March 14, 2014

OK, I'll Shut Up Now: Final Pics and Thoughts on Natural Products Expo West

By Crabby McSlacker

Regular readers are probably now vicariously nauseated and exhausted from our many virtual hours wandering through the convention halls together, eating everything in sight.  I "dead blogged" Natural Products Expo West on Monday and nattered on again with the Expo West musings on Wednesday and here we are again with more of the same on Friday. Sheesh!

The sad thing?  Still dozens of more pictures and thoughts, but enough is enough I'm thinking.  Natural Products Expo West  is a really humongous undertaking and a fun time. I hope to bore you with it again next year... if any of you are still hangin' in there by then.

But there were negatives as well as positives, and this is Cranky Fitness after all. That's the great thing about being an irascible swear-word-filled blog too scary to attract respectable corporate sponsorship: no pressure to be nice, ever!

But let's start with the pleasant, shall we?

What was Wonderful about Expo West:

There were plenty of product offerings that were WAY healthier than typical convenience foods most people eat, and some of them were actually tasty! (For additional and better coverage of more products, check out Feed Me I'm Cranky's Expo West Post, or the Fun and Fit gals, or Double Chin Diary's recaps).

Because here's the thing: despite our best efforts, even health-conscious folks sometimes find themselves in a position to need convenience foods.

For example, I would be quite pleased to see these in a vending machine or offered as a substitute for chips or pretzels on an airplane:


These Three Works Apple Chips are basically just freeze dried apples, they don't add sugar.


And there were other similar brands like Brothers-All-Natural which were also good, and I feel sorry for all these healthy snack people trying to duke it out for grocery store shelf space dominated by 96,345 different brands of greasy chemical-doused chips and other toxic snacks.

Another highlight was getting to snag a new flavor of my go-to brand of dark chocolate: Endangered Species.  I love them, and not just because of the animal wrappers and charity thing, but because they mange to make an over 70% cocoa chocolate that doesn't taste too dark.  And yeah, I know sophisticated purists like their dark chocolate to taste as bitter as 3 day old coffee grounds, but not me. Their bars taste rich and chocolaty yet sweet and light, at least compared to competing brands.


But the best thing of all?

The expo was a great excuse for two days of ABSOLUTE GLUTTONY!

For me, it's fun to let loose and have an all-bets-are-off greedfest every now and then.  I sampled all kinds of things that I don't let myself have as part of my normal diet, and loved every minute of the sugar and caffeine fueled buzz and did not waste a second feeling guilty.

Whee!

But There Was a Downside to Sampling Tons of Healthier, More Natural Products:

First off, as I've mentioned many times, many of the products featured "natural" ingredients like sugar, butter, and white flour or some equally nutritionally bankrupt gluten-free substitute. They may have been "natural" but there was nothing healthy about them.

But secondly, I was rudely reminded that:

"Healthy" for some people is not "healthy" for me!

After two days of eating whatever the hell I wanted, the intestinal ramifications were unpleasant.  As it happens, we were staying with some friends who are retired physicians, and they couldn't help but notice the massive post-porkfest bloating (I tried to keep the other aspects as inconspicuous as possible) and unofficially diagnosed me with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Which was a coincidence, because my own physician has also officially diagnosed me with IBS! But I kinda let myself forget about that; I don't like that conclusion because it's inconvenient.  I have a mild case, and just tend to avoid cow's milk and beans and wheat and soy, but I still bloat, and I know some healthy vegetables set me off too, and I've been too lazy/greedy to get serious about an elimination diet.

So I did pretty much confirm that eating all the wheat, soy, corn, legumes, and cow's milk I want is probably not the way to go. Even just eliminating those and switching back to goats milk for a few days helped a lot. But it was a good reminder that if I let myself eat like a normal person, the off-and-on bloating turns into something much more resembling full fledged IBS and I do NOT want to deal with that on a daily basis. Yikes.

But it's sad.  For example, these Nature's Bakery whole-wheat fig newton alternatives were great! They came in lots of fruity flavors, like mango and lemon and blueberry. And they'd make a great kid-friendly dessert to stick in a lunch bag or a nice treat for a non-kid who likes occasional treats that have some redeeming nutritional value.


And so I optimistically took a bunch home...


But given my reaction to wheat, I'm thinking I probably shouldn't eat them. Damn.

Likewise, I tasted a Go Fit vegetarian hamburger that was totally awesome! Really, I was shocked because it tasted very much like a real burger.


But it was made from soy. Sigh.

Another Problem: Greed Sometimes Begets More Greed

I mentioned that I felt no guilt for two days of unrestrained greed. Which is true!

However, despite my intentions to get back on track, it took 3 more days after the expo to get my snacking back under control.

I would tell myself I had sampled enough... and yet I literally could not control myself.  I was finally forced to give away a bunch of snacks, and I made the Lobster hide hers, and I gave myself a bag full of "for later" treats that now live in the freezer.


But it was a reminder about how powerless one can feel when in the clutches of Evil Tasty Convenient Snacks and Desserts!  So for those of you currently in their grasp, I make no judgments.

On the bright side, it's also a reminder of what a relief it is to go back to healthy eating after letting my myself go nuts. Finally finding the "stop" button and remembering how to press it feels quite empowering!

Any thoughts about any of this? How do you guys feel about letting loose sometimes and eating whatever you want? Do you, unlike me, have a modicum of self-restraint?


33 comments:

  1. Excuse me, in all of these pics you look younger (youngest) compared to others I've seen of you. You are either aging in reverse or pulled some type of Photoshop trick on us. I demand an explanation!!!

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    1. Wish I had some secret Yum Yucky, other than the selective tossing out of any photo not blurry enough which totally shows all my wrinkles and creases. Fortunately, we got a new camera lens and the Lobster was still experimenting and trying to learn how to focus, so I had more than the usual number of blurry faces to choose from!

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    2. THAT WAS MY SAME REACTION! How inappropriate would it be for me to virtually whistle? (hangs head in shame). Anywho--loved your recap, Crabby!

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    3. Thanks Annabel, yours was much more coherent coverage, and hell yeah, I'll take virtual whistles anytime I can get 'em! :)

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  2. "... nutritionally bankrupt gluten-free substitute." I will remember and use this description. I'm all for the occasional indulgence, but like you it takes me a few days to recover. Once I have something wheaty I start craving other wheaty stuff as well as junk food. I consider the indulgences my way of remembering why I avoid those things in the first place.

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    1. So you have the evil wheaty craving thing too Leah? I gotta give in sometimes, but it sure is hard to get back on track!

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  3. Once I indulge I don't stop. There is no such thing as eating a square of chocolate or 12 nuts. I eat it all and then I find more and then I crave more the next day and the day after that.
    The only way I have found to get back on track is too binge on vegetables and soup for a few days so there is no room for junk.
    When I retire I need to move to an island with no convenience stores!

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    1. Looks like we were writing essentially the same thing at the same time, Cindy. If you don't mind the company, I think I'd rather join you on the island than move to the Sahara. Good neighbors would make the move much nicer!

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    2. Cindy and DRG, God I love you guys. Can I move to your island? Actually, if it's OUR island we can have a bakery and an ice cream shop and sip pina coladas all day etc and get as chubby and slothful as we want 'cause whose gonna give a crap if it's just us?

      Oh wait, I'm supposed to be a health blogger, never mind... :)

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    3. Hee Hee! People volunteering to be on an island with me. Talk about Survivor Island!

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  4. Death Ride GrandmaMarch 14, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    No, no self-restraint here. So far, the only solution I have discovered to my tendency to eat whatever seems most appealing is to put a significant geographic distance between us. There's a bakery across the street from my office. When I am at work, I feel like I just can't live another minute without a cookie. But when I am away - travel, even weekends - I never give them a thought. So if ever I find enough resolve to eat a much healthier diet (whatever the studies of the moment happen to think that is, but sadly I have never seen one that includes plenty of sugar and chocolate) I will have to go live in the Sahara Desert.

    You are very brave to visit the expo, and I am very jealous of your off button.

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    1. Ah, the geographic distance strategy, that's an excellent one DRG! And with your biking abilities, that can amount to many, many, many miles from anywhere tempting treats are sold.

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  5. I struggled to continue reading after the almond filled chocolate bar. I must track this down. A lot of the GF stuff reminds me when the first round of vegan substitute tried to get going. Most was truly not good for you.

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    1. I guess that may mean there's hope for future gluten free offerings QD? Most of the ones I've so far are totally junky

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  6. Bummer that you can't have so many of those ingredients!! I think bagging that stuff and putting it in the freezer is huge self-control. I tend to eat it all till it's gone no matter how much it is!!!!

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    1. Well Kim, if we hadn't left the show with FOUR LARGE TOTEBAGS stuffed full of crap, I might have been able to eat it all! :)

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  7. Every once in a blue moon i get a treat -- like the once a year gluten free vegan pizza from a local bakery. It's always fun, but once is enough when the reality of what it does to my system sets in.

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    1. Once a year? Blue moons? I go for my treats with much higher frequency messymimi, you are a disciplined one!

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  8. Acupuncture. I consider it the cure to my IBS. I'm with you on the chocolate, I cannot do the dark chocolate

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    1. Hmm, had never thought of acupuncture Starving Bitch, will have to look into that!

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  9. DOWNSIDE: the products were touted as being healthy but they totally weren't - you are correct! Every product I came across at the EXPO minus like, 3... The second or even first ingredient = SUGAR! That's not something I want to put in my body. Needless to say, I did not snack munch when I was there - so I was totally ready for dinner after the expo, but no one else I was with was LOL! They all has stomach aches ;)

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    1. Wait, you were at the Expo??!??? Had I know I woulda totally hunted you down and then probably chickened out of saying hello or mumbled something incoherent! Dang! :)

      But you have way more self restraint than I do about the sampling thing. For me, free food = free pass for idiocy.

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  10. I know what that's like. If I bring it into the house, I bring it onto my hips. I can not resist if it's available. I can easily resist bringing it into the house .. but Frank can't... sigh!

    "I don't like that conclusion because it's inconvenient" <---- I'm going to have to remember this one. It can work in so many situations. ;)

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  11. For me it doesn't take much self-control to refrain from eating things that will aggravate my allergies, and allergies are the only reason I don't eat something. Luckily, I love many so-called healthy foods, and am amazed at how many people have to try hard to eat enough fruits and vegetables. Also luckily, chocolate seems to rise on the health meter every week or so.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

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  12. Self restraint only happens when out of sight and out of mind happens. All it takes is a napkin placed over a box of brownies and I don't see them! Uncovered, I cannot resist. Same with freezer items. If it is in the freezer I don't see it and do not often eat it as often.

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  13. Crabby - just had to chime in with some multiple concurrences here on:
    the dark choco thing (I want a bit of sweetness - sue me);
    the bloat thing after gluten and some other offending items (but - geez - you must have a sort of stoic side as to have had a certain level of 'constructive denial' about that IBS stuff. Sounds like you know how to deal with it and now have more info about what happens if…);
    the getting into a less 'in control' mode once I get my foot off the brake - it takes a few days to slow the rampage down;
    all the comments about how you went into a reverse aging machine! Consider yourself having received a few virtual whistles!

    Finally - you saved the best for last - brava!! Enjoyed every vicarious moment of this whirlwind tour :)

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  14. I feel you on the gut issues. Wheat, most grains, corn, soy, dairy...the list is endless. To help me stay away from the worst culprits, I keep some dairy on the menu so I don't feel completely deprived. I recently incorporated gluten free oats to ensure I get some fibre as most fruits and vegetables don't agree with me either. But enough about me.

    The Expo looks like a fun way to spend a few days and you really do look younger in these pictures. You look about 17-18 tops in the apple chips pic. Whatever you are doing, keep on doing it!

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  15. The GoFit burger looks interesting. Wish it didn't contain palm oil. I feel like I can never win when it comes to burgers. If it's real meat you have the guilt of slaughtering a cow, but if it's this soy-egg substance with palm oil you are helping to cut down trees in Malaysia. Of course, the more troubling issue may be my undiagnosed guilt complex...

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  16. I hope one day our society realizes that there's no need to pay a fortune for overly packaged "natural foods". In my opinion, natural foods grow on trees or in my garden!

    You look great on all your pictures, Crabby. You must be doing something right. :-)

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  17. DAMN
    taking notes and wishing Id been there.
    shall we meet up at IDEA for the day in AUGUST??

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  18. I like apple chips a lot. Right now it's my favorite quick snack - much more helthy than fat potatoes. Like this blog. best regards ;)

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  19. In a way the flu was good for me cause I had no appetite for what I brought home from the show nor did I even have the energy to go thru it - now that I am better - watch out! ;)

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  20. So the natural products expo west did prove to be fun for you. Lots of interesting new products, I guess. Those freeze-dried apple chips from Three Works look good.

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