Hello and goodbye Chicago! The Gluten-Free/Allergen-Free Expo’s third of five expos across the US this year is over, and boy was it fun!
With 150 vendors and some good speakers with interesting topics, it was great. Plus, I have to say, there is nothing quite like being among “your people” for a weekend.
Day 2 seemed to be just as busy as day one which sort of surprised me, to be honest. Even some vendors I wanted to talk to didn’t have time for me either day because they were slammed with people. I was impressed by that.
My goal on this day was to try every sample at the expo, which took some time. Let me tell you I had some great food! Here are my highlights:
Best Bread: Toss up: Local Oven had the most Unique bread options offering up Pita bread and an onion roll along with some standards. But I really liked the taste and texture of the french bread that Gillian’s had.
Best sweet treat: Hands down Crave Bake Shop had my favorite cupcake. It was so good! However Sweet Ali’s came in a close second with a salted caramel cupcake that was very tasty and different. Both companies will ship product to you, but it appears they ship different items. For example, Sweet Ali’s doesn’t ship their cupcakes at this time, but they do ship other items like poundcake -yummy- and bread. Crave ships sweets like cupcakes and sweet rolls. Take a look — if one can’t fulfill your needs, the other one just might! They both ship the items FRESH too!
Best Cereal: Choco Puffs by BEZGluten. The cereal reminded me of a gluten free Cocoa Puffs Cereal. It has a little extra kick of what I thought was chocolate on the inside, but it turns out it is hazel nut (and I don’t like hazel nut). This company is not distributing yet in the USA but expects it to happen this fall.
Best product we’ve all been waiting for? Probably is Glutenfreeda‘s version of a Hot Pocket called the Pocket Sandwich. They do currently advertise a pizza pocket on their website. But what I tried was an egg and bacon gluten-free “hot pocket-ish” food item. It was very good! Finding those convenience foods is so valuable — even though I know I should be a better mother and make everything from scratch, but running from school to soccer to church and then to some other event…sometimes this girl just needs to let it go and perhaps pop one of these into the toaster oven.
As for the speakers I listened in on, Carlyn Berghoff talked about cooking gluten free for your family and teen. She was a very good speaker, especially for parents with new celiac kids at home. Berghoff has a cookbook out which you can find on her website gffamilyfood.com. She did a survey with her doctor’s celiac patients to find out what the most common foods that kids miss are. Here are some at the top of that list: “good bread”, donuts and pancakes/waffles. Berghoff recommends having a completely gluten-free home to make it easier and less likely for any cross contamination.
The other speaker was Amy Hull Brown of WellAmy.com. She talked about Healing a Child with Autism or ADHD and she said that diet is a huge part of this. She says you need to find out what the toxic foods or elements are that are causing your child’s neurological dysfunction, and get rid of them. The best thing I found out was this list of the “dirty dozen” and the “clean 15″ — these are lists of produce and which ones tend to be laden with pesticides and which ones are less affected by pesticides. Check out the lists and they may help you decide which items to buy organic and which items you can get that are not organic.
The Expo was a great learning experience for me and I think it can be for you as well. I highly recommend going sometime!