This past weekend was the Total Health Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This 3 day convention is devoted to all things natural and promoting a healthy lifestyle. Along with the 200+ exhibits, this show also offers over 60 international speakers, 2 demo stages, a raw cafe oasis and a spa oasis. Around since 1978, my mum and I have been going for the last 4 years and look forward to it every Spring.
This year, my mum and I were thrilled by the amount of new vendors/products and maybe, sort of, kind of spent a bit more money than planned. There was just too much good stuff to pass up! I decided to do a haul type post, as I am really excited about some of these products and had to share them here! Whether you’re a devout health nut or curious about exploring the amazing world of natural products, this post will have a ton of information which I hope you find helpful!
This years goodies include (all prices shown were the prices we paid at the show):
Wild Harvested Chaga Mushroom Tea by Annanda Chaga Tea – $10.00 for 56g
My mum and I were introduced to the magical mushroom that is chaga (no hallucinations haha) at last years Total Health Show. The chaga mushroom grows on living birch trees and slowly absorbs the nutrients from the tree into a concentrated form. Chaga is seen as one of the most powerful, nutrient dense, super foods on Earth. Used holistically in Russia and Siberia since the 16th century, it is used to treat and prevent diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and cancer. It can also help against Crohn’s disease, tumours, skin and stomach ailments, and is a kidney, liver and nerve tonic, along with a ton of other things—it’s healing powers are endless. Annanda Chaga Tea is 100% raw and is handpicked in Northern Ontario. The taste itself is a very mild, earthy taste and can be drank hot or cold. If you or a loved one are ill or just as a preventative measure, I would definitely encourage you to look into chaga more.
Purity Hemp Products Hemp Hearts – $10.00 for 500g
I love hemp hearts, not only because of the health benefits, but because they taste great. Hemp hearts, which are the edible inside of hemp seeds, are a complete protein (contain all 9 essential amino acids our body needs) and the easiest high protein food to digest. I sprinkle these on everything; salads, sandwiches, wraps, pasta—the works! They contain omega 6 and 3 (essential fatty acids), soluble and insoluble fibre, a ton of vitamins and minerals and are also energy boosting. I have always purchased hemp hearts by Manitoba Harvest (who I love and are a much bigger hemp based company), but Purity Hemp Products is grown and processed in Peterborough, Ontario and well, you gotta support smaller, local companies! Also, the price for this massive bag was too good to pass up.
Dandy Blend Instant Herbal Beverage with Dandelion – $11.00 for 200g
Okay, this product is insane. They were sampling this product and thankfully they did or else I wouldn’t have given this a second glance. Now hear me out. This is a blend of roasted barley, chicory root, dandelion root and sugar beet—that’s it. And I kid you not—it smells and tastes like coffee! If you have been trying to wean yourself off coffee or cut back you definitely need to try this. Other than the occasional mocha from Starbucks, I avoid coffee as I have poor blood circulation and it also sets off my anxiety. However, I do love the taste. It does not have the bitterness that coffee has, is non-acidic and caffeine-free. It has no artificial flavours or pesticides and is gluten-free, as the gluten from the barley and rye is removed during the extracting process. They also claim if you are transitioning from coffee to Dandy Blend you will not experience any withdrawal symptoms. This is definitely one of the products I was most excited to discover at the show and I cannot wait to try this iced!
Gopal’s Power Wraps – $3.00 each
I come every year to the Total Health Show specifically for these wraps, as I cannot find these in-store anywhere. These ‘energy sticks’ are high enzyme, 100% raw, vegan and gluten-free. They remind me a bit of pepperoni sticks, not only for the shape, but because the nori they’re wrapped in gives it that satisfying ‘snap’ when you bite into it. These are super tasty and give you a boost of energy, so they are perfect for when you are on the go, at work, on a hike, etc. The inside of the wraps contain raw sunflower seeds, along with other seeds and organic spices depending on the flavour. They are also really filling and I only need to eat one to feel satisfied. The ‘Texas BBQ’ and ‘Mexican’ are my favourite, with the ‘Italian’ a close second. They also do a ‘Japanese’ and a ‘Curry’ flavour, but I am not big on those ones.
** Both the Dandy Blend and Power Wraps are available on Upaya Naturals (Canadian online raw vegan e-store), who was the vendor at the Total Health Show selling these two, along with a ton of other products.
Victorian Essence Loose Leaf Tea – $12.00 a pouch
Along with the power wraps, my mum and I also come specifically for these teas. This year we limited ourselves to two bags. We went with our favourite, the Nutty Crumble Fruit Tea (I don’t typically like fruit teas, but this one is AMAZING and tastes like a dessert) and I decided to try the French Pear Rooibos Tea which sounds and smells delicious. This Canadian company makes all their teas themselves and carefully selects only the best ingredients. We have tried quite a few of their teas and I have yet to try one I did not like. I find with tea it’s always disappointing when they smell amazing, but the taste leaves you feeling underwhelmed. Their teas not only smell delicious, but are so rich in flavour as well without any nasty preservatives or artificial flavours. Plus, the couple behind Victorian Essence are such nice people.
RawFoodz Products – $6.00 each or 2 for $10.00
This company’s goal is to create comfort foods from 100% plant based food ingredients. They operate out of Toronto and Inglewood, California and all their products are raw, vegan, certified organic, sustainable and of the highest quality ingredients. We were able to sample all their products (aside from the dressings) and I cannot express how delicious and flavourful their stuff is. I have mentioned a few times that I am dairy intolerant and try to avoid dairy as much as I can. I have made my own vegan dips and dressings before and though they turned out pretty tasty, they were by no means healthy. The Garlic & Dill Wild Ranch Dip is out of this world and gives chemical and preservative packed, artery-clogging, dairy-filled ranch dips a run for their money. The CheeSauce Vegan Sauce & Spread is also incredible with that smoky cheese flavour and I can’t wait to eat this with nachos. I also picked up their Sea-Zar Serenity Caesar Style Dressing, which I haven’t tried, but with how amazing their other products are I have high hopes for this one too. We were told that they just started selling their products in some larger chain stores in the GTA, like Metro and Whole Foods, which makes me really excited that I can purchase their products regularly.
Giddy Yoyo’s chocolate bars seem to be available at most health food stores now, but the first show we attended in 2012 is what introduced us to them. This is an extremely passionate company based in Orangeville, Ontario that strives for only the highest quality in their products. Their chocolate is 100% raw, vegan, fair-trade, gluten-free and certified organic. They use only wild Ecuadorian heirloom Arriba Nacional cacao that is grown in mineral rich soil and is watered by the rain and pure mountain springs (never touched by pesticides or chemicals). Bridgette—the face behind Giddy Yoyo—was actually there and it was really cool to get to talk to her and at 45—girl looks incredible. I’ve tried almost all their flavours (my favourites are the vanilla and banana), but I went with their newer lemon lime and salt flavour. Citrus and chocolate may seem like a weird pairing, but if you like chocolate and orange together you’ll love lemon and lime too. When people say dark chocolate is good for you, this is the kind you want to be eating. Even their packaging says ‘Food not Candy’.
Onto our non-edible purchases:
Buhbli Organics Soapnuts Laundry Soap – $1.00 per trial size bag
I had forgotten about soapnuts until the guy we were talking to asked us if we wanted to see the most economical product at the show. I had actually first encountered soapnuts on my trip to Guatemala during our visit to Tikal. Our guide showed us these nuts and and how they lathered up with water like regular soap. Soapnuts are actually a berry from the Soapnut tree (Sapindus mukorossi) that contain saponins inside the shell which is what creates the lather and cleanses. These soapnuts by Buhbli Organics are harvested in Nepal making them renewable and sustainable and are 100% organic, biodegradable, hypoallergenic and contain no additives, preservatives, chemicals or fragrance. They claim to clean, deodorize and soften your laundry naturally. Each cotton bag contains 5 soapnut shells and will last 4-5 loads (just check the inside of the shell and if it is still glossy—from the saponins—you can reuse them still). We’ve done a couple loads of laundry and they cleaned our clothes no problem. Though the soapnuts do not contain any fragrance our clothes still smelt clean (if that makes sense). Even our whites look decent!
Eves & Riches Velvet Earth Face Mask – $20.00
Eva and Richa, the duo behind Eves & Riches, both work at the same hospital and got together to create a line of natural, good for your skin products. They are a newer company based in Toronto and all their products are handmade in micro batches. Both Eva and Richa were there working the booth at the show and they were both so lovely. I decided on their face mask as I was intrigued with the fact it is in a powder form which you mix with water yourself (the amount of water depends on the consistency you want for the face mask). Keeping the product in powder form means they do not have to add any preservatives to it and I would also imagine it keeps the ingredients more pure. This face mask only contains 6 ingredients: Rhassoul clay (high absorption), Australian reef red clay (high in iron), seaweed powder (detoxifies) and essential oils of tea tree, eucalytpus and lavender (all anti-bacterial and good for fighting acne). They also make some gorgeous soaps, scrubs and lotions.
Hope you enjoyed this post! There were a few other products we were eyeing at the show, but we had to finally draw the line somewhere. Have you been persuaded to try any of these products? They do not disappoint!