The Natural Products Expo East, held last week in Baltimore, is one of my most favorite spots to find new nutrition, health & beauty products— and hot trends on the horizon— to share with my Beauty Is Wellness clients and readers. As usual, this year's expo was full of cool finds! So not all of them get my thumbs up (I'll explain more in a moment...), but they're all worth a look. After all, these are the products that will be on your grocery or health food store shelves in the months to come!
Here's your sneak peek inside the expo, at the trends that had me doing a double take...
- Ayurveda: Modernized. Everything old is new again, including one of the oldest systems of medicine: Ayurveda. You had to work hard not to stumble on Ayurvedic products at Expo East, and I thought that most of them were worth a closer look. First, I saw a ton of Ayurvedic supplements, from brands like Irwin Ayurvedics, Avesta and Veria. You'll start to see herbs packaged individually (Ashwaganda and Shatavari, for example) and clearly labeled with their benefits, and botanical blends with catchy names like Liver Let Live (for liver function) and Cold Play (respiratory function and throat health). I also saw a few brands of Ayurvedic skin, hair and body care products, which were unique, if a little gimmicky. VeriaID's Ayurvedic beauty booth included a touch screen test (shown below- or you can take the quiz here) to help you find your dosha, or Ayurvedic type, which then lead you to a lineup of products tailored to your constitution. In the end, all of these products serve the same basic functions. The interesting element is that they include botanical ingredients beneficial to your type.
- Buzzworthy Beauty. Not only did I find a skin-healing mask made with powerfully healing Manuka honey and trendy bee venom, I came face to face with an entire bee-based beauty line that looks incredible: the Minneapolis-based Worker B. With raw honey cleansers (!), a dreamy lotion bar and day and night serums with propolis, this line is exciting— and impressive! I have yet to test all of the products, but the ingredients and inspired products in the Worker B line look top-notch.
- Digest Best. I saw lots of emphasis on good digestion at the show, from tasty and colorful blends of naturally fermented sauerkraut and kimchi by Wildbrine, to a cool 'digestive mix' of seeds and herbs to chew after meals to boost digestive ability, by Conscious Food. Both are a fantastic addition to your diet! Read more here about why digestion and outer beauty are closely linked.
- Monkfruit. Move over stevia, monkfruit is taking over. I saw several companies touting natural sweetener made from this fruit. The nutritional profile of monkfruit sweetener is comparable to that of stevia: no calories, low glycemic index. And personally, I felt that the varieties I sampled produced a less detectable aftertaste than stevia. I'll be testing it in a few recipes and reporting back.
- Teas. There were tons of medicinal teas at this show. Look for your fave Traditional Medicinals teas to get a major makeover soon (and some new additions like fennel, lemon balm and burdock), more tulsi teas to become available from major brands, and a new not-yet-arrived mulberry tea made from mulberry leaves that's caffeine free, tastes a lot like green, boosts digestion and balances blood sugar!
And of course, there were also trends tread carefully around:
- Collagen Craze. 'Beauty from within' is about more than beautifying foods in the natural products world— it's about nutricosmetics (supplements) and nutraceuticals (foods) with beauty benefits. Thing is, I'm not sold on this route to beauty. After seeing a handful of collagen supplements and a new line of collagen chews (below), I'm going to need more proof that these products would actually make more of an impact than sticking to a beautifying diet alone.
- Liquid Nutrition. Drinking your calories can be a double edged sword. But there was no shortage of 'health drinks' at expo east this year. Two that stood out as potentially interesting (when consumed in limited quantities, of course): Vinki, an apple cider vinegar drink sweetened with pomegranate or blueberry, and Tumeric: The Elixir of Life, a raw turmeric drink with anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Gluten Free...Junk Food. What happens when you take pound cake, pizza, cheesecake, cookies, frosting and chips and make gluten free versions? They're still junk food. This year, it was more clear than ever that the gluten intolerant can have their cake and eat it too— and not be very healthy, unless they are wary of the GF junk food trap. These GF foods are treats, nothing more. That said, I saw some gluten-free products that were exciting— like cup for cup flours from Deya's and Domata that I cant wait to bake with, and GF muesli from Bob's Red Mill. Eating gluten free is wonderful for your beauty and your body, but stay GF smart!
Have questions about any of these trends? Want to know how to incorporate them into your healthy lifestyle? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions!