Well, just wow. In my previous life in the high-technology arena in Boston, I attended my fair share of trade shows. But I’ve never been to anything like this.
For those of you with food allergies, imagine a place you could go that catered to you. How nice would that be? If you are gluten-free, this would be a place offering you food samples that you didn’t have to worry about. You wouldn’t even have to read the ingredients (unless you had allergies beyond wheat/gluten). That would feel pretty wonderful, wouldn’t it?
Well, that’s what the Gluten-Free Expo is all about. With 7 shows per year in cities throughout the United States, gluten-free folks can attend and eat food samples to their hearts’ desire. Granted, it’s not an open buffet – you have to go up to the vendors’ booths, but you can sample anything from gluten-free pizza to frozen yogurt to Brazilian cheesy bread.
The Expos last two days, and I’m so very glad I attended both days. The first day, the lines for the booths wove around the corners! It was mobbed. I was moved to see all those people in attendance. I was so glad that they were taking the reins and doing something more about their health issues. I can’t tell you how many people just starting out with Celiac Disease come to me in a state of confusion and ready to quit their diets. This Expo I think gives everyone hope that gluten-free is becoming the norm, not the exception like it was for me when I was diagnosed over 10 years ago. You think things are tough now? Trust me, they’re not.
Back in 2006, there wasn’t much available for gluten-free people. Now, you can find these goods in mainstream retailers and grocery stores. I was happy to find vendors like Bakery on Main, Namaste foods, Trans Ocean, and others I discovered way back in the dark ages of gluten-freedom. It’s nice to see they are still around.
It was also wonderful to see the new vendors popping up and making their way onto the scene. I’ll be writing about some of these vendors in the upcoming weeks, and offering samples of their goods right here on the blog. So stay tuned.
Meanwhile, here’s a shout-out to some of the vendors who fed me, generously gave me samples (and coupons for free stuff!) for the GFG readers here, and took the time to discuss their products:
Sprouts (I already shop there!)
Quinoa Esta Bakery
High Brew Coffee
Jewel’s Cafe (Phoenix)
I’m sure I missed some, and there were many others, including supplements, alcoholic beverages, and more.
The Gluten Free Media Group hosts 7 events each year in the following cities: San Diego, Atlanta, Schaumburg IL, Worcester MA, Dallas, Secaucus NJ, and Phoenix. I HIGHLY recommend attending these events. Tickets are very affordable (and even cheaper if you check for them on Groupon). Where else can you go where other attendees are having the same issues you are? There was a friendliness and a camaraderie there that was just lovely to experience. Frankly, I’m sad it’s over.
For more information, check out http://gfafexpo.com/.