Monday, March 9, 2009

A Glimpse of the Natural Products Expo

This past Friday and Saturday I attended the annual Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, CA. It is the premier trade show for natural, organic, holistic and healthy products. Many years ago Expo West was a small show for hippies who ran health food stores. With the explosive growth of the natural products industry, today it is a huge trade show attracting over 52,000 industry professionals (manufacturers, buyers and retailers) who attend to find the best products of the industry today and the up and coming trends of the future. After attending this show for many years, I have become an advocate for natural and organic products. I believe we can improve our health by eating that foods that are minimally processed, and made without artificial preservatives, chemicals or additives. I try to buy organic foods because I want to avoid pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones or bio-engineered ingredients in my foods. I attend this show to increase both my professional and personal knowledge of the industry, and to expand my horizons as well. Since I know some competitors follow this blog, I certainly won't disclose all the interesting things I learned that pertain to my job (that would bore you to tears anyway). Instead I'll share a few silly photos for you. For instance, take this photo above left. I was drawn into the "Pirate’s Booty" booth by these two models dressed as pirates. Pirate's Booty is air-puffed rice and corn with white cheddar cheese. They were so much fun, I'll give them a plug. They also make Veggie Booty, Smart Puffs, Tings, Dude’s Chips, Chaos, Antique Potato Chips, Soy Crisps, Awesome Party Chips, and Blue Organic Tortilla Chips. Of course, I took the opportunity to sample each of these at the booth....mmmm.

above: Some of the vendors at this show go all out and have interesting displays in their booths. This vendor had a tree with colorful lanterns hanging overhead.
And Now For Something Completely Bizarre...Ear Candles.
I stumbled on a booth that was demonstrating something called ear candles. I took a photo of this woman in the booth who was demonstrating the ear candles on some man. Out of curiosity, I went to the website of the company who makes these ear candles. Here is how they explain what ear candles are (this directly from their website, so I want to credit this explanation as their own words): "Ear candles function as an energetic modality comparable to the fields of reflexology and acupuncture. These modalities encourage healing as the body shifts from a sympathetic to a parasympathetic state within the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Many practitioners believe that this shift in the ANS enables healing within the ear, sinus and lymphatic systems. The vortex pattern occurring inside of the ear candle in conjunction with the warm compressed air into a highly stressed nervous system initiates the flow of energy, that serves as a catalyst that shifts the body into a relaxed state. This encourages the lymphatic system, sinuses, and Eustachian tubes to begin healing itself. This shift in the human body’s autonomic nervous system from a sympathetic to a parasympathetic state is well known in the fields of reflexology and acupuncture." Far be it for me to pass judgement, but this was a little strange.
How About a Gluten-Free, Wheat Free Wedding Cake?

above: A team of bakers assemble, frost and decorate a fabulous chocolate wedding cake that was gluten and wheat free. Everything they sampled was so delicious!
A Throw Back to the Past...

above: I thought this was fun. It's a hippie puppet driving a VW bus with his dog in the passenger seat. In a way, it was an homage to time when you could only find these products in small health food stores. Today natural and organic stuff can be found virtually everywhere. Maybe the hippies were right all along, just ahead of their time.
-Rick Rockhill


Anonymous said...

Before Christmas I sampled that Pirate's booty stuff. wasn't bad...Ear candling gives me the willies... too chicken to try it.

lime said...

the hippies were right about tie dye too....hehehehehe

thanks for sharing.

snowelf said...

This looked like so much fun! And how cute are the pirates!!

Did you get yourself an ear candle?? ;)


jackie said...

the gluten free wedding cake looks fabulous. my sister has allergies to gluten so I know all about that.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

rick funny thing, i got my hair done this week and they now do ear candling there as well...

smiles, bee

Mags said...

I'm trying to eat more consciously these days in every regard which has translated into more organic products. However, more than organic I try to eat locally grown foods in the spring/summer from the farmers markets. I think it's important to do that. Especially these days.

I've actually always wanted to try candling. As gross as it sounds, I find great satisfaction out of seeing the gross stuff that you've just taken off of/out of your body. Like those pore strips-I'm always amazed with them. I think candling would be the same way.

whimsical brainpan said...

I have heard of ear candles to remove excess wax from your ears but the ones you talked about are new to me.

Sounds like it was an interesting time.

© Karelian Blonde said...

I have been "ear candled" and it actually made me feel better in my head. It makes a sound like a woosh deep in your head and was not unpleasant.

But as for any health benefits...

Olivia said...

I've never got around to trying Pirate's Booty though I do like original new snacks. Maybe the whole pirate thing put me off.

Anyhoo, I've tried ear candling and it did NOT work. In fact it made it worse - it melted my own ear wax and instead of drawing it out, impacted it deeper in so I had to buy Otex (a hydrogen peroxide based ear wax remover) to get it out, which worked perfectly.

I've also tried gluten free cake from Whole Foods and it was delicious, as you say.

Desert Songbird said...

Trader Joe's sells the Pirate Booty (under their own label, of course). My kids love them!


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