With health and nutrition on the minds of just about everyone these days, we at the Nation decided to check out the Expo Sante Manger or what is quietly known in English as the Eat Well Expo, March 15 at the Palais des Congrès.
Bearing in mind that a great deal of these expositions are all about connecting vendors and product producers with the general public and hawking as much of their wares as possible, we set out to see what the latest health products are and what was worth the while.
No matter the direction we (we being Will Nicholls and myself) turned in throughout the endless isles of kiosks, no one word was more omnipresent than organic. Unfortunately, for as many organic farms as there was, not a single one of these farmers delivered as far as even Val d’Or.
The very first organic product we encountered was Ocean Wonder Seaweed from Nova in liquid form. The woman at the kiosk promised us that the watery liquid in the sample cup was “all taken organically from the sea,” that it contained “a lot of minerals, amino acids, digestive enzymes,”and that “it’s a good natural product.” Though neither of us was particularly convinced that this product was of interest to us, more information on this product can be found at http://www.oceanwonderkelp.com.
Next up we had our skin soothed with samples of Chanv brand skin creams. These locally made hemp products had a lovely feel on the skin, slightly oily but soothing. Hemp has made its way into prestigious beauty products world-wide, garnering its own lines at mega cosmetics producers such as the Body Shop and many others. Though it was difficult to decipher as to whether all of their products stood up to their promises, like the anti-ageing cream that promised to prevent wrinkles and pre-cancer-ous cell formation, they had a nice feel. For more info go to http://lafeuilleverte.ca.
Of the many “meal replacement bar” products that were on display, few were as peculiar or promised as much as Dr. Vies Chocos. This product describes itself as “healthy guiltless stuffed chocolate” featuring: natural raw ingredients wrapped in 100 per cent pure cacao, an immunity boost from the “4,000 High-Orac Antioxidants” (whatever that means), 600 mg Omega 3 and to be protein packed, high in fibre and made from only “good carbs.” The product itself did not taste that bad and was actually quite palatable.
While on the topic of organic bars and meal replacements, we actually really enjoyed the Nature’s Path Organic products. Nature’s Path makes your standard, energy-packed cereal bar under the name Optimum and of all of the ones that we tasted, these really stood out. Chewy, flavourful, full of fruit and oats, there was no magic to this product, very little hype and rightfully so as it didn’t need it. Nature’s Path also makes an organic, healthy “pop tart” sort of pastry under the moniker of Pie-Oh-My! Honestly, if this product was more readily available it would certainly give Pop Tarts a run for its money as it was a great product that we really enjoyed. For more info go to http://www.naturespath.com.
At this show there was as many ridiculous and over-the-top products as there were actual, useful innovations. One of the products that we liked was the Activa organic canola-olive oil blend by Orphee. This product was both cost efficient for those who didn’t want to shell out for premium olive oil and versatile due to the canola blend, which made for better frying due to its higher burning temperature. Olive oil is great for the heart and one of the best types of fats that one can put into their body so blending it is actually a great idea as it cuts on cost, making it more accessible to consumers. For more info see: http://canola-olive.com/en/index.php.
Another interesting new product that we encountered was Equinox brand organic maple flakes. Designed as natural, unrefined alternative to table sugar, this product would be ideal to spoon over cereal or in coffee. It tasted very similar to sugar but with a hit of maple and can be used as a substitute in just about anything either in its coarse granular form or as suggested on their website, in a large grinder similarly to whole pepper for finer results.
Upon sampling both their regular basil-pine nut pesto and their sun-dried tomato pesto, we agreed that Solemio brand pasta sauces were one of the nicest things that we had tasted all day. Both sauces had robust flavourand would be delightful over pasta. This product is also available in most chain grocery stores, making them an ideal bet for dinner, any night of the week.
Another interesting innovation was Go Go Quinoa’s quinoa snacks and pastas. Quinoa is an oft-misunderstood, highly nutritional grain that contains fewer carbohydrates than most cereals and no gluten at all. Go Go Quinoa makes a variety of quinoa-based products as alternatives to those made with flour so that those with wheat or gluten allergies can still enjoy pasta or puffed snacks similar to onion puffs or rings. We found that the spicy puffs were actually quite enjoyable and would consider buying if they were more readily available. Though this product is geared towards health food stores as a speciality item they do sell it online. For more info see: http://www.gogoquinoa.com.
This expo was not only about edibles but also featured a number of kiosks devoted to biodegradable and compostable products, the best of which was offered by Nova Envirocom, which produces a variety of disposable cutlery and packaging.
This Quebec company distributes anywhere in the province and makes its products from corn, potatoes and other organic resins. We even used the disposable cutlery produced by Nova at another table to sample organic yogurt, not knowing that the cutlery had been made from corn as visually it’s indistinguishable from plastic. Though this product is at the moment more expensive than the regular variety of disposable cutlery and packaging, the distributor told us that it would not be for long due to new environmental legislation that the provincial government is working on.
Nova Envirocom makes a variety of products. Check them out at http://novaenvirocom.ca.
We literally saw hundreds of new t-products, so many that it would take a magazine the size of a phone book to talk about them all. There is always fi. new information coming out about: nutrition from organic foods to, so-called super foods, and about locally ; produced foods. The best source of information is the Canadian government. To find out more on what you should be eating, check out Canada’s’ Food Guide at http://www.hc-L sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-^i alimentlindex_e.html.