A couple of weeks ago I was afforded the opportunity to attend the Moms Meet #WOWSummit at the Gaylord National Resort & Conference Center in National Harbor just outside of Washington, D.C. It was a great event geared towards moms who seek healthier food options, are dealing with food allergies or who want more natural household products. (Here is a great recap of the event written by my good friend Olivia at ThisNThatWithOlivia.) As always, I am eager to share what I’ve learned so here are 10 brands that I loved.
Before I get into my list of favorites, I want to share a little of my background. About two years before I got pregnant with the twins my health was in a downward spiral. Each day would begin with strange symptoms such as dizziness, extreme fatigue, vertigo, weakness and other ailments. After months of research and doctor’s appointments we found that I had an autoimmune disease that causes low thyroid. I was prescribed medication to help my body regulate my thyroid but every time it seemed we had the right dose, my levels would change again.
After a lot more research and consideration, I tried changing my diet to remove as much gluten as possible. In a month my levels began to stabilize and my energy started to return. So, eating gluten free became my new lifestyle. On top of eating gluten free, I also have a lactose intolerance and I try to avoid sugar due to another condition I have that causes insulin resistance.
Figuring out an eating lifestyle that excludes gluten, processed sugars and most milk products is tough! But that being said, I feel very blessed to be living in a nation where there are companies that offer alternatives. There are so many options that I rarely miss eating the things I used to eat.
In addition to my food limitations, I have been trying to go as organic or natural as I can with our household products. There are more and more studies coming out linking many commonly used fragrances and chemicals to auto-immune dysfunction. All this being said, you can imagine how excited I was to hear that I was going to conference where there would be new healthy brands for me to discover!
Sunridge Farms manufactures and distributes fine organic and natural foods. They had samples of trail mixes, nuts, chocolate covered coconut bites, power bites, pumpkin seeds and many more delicious snacks at the conference. The gentlemen that were representing the company were clearly very passionate about the quality and integrity of their food. Sunridge Farms chooses non-GMO ingredients and many of their products are Organic as well. They also sell many of the foods in bulk bins of grocery stores to provide them at lower cost.
Tasty Bite makes delicious Indian and Asian foods in BPA-free packaging. They are perfect for a quick meal. I was amazed to learn that the foods are mainly sourced from their farm in Western India where they use renewable energy and rainwater harvesting techniques that are taught to local farmers. Our family loves Indian food so of course I was eager to try it! I tasted the Madras Lentils with the organic Basmati Rice and it was delicious. It reminded me of red beans and rice with a slight hint of curry. If you are worried about spice level, don’t be. It was mild and flavorful.
OhSo Good Chocolate is just that. It is Oh Sooooooo Delicious! OK to be fair I have met very few chocolates I didn’t like but this little treat packs a punch with your daily requirement of probiotics. The best part is that it only has 70 calories, 6g sugar and its gluten-free, nut-free and non-GMO. I have tried to get my probiotics from yogurt in the past but frankly my tummy does not handle most yogurt now so this is an exciting discovery for me! I sampled the original milk chocolate and the orange chocolate. Both were yummy!
Flapjacked was another booth at which I ruined my appetite for lunch by sampling their tasty delights! It is a family owned company that was started when two parents sought a healthier recipe for pancakes to feed their 5 kids. These pancakes are packed with 20g of protein (from whey protein isolate and pea protein) and are sweetened with real fruits and veggies. They are only 200 calories per serving and you just add water to the mix. Flapjacked also makes gluten-free muffins that are full of protein, probiotics and are high in fiber. They are packaged in a small cup to which you add water, pop in the microwave and half a minute later you have a scrumptious breakfast or snack.
GoOrganically Fruit Snacks are delicious little treats that remind me of my childhood. I LOVED gummy candies! Except the great part about these snacks is that they are organic, non-GMO, gluten free and contain no corn syrup or preservatives. They are made from organic fruit and fruit juices. They also contain 100% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C and 25% of Vitamins A and E. My kids think they are getting candy and I know they are getting a healthy snack.
So Delicious Dairy Free was actually already on my radar before the WOW Summit because they make AMAZING diary free ice cream. I have been a fan of their almond milk ice cream for quite some time but I got the chance to try some other products. I sampled their Chocolate Coconut Milk and I also had a cup of coffee with their Coconut Milk Creamer. Both had excellent flavor and made me feel like I’m not missing out on anything from dairy products.
Harvest Snaps makes a gluten free, puffed snack made from either green peas, lentils or black beans. It’s like the consistency of a cheese puff but with a variety of flavors to choose from. I brought home some samples from the conference and my daughter, Lily, loved them. She rejects most veggies outright unless they are mixed with something else so I was really surprised. My husband also ate my entire bag of the Habanero Black Bean snaps so I highly recommend them for your picky eaters.
Crystal Deodorant peaked my interest because I have tried a few different natural or organic deodorants and I haven’t found “the one”. I have extremely sensitive skin and they all seem to irritate it. They gave me a sample of their fragrance free roll on and I have been using it for just over a week. It’s mineral salt formula stops odor but your skin still “breathes” so it doesn’t stop moisture. I’ve never sweated all that much so that’s not a problem for me. So far, my skin is perfectly happy with this deodorant so I’m a fan. Their products contain no parabens, phthalates, aluminum zirconium or aluminum chlorohydrate. (They currently have a $1 off coupon on their site if you’d like to try it out.)
If You Care is another brand of which I was already a fan. I discovered their Parchment Baking Paper and fell in love with it. It is sustainable, compostable, non-GMO, non-toxic, as well as allergen and chlorine free. What I discovered at their booth was the range in products that they offer. They also have baking cups, coffee filters, dishwasher tabs, dish liquid, laundry detergent and many other natural household products that are environmentally friendly. I was given a sample of the baking cups and made these tasty gluten free pumpkin spice muffins! The cups peel off easily without stealing any of your muffin and they don’t leach colors or dyes into your food.
BugBand is a naturally derived insect repellent that I was excited to discover. I have never liked using traditional bug spray around my kids because of the chemicals. This repellent is derived from geranium oils and does not contain any DEET. It repells not only mosquitoes but also ticks, fleas, gnats, flies, ants, cockroaches and other insects. They have a whole range of products but I was given samples of their bands and their wipes. They are safe to use around your kids and they can even be used on your pets.
So there you have it. These brands offered some really neat alternatives and I hope that my experience with them could prove useful to you. All of these brands are available on Amazon.com if you have any difficulty locating them locally. Also, I am very excited to announce that in the coming weeks I will have some more detailed reviews and fun giveaways so you can try them out too!
Are you already a fan of one of these brands? If so, what do you love about it?