By Beth Lipton
Imagine a massive convention center filled with booth after booth of healthy products, milling around with fellow health-obsessed people, tasting, trying, and generally geeking out over wellness.
If this sounds like heaven to you, we’re right there with you—which is why we attended this year’s Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore. Though there were dozens and dozens of interesting, delicious, innovative products, we narrowed the deluge down to the 12 that we found most exciting, memorable, and, well, tasty. Here are our picks, along with some hints about what trends to expect in 2019.
These decadent treats feature that small-batch feel, with a soft, cakey texture, a crunchy pecan topping, and a honey-kissed-but-not-too-sweet flavor. You won’t believe they’re made from just a handful of clean, Paleo-certified ingredients (which means they’re gluten- and grain-free, non-GMO and made without refined sugar).
Read it: How to Bake Like a Paleo Pro
Snackers, rejoice: These colorful chips bring the crunch in a big way, but they’re dehydrated instead of fried, so you get more of the beets’ abundant nutrients. These vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free snacks come in Naked, Sea Salt and Coconut Sugar & Cinnamon varieties—but the Pickled flavor was our fave, with a unique, addictive tang that kept us coming back for more.
3. Trend alert #1: Functional beverages.
Already a kombucha devotee? You’ll love what’s coming up in the world of healthy beverages. We sipped tons of drinks at Expo East promising to do everything from support detoxification and aid digestion to boost brain and gut health.
A few standouts:
Dr. Mercola Organic Keto Cider: Apple cider vinegar is already a staple in our kitchens, and now it’s even easier to get a daily dose. It’s already mixed with blueberry concentrate and a little honey, so it’s easy to just take a shot of it, and it has turmeric and ginger for even more benefits.
Evolution Fresh Organic Kombucha: This brand is using their flavorful cold-pressed juices in six flavors of kombucha, including Mango Pineapple, Ginger Lemon Honeycrisp, and Spicy Greens.
Vermont Village: We already loved this brand’s unique Apple Cider Vinegar shots—they’re cleverly packaged in convenient, easy-to-carry packets to tear open and shoot or add to water. Now they’ve added bottled sipping vinegars to keep in your fridge, too.
Flora Health Apple Cider Vinegar Wellness Shots: Combine your apple cider vinegar with Flora Health’s detoxing herb blend for an added boost.
Clear Cut Phocus: If sparkling water is your jam, this one’s for you. With tasty flavors like Grapefruit, Blood Orange and Cucumber, zero added sugar or sweeteners, and a natural boost from tea-extracted caffeine (the same amount as a cup of coffee) and the relaxation-promoting amino acid L-Theanine, it’s a refreshing way to boost focus and feel great while getting hydrated.
4. Pan’s Mushroom Jerky: Here’s a product both vegans and Paleo devotees can agree on. It’s jerky… made from shiitake mushrooms. So you get that satisfyingly chewy texture, and amazing flavors (hello, Applewood BBQ, Zesty Thai and Sea Salt & Pepper)—plus, they’re gluten- and soy-free, rich in fiber, and made without refined sugars or low-quality oils. We bet even avowed mushroom-haters will love them.
Read it: Why You Need to Eat More Shrooms
5. Caulipower’s Sweet Potatoasts: While we’re talking vegetables, let’s chat for a sec about the super-trend #SweetPotatoToast. Though we love it in theory, making it can be a pain in the… well, let’s just say it can be a lot of trouble to get it right. Too thick and it’s mushy, too thin and it burns easily. Ugh. Well, Caulipower has taken all the hassle out of sweet potato toast. Their frozen slices are cut to the perfect thinness and ready to toss in the toaster oven, so you’re seconds away from a healthy sweet potato-based breakfast or snack.
6. Trend alert #2: Cassava.
Gluten-free folks and Whole30-ers may be familiar with this mild flour. It’s made from dried cassava (a.k.a. yucca) root, so it’s grain- and nut-free, and it works well as a wheat flour substitute. Cassava products abounded at Expo East, which means you’ll be seeing them in force in your local health-food store. Two we loved: Bob’s Red Mill cassava flour, in 20- and 36-oz. bags, so convenient for baking and breading. Also, Mikey’s Tortillas, another vegan and paleo friendly product, are made with a cassava/coconut flour combo and are perfect for tacos, quesadillas and other tortilla-based dishes.
Read it: Why Yuca Should Love Cassava
7. Cave Shake: It was the end of the day and we had eaten and sipped ourselves silly, and thought we couldn’t sample another thing (#thestruggleisreal), when we happened upon the booth for Cave Shake. We took a swig (#journalism) and, in a word, wow. This paleo, keto, vegan coconut milk-based treat tastes every bit as luscious and decadent as what you’d get in an ice cream shop, but it’s low carb, sugar- and dairy-free and contains no more than 6 ingredients, whether you go for Vanilla, Chocolate or Coffee.
Hungry for more?
- 8 Things We Loved at Natural Products Expo West
- 3 Trendy Superfoods This Doctor Actually Uses
- Sneak Peek: Health Trends and New Food Products