We went to Anaheim....but didn't see Mickey Mouse
  The Elevate Me Team 01:37 PM

We just got back from attending the Natural Products Expo West trade show in Anaheim. Along with 67,000 other attendees, we spent three days visiting over 2,000 booths to find out what is new and exciting in the natural foods world. Lots to see and lots of products to sample - it was a "grazer's" paradise. Good thing too, as we must have walked 25 kilometers a day - the trade show was comprised of five huge halls, each about the size of a football field! The energy drinks and energy bars being sampled kept us energized and motoring around the show.

What did we notice there? Chia is still very big. Coconut water is everywhere. Lots of "healthy" chips too - potato, vegetable, fruit. And there was a virtual smorgasbord of healthy drinks - in particular lots of unique teas.

While there was a lot of really neat stuff, here are three interesting products that caught our eye:

Quinoa - "Keen-WAH" is not new but some of the different uses we saw there were. Quinoa is often referred to as a grain, but it is actually a seed from a plant that is related to spinach, beets and Swiss chard. It is called a "super grain" because it is the only plant that has all the essential amino acids. It is gluten free and is low on the glycemic index.  We saw it in crisp form, flake form, in cereal, in bars, mixed with rice, mixed with oatmeal, and lots of other interesting forms.

Moringa - Moringa oleifera, also called the drumstick tree, is a tree that grows in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India. It is also cultivated throughout Central and South America and Africa because it grows well in tropical and sub-tropical environments. It is relatively unknown in the West, but has a reputation in its native lands for its unusually high nutritional value. Researchers have nicknamed it  "the Miracle Tree" and "the Elixir of Long Life" because of its purported healing abilities. Some of Moringa's health benefits are said to include: high in antioxidants - the powdered leaves of the Moringa tree (which is the way most people consume it) contains 46 types of antioxidants. One serving contains 22% of our recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin C and 272% of our RDI of vitamin A. Antioxidants help to neutralize the negative impact of free radicals, thereby guarding us from cancer and degenerative diseases such as macular degeneration and cystic fibrosis; it is rich in amino acids - the leaves contain 18 amino acids, eight of which are essential amino acids, making them a "complete" protein - a rarity in the plant world. Moringa's protein content rivals that of meat, making it an excellent source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.; it is rich in calcium and magnesium - one serving of Moringa leaves provides approximately 125% of our RDI of calcium and 61% of our RDI of magnesium. These two trace minerals work in synergy; while calcium is needed to build strong bones and teeth, we also need magnesium to help us absorb it. Since Moringa contains generous quantities of both, it is especially good at guarding us from osteoporosis and other bone conditions. We saw it at the show in powdered form, pill form, and added to energy bars.

Perilla seeds - Perilla is a traditional crop of China, India, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and other Asian countries. In North America, it is occasionally called by its Japanese name, shiso, and is also known as purple mint or Chinese basil. Perilla seeds reportedly have twice the omega-3 fatty acids as Chia seeds. Moreover, the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio in Perilla seeds is 6 to 1, the highest of any oils. Some studies have indicated that our modern diets have created an imbalance in the desired ratio (too much omega-6), so any food that can work to restore the balance is considered welcome. Asian practitioners often prescribe Perilla for respiratory problems such as asthma and seasonal allergies.

We're looking in to these new ingredients further. We’ll do some research and development and see if we should be adding them to some of our products. Taste always comes first, and so.... stay tuned!

Feel free to email us or Facebook message us with your thoughts on these ingredients.

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