This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending Living Without's Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest in Minneapolis, Minnesota as a volunteer. It was interesting to see it from a different perspective. It was exciting. I helped with the food demonstrations. I was able to meet and converse with several of the presenters and learned a few things I could take back to my own kitchen.
The first demonstration was by Jules Shepard, CEO and founder of GF Jules . She showed how simple it is to use a bread machine and have great tasting bread at home. She has been dealing with Celiac Disease a lot longer than I have and has done research into the chemistry of the ingredients. I learned a lot that will help me with my recipes.
Next, Glutino and their sister company Udi's showed how you could use their pretzels to make meatballs. They were delicious. They also announced some of their new and upcoming products. If you are a fan of their products, keep your eyes open for new products on the shelves of your favorite store.
Debbie Adler, owner of Sweet Debbie's Organic Cupcakes, told her journey to owning an allergen free, sugar free bakery. She was already an owner of a bakery but it began to really take shape with an ER visit with her young son. Soon after they learned their son had many, many food allergies. This led her to develop cupcakes that her son could eat. She showed us how easy it was to make energy bars that were not only allergen free and easy to make but also delicious. It was during her demo that a thought came to mind. Are those with food intolerances, not those with autoimmune reactions, really “sick” or are they the one's whose bodies are functioning properly and warning them and everyone else's are not working quite right? Something to ponder. I like to take Debbie's view point. Food intolerance keeps me from eating foods that cause cancer, leaky gut, thyroid, disease, and have known toxins. It is really a blessing.
There was more available at the GFFA Fest. There were also lectures. Unfortunately these were scheduled at the same time as the demos, so I did not see them. There were also 68 booths of vendors, authors, and bloggers. It was a great way to learn about the companies, their products and even taste some samples. I discovered a pasta that cooks in 5 minutes and is excellent for cold pasta salads; most gluten free pastas aren't. They are made by Sunrise Creative Gourmet. They had several different varieties. I tried the red pepper penne. It was delicious and had a bit of a zing.
The event was a very good experience. I would highly recommend it to everyone and hopefully you will see me at a booth in the near future.
Dates for future Gluten Free Food Allergy Fests
Portland, Oregon Sept. 26-27, 2015
Indianapolis, Indiana Oct. 24-25, 2015
Stamford,Connecticut Nov. 7-8, 2015
Austin, Texas April 2-3, 2016
Columbus, Ohio April 30-May 1st (tentative)
Minneapolis, Minnesota TBD