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Happy Thursday! I know I am lagging a bit on my Expo West recaps, but life gets in the way sometimes! I'm still feeding off of the excitement from the expo, so getting to review and share my favorite items just makes me really happy! There were definitely some noticeable trends this year! Matcha, mushrooms, moringa, collagen, goji berries, turmeric, fiber, and greens were EVERYWHERE. I'm not complaining!
If this is the first post you are reading, Expo West is the largest natural products expo in the country! This is when professionals associated with the natural products industry come together to try, taste, and touch new and noteworthy products, as well as being a huge sales event for businesses. Those of us who are lucky enough to get in under a press badge get in for free and get to reap some serious benefits. This year was even better than last year, which was my first time attending. Please click here to find out what I was looking for at the expo, and here to check out my favorite beverages from the show!
If you haven't heard already, a balanced diet rich in whole, nutrient-dense foods is the way to a healthy lifestyle. But, sometimes a supplement or superfood is a great addition to maintain or enhance health. Herbs and superfoods truly are amazing things, and I utilize various kinds daily. An item such as a superfood blend is great for an added daily boost. Things like tinctures and herbal supplements that are for specific needs are more beneficial to have on hand. You never know when you might need them!
*Disclaimer* - While many supplements are packed with nutrients, please do not consume them in place of nutritious foods. They are called supplements for a reason. Also, please consult with your doctor before taking any herbal supplements, especially if you are on medication, have a medical condition, or are pregnant. Herbs are safe to use, but some do interact with various medications. It is best to be safe! I am not a medical professional, these are all just opinions and suggestions!
Let's check out some of my favorites!
Starting from the top left and going in a zig zag down:
1. Oregon's Wild Harvest Biodynamic Herbal Tonics - First off, I have developed such a love for all things plants, but especially herbs. This entire line is amazing, and literally bottles everything I could ever dream of not only in a supplement brand, but in any brand. Oregon's Wild Harvest is a certified biodynamic farm, and has been since 2009. What does that mean? Biodynamic takes certified organic to the next level, which they are as well, since 1994. Biodynamic farms use the cycles of the moon for planting and harvesting, as well as utilizing homeopathic preps to maintain the health of the farm. They take the time to save, share, and replant their 100% non-GMO, organic seeds. They also make it a priority to plant and protect endangered plants such as goldenseal, which is over-harvest in the wild. Not only that, they dedicate over 10% of their farms for bee keeping to help save the bees, use clean wind green tag energy, offsetting 90,302 pounds of CO2, recycle 100% of all plastic, glass, cardboard, and paper, source responsibly, and give back to local communities. They won a NEXTY award at Expo West this year for a good reason and they completely deserve it! One of my favorite finds of the entire expo.
2. Jarrow Formulas Broccomax - This is a supplement that I am SO glad I stumbled upon this year. I was fortunate to speak with a man that works at Jarrow, and has been researching vitamins and supplements for over 20 years. What he told me about Broccomax was fascinating, and that he gives it to anyone who has had cancer. Why? Broccomax is made from broccoli seed extract, which contains glucoraphanin and is broken down into sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is a potent inducer of Phase 2 detoxifying liver enzymes and helps protect cellular DNA as well as promotes healthy cell replication and liver health. Basically, it helps the body eliminate free radicals and environmental pollutants. There are many trials and studies in regards to cancer and broccoli seed/sprout extracts for prevention and maintenance, which I believe started at John Hopkins Medical Center. 
3. Pines Family Wheatgrass - I really enjoyed the plain wheatgrass, Mighty Duo (Wheatgrass and Alfalfa), and the Might Greens Superfood Blend with hemp protein. Pines Wheatgrass is the top of the top when it comes to wheatgrass. Not only are they they original wheatgrass company since 1976, their process is what sets them apart. Pines harvests their wheatgrass at the peak-nutrition time called the jointing stage. Their wheatgrass grows in nutrient-rich, certified-organic, glacial soil for nearly 200 days, only being irrigated by natural rain water, meaning there are no contaminants. Because the temperatures are usually below freezing at night and sometimes above freezing during the day, a very dark green vegetable with high levels of chlorophyll, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients is produced. If that isn't enough to convince you of how amazing Pines Family Wheatgrass is, Pines packages their wheatgrass in oxygen-free amber glass bottles with a specially-designed metal cap to keep outside air and humidity from hurting the product. They also contribute millions of dollars to charities, as well and donate cereal grass to hospitals, orphanages, and other rescue groups around the world. Amazing!
4. Sambazon Organic Açaí Supergreens Packs - Sambazon has been my favorite açaí brands for quite some time. I quickly became obsessed with açaí bowls shortly after moving to San Diego almost 9 years ago, after one of my old roommates took me to a juice shop. I've been hooked ever since. Many of the juice shops and cafes in San Diego use Sambazon açaí, so you know it is a quality product! Açaí is PACKED with antioxidants! Everything I tried at the Sambazon booth this year was SO good. While I'd love to be able to afford an açaí bowl from a trendy cafe here in Ocean Beach daily, açaí packs are a great way to make them at home! They come in original, supergreens, pure unsweetened, and performance protein. The supergreens was my favorite since it includes organic açaí, kale, spinach, banana, coconut milk, flax seed, and spirulina. Each pack only contains 4 grams of sugar! These packs work well in a smoothie, bowl, or mixed with your favorite milk or water, such as almond milk. You can find Sambazon at many different stores, but I know they're at Sprouts, AND on sale right now! ( as of 3-29-17)
5. Navitas Organics Essential Plant-Based Superfoods Blend - This superfood blend is AMAZING. I tried the cacao and greens blend with almond milk and absolutely loved it. It's the perfect mixture of greens, protein, superfoods, probiotics, and enzymes. It also happens to be certified organic, gluten, soy, and dairy free. I found myself going back to Navita's booth every single day to grab a sample of this. It was that good! The texture and taste were on point. This would mix perfectly into a smoothie, but was just as good with only almond milk. This also comes in Vanilla. Not sure when this will be available, but I am surely awaiting the arrival in stores!! They also debuted new smoothie boosts focusing on different needs such as beauty, wellness, immunity, focus, and detox. Navitas Organics was one of my favorite brands overall. They have an entire line of superfoods available, ranging from goji berries and cacao nibs, to maca to hemp seeds. They also have superfood snacks and bars as well and new superfood boosts. Definitely a must-try brand!
6.Vibrant Health Green Vibrance in Matcha (new) and Pro Matcha Protein + Matcha - I have only tried Vibrant Health Green Vibrance in a sample pack-size before, so when I discovered new flavors of the original greens available, I knew I had to stop and try! Pictured above is the protein and matcha blend, but my actual favorite was the Original Green Vibrance superfood blend in the matcha flavor. I sampled the original, chocolate, coconut, and matcha flavors, and match and coconut were definitely the best! These two will be available soon as they are the newest additions! This is another superfood blend that I found myself going back for on multiple days. I tried to steer away from sugary drinks and coffee for all four days, and these types of mixes definitely helped me achieve that goal AND give me a boost. Green Vibrance is packed with goodness such as organic spinach, kale, wheat grass, and spirulina, to name a few. Worth trying for sure!
7. Ora Organics Nothing Fishy Here Plant-based omega-3 spray - Ora Organics is definitely a new and upcoming brand to watch. From meeting and speaking to the founders, to tasting and trying their products, their packaging seems to align with their products: clean and simple, and good for you. While I loved their plant-based protein powders, their plant-based omega-3 spray really made me take a step back. I am no stranger to plant-based omegas, but this product is seriously innovative. I love that it comes in spray form and is totally vegan. Omega-3s are SO important to have in your diet, so I think it is truly awesome that these guys are coming up with clean and simple ways for those who prefer a plant-based diet to get their omegas in a very convenient way! This product also won a NEXTY award at the show this year! Loving it!
8. Kuli Kuli Organic Pure Moringa Powder - Yet another brand I absolutely loved this year. Moringa is a nutritional powerhouse. Moringa is rich in iron, calcium, vitamins, and antioxidants, as well as being a complete protein with all 9 essential amino acids. I was able to speak with the founder, Lisa Curtis, and get to know her story a bit more. Lisa started Kuli Kuli after being in the Peace Corps in Niger. As a vegetarian, she became fatigued due to a lack of availability of nutritious vegetarian foods. The women at the health center in the village quickly suggested moringa to her. Long story short, after realizing how amazing moringa is, Lisa encourage the villagers to use moringa more often, and Kuli Kuli was born. Now, Lisa helps women in West Africa to use more moringa locally and earn a sustainable livelihood by selling a portion of each harvest to the US. They also have done many crowdfunding campaigns and are currently helping to reforst Haiti with moringa trees.
9. Nutrex Hawaiia Spirulina - Okay, these guys are not new to me... But they're still my favorite! They have the best quality spirulina on the market (in my opinion). They produce the first non-GMO project verified spirulina, as well as Astaxanthin, a very powerful antioxidant found in nature with many amazing benefits for skin, eye, and joint health. Their Green Complete powder is a new favorite that features spirulina, greens, and antioxidants such as goji berries. They also have over 2,000 solar panels at their farm and utilize deep sea water to save energy. Check them out if you are interested in trying spirulina!
10. Bioray Herbal Tinctures - The Primary Detox, Loving Energy and Kid Tinctures stuck out to me) Have I said how much I love herbs and plants? Like really, I LOVE THEM! They have so many amazing benefits and properties, and brands like Bioray bring them to life. Bioray is a really special brand because they utilize a proprietary micronization process of Chlorella in NDF® and NDF Plus®, creating the world’s first cell wall broken, organic, heavy metal and chemical detox agent. Bioray is rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine and produces alcohol-free tinctures addressing needs such as immunity, detox, gut health, adrenal health and energy, as well as replenishment. They also have an entire line dedicated to kids that can help with mood, focus, sleep and digestive issues. The rep I was able to speak with even said that many parents have had success using their NDF Focus tincture with kids suffering from ADHD. Now, I am no medical professional, nor was the rep, but I do know that herbs are powerful and wonderful things. I highly suggest looking up Bioray and researching the benefits of their products and how they can be used! I was able to try a few of the tinctures and really enjoyed all of them. Bioray only uses sustainably harvested certified organic herbs. Talk about quality products!! Check them out!
Other brands and items that caught my eye but I have not tried yet:
NeoCell Joint Bursts - Type II collagen chews with turmeric for joint health. I really enjoy the Biotin chews with collagen, so I'm sure these are great too! I grabbed a bunch for my aunt who has arthritis. If you'd like to learn more about collagen, please read my post about it here. Type II collagen is most beneficial for bones, joints, and ligaments, so these bursts are an easy way to add collagen to your routine, especially if you are active or have arthritis and don't like pills. Turmeric is also great for joint health, as there are numerous studies showing its anti-inflammatory properties. 
MegaFood Vitamins and Supplements - I have seen this brand in stores, but never actually tried them! I was given a few samples and can't wait to test them out. This brand gets their produce from organic family farms. They're supplement process is called the Slo Food processes, meaning they dehydrate their produce just enough to retain and preserve all nutrients, colors, and aromas. They also have many vitamins that are Certified Vegan Sounds pretty awesome to me!
Let me know what you think! Have you tried any of these? Do you have a favorite supplement or superfood? Comment below and stay tuned for the next post in the series on my favorite Personal Care items!
Any information listed about specific brands above not found on the hyperlinked websites was found in informational handouts given out at Expo West directly from the brands.
 Broccoli sprout-derived extract protects against ultraviolet radiation - 10/22/2007. Retrieved from http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/Broccoli_SproutDerived_Extract_Protects_Against_Ultraviolet_Radiation
 Curcumin. (2014). Retrieved from http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/curcumin
 Daniells, S. (2015). Glucoraphanin supplements match broccoli sprouts for sulforaphane bioavailability: Study. Retrieved from http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Glucoraphanin-supplements-match-broccoli-sprouts-for-sulforaphane-bioavailability-Study
 Jarrow formulas, inc. unveils broccoli supplement BroccoMax(TM), with a standardized concentration of sulforaphane glucosinolate. (2005). Retrieved from http://www.newhope.com/supply-news-amp-analysis/jarrow-formulas-inc-unveils-broccoli-supplement-broccomaxtm-standardized-co
 Mercola, D. J.Broccoli sprouts help detoxify environmental pollutants. Retrieved from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/06/30/broccoli-sprout-detox.aspx