#ExpoWest: Great Expotations [#vegan #glutenfree #govegan #vegansatexpo]

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As I type this blog post I am on my way to Anaheim, California for ExpoWest, the world’s largest natural products tradeshow in the world. It’s so huge I mentioned that it’s the world’s largest twice. In fact, attendance to this one show is more than the entire population of Ithaca, New York (when all three colleges are in session). It’s so huge it has its own zip code. It’s so huge it can be seen from outer-space. It’s so huge that there are people still lost in the convention center from last year.

It’s huge.

And I have Great Expotations.

This is the show where all my favorite brands (and some newcomers) release their newest products. While this show covers everything from furniture to clothing, I am most interested in the newest foods being launched. With America finally “waking up” to the benefits of a whole-foods, plant-based diet, I am anxious to see how the leading food manufactures are going to embrace plant-based, vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free products.

And make them taste amazing.

The time is now. With book’s like The Campbell Plan coming out (based on The China Study) and the new film “PlantPure Nation,” the United States has reached its tipping point and ExpoWest is where many companies either incorporate this direction into their offerings; or, they ultimately fail.

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As I browse the listings for which companies I want to visit (of which there are over 2,500), taste a sample, and eventually review/blog about them, I am limiting my list to vegan companies first (and hoping they recognize that certifying their foods gluten-free is the next logical step) and no other companies second.

These aren’t food trends. Plant-based, whole-foods, are the only way we are going to save ourselves and the planet. We cannot continue on the track we are on, where the average adult male is prescribed expensive medications instead of a healthy diet … let food be thy medicine.

The tide’s are turning. Vegan options are showing up everywhere. When you can control your health through what you eat, isn’t this the most obvious path to take for a long and healthy life?

Of course, during ExpoWest, I am probably going to eat my weight in potato chips.

Go vegan.

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MeatyVegan note: Animals (and their excretions) are not food.

Wild, Wild West – ExpoWest 2015

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This morning when I woke up the air temperature in Ithaca, New York was -20° F. This was the actual temperature, not the wind chill or “feels like.” This was it. The nose-hair-freezing, finger-numbing, water-bottle-in-your-car-exploding, actual temperature. So, I thought it was the perfect time to blog about my upcoming trip to California!

Go west, young vegan.

ExpoWest, held from March 6-8th in Anaheim, California, has called my name. In addition to soaking up some much-needed sun (even if it’s only 50° there … that is still 70° warmer than where I am now), I am honored to be working with the team at Miyoko’s Kitchen on expanding their already very successful vegan cheese company into a broader wholesale market. While most of my time will be spent there, I am also going to finally meet some of my other contacts established over the years since starting this blog.

Specifically (and I hope I am not leaving anyone out), I am thrilled to meet my friends from VioLife who are using ExpoWest as a launching pad to finally bring their amazing products to America (from Greece). Over the past two years I have built such a valuable relationship with this company and am so looking forward to meeting face-to-face. If you’re going to ExpoWest, I highly recommend you to visit their booth and sample their products.

I also can’t wait to meet Justin and Emily from BeyondMeat! I’ve been a Brand Ambassador for over two years (although I think they call them Super Fans now) and I’ve been such a huge (super) fan of all their products. Last year they exhibited with an actual full-scale Taco Bell restaurant as their tradeshow booth so I can’t wait to see what they’ve come up with this year!

Other companies on my “must-see” list are also the companies that have been with me every step of the way toward my transition to veganism:

… and … there are no words that can describe the anticipation I am feeling about finally meeting, in person, so many of my fellow vegan bloggers (ironically, some of these first meetings are going to be with east coasters):

First timer like me? Then you have to download the “Insider’s Guide to Natural Products Expo” from the wonderful Whitney Lauritsen, aka Eco-Vegan Gal. This is the complete guide to the Expo. Written by a seasoned expert, Whitney has attended for nine years and provides “all you need to know … Expo.” Judging by the size of this event, we can all learn a thing or two (or ten or twenty, if you’re me) from this new e-book.

There are also business meeting, contacts, and connections I will make while there (which is actually the point of the trip). And, of course …

Food. Endless and endless amounts of food to sample. I do think it’s kid of ironic that everyone I know is SO excited to go to a natural products expo … only to load up on junk food.

I don’t think anyone is going to try apples.

Are you going? Comment here or send me an email … would love to meet up with other Expo-pros or newcomers — like me!

Go vegan.

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