By Alexa Gray
Navigating the overwhelming sea of products is not for everyone. However, this is my passion: to find the highest quality products and then share their full story. When I was looking for top products this year at Natural Products Expo West I thought I should create a criteria to help me narrow down my choices into a careful curated list.
Criteria for this list– the products must contain one, some or all of the following:
1) Products sourced from transparent farmers/companies/facilities who produce a clean product.
2) Products are organic, biodynamic and non-gmo certified.
3) Products are made with care, intention and respect for their product and the consumer.
4) Product that use recycled packaging, vegetable dyes and can be recycled, biodegradable or re-used.
5) Product is raw, vegan, gluten free, dairy-free, soy-free and corn-free.
6) Product is fair trade or profits are donated back into community or service related projects.
7) Product is produced by a dedicated team who provide excellent customer service
While, this list may seem lengthy, I was able to find companies that fit and truly blew my mind away at the show. I wanted to do the research for you so that you can read the shortlist and discover the best of the show without having to deal with all the commotion.
Most of us don’t know that germs from our toilet can make their way to our toothbrush heads. Gross! However, there is something we can all do to help sanitize our precious brushes. Dr. Tung has a new and improved snap on cover that contains anti-bacterial lemon, clove, peppermint, tea tree, and thyme oil. You may have seen these covers in drug or health food stores already, but this updated version will put the rest to shame. These covers come with small circular refills that easily slip on the cover so that we don’t need to buy an entirely new cover every two months. Not only that but the entire package is biodegradable. So let’s keep the bacteria out of our mouths and out of our waste bins, shall we?
The new pack with Snap-In refill now gives 6 months total protection per pack – this is 50% more than the old pack. Plus it saves 46% plastic over the old one. Toothbrushes harbor a host of harmful bacteria that can re-infect your mouth when you brush. Our Snap-On Sanitizer is a REVOLUTIONARY product that releases all-natural, anti-bacterial vapors to kill germs and safely sanitize your toothbrush between brushings.
* No mess, no fuss, dry vapor action
* Fits most manual and power brushes
* No electricity or batteries required
* Ideal and convenient for home and travel
* 6 months protection per pack
* FDA registered. 100% natural germ-killer
* Contains one or more of the following: lemon oil, clove oil, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, and thyme oil
* Easy to use: After brushing your teeth, rinse toothbrush, shake off excess water and place inside the sanitizer device. The germ defense system goes to work immediately.
* Stays fresh when in use but will biodegrade when thrown in the landfill
* Assorted colors
* EARTH-FRIENDLY! MADE WITH ECO-PURE – TURNS INTO BIOMASS IN A LANDFILL FASTER THAN REGULAR PLASTIC!
This is one of the most delightful mouthwashes I have ever tried. The wash contains a medicinal selection of over 23 traditional Ayurvedic plants and herbs. What I love about this company is that it’s operated by a non-profit yoga community in the United States as well as Auroville, a bio-sustainable community in India. The profits then go back to the community to support this fair trade business. These inspiring groups work hard to produce a medicinal mouth cleaner that pays tribute to this ancient health system while still leaving your mouth refreshed to the level that you desire.
No Saccharine or Artificial Sweeteners, No Propylene Glycol or Artificial Preservatives, Alcohol-free, Paraben-free, Fluoride-free, Gluten-free, Sulfate-free, Cruelty-free & Vegan
Cheese for some is one of the most difficult foods to give up when you become a vegan. However, I have found an artisanal company that will leave your taste buds beside themselves. Miyoko Schinner, author and chef, founded the company as an act to show that one could create high quality and artisanal foods that are in fact vegan. Being a cheese lover, I put the taste to the test and delighted with the results. I mean this product is absolute magic. It tastes so similarly to dairy-based cheeses but instead is from a cultured cashew nut base. This would be a great food to bring to your next dinner party or to give as a gift to that friend who loves cheese. Some of my favorite flavors include: double classic cream chive, Mt. Vesuvius Black Ash and Country Style Herbs de Provence (featured in picture).
Vegan, gluten free, organic and most are raw except a few so please refer to the website!
If you are interested in making it yourself you can purchase
Miyoko’s Book – Artisan Vegan Cheese
Did you ever think that something painful could actually be really good for you? I give you the Spoonk mat. An organic hemp/cotton pad lined with recyclables plastic simulation points that act as an acupressure mat to stimulate different points on the body. Before the Spoonk mat, there was a similar product coming out of China but “their mat had the spikes glued with glue containing high formaldehyde levels”. Founder of Spoonk, Natasha Fyrkman, wanted to create a cleaner product with the same acupressure benefits and effects. So she set out for the best ingredients and created Spoonk. To this day, clients who try and buy the cheaper versions sourced from China usually come crawling back for the cleaner and higher quality product that Spoonk has to offer. Many people have reported numerous health benefits such as more energy and better sleep. After testing it out at the show, the biggest change I have noticed is an energizing and tingling feeling the places I had used it on and it feels delightful.
• 55% certified organic hemp, 45% organic cotton
• GOTS (Global Organic Textile) certified organic fabric
• No synthetic AZO dyes
• High quality Plant Based foam made with VPF (variable pressure foaming) technology
• No Fire Retardant Chemicals (PBDE and CFS)
• No toxic off-gassing chemicals
• Recyclable nontoxic ABS Plastic.
• Heat pressure – no adhesive glue
• 6,210 stimulation points for optimal effect
• Original design of crown-shaped discs
Eco foam made in the USA.
Assembled in Canada.
High Quality FDA Certified
Mara and Willow King are the groovy girls behind this incredible company and they call themselves probiotic pickleteers. The Umeboshi is a pickled plum that is common in Japan and has an incredibly strong salty and sour taste. I did not know how well I would do with this food (for the record it was my first time) but my boldness rewarded me! I was drawn into the complexity of the taste and it stabilized my sugar high from all of the other expo west samples I had previously been consuming. While this food is acidic, it alkalizes the body and serves as a dietary staple for preventative medicine. It was said that samurai would ingest the fruit to purify their food/water and combat fatigue. Eating umeboshi in Japan is the equivalent of the English expression “an apple a day” keeps the doctor away. This raw, organic and vegan product is also full of lactobacillus. These beneficial microbes that improve digestion, increase vitamin levels, act as anti-inflammatory agents, and are even linked to preventing cancer. The lactobacillus organisms begin to convert sugars, starches and carbohydrates into lactic acid and support the growth of healthy flora in our intestine. All of these health benefits and the unique taste has inspired me to incorporate this Samurai diet food into my daily meal. Fight on.
“If you drink water, this changes everything”, is the tagline on the Grayl website and it’s true. This filtration cup produces clean drinking water within seconds no matter where you are on the entire planet. Yes, you read correctly. Grayl features interchangeable filters, which each provide a varying level of protection. There are three filters to choose from. The TAP filter removes many chemicals and heavy metals, while the TRAIL adds protection from bacteria and protozoan cysts, and finally the TRAVEL provides the ultimate defense against viruses while traveling in developing countries or highly impacted wilderness areas. Founded in 2012 by Nancie Weston, she was interested in eliminating plastic pollution as well as improving the quality of drinking water with led her to the development of this ground breaking product. It works similarly to a French press; You pour in your water into an outer cup and then push the filtration down allowing the newly filtered water to pass into it’s own section of the canteen, therefor having access to that clean water. I am excited to carry this beautiful and revolutionary bottle around. It’s time to say goodbye to days of plastic water bottles.
The TAP Filter uses activated carbon fiber with an extremely small micro pore structure and a capacity for absorption far greater than conventional granular activated carbon.
The Trail Filter and Travel Purifier use a patented G3+™ Filtration Media – three filtration technologies in one for added protection: 1) A triple-charged mesh traps disease-causing germs while allowing water to flow quickly, 2) Activated natural carbon (made from coconut shells) attracts and traps many heavy metals, industrial chemicals, 3) An integrated anti-microbial agent suppresses the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria, keeping GRAYL fresh between uses.
Two brothers, Caleb and Chris, who are passionate about the outdoors, staying fit, and healthy organic foods, founded the company. These bars are so delicious and they have a variety of flavors so you can find the one that tastes just right. It can be challenging to find a bar these days that’s not filled with emulsifiers and fillers, but this one is made from real raw food. While many health food bars are chemically sweetened or overloaded with sugar, this bar uses nothing but nature. It’s jam packed with super foods that will give you the long lasting energy and nutrients you were actually looking for to begin with. This is definitely the next generation of a cliff bar.
There are five flavors: Bodacious Vanilla Blueberry, Colossal Coconut Mango, Mighty Maca Chocolate, Fabulous Ginger Peach, Radical Raspberry Lemon, and Outrageous Orange Kale.
Certified Organic, Raw, Vegan, Gluten & Soy Free
Contains delicious figs, sunflower seed butter, raspberries, and cold pressed lemon extract
Certified 1% for the planet
This award-winning spring water comes from Mount Shasta, a striking 14,162 foot tall mountain, making it the fifth highest elevation of any peak in the continental US. The water is naturally filtered through layers of granite, gem infused rock, gold and green jade. So in case you were wondering if this water is infused with crystal energy, we got you covered. The water goes straight from the mountain to the glass (human hands only come into the picture when they are delivering the water). The company uses 55% recycled glass water bottles and put profits back into their community. Castle Rock has been awarded the rigorous For Life – Social Responsibility certification. As the first bottled water ever to be rewarded For Life – Social Responsibility certification in North America, Castle Rock Water proudly leads the way in socially and environmentally responsible water. It’s delicious. It’s clean. It takes care of its people.
This wonderful line of cleaning products is unlike what you see on the market. Their products contain very few ingredients, it’s cost efficient and it’s led by an incredible educated and grass roots team that gives back to their community. I got to meet Diann, an ecologist who is one of the co-founders and explained to me how toxins in our cleaning supplies are causing harmful illnesses and can be prevented. Their all-purpose cleaner contains a mere five ingredients: rubbing alcohol, water, hydrogen peroxide, soap flakes and peppermint essential oil. Truce’s bottles are filled with solution and all you have to do is add your own water (less weight to ship = smaller carbon footprint) and all parts of the package are recyclable. Due to the simplicity, effectiveness and sincerity of this company, I think this product will change the way I purchase cleaning supplies forever.
Non-toxic, Phthalate free, SLS free, Biodegradable, Made with essential oils, Aroma therapeutic, Fragrance free, Casein free, Paraben free, Recyclable, Recycled labels, Water soluble inks, Grey water safe, Chlorine free, PVC free, CFC free, Hypoallergenic, NPE free, Petroleum free, GMO free, Handcrafted in USA, Supports charity.
Meet the most well rounded raw chocolate bar Gnosis, meaning “intuitive knowledge of the heart; experiential knowledge”. Vanessa Barg started it all when she was 23 years old. She began coaching clients so that they could lead a healthier and happier life. This led her to create a “functional” raw chocolate. Vanessa is incredibly dedicated to creating a delicious bar without compromising her commitment to sustainability. Her belief is that if a product is to be truly healthy, it must also be healthy for the planet. That is why she uses post-consumer recycled, compostable, and biodegradable packaging printed with vegetable based inks, and packs her orders with reused padding materials. Meanwhile, she collaborates with and donates over 10% of profits to dozens of local and international causes that focus on healing the environment and working with it in harmony. And, the bars are absolutely delicious. Does it get much better than that? I don’t think so.
• 70-90% raw cacao with superfoods, functional herbs & coconut palm sugar.
• Free of refined sugar, cholesterol, dairy, soy and gluten
• Certified organic, vegan, kosher, CCOF, Green America Approved Business
About The Author:
Alexa Gray is a passionate health coach, wellness educator and natural health writer committed to teaching practical tools for ultimate wellbeing. Through her colorful blog SuperFoodSuperLife.com, she shares great products, restaurants, artisans and literature that are close to nature, made with compassion and revitalize the spirit. A trained fine art photographer based in L.A., Alexa loves behind the scenes interviews with natural product pioneers, which inspire her readers with informative stories from the front lines of the healthy lifestyle movement. Alexa is a certified holistic health practitioner and certified raw foods nutritionist.