Last week I was incredible blessed to attend the Phoenix Gluten and Allergen Free Expo. If you missed it don’t worry, there are 5 other stops throughout the year and the next one is in Chicago!
Gluten and Allergen Free Expo Highlights
There were so many highlights I’ll need to spread them out over a couple of posts. I was on the “Blogger Team” for the expo which was a huge honor. I loved talking to brands, authors, other bloggers and people who attended. I met one lady who flew in from Colorado just to attend we swapped stories while waiting for a free chair massage from AFC Physical Medicine and Chiropractic Centers.
The Gluten and Allergen Free Expo was well-organized (and even color coded). The companies the left side (and with a red backdrop) were also made in a dedicated peanut free facility. Companies on the left (with the blue backdrop) could contain nuts. Each table had a “pop-up” sign that listed common allergens that could be found in their products. That was very helpful because I could tell after a quick glance if a product contained dairy and keep moving. There was also medical staff on site in case of injury or illness.
The expo is very family friendly but I chose not to bring my kids for three reasons:
- I was “working”
- My kids are crazy and I didn’t want to worry about them misbehaving (and driving me crazy)
- My 3 year old has a lot of food allergies and I knew he wouldn’t be able to eat most of the food there.
There were kids of all ages. I heard one mom tell here gluten-free son, “you can eat any thing here”. That really pulled at my heart-strings because I know how difficult it is when your kid can’t eat what everyone else eats.
Today I want to highlight some of the local (Phoenix) companies/brands who were at the Expo!
Celiac and the Beast
Many times when I would talk to people and mention I was a blogger they would say, “oh, you know Erica”. I can’t tell you how many times I heard this. It turned out they were talking about Erica Dermer, author of the book and blog Celiac and the Beast. Now I get all of the hype because she is FABULOUS! I bought her book (and you should too) and got it signed. It’s not only informative but hilarious. I also bought the Pink Cupcake Shirt! I missed Erica’s (yeah we are on a first name basis now, I’ll just pretend we are BFFs) presentation but she kindly posted it to YouTube, Gluten-Free 101: First Timer Mistakes.
I also found a few local restaurants that have gluten-free options. Many of these are not plant-based or nut-free so research them for yourself before visiting them.
Spinato’s Pizzeria is a local company that I’ve heard friends rave about. They have been in business for close to 40 years and recently began serving gluten-free sandwiches and pizza. I’ve never eaten there but I hope to soon!
Jewel’s Bakery and Cafe is a dedicated gluten-free bakery and cafe but they are not plant-based. They had samples of their creations at the expo and one was vegan. If you are looking for something special call ahead and see what they have that will suit your dietary preferences.
Gluten Free Creations is a dedicated gluten-free bakery that offers a wide range of gluten-free baked goods including breads, donuts, cupcakes, bagels, specialty cakes and more. Many of their baked goods are also nut-free and vegan but I encourage you to ask before you buy or order.
Lady Bug Pest Control is a local company that uses natural and organic products to help control or eliminate pests. I’ve been wanting to find an eco-friendly pest control company so I’m going to have them come over and take a look at my home. I know that some bugs are good but others aren’t safe for my kids (or our garden).
I didn’t realize there were so many support groups in my area. Even if you are not in the Phoenix area you may be able to find similar groups in your town. If not, start one yourself. These groups offer local support and activities.
Stay tuned for more Gluten and Allergen Free Expo Highlights. I can’t wait to share some of my exciting finds which will include pasta, chocolate, oats, tamari, bread and more!