I’ve just returned from California where I attended the Natural Product Expo 2018. The last time I was there was about 5 years ago. How times have changed since then.

This year, as before, there were hundreds of companies at the expo showcasing their product lines and spouting their benefits. However, many of these products were organic, natural, non-GMO, sustainable, ultra-processed junk food.

Inconsistencies and Empty Promises

I began my expo at the ‘Climate Change Talks’, where it was stated that 30% of climate change is due to modern agricultural practices. One of the speakers was from the organic division of General Mills. This is a giant food company that has many brands under its umbrella including Cheerios cereals, Haagen-Dazs icecream, Bisquick, Betty Crocker, Yoplait, and many more. Many of these products are not necessarily foods, but a group of additives, flavours, preservatives, fillers, binders, synthetic vitamins and mined minerals with the addition of wheat, GMO soy, Bt corn and refined sugar, masquerading as food. 

While the speaker seemed passionate about the organic division of General Mills, I couldn’t help thinking that it was but a small percentage of a company that is otherwise contributing to the planet’s human and animal sickness.

And the inconsistencies continued.

I started to notice buzz words: Non-GMO, natural, organic, keto, vegan, fair-trade, sustainable and paleo. But are they all empty promises?

Here are just some of the incomprehensible things I found:

  • Vegan products (fake meats and dairy) filled with additives all tested on animals.
  • Organic foods with natural flavours (read the 2018 version of Changing Habits Changing Lives for a full description of what this term really means). One of these was Yogi Tea. When I questioned its producers about this they said that they couldn’t keep up with the demand for different flavours without the natural flavours added. In other words, people’s taste buds don’t like the natural tea blends…I’m not sure if I agree. I also found that two of my favourite US writers had bowed to flavours, such as rosemary extract (which is nothing more than another name for a synthetic antioxidant).
  • Products containing guar gum, xanthan gum and natural colours (all ingredients that I will not consume). The natural colours contained sodium benzoate and polysorbate 80 to name a few – the colours come from natural sources but the processes involved in making the product and the additives used in them do not align with my philosophy of real food. When you asked for the information sheet, you were given a glossy leaflet that failed to reveal the whole truth.
  • Many of the fruit and vegetable powders contained 25% maltodextrin.
  • Supplements, including many herbal remedies, were filled with excipients (a substance added to the supplement as a stability aid), flowing agents and preservatives.
  • And while ‘sustainable’ may have been a buzz word, there were few who could prove their sustainability to me – especially the big companies. 

Sadly, too, some of my favourite boutique food manufacturers, like EPIC Bars and Annie’s, had sold out to General Mills.

Maybe I’m being too harsh? I know I’m still learning, but as I know better I do better – not only regarding the food industry, but packaging, transportation, farming, animal husbandry, crop health and whatever it takes to educate people about real food.

I choose real food without additives. I shop at local markets for fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, eggs and herbs, and for everything else I choose organic, sustainable, ethical and trusted companies. 

One thing my husband and I strive for is to deliver FOSETs!  Food that is organic, sustainable, ethical and that you can trust. We have done our homework to make sure that we buy from organic, regenerative farmers in communities that benefit from our purchases from them, and your purchases from Changing Habits. We may only be small but we are doing our best to make a difference – with your support we can make a huge difference in our own communities.

To End On a Positive Note…

It wasn’t all bad. We did visit our wonderful suppliers that we have been with for many years and we did meet new suppliers that shared our values and love of food. You will hear more about them in the future as we work with them to deliver the best, most nutritious foods to your kitchen.

If nothing else, being at the expo has made me even more determined to stick to the principles of real food with no additives, purchasing what I can locally, and finding amazing communities around the world to fulfill our other food needs, making sure that they are non-GMO, sustainable, natural, organic and not only good for you, but for the planet.





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Cyndi O'Meara

Founder at Changing Habits
Not your typical nutritionist, Cyndi disagrees with low-fat, low-calorie diets, believes chocolate can be good for you and thinks cheating and eating yummy food is an important part of a well-balanced diet. Cyndi must be doing something right because she maintains a healthy weight and has never (in her whole life!) taken an antibiotic, pain-killer or any other form of medication. Cyndi is a passionate, determined and knowledgeable speaker on health issues and uses her education and experience to help others improve their quality of life so they too can enjoy greater health and longer lives.
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