Expos or events like this usually intimidate me. Meaning I feel they are going to be too crunchy granola for me. I am a vegetarian verging on vegan and do like to pay attention to what I eat and how green my life is within reason. Meaning I do not go crazy. I do the best I can. Shortly upon arriving at the Palais de Congrès and entering the world (it is truly a whole different world) of the Expo Manger Santé et Vivre Vert I was won over. Let me assure you that it was not over the top or just for a niche market. It had a little something for everyone. Eating healthy and living green should be of interest to everyone.
Besides the expected healthy, organic and vegetarian food options there were also exhibits featuring supplements, naturopaths, acupuncture, coffee and teas, chiropractors, apothecaries, cosmetics, decorators, hydroponics, chocolate, nuts, maple water, mineral water, Tupperware, spas, dentists, reflexology, and ecohabitations. Over 350 exhibitors were there with their friendly smiles ready to educate you about their products. At many or even most of the booths you could also sample their products and make purchases of things you liked. Bonuses of buying the products on the spot were the cheaper prices and no tax. Even if you did not buy on the spot, most articles are available either in stores in Montreal, online or via delivery.
The interest level and popularity of the Expo was demonstrated in the number of people that were there. A mass of humanity with people huddled around each booth. Upon entering the room you were giving a re-usable shopping type bag which really came in handy to carry all my purchases around. Methodically we went up and down each aisle, sample loads of stuff, spoke to representatives from different companies, stopped to eat a delicious veggie paté roll from Aux Vivres for lunch, and then returned to several booths to make some purchases. Here are some of the exhibitors and/or products that caught my eye:
-Giddy YoYo: Two friendly, knowledgeable and attentive guys from the company, Justin Booth (Sales, Marketing and Business Development) and Shane Milson (Sales and Marketing), were there to answer our many questions. The idea behind Giddy YoYo and their products is to give us nutrient dense foods and for us to be able to enjoy them as nature intended. Everything is organic and filled with nutrition. Their product line includes a wide variety of chocolate bars, wheatgrass, blueberry powder, cacao, chlorella, and even body products like edible body butter, lubricant, massage oil, sunscreen. All your superfoods can be found amidst their roster. Check them out at – www.giddyyoyo.com . You can order online and they will deliver to your door.
-Dose Juice: A Montreal company that produces raw and organic cold pressed juices. A small team headed by a couple, Dose demonstrates that juicing is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Each of the many different juices is packed with fruits, vegetables and protein. Besides the juices there is also a cleansing kit. Check them out at – www.dosejuice.com – or you can go see them in person at Place Ville Marie. They deliver in the Montreal area every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
-Zengarry Artisanal Cashew Cheeses: As a vegan one of the hardest products to find that is tasty is cheese. I’ve tried many and usually been disappointed. This was not the case with Zengarry. The cashew based cheeses are available in six flavours including brie, smokey jalapeno, garlic and fine herbs, and Gruyère. Made with all-natural ingredients, they are gluten-free, dairy-free and GMO-free. They also are handmade in Alexandria, Ontario and contain no preservatives or chemicals. In Montreal you can find them at EcoLoco, Healthtree, Marché Bleuet and Bio-terre amongst other places. Check them out at www.zengarry.com .
-Chef Veganessa: Vanessa Percher is Chef Veganessa. She is an advocate of a plant-based, gluten-free diet. With food that is not only tasty and good for you it also looks great. Situated in Beaconsfield, Veganessa offers a meal service in which they will deliver meals right to your house. Perfect for busy people. The menu has plenty of options including soy free. Vanessa also offers catering, public and private cooking lessons, and private chef services. Check them out at www.veganessa.ca .
-Zyo Teas: Fine loose teas. A variety of categories like black, white, green, chai, herbal, and oolong. There is even a selection of iced teas. Special care goes into the selection of their teas. The bio teas are all made from natural ingredients. They also offer a variety of accessories like filters and carafes. Check them out at www.zyotea.com . A delivery service is also available.
-Reeliv5: A natural remedy that helps you life an active, but pain-free life. Pain is treatable and there is no need to suffer from chronic or temporary pain. There are two different products – Arthro Action and Collagen Action – depending on the type of pain or inflammation you are looking for relief from. Established in Quebec the company uses natural products made entirely in Canada. You can get the different types in spray, gel, liquid or capsule form. Check them out at www.reeliv5.com .
There were also three small stages tucked away in the corners of the large room. One featured cooking demos while the other two had different talks focusing on health and lifestyle. When we arrived early Sunday afternoon Michael Makhan, chef and co-owner of the restaurants Aux Vivres and Noble Bean had just finished his demonstration of cooking with tempeh, but later on we were able to catch short track speed skater, World Champion in 2014 and Olympic silver medalist in Sochi, Valérie Maltais. Her talk was co-presented by Bio-K and International Inc. She spoke of the changes she made to her lifestyle, diet and training in between the 2010 Olympics of Vancouver and those of 2014 in Sochi. It was interesting to hear someone who came from the Saguenay region speak of how moving to Montreal and all its food choices made a big difference in her life and sport. Valérie joked at how before she moved to Montreal (she is also now studying to become a dietician) she did not know what an avocado was. On the Health Stage they had interesting talks like The 3 Pillars of Long-Term Weight Loss, How to Beat Pain and Inflammation Through Diet and Urban Bees and Local Honey Making.
Photos by: Jan Giblin