Gluten-free greatest hits from Natural Products Expo

(Mary MacVean / Los Angeles Times)

Elizabeth Stein wanted to create a nutritious gluten-free product, because she found that as a holistic nutrition counselor there was too little to recommend to her clients who avoid gluten. So in January she introduced her line of three quick-cooking and one slow-cooking hot cereals.

Purely Elizabeth cereals are made with oats, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, kaniwa, hemp, flax and chia. She also has four versions of granola, including cranberry-pecan and pumpkin-fig.

Stein hopes to appeal not only to gluten-free eaters, like one of the warehouse workers where her food is packed, “a guy who only eats hot dogs. He said, ‘I am obsessed with our grains.’ That’s music to my ears,” Stein said.


Stein was one of the hundreds of vendors sampling food at the recent Natural Products Expo in Anaheim earlier this month. There was so much to see and taste that I’m still sorting through it all. Not in any particular order, here are some of the other gluten-free products I noticed and liked.

WholeMe, a new company from Minnesota, makes grain-free bars and breakfast foods. Eatme cereal is made with almonds, coconut, honey and seeds. There’s a Dateme bar with dates, pecans, eggs and almonds, and the Wakeme bar with dates, eggs, nuts, cocoa nibs and espresso.

Lotus Foods hopes to change the ramen market with its gluten-free, non-GMO and organic ramen, both in single-serve and 10-ounce packages, based on rice. Flavors include millet and brown rice, forbidden rice and jade pearl rice.

“I ate a lot of ramen in college. And then I just stopped eating it,” said Thomas May, the sales director for Lotus, which launched in October in Richmond, Calif.

The single-serve size, at $1.99, comes with organic miso broth. Co-founder Ken Lee suggests adding some vegetables and protein to the broth. For $4.99 there are packages of four bunches of the ramen.

Cup 4 Cup introduced a new gluten-free flour. Its original gluten-free flour, meant to be a substitute for all-purpose flour, contained dairy, which was a problem for some potential customers. Its newest product Wholesome Cup 4 Cup is dairy-free. There’s also a dairy- and gluten-free chocolate brownie mix.


All too often when the gluten goes out, in come ingredients that are not too healthful. But I tried Rhythm brand (from Austin, Texas) Superfood Chips, which have 3 grams of fiber and 4 of protein in a serving, and they’re light and delicious. They’re made with whole corn flour, pea protein, sweet potato flour and other vegetables and seeds.

Happy Family’s dog-shaped cookies called Best Friends are aimed at toddlers and come in a honey-buckwheat or chocolate-pumpkin flavor. They’re little cookies but just 10 calories each for the honey-buckwheat. They are made with several flours including buckwheat, millet and brown rice. The company began with baby food and now makes products for all ages.


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A new upscale meat market downtown

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Twitter: @mmacvean