them up at the Green Star Natural Foods Co-op. These little treats come in lots of flavors: Chai Spice, Chocolate Chili, Chocolate Orange, Coconut Vanilla, Dark Cacao, Lemon Ginger, Mint Chip, Mocha, Coconut Vanilla Chocolate Dipped, Dark Cacao Chocolate Dipped, and Chocolate Chip.

It’s tough to pick a favorite – it really depends on our moods and what we’re eating them with. If you have a hot cup of tea, Lemon Ginger, Chai Spice and Coconut Vanilla are perfect. But if you love chocolate like the Dirty Hippie, you’ve got the hook-up with Chocolate Chili, Chocolate Orange,  Dark Cacao, Mocha and Chocolate Chip.


We have no problem at all sitting down to eat and finishing two or three bags in one sitting. Emmy’s macaroons are delicious: flavorful and tender; sweet but not too sweet; wholesome but without tasting like health food. Yup – we look forward to Emmy’s macaroons every summer – so imagine how excited we were to see Emmy’s Organics with a huge display at EXPO – there were piles of her delicious macaroons (all are raw, vegan and gluten-free)! But there was so much more ~ superfood cerealschocolate sauce and fudge, as well as mini-macaroons and chocolate-dipped macaroons. The line from Emmy’s has really grown!

The company is named after co-founder Ian’s mom, Emmy. It was in Emmy’s kitchen that Ian and Samantha(the other co-founder) started cooking together after they met in 2008. This adorable 20-something couple both shared a passion for raw food, healthy eating and natural wellness. When they made Ian’s macaroon recipe together one night, they knew by the next morning they wanted to go into business and sell their coconut treats.

We’re so glad they did!!  Cuz these macaroons are darn delicious!! Emmy’s Organic Macaroons are already available at locations all over the country. Just use the store locator online to find a retailer near you. All of the products are also available online via Emmy’s website.

Oh – Samantha also keeps a blog we love – try her recipe for Mini Pumpkin Pies with Chai Spice Macaroons, or adorable Macaroon Ice Cream Sandwiches.

ExpoFinds: Ollois Dairy-Free Homeopathy


Homeopathy is a system of medicine where in like-cures-likeand has been in practice around the world for almost two centuries. For a variety of reasons, homeopathy is considered controversial, however, my personal experiences with homeopathy have been really positive. My only personal complaint about homeopathic remedies is that they are in lactose tablets – which means dairy and non-vegan.

But now, Ollois, a French company, is now making dairy-free homeopathic remedies in sugar pellets instead of lactose pellets. (These are tiny, by the way, it’s not like eating a piece of candy – so you don’t have to be concerned about too much sugar.)


Photo from Ollois Website

Ollois currently makes 45 vegan-friendly, dairy-free remedies for digestive upset, pain, skin troubles, stress, sleep disorders, ear/nose/throat, women’s issues and cold/flu maladies. You can log on and use Ollois’ chart to determine which remedy might be best for you. However, that said, we have had best success using homeopathy under the supervision of a trained homeopathic practicioner. In the Baltimore area, I trust Dr. Emily Telfair – she has taken great care of me over the years and is very sensitive to vegans. So if you want to work with Ollois rememdies, try to find a great practioner like her that will be aware of specific vegan needs.


Photo from Ollois Website


We found Ollois homeopathic remedies at the Natural Products Expo East. We haven’t needed to try any yet – thankfully – but when we get to try them, we will post an update. It’s very exciting though, to find vegan homeopathy!! Thanks Ollois!!!



Logo from Ollois Website

ExpoFinds: Color Garden Natural Food Colors


Because I am over the age of 7, usually the idea of adding artificial food colors to anything I plan to consume makes my skin crawl. Sure, when I was younger, bright blue seemed a good color for cupcakes and I loved “green grass” on top of my farm-themed birthday cake as a child. But now I steer clear of things with “red number whatever” and when I want to make a festive dish that asks for food colors, I usually just skip it. Anyone who has eaten one of my holiday cakes had it covered in plain vanilla or chocolate icing. Yep, no red or green… until I wandered into the Color Garden at EXPO.

Color Garden is 100% plant based, non-GMO, gluten-free, allergen free food colors. Based in California, Color Garden is poised to bring the fun back to baking, with natural colors that can be used right out of the box for royal icings, buttercream, sanding sugar, candy coatings, cocktails and more.


Because these food colors are natural, they do not stain. No need to stress when little girls smear bright red frosting all over their shirts – the color will easily wash out. And if you decide to taste colors straight out of the box, your purple tongue will disappear after a single teeth brushing.  Color Garden natural food colors avert complications some children  (and adults!) experience when they eat too much artificial color. No more worry about sensitivities to FD&C Red 40 or FD&C Yellow 5! That means no temper tantrums or asthma attacks from fake dyes.

What we really liked about Color Garden is the huge range available. Plus we didn’t need to mix the colors ourselves. There are other natural food color systems on the market, and I tried them once, but was turned off at the extra step (and very non-precise instructions!) on making various colors.  A lot of those looked muddy to me. With Color Garden, the bright natural colors are mixed for you and ready to use. Whew – a lot easier for novice decorators like me!

If you want to buy Color Garden food colors, you can currently get them online from their retail page. They have regular color sets, as well as holiday sets for Halloween, Christmas and Spring.

ExpoFinds: Virginia’s First Tea Farm


Tea is like the elixir of life around here. It is not unusual for me to consume 6 to 10 cups of tea every-single-day. No joke. My only moment of guilt with my green tea is that it travels sssoooooo far to get to me here in Baltimore. Until recently, I thought tea only grew in China and India. Turns out, tea also grows in the USA.

Virginia’s First Tea Farm was founded on the belief that nature’s way is the best way. Their tea is grown in Virginia! Seriously, I was amazed to find this out! I can get locally grown TEA? And in addition to matcha drinking tea, they also make personal care and cleaning products that harness the power of green tea.

These cleansers are effective, restorative, and kind to our bodies and the planet. Green tea’s anti-viral, anti-bacterial properties make it an ideal ingredient in household cleansers, while its antioxidants and anti-inflammatories enrich skin and hair with unique nourishment and vitality.

We got to try the Green Tea Castille Soap for face & body, as well as the Peppermint Shampoo-and-Conditioner All-in-one and their Grapefruit Shampoo-and-Conditioner All-in-one. The soap lathers up beautifully without being to drying or filmy. And the shampoo left our hair curly and soft. Love it!!!


 Virginia’s First Tea Farm products are American-made, all-natural, fully vegan and never tested on animals.  You can buy them online and feel great about it – they are natural, hard-working and grown in the USA – as well as vegan and cruelty-free.

Did we mention, they also make black tea soap, almond soap, dish detergent and laundry detergent?? Yep, Virginia’s First Tea Farm is not wasting any time – their awesome teas and tea products are out there and ready to save the world – one sip (or scrub) at a time! Glad we found this company at EXPO – we are going to be regular customers!!

ExpoFinds: ProTings Baked Crisps


If you’re vegan or vegetarian, you’ve heard it a million times: Where do you get your protein? Now, in addition to the usual answer you have (rolling your eyes, for example!) you can add another item to the list: CHIPS!

The good folks at ProTings have created a baked crisp (it’s a chip) with 15 grams of protein per serving. These crunchy snacks are vegan, gluten free and non-GMO. ProTings come in three flavors – chili lime, sea salt and tangy southern BBQ. We got to sample them all at the Natural Products Expo and each was tasty, but the chili lime won as our fave.



ProTings power comes from pea protein, flaxseeds and sunflower seed oil. We are big fans of pea protein – it’s showing up all over the place lately and is a wonderful alternative for those with soy concerns. You can read more about the ProTings ingredients, which are all recognizable, on their website.

To find these yummy crisps and munch on them yourself, visit the locations page on ProTings website. The company is based in New York and most of their distribution is in that region so far.

We hope that some big national chain, say Whole Foods or Wegman’s, picks these up. Cuz you know, we vegans need that protein. 😉


ExpoFinds: TracHealth Powdered Kombucha


Kombucha. If you even know what it is, you’ve got an opinion on it.  To those who are uninitiated, kombucha is fermented tea. Basically, it’s brewed tea with a sweetener, that is fermented by a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). Kombucha contains loads of beneficial probiotics and has been consumed around the world for more than a century.

The problem with kombucha, is that it comes only in heavy glass bottles and isn’t so great for travel.  We have sad stories about a bunch of glass kombucha bottles, falling out of the car and shattering during trips. But that’s all over. trachealth is a USA-based company that just introduced powdered kombucha.

trachealth kombucha comes in three flavors: Pear Ginger, Goji Berry and Acai Blueberry Pomegranate. It contains organic acids, probiotics, polyphenols and amino acids. Combined with fermented tea, this drink supports digestive health naturally.  Just add water, mix and enjoy.

tracBooch_lrBeing kombucha junkies (yes, we drink fresh-brewed kombucha literally every day!), we were skeptical that a powdered kombucha would stand up to the test for a devoted “boocher.”  We really liked trachealth’s kombucha, though!

It had the familiar tanginess of fresh kombucha and even got lightly fizzy. We tried the Pear Ginger and Acai Blueberry Pomegranate. Both were quite tasty and will be in our bag when we travel next!! These would also be great to keep in a desk drawer at work, or as an econmical kombucha alternative for those on a budget, since they are much cheaper per packet (about $1.25 per packet) than fresh bottles, which are $4 to $8 each! If you are new to kombucha, trachealth mixes would be a great way to get into the habit, both because they are economical and because the sweet fruity flavors will have a wider appeal than some of the fresh kombucha brewers’ earthy flavors, like “daikon root.”

trachealth uses plant-based, nutrient-dense superfoods in these drinks, and their products are made in the USA with 100% non-GMO, gluten-free ingredients. In addition to travel- and office-friendly powdered kombucha, they also make chia seed drinks and a chia nutrition bar.

Yep, we found this jewel of a company at the Natural Products Expo East. But where can you get your hands on these fizzy, delightful beverage mixes? You can buy boxes of kombucha and chia drink mixes directly from the trachealth website. Want to find a store near you? Check out their locator and look at your local Whole Foods, as several stores carry the trachealth line.

ExpoFinds: the Piping Gourmets Whoopie Pies


Did you ever wish your freezer was stocked with delicious, vegan, gluten-free, kosher, non-GMO whoopie pies? Seriously, why NOT? Especially with The Piping Gourmets making just such a product! When we were at EXPO, you could barely get next to this stand. We were literally in line to taste these little sweeties and the guy in front of me wasn’t just sampling – that dude was EATING one whoopie pie after the next. Geez! Well, I can’t pretend like I don’t get it. They were yummy!


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Photo from Piping Gourmets website

 The Piping Gourmets whoopie pies were small, not like the massive oversized ones you find at a bakery. The petite size makes them ideal for snacking and sharing with kids, though. They’re not TOO much, if that makes sense.

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Photo from Piping Gourmets website


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Photo from Piping Gourmets website


We also really liked the many flavors offered: chocolate/chocolate, chocolate/vanilla, chocolate/raspberry, chocolate/mint, vanilla/vanilla, and vanilla/lemon. The Dirty Hippie like chocolate/chocolate (of course!); my favorite was vanilla/lemon, which I think would be absolutely amazing as a treat with a cup of hot tea on a winter afternoon. Just pull one out of the freezer and thaw. Perfect! What a great snack for after school, too.


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Photo from Piping Gourmets website

These wonderful little whoopie pies are currently available at select Whole Foods Markets through the south-east US and Florida. Check the Piping Gourmets website to see where they might be available near you!

ExpoFinds: Choffy


Going through the many, many aisles of goodies at Natural Products Expo East, you see more than you can possibly remember. But it’s rare you run into something you cannot forget. Choffy was literally unforgettable.  Simply put, Choffy is brewed chocolate you drink. It’s not hot cooca or hot chocolate mix. It isn’t like Starbucks Drinking Chocolate. As the name implies, it’s more like coffee, but it’s Choffy. You brew it like coffee, with grounds of cocoa instead of coffee beans.

Started in 2006, Choffy’s founder Jason Vanderhoven was looking for a drink that tasted great and provided long-lasting enegry, but without the caffeine crash of coffee. He found it in 100% ground, roasted cocoa beans. Choffy is vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free. We love it and with the rich, elegant chocolate flavor, we didn’t need any sugar or creamer. The taste was initally thin, but after a moment and one inhale, it’s like you’re breathing in reallly good chocolate with complexity and earthiness.


Choffy_lrIn the cup, Choffy doesn’t look as dark as coffee or cocoa. The makers suggest using a French press if you want a darker, richer color or a stronger chocolate flavor.

Because Choffy is made entirely of cacão beans, there is a very small amount of caffeine naturally. It is about the same as about 1 oz. of dark chocolate. The energy boost that you feel from Choffy is from theobromine. This gentle stimulant provides you with a healthy energy lift by dilating the cardiovascular system, making the heart’s job easier. Theobromine does not negatively affect the nervous system, therefore delivers energy without the crash or other negative effects of caffeine.

Ready to brew a cup of chocolate? We sure are! To find Choffy, visit their locations page online, or buy directly from the website. They also have a recipes page online and there are great ideas to use Choffy, like these vegan, no-bake cookies!