Whitney Lauritsen just came back from The Natural Products Expo in Philadelphia. She got to try a lot of very unique and delicious plant-based products like Strive Milk, Good Sam, New Breed, and so much more. Listen in to this episode to find out which brands stood out for her so you can be on the lookout the next time you go shopping.
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New Plant-Based, Earth-Friendly Food And Drinks
Once again, I am going to talk about the Natural Products Expo. It’s interesting that over the years of doing this show, I’ve talked about the Fancy Food Show. That might have been the first trade show I mentioned on this show. That was in January 2020, right before the pandemic started. In March 2020, the Natural Products Expo that happens on the West Coast was canceled due to COVID very last minute. Jason, who was the cohost of the show back then, did this live episode, and it’s interesting to look back on because I didn’t even know how to refer to COVID at the time.
I think it was called the Coronavirus, and then people started calling it COVID. It was a whole different time. My mindset on COVID has shifted so much over time but that’s not what this episode is about. Expo East, as they call it for short, which happens on the East Coast every September, was canceled in 2020. I’ve done episodes on the expo once. It started again last year.
In this episode, I’m going to talk about my favorite products that I found, what the experience was like, and give you an overview of what’s to come and what’s trending. This is in the natural products world. I focus on plant-based products. I’m also going to mention things that are gluten-free, keto or low-sugar. These are the items I’m very drawn to. I’m also going to share some sweets and things that I don’t eat that frequently but enjoy indulging in, some items that are not even on shelves yet.
Some items that maybe have been around and perhaps you’ve never heard of before. This is going to cover food and beverages. I think a little body care, although, at this show, I tend to focus a lot on the food side of things. Beverages are big this year, and I have a few to bring up. As a little side note, I am amazed that I haven’t had a ton of downtime, even though I have been traveling for almost a few months. I thought I would get out here to my parent’s house and be super chill, relax, and have all this spare time to catch up on work. Right before I started recording this episode, I was feeling anxious because there’s more to do now than I wish there were. I wish that I could lay around and do nothing.
Now granted, I do spend as much time doing nothing as possible. For example, after I finish recording this, I’m going to go lay in the hammock at my parents’ house. It’s a crisp pre-rain fall day, and I want to savor that because I’m going to be leaving here, which is the first week of October. I’m trying to take in that fall East Coast feeling and spend as much time doing nothing as possible.
It doesn’t have much to do with this episode, aside from the fact that I wish that I could catch up quicker on getting these videos up on YouTube. As I’ve mentioned, one of the sponsors of this show has been Zencastr, and thanks to them, they have made it easier. They don’t fully do the work for you. I still need to go back to a year’s worth of videos and produce them, as it’s called.
Turn them into nice-looking videos and then bring them over to YouTube and upload them. The blog titles and descriptions are already done but create the thumbnail. It’s a lot of work. That will come, and I mostly want to be transparent with that because episodes like this are neat because you could treat them like a hall, I suppose. With no further ado, let’s dive in.
What Is The Natural Products Expo?
I’m not going to go into any particular order with the products. If there is an order, it’s the order in which I tried things. The first thing I want to shout out is one of my favorite things from the whole trade show. First of all, to give some context. If you’ve never heard me talk about the Natural Products Expo, let me explain what it is. It is an industry-only trade show for people who work in the natural products world. I attend as a member of the press. For me, I’m looking for products that I can recommend to people like you.
I do not get paid to go and don’t have to pay anything to get in. A lot of people ask, “How can I go to this show?” You have to work in the industry. You could do that through social media influencing, blogging, podcasting or any type of work that qualifies as media. They do have a threshold for how many followers you have to make sure that you are legitimate and not some person gaming the system.
You can also go in if you are a retailer, a traditional journalist or you are working with a brand. There are all different categories, and you can check them out on the Natural Products Expo websites. There’s one for Expo East, ExpoEast.com, which is the one I’m referring to in this episode. That has been happening in Philadelphia. It used to happen in Baltimore.
ExpoWest.com is for the Western version of the trade show, which is in Anaheim, California. I try to go to both events every year because I love trying new things. I love talking about it but I do want to mention something important when it comes to recommending products. Much of my work has been rooted in being mindful of sustainability. I don’t want to encourage you to over-consume, and that’s a huge drawback.
Even though the Natural Products Expo does prioritize sustainability as best, it can. There’s so much waste. The waste is interesting because when I walk into this trade show, my brain automatically switches into this almost gluttonous mode where I want to consume. I feel this intensity within myself. Maybe it’s a natural human desire to forage, pillage or grab as much as possible. I have to check myself a lot.The Natural Products Expo prioritizes sustainability as best it can, but there's still so much waste. So try not to overconsume. Click To Tweet
I have to notice what things are important and what things align with my values and my body. A little side note is that I’m having a food reaction to something I must have had. It’s because I’m sensitive to foods. A lot of times when I go to these shows, I prioritize taste over health, I guess. I end up leaving, not feeling so great. Being intentional about what we buy, what we eat or what we consume in general is so important for our health, the environment, and our money too.Being intentional about what you buy and consume is so important for your health. Click To Tweet
I also want to be so transparent to think through these purchases, “Do you need these? Do you want them? Is this something that you want to spend your money on?” The benefit, especially with the products I tend to be drawn to, is that a lot of them are small businesses. You can support an entrepreneur. You can’t support somebody who’s super passionate about these products. I’m going to tell some stories about the people that I’ve met behind each one, and you can look at their website to see what missions they have and what packaging they use. Get as much information about transparency as possible.
On that note, another thing that I loved about this particular show, I mentioned how beverages were big this year. There are so many different drinks of all categories. There were also a lot of businesses from people of color, from women, which stands out because in the past, when I have been to these events, they felt dominated by White people and a lot of men, a lot of older businessmen.
It hasn’t felt as focused on small businesses, mission-driven businesses, and companies that care about sustainability. I am seeing a shift, and this particular event is a great opportunity to see what’s up and coming. With no further ado, let me start talking about some of the products, and I will share the stories along the way.
Afar, New Breed, Olipop’s Dr. Goodwin, Pinky Up’s Boba Tea, Yondu, And HRBVOR
The first one was one of the first things I tried at the show, which was four days long. The first day was a Wednesday, and I sampled a product that was a savory protein bar. I’ve had a few of these over time but this one stands out as being unique. It’s called Afar. I loved it so much. The company has four different flavors that I got to try. I was drawn to Japanese Miso, which has miso, sesame, ginger, and rice vinegar as flavors.
It is full of protein and not very high in sugar. It’s vegan. It’s described as crunchy and light, gluten-free. It even says at the back, POC-owned. I met the founder. He’s an Asian man and was kind. I love the packaging too. It’s absolutely beautiful. The Japanese Miso has this pretty purple and pink packaging with a mountain on it. It’s fantastic. It was 10 out of 10, as they say.
The next brand is also owned by a POC family. This is a Black family that owned this business, and it’s called New Breed. They make fantastic burgers but with this picture I took, they also have plant-based chicken, which I did not try. It looks like they are focused on plant-based beef and chicken products, and their burgers were delicious.
They say in the packaging, “Nutritiously delicious.” New breed, and I hope that they will be easy to find. I think that Afar company will offer the products online. New Breed, though, is a refrigerated or frozen product. My fingers are crossed that they show up in the store soon. I love them. I’m drooling thinking about them.
A brand that I have been familiar with and the first beverage brand that I will mention is Olipop’s new flavor, Dr. Goodwin. It was supposed to be like a Dr Pepper. Their whole line is sodas that support digestive health, and they have prebiotics, botanicals, and plant fiber. They are delicious. They have a fantastic flavor, and I was excited to try that new one.
Another drink that impressed me because I love boba tea is these tea bags, not a powder, not a can but bags of tea from Pinky Up. That makes sense because when you drink tea, your pinky finger goes up. The box said boba tea on it, so I walked over and asked what it was all about. They packaged the tea in bags with these little tiny tapioca pearls. Like regular tea bags, you put it in hot water, and it infuses it with the boba tea flavor.
They have a Mochi Ice Cream Boba, Butterfly Tea Boba, Mango Guava, and Brown Sugar, which tastes like a classic Boba tea. Their packaging is also beautiful. The woman that was representing them was so nice. I got high vibes from them and a bunch of packets. I haven’t had them since the show but I can’t wait to have them again. I’m probably going to add in my own tapioca pearls, which by the way, there was a company at the show. I’m pretty sure they make the instant boba tea that you can get in the frozen section of Trader Joe’s. If you haven’t tried it yet, it is so good. Very sweet and sugary but has a perfect boba texture. All you do is boil the packets and water.
Maybe you can microwave them too. I’ve only done the water method, and you add that into whatever milk, tea or even coffee that you want. It comes with a straw, which I don’t really like because there are all these plastic straws in there when you could use a reusable boba tea straw. The company that produces them for Trader Joe’s was at the show, and they had taro flavors and all these different types of boba tea. It was so good.
I’m not going to mention their name because these companies have to be secretive about whether or not they supply Trader Joe’s. It’s weird because then Trader Joe’s puts their own label on it, and it’s agreed upon. I guess Trader Joe’s doesn’t want people to know what the actual brand is. That’s what I’ve heard at least.
The next product that impressed me was Yondu. It’s a vegetable, umami, and all-purpose savory seasoning. It’s organic in a glass bottle. It’s pretty sustainable packaging. All you need is a teaspoon of this stuff, and it turns into this fantastic broth. When I tried it, I was blown away. Did I mention that you put it in water? That tiny teaspoon you put into some hot water and instant broth. I love the packaging too. It has an hourglass shape to it that’s super appealing, and I can’t wait to have more. They gave me a bottle to take home, and I’m waiting for a good opportunity to use it again.
The other brand that I will mention was not vegan, I didn’t realize that when I tried it. It contains honey. I got so caught up with the label and the woman, the founder, telling me the story of the brand that I didn’t even check the ingredients and then later realized it was honey in it, which I don’t typically consume. It’s worth mentioning for those of you who do consume honey. It’s this company that I don’t fully know how to pronounce. It’s spelled Hrbvor. It’s an herbivore. They are sparkling and flat teas.
They came in two different forms with three flavors. One’s called Focus, which has tulsi, rosemary, sage, and basil. The next is Calm with chamomile, lemon balm, passion flower, lemon grass, and butterfly peas. It’s pretty. The third is Revive with hibiscus, Moringa, and lemongrass. Another product that’s making me drool thinking about them. Their flavors were unlike anything I’ve tried in that form before. It was so good, and their packaging was beautiful too.
De Soii, Mocktail Club, Aserossi, Wicked Kitchen
Another beverage brand that was part of a big trend I’ve seen in the last two years of the Natural Products Expo is alcohol alternatives. These are going to become more important for me because alcohol seems to be impacting me in a negative way. I shared a can of beer with my friend Elizabeth. It was a gluten-free beer but I’ve noticed every time I drink that beer that I have a bad reaction. I’m not 100% sure if it’s the beer or something I’m pairing with the beer but it seems that alcohol is impacting me. I’m getting that hunch. I don’t need to drink alcohol, and I also don’t like alcohol for the buzz.
I like alcohol for the flavor or the experience. Why wouldn’t I drink a non-alcoholic product that still gives me great flavor and experience? I have a number of them to share with you that I’m going to dabble in here. This brand is spelled De Soi. The flavors were wonderful, and the packaging was absolutely beautiful.Some people don't like alcohol for the buzz. They like it for the flavor and the experience. Click To Tweet
There are a few. I’m going to mention two. One of them is Mocktail Club. They have a line of four flavors of canned premium-crafted non-alcoholic cocktails. I’m holding one called Bombay Fire, which is pomegranate tea and chili peppers made with all-natural ingredients and flavors. Superfruit with antioxidants, simple and clean ingredients, caffeine-free. It’s 27% juice.
It’s pretty high in sugar content but so worth it. I’m also drooling, thinking about the flavors. They were fantastic. They have flavors from around the world too, which was neat. They are lightly sparkling. I believe also owned by a Black woman, and she was super nice. She was the owner. She was a fantastic rep for the brand, and I had a very positive experience.
Another brand that doesn’t fully count as an alcohol alternative but is something that you compare with alcohol or have on its own is this tree water brand called Asarasi. They have a sparkling tonic, which a lot of people use to make cocktails. You could pair this with an alcohol-free spirit. In the past, I’ve talked about Seedlip. I also love this other brand. They were at the expo.
There are companies that make these wonderful spirits that have all the great complex flavors of something like whiskey or vodka, and you can add them to drinks like a tonic. This one was neat because it’s in a glass bottle. They also have canned versions. It’s USDA organic, and there’s zero sugar, sodium or calories. It has an absolutely wonderful flavor. It’s very hard to find delicious sugar-free tonic water, and this one blew me away. They have a whole line of sparkling beverages made from tree water.
Speaking of sustainability, this company was interesting because the woman there was sharing with me how a huge percentage of the product is wasted when people are making maple syrup. It was something like 80% or 90% of what comes out of the trees when they are tapped from maple syrup is wasted because it goes through some sort of process. It wasn’t a steam process. It was like reverse osmosis or something like that is how they make maple syrup.80% to 90% of what comes out of the trees when they're tapped for maple syrup is wasted. Click To Tweet
It’s separating the water from the syrup, and so much water is often discarded. This company partners with maple syrup brands and buys water from them. The maple syrup brand is making money and thus also becoming more sustainable by selling it to this company, and they can make all these delicious flavors. I thought that was a cool story and process to learn about.
I have some more non-alcoholic products to share too. There were a number of plant-based ice creams at the show. One that’s brand new is from a company I love called Wicked Kitchen. The Wicked Healthy is the brand from Chad and Derek Sarno, who I’ve known for years. They are amazing men and incredible plant-based chefs. They have a new line of these plant-based ice creams coming out.
I have to say I didn’t love it because this is brand new, and I only tried one flavor. It was the birthday cake flavor. I heard the guy that was sampling that was like, “That’s not my favorite one,” but I didn’t have the room to eat more. That’s part of the challenge at these expos. With literally over a thousand brands at these expos, you get so full, even if you are just having a bite of samples. I want to try this product again because I believe in what they are doing.
Speaking of Wicked Kitchen, I also tried their Bourguignon, which is one of their ready-to-eat products. Hearty chickpeas and mushroom stew with sweet potatoes and fried onion, slow cook to perfection. You put this in the microwave. I didn’t have access to a microwave, so I took it out of the container and hit it up on the stove. I had it for dinner one of the nights after the show, and it was really good. I cannot digest chickpeas very well, so sadly, I can’t have products like this very often but the taste was fantastic. They make some great products that you just add water to. They are wonderful for travel and camping. I think Wicked Kitchen does a fantastic job overall.
NadaMoo, Evolved, Rind, Carbonaut, And Sparrow
Speaking of ice cream, this one overshadows Wicked Kitchen because it is unique and delicious. NadaMoo! who’s known for wonderful plant-based ice creams, now has a frozen snack, as they call it. It’s almost like a mochi ice cream. I don’t know what the outside is because it wasn’t rice. It might have been like pee protein. I’m not sure.
I don’t have the ingredients in front of me, but there were these little ice cream balls covered in some sort of d delicious ingredients, and their salted caramel was amazing. Frozen pop in your mouth. Chewy, as it says, creamy and delicious all in one bite is how they market it. There are only six per bag, which is probably a great thing, and they were a good size, so you could have one and feel satisfied.
I love things like that because sometimes I don’t want to eat a whole bowl of ice cream. I only want a little taste. I’m going to buy those. Speaking of things, I can’t wait to buy and would put in my top 10 or top 5 products at the show. It is from the company Evolved. They make some of my favorites, if not right now, my number one favorite vegan keto sweet treat. I love their little bites, I guess they call them or wait. They are like peanut butter cups. They have this new Brownie Batter flavor.
I have one but it doesn’t have a label on it. It’s white vegan chocolate on the outside, and on the inside, this unbelievable chocolate brownie. It’s up there, and they were so nice at the booth. Something I notice a lot when I go to these trade shows is that I’m really sensitive to people’s energy. If the people at the booths are rude or they don’t care or are not passionate and not the founders, you can have such a bad experience with the brand but the brands that have amazing people on their team make me love the products even more. Evolved was one of those examples.
Another great example that happens to be next on my list is a plant-based cheese company called Rind, which I did not realize was run by this amazing man I’ve known for years named Joshua Katcher. I don’t know if he’s still in the fashion space but you have to look him up if you don’t know him. He has done amazing work and running a men’s vegan fashion line, which, again, off the top of my head, I don’t know if he’s still doing it or if this brand, Rind, is his main focus. He makes these gourmet cheeses along with his cofounder, and they are beautiful. The packaging is stunning. They feel very luxurious and delightful. They are a nice splurge. If you want to impress someone you want to get fancy with a vegan cheese plate, you definitely got to try this brand.
Next up are products from Carbonaut, which makes plant-based keto-friendly products. They have a gluten-free and gluten-full line. It’s all 1 line but 2 different options. I didn’t realize that they had a low-carb pizza crust. I have not seen it in stores yet. They also have a low-carb, gluten-free vegan tortilla, and I’ve tried their bagels before. They have a new lemon blueberry flavor that was fantastic. I love their bread.
Personally, it’s hard for me to enjoy because the bread contains a little bit of corn starch, and I’m super sensitive to corn. They are bagels, and I believe the pizza crust and maybe also the tortillas. At least two of those products don’t have any corn in them or maybe it depends on the flavor. Double check the label but I was excited to learn that because I thought all their products had corn but that’s not true. The flavors are great. The textures are amazing. I loved the whole experience of that brand, and I’m so excited when companies like that come out with new flavors.
One of my other absolute favorites, and I’m thinking this might have been my favorite product from the entire show, is from Spero. They are known for making these sunflower cheeses. They are cheese dips or spreads. They have a pita egg alternative pumpkin seed egg. It looks a lot like JUST Egg if you are familiar with that. There are also a few other brands making similar products from mung beans, which, if you are sensitive to legumes like me, are a little harder to digest.
This tastes even better than JUST Egg. Plus, it has no soy, no nuts, no eggs, no dairy, no sugar, no gluten, and no canola ingredients. It’s only seven ingredients. I don’t have the bottle in front of me unfortunately because it’s not available yet. They said it’s coming out in January 2023 but it is full of proteins, zinc, and iron. You can scramble it, turn it into an omelet or do whatever you want to do with an egg. It had an incredible texture and flavor, and it’s also keto. I kept going back there to try more samples. It hit the spot.
Pop Time Creations, Mighty Young, Indian Run, And Ayurvedic
Something on the opposite end of the spectrum is this popcorn from Poptime Creations. They have a Hot Cocoa & Marshmallow flavor gourmet popcorn. I looked at that and thought, “There is no way to be vegan.” It turned out it is vegan and gluten-free. I mentioned I’m sensitive to corn, so I rarely ever eat popcorn. I couldn’t resist this. I had to try. It blew my mind.Pop Time Creation's hot cocoa marshmallow flavor gourmet popcorn, and it's vegan and gluten-free. Click To Tweet
I brought back a bag from my sister. We sat on the couch after the show, eating it and watching some TV shows. She was amazed too. It looks really good but still somehow happens to taste even better than it looks. If you are into popcorn, I highly recommend it. They had other flavors but I was so distracted by this one flavor. I don’t even remember what the others were.
Something that felt unique because there weren’t a ton of kid products there that I saw is this brand called Mighty Yum, which makes plant-based versions of Lunchables. It’s so incredibly cute. They did not have any gluten-free options, which I heard they have been struggling to find the right bread or crackers but they come with pepperoni and cheese. They have a “ham and cheese” lunch kit, a Turkey and cheese, and pepperoni pizza. They have super cute packaging.
They are passionate about the plant-based mission, and I thought, “For a kid to have access to something like that, that’s so incredibly cool.” I don’t know what the price point was. I always remember growing up, Lunchables seemed expensive. I guess compared to buying the individual ingredients and making it at home, they probably were but as a kid, Lunchables seemed like the coolest thing. To have a brand that’s making a plant-based version is amazing.
A company that blew me away energetically. I felt they were kind and passionate. It seemed like a small business. It was Indian-run because they make a line of shelf-stable Indian foods, and I have one to show here. I tried a few of their flavors, and one is dahl, which means it’s lentil-based. It’s pronounced Ghar ki dahl tempered petite yellow beans. You put this in a pressure cooker or you can cook it on the stove, although the packaging encourages you to use some sort of pressure cooker.
All you do is add water to it, and it’s ready in 10 to 15 minutes. Each box has 3 to 4 servings. Although when I took this home and made it, I ate the entire thing for dinner, and it was amazing. It was vegan, gluten-free, zero preservatives, non-GMO, all-natural, and full of protein. They had all different dishes. They had some seasoned rice and fenugreek rice. They had another dahl. It looked like four out of the products they had were dahls, and two were rice. I loved the people that ran the business. They were radiant.
Another company, an Indian brand, that’s Ayurvedic and also in my top products. I’ve mentioned 3 or 4 of my top favorite brands. This would fall into that category. Yoga Pops from Route to India. They have popped water lily seeds inspired by Ayurveda. They have the Truffle Tantra, Pitta, and Kapha. It’s energy-balancing, all vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, no preservatives, nut-free and grain-free. It’s also making me drool. These blew me away.
I tried a masala. I don’t know if it was a curry masala or if the curry was separate. I tried three flavors. I absolutely loved this truffle. When I met the founder, she said, “Maybe your Ayurveda constitution is Pitta or Kapha like it says right here on the packaging. You could choose the constitution for Ayurvedic, whatever you need. Do you need more fire or Earth in your life? That makes sense. I’m a fiery person but I don’t remember the whole Ayurvedic element.
Let’s see on the back here. It should say. The one that contains truffle mushrooms is high in antioxidants and good for the immune system. The cooling and soothing quality of the mushrooms help balance the Pitta fire element and uplift the Kapha Earth element. I’m glad I read this because I knew I wasn’t getting that right. Also, part of their profits goes towards the education of children in rural India. Again, brands that have a mission, I’m so drawn to them but if it happens to taste good too, that’s checking off all the boxes.
Big Mountain, La Croix’s Cherry Blossom, Chi, And Strive
The next one was smoked soy-free tofu from a brand that I enjoy called Big Mountain. They make the most incredible soy-free products. One of them is made from lion’s mane mushrooms which is a crumble. It’s so good. This soy-free tofu was made with fava beans. I love the smokey flavor, and another thing that’s making me drool thinking back on it. I will be buying this as soon as I see it in stores. It hits the spot. Soy is one of those things that tend to irritate me. Beans, as I mentioned, generally do but these felt lighter and easier for me to digest.
An unexpected product since, in general, I don’t love this brand is LaCroix. It is nice and fine. I have it when it’s available but I don’t go out of my way to buy it. An exception is some of their flavors. I love their LimonCello flavor that came out a few years ago, and they have a new flavor that blew me away. It’s their Cherry Blossom. It had such a unique complex flavor.
I don’t even know how to describe it unless I opened up this can but I’m saving it. I’m savoring it because I don’t think it’s available. I haven’t seen it in stores yet but I will probably buy it when I do. If you are a huge LaCroix fan, I highly recommend it. If you like their LimonCello, it’s right in line with that. It feels really special, and it’s pink. I’m very drawn to this shade of pink. It’s like that rose quartz, rose gold, light pink. It has this whole experience.
A brand that surprised me because of how unique it is is called CHi. They make plant-based soy and gluten-free product from sacha inchi seeds. It’s so loaded with protein, also keto and paleo-friendly. It has really basic ingredients and is organic. The founder is so nice and positive. They are in the frozen section. I have not seen them in stores but I believe she said they are going to be in Sprouts.
It’s another product I would buy. I can’t wait to find it because, again, with my food sensitivities and my preference for low-carb foods, it’s hard to find something that has a good texture and flavor. I often end up buying Beyond Meat but that kind of upsets my stomach. Beyond Meat also has some ingredients in it that I don’t feel great about. Having an option like this makes me so excited.
Another product in my top 5 to 10 products of the entire show is called Strive. This is interesting because it goes against some of the things I said. This brand has a fairly long ingredient list for plant-based milk but when I find something that tastes great, hits the spot, and is low-carb, I feel like I can justify some of the ingredients. Again, that’s what I have been doing with Beyond Meat for a long time. It’s because of my food preferences and needs, I’ve gone to be on meat over and over again to satisfy my desire for a really good plant-based meat.
That’s how I feel about Strive, which is making this fabulous plant-based milk. It’s called Free Milk, and that stands for Animal-Free Milk. It’s made with Perfect Day, which is the Beyond Meat of the dairy world. I don’t know if they have the info on it on the back but from my understanding, Perfect Day is crafting this whey but in their lab, that makes it animal-free but it’s still technically way. I don’t know if that’s completely accurate but they are in some milk and some ice creams. I’ve had it a few different times, and it creates a close experience to dairy.Strive uses Perfect Day, which is the Beyond Meat of the dairy world. Click To Tweet
This one is probably the best plant-based milk I’ve had in a long time, and there were a number of plant-based milk at the show. There were some made from sunflower seeds and pecans. I loved them all but the issue is that a lot of them don’t have this rich substance. Something that truly feels like it’s replacing milk. My jaw dropped when I tried this. It also looks like milk. It doesn’t look super plant-based and Earthy. It contains that animal-free whey, sunflower oil, some cane sugar, natural flavors, and then a bunch of preservatives, including some different gums.
It also has vitamins E, A, D2, and B12. It’s not that bad but a lot of people don’t like drinking products with gums. It is free of canola oil, which is a plus, and on the back, it says, “It’s protein-enriched, calcium-fortified, vitamin-enriched, lower sugar, less saturated fat, essential amino acids, better for the planet compared to milk, and vegan-friendly. Lactose-free, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, cholesterol-free, and animal-free,” and then at the bottom, it says, “Compared to whole milk.”
The story is that either one of the founders or the father of one of the founders worked at a dairy farm. They were trying to create something close to dairy-based milk and nailed it. It’s carrageenan-free too and nut-free. It’s easy on the stomach, in my experience, and I felt so excited about it. Would I be more excited if it didn’t have the gums in it and the cane sugar? Yes, but again, for what it is, it’s a solid option to have in the plant-based milk world, and they were super nice. I enjoyed the experience with them. I even met the formulator.
Drought And Good Sam
The easiest way to describe it is that it’s like the Beyond Meat of milks. If you are not into Beyond Meat, this probably wouldn’t be for you, in terms of formulation but if you love Beyond Meat and appreciate it, then this is worth a try. A few more brands. I’m getting close to the end. One that stood out from the perspective of incredible founders is a juice company. An organic cold-pressed juice called Drought.
They make these alternatives in terms of packaging to shots. You know how people will buy immunity shots, maybe you do as well and therefore fight colds or build up your immune system. They come in these tiny little bottles. This company puts those tiny little bottles into bigger servings. Instead of, for instance, buying 6 mini bottles, you buy 1 regular juice-size bottle that has 6 servings in it. You can measure them out or estimate when you drink them.
They also make a big box version that has 25 shots in it. You could keep that at home if you drink them often. You could bring them to work. Companies buy them for events or offices. The founders were amazing women. They have been in this business for a long time, so their formulations are incredible. As I mentioned, they are organic. They are based in Detroit. They are worth looking into. Again, I’m drooling thinking about it because it hits the spot.
I have one final product to mention that I have on hand. This brand, I’m so thrilled to wrap up this episode with this. I probably also forgot some products. May be in a future episode of the show, anything else that comes to mind because I tried many things. I didn’t take a picture of everything but I have them in bags. I’m going to bring cross-country and send them to people. This will wrap up this episode, and this brand is called GoodSam. I have them right here. They make wonderful chocolate bars.
They are all about making something good for you, the farmers, and the planet. In the back, it says, “At GoodSam, we believe in those three things, and they are central to everything we do. We believe that everyone should make a living wage and have a good quality of life. We believe in the quality of our soil and the regenerative farm practices that keep farms thriving for generations to come. We believe that when you open up a bag for a snack, you shouldn’t have to wonder if the company you are spending your money with is doing the right thing.”
Doesn’t that make you feel good? I’m holding up my favorite product of theirs thus far, which is their Dark Chocolate Candy Coated Peanuts. These are so exciting because there’s no sugar added. They are certified vegan, non-GMO, made in the US, and have a big passion for sustainability on so many levels. The texture of these is because they are candy-coated, when I first bid into them, I was like, “How are these no sugar added?” They use allulose, which is one of my favorite sugar-free sweeteners.
I do enjoy monk fruit and stevia but those are not always well-formulated. There’s something about allulose. It’s pretty benign. It has a little bit of that sugar-free aftertaste but not as much as you would get from the erythritol. I’ve realized I don’t like erythritol, and it’s in so many sugar-free treats, especially chocolates. I like stevia but only certain formulations. I’m glad that they’ve used allulose and probably have some sort of reason for using it. I don’t know if it’s only for flavor or sustainability but they are beautiful.
They have this incredible coloring that comes from spirulina. They are light blue. As I mentioned, they have amazing texture and hit that spot. If you are someone who likes chocolate-covered peanuts, I highly recommend them. I ripped off the top but up here on the top, it says things like, “Regenerative farming and direct trade.” There’s some other detail that is no longer there but is doing great things for the world.
With that, I’m going to wrap up this episode. As I mentioned, I may bring up some other brands in upcoming episodes of the show on my Monday solos, which means I don’t have a guest. It’s only me talking about life, what I’m trying, what I’m learning and what I’m experiencing in life. I am going to be traveling back to Los Angeles. Episodes, I record far in advance. By the time you hear this, I’m either on my way back to Los Angeles or I’ve already returned.
If you enjoy learning about those travel experiences, I will probably do a summary episode of that. I plan to do an episode about some of my upcoming adventures before I leave the East Coast. I have a Halloween-themed episode and one about the lessons that I’ve learned and the summaries of the best parts of this journey out here. I’m looking out the window of my parent’s house, and it is that gray, cloudy but yet beautiful atmosphere.
I’m going to go jump in the hammock before my next episode recording and soak it all in. Thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed hearing about some of my highlights from this show. If you ever have questions about the products I’ve mentioned or upcoming trade shows and want me to keep an eye out, as I mentioned, I go at least every six months because that’s a time between Natural Products Expo East and Expo West.
I sometimes go to the Fancy Food Show, which is similar, but that one doesn’t have as many products and alignment with my values, and I’m keeping my eye out in the stores. I also want to emphasize the importance of being mindful of your purchases and how they impact your wallet, how they impact the people making them, the people working at these companies, the packaging, and the environment as the ripple effect of all of this.
Also, knowing that as exciting as these things can be, everything has an impact. I encourage you to go for things that bring you joy. My example of really enjoying Strive Milk, even though the ingredients are more processed than I would like. This brings me joy because it’s got a satisfaction element to it for me personally. Whereas I can lean towards brands like GoodSam that have these much bigger missions and are doing on a different level of thoughtfulness, I suppose, about what they are designing.
Also, tuning into the energy. That, to me, is such an incredible takeaway for being able to meet people in person. If you don’t have that opportunity, try going on their social media and see how you feel when the founders are talking. Read about them in the news and see what’s going on with them. Go on their website and ask them questions if you need to. I encourage you to learn more about who’s making the products that you are buying and whether are there other alternatives.
As I mentioned, you can always reach out to me to see if I know of something because I’m always paying attention to what’s going on in the plant-based, gluten-free, and keto sustainability field. I’m taking note of what the options are for you. I’m grateful for you being part of that journey, and it brings me joy to share this with you. I hope that you felt that for me, and stay tuned.
The next episode will be coming out with a guest. I have some wonderful people lined up to talk about all the different subject matters on this show. Coming up, you will be learning more about marginalized identities. I also have an episode about romance and learning how to grow through your relationships and how to make them work long-term.
After that, I have an episode all about relationships between mothers and daughters and a few more episodes I haven’t even recorded yet but are in the queue. They are coming up. If you ever have a specific type of guest or a topic you would like me to cover, please let me know. You can reach me through email, or social media or you can join my private community, Beyond Measure, which is designed to connect with people in real-time through video all around the world. We gather every week to have discussions, to nourish each other, to grow, to hold space, to give each other a focused time, to learn, and achieve whatever is on your mind.
Beyond Measure has been a deep passion of mine, and still a little baby. It’s in its infancy. There’s a lot of work to come with that project but you are welcome to join and experience the growing pains together. You probably won’t notice it but I certainly do. I have so much more I want to do with that project just like this show. It’s always a work in progress. Thank you for being part of all the work. Thank you for who you are. I will love to connect with you more, whatever you choose. I encourage you to subscribe to the show if you want to automatically receive new episodes that come out, and I look forward to seeing you then.
- Natural Products Expo
- New Breed
- Pinky Up
- De Soi
- Mocktail Club
- Wicked Kitchen
- JUST Egg
- Poptime Creations
- Mighty Yum
- Route to India
- Big Mountain
- Beyond Measure
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