Six gut-friendly finds from CHFA East

The Canadian Health Food Association held its largest annual conference and trade show in Toronto recently, showcasing the country’s fast-growing natural health and organics industry. Supplements, beauty products and (of course) food were all on display at CHFA East, with a smattering of buzz-worthy products from both established companies and recently launched ventures.

Here are six healthy food and drink products that stood out for me, digestively speaking:

Mary’s Organic Crackers – Super Seed  

I’ve called out these crackers before because they’re an ideal thing to snack on when you’re cutting out gluten and dairy; the company’s founder started making her products after struggling with celiac disease. This new Super Seed variety eliminates tamari, making it completely soy-free (soy is one of the most common food allergies and sensitivities). It lives up to its name thanks to a crunchy blend of pumpkin, sunflower, flax, sesame and poppy seeds.

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Mamma Chia Drink

This bottled drink is a weirdly satisfying smoothie/juice hybrid. Hydrated chia seeds are mixed with  juices to form a gel-like substance. As New York Times food columnist Martha Rose Shulman writes, this gelatinous property “aids digestion and contributes to [chia seeds’] low-glycemic index.” The seeds are also packed with fibre – and this drink contains six grams of it, making it a good way to help your digestive system function more effectively.

Genuine Health greens+ whole body

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Joining the popular greens+ family of supplements is this brown rice-based protein powder aimed at improving digestive health. More than 70% of its ingredients are fermented to promote good bacteria in the gut (because fermented foods contain active bacterial cultures). This powder is also vegan, making it a good alternative to whey protein powders for the dairy-sensitive, and can be blended into smoothies for a plant-based protein boost at breakfast or following a workout.

Traditional Medicinals Organic Fennel  and Organic Lemon Balm  Teas

As a huge fan of this company’s Organic Throat Coat tea, I was excited to try two of their new varieties, both herbs which are commonly used in holistic medicine to ease indigestion. The Organic Fennel – which, be warned, is not for the licorice-averse – helps with bloating and gas, while the milder-tasting Organic Lemon Balm can also help soothe an upset stomach.

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Yogourmet Freeze-Dried Kefir Starter

These little packets of live cultures let you make your own kefir (a.k.a. fermented milk) at home – how cool is that? Simply add the culture to boiled milk (you can use soy if you’d like, or non-lactose; however, the culture packet contains skim milk). Let it stand for approximately 24 hours, refrigerate, and you’ll have a whole new way to get your daily dose of probiotics.

Everyday Superfoods Yogurt Topping

This small Vancouver-based company makes convenient blends of organic chia seeds, buckwheat and hulled hemp hearts, with add-ins like coconut, almonds and cocoa nibs. They’re gluten- and lactose-free for those with food sensitivities, and a great way to boost your intake of constipation-fighting fibre and magnesium.

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