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Gluten & Allergy Free Expo

Posted Feb 11 2013 3:17am

Hi lovelies! I hope that you all had a fabulous weekend! They always feel too short but I am very excited that next week is a 3-day weekend! I had a great weekend and an amazing time at the Gluten and Allergy Free Expo. I’ve discussed my journey to my celiac diagnosis on the blog before (though full post will be on my About page soon) but I haven’t gone into detail about my other restrictions. Back at the end of November, my doctor put me on an elimination diet where I cut out a variety of things and then could gradually re-introduce them to see how I reacted to them. The list included but was not limited to: corn, soy, dairy, peanuts, vinegar, alcohol, chocolate, strawberries, beef and eggs. I’ve taken the reintroductions slowly and have found that I’m fine with alcohol and chocolate, however I have had reactions to both beef and vinegar. I likely won’t be re-introducing dairy or soy but I’ve tried corn on 2 accounts lately. The first was a complete and utter failure, as I found myself very sick immediately after eating. Since then I’ve been sure to stay away from corn, but on Saturday evening I ordered gluten-free pasta at a restaurant, but forgot to ask if there was corn in it. Big mistake. Minutes after eating I was fighting the urge to throw up, had a killer headache and was really miserable. As it turns out, more than 50% of celiacs are also allergic to corn! Corn also has gluten in it, but it’s a different type of gluten that hasn’t been studied so it’s on the “safe” list. However, since it’s very similar on a molecular level, the body often reacts the same. So for those of you fellow gluten-free guys and gals still experiencing symptoms, try cutting out corn!

After not the best Saturday night, I was determined to wake up feeling better since I had tickets to the Gluten & Allergy Free Expo that I’ve been looking forward to for months. A whole convention where everyone is like me and there will be food that I can eat available! Since I have the most supportive parents in the world, they too wanted to go and we had a great time together. It was such a wonderful conference and part of me wishes I would have gone both days so I could have seen all the speakers!

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One of my favorites was Mrs. Northwest International, Brandy Wendler, who gave a fantastic session on Heart Health & Celiac disease. I had no idea that celiacs are 30% more likely to develop heart disease than the rest of the population. After being scared by that fact, I was pleased to find out that the risk goes back to the normal population risk, after a celiac eats gluten-free. However, it is important to note that gluten-free products are not the solution. Almost every recently diagnosed person (myself included) begins to eat every gluten-free boxed product they can find because they are so excited to be able to eat something ‘normal’! However, those products are often laden with sugar and fat and overly processed. AKA not healthy and certainly not good for your heart. Therefore, the same rules apply as for the rest of the population, eat lean proteins, lots of fruits and vegetables and healthy fats. Brandy was a great speaker and was humorous while still being informative. She is doing so much for the gluten-free community and is truly an inspiration!

Now after all that talk about heart health, let me tell you the main event at the conference: eating! There were over 100 vendors and almost all gave samples of gluten-free goodies. I don’t usually eat any sugar except on special occasions, but this definitely qualified in my book! There were so many amazing things to try, many of which I’d never heard of! It was also extremely helpful that each table was labeled with a sign that specified which (if any) of the common allergens the food contained. That way, I wasn’t constantly having to ask if there was soy/dairy/peanuts/corn in any of the items and could happily much away. Since many of you are also looking for new fun products, here are some of my favorites!

Bella Gluten-Free: Bella  makes great flours and baking mixes but what I was ALL over was the fact that they were serving focaccia bread served with olive oil! I can’t remember the last time I had focaccia which the Italian in me greatly misses so this was absolutely fantastic!

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CheeCha Puffs : These light crispy puffs are absolutely delicious and if you see the allergy card in the left-hand corner of the picture, free of all the common allergens! The fiesta salsa were my favorite and you can have 2 cups for only 80 calories! How amazing is that when you just feel like snacking?!

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Home Free: I think these cookies were targeted toward kids but it certainly didn’t stop me. They were delicious mini-crunchy cookies and reminded me of those Famous Amos cookies you always see in vending machines, only these ones are allergen free!

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Coco-Roons: I’ve never been lucky enough to win one of the Fitnessista ‘s famous roons giveaway, but I’d imagine they taste something like these. Every flavor I tried was amazing, but the Almond & Strawberry PB&J blew me away. They are absolutely amazing, organic and raw and I cannot wait to try them again!

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When I got home from the expo I was completely stuffed! You don’t think you are eating that much as the samples are small but I was definitely indulging! But some days it’s important to do that and today was definitely one of them! Tomorrow, I’ll be back eating lots of whole foods like I usually do! Of course, I couldn’t attend the event without buying some products and between my mom and I and our purchases and samples, this is all of our loot which I think is a great haul indeed.

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Questions:

-If you are gluten-free, are you also allergic to other foods?

-Have you ever attended an expo like this? What product would you most like to try?


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