Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest – 2015!

This past weekend my wonderful city of Indianapolis hosted the second annual Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest (GFFA). When I first saw the billboard a few weeks back I was soo excited and was determined to go. Then I started wondering if it would all just be geared towards Gluten Free, and not so much “allergy free”. So I started second guessing if I even wanted to attend. Did I really want to spend $30 for David and I both to attend if it was going to be pointless?

Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest!

But, I won a ticket from my sweet friend Lauren at Epi Family‘s Instagram giveaway, which sealed the deal for attending. So, we bought David a ticket (Noah was free!), and we were on our way! We really had no idea what to expect. I checked out the vendors ahead of time, and there were a few I recognized, and a ton I had never heard of. David and I went into it completely with an open mind. I ended up in tears, (multiple times) if that gives any indication as to how great this experience was.

As soon as we walked in, the first booth we saw was Enjoy Life, and I was beyond excited. This brand has been our saving grace since our allergy diagnosis six months ago. We were able to chat with the brand ambassador (who I was basically obsessed with), grab a ton of samples, coupons, etc. She loaded us with all kinds of goodies. There were samples of products we had never tried, which was awesome. It’s always so hard to spend $4 on a box of something, only to have Noah take one bite and hate it. Quick way to flush money down the toilet. The brand ambassador asked if there was anything Noah loved that they didn’t have a sample of laying out. We mentioned how much he loves the soft cookies, and sure enough she whips out a whole box of the brownie cookies for us. I was literally in shock. Five minutes of walking in this thing and our bags were full – it was nuts. I basically broke down telling her how much this company means to our family. Knowing all their products are 100% free of the top 8 allergens is so comforting, and not to mention everything is freaking delicious. I think I need to be their spokesperson.  

From there we just went booth to booth, tried samples, asked questions, etc. Any time I’ve ever gone to some sort of expo, I’ve always been so freaking awkward. I avoid eye contact so I don’t get suckered into chatting only to feel guilty about not buying anything. But, this expo was so different. Maybe it was because we were there for our sweet boy, or because I’m just so passionate about food allergies, but I didn’t find myself uncomfortable in the slightest. I eagerly went up to booths to ask if they were allergy free, or just gluten free, asked if any of their products contained peanuts or tree nuts, etc. It was so refreshing!

I was able to meet Cybele Pascal, who is basically my hero in the food allergy world. I almost put her in tears when I expressed how much her cookbooks saved my life when I had to alter everything I’ve ever cooked. Seriously, I don’t know how I’d feed my family without her cookbooks. She also has a line of cookies, which are all “free to eat” as well. Score! I’m still kicking myself for not taking a picture with her. But, she does follow me on Instragram – so I consider that a win. 

On top of all the freebies we got, we did buy a few allergy free products. Freedom Foods has cereal that is free from the Top 8 as well. We’ve tried one flavor at Kroger before and Noah really loved it. Here we were able to try a variety of flavors. We walked around with three different samples to determine Noah’s faves, and then bough the winners.  We also bought a bag of this amazinggg dark chocolate from Pascha Chocolate, totally allergy free and made in a completely dedicated facility. All I could picture was eating it with a nice glass of red wine, which totally sold me. Oh, and it being safe for Noah – that too.  David and I’ve actually had milk chocolate with almonds at home (after Noah’s in bed), and I actually had nightmares about it. I dreamt Noah got ahold of a crumb of almond, and went into anaphylactic shock from it. So, finding this new, delicious chocolate that is totally safe, was a huge success. Now I can have my chocolate, (and wine), without the nightmares.

I seriously cannot say enough great things about this amazing event. I left in such a good mood, and just so happy. Being able to give Noah samples of safe products while we were walking around was amazing. It felt normal, and it was great. He was such a trooper, and Enjoy Life cookies kept the kid thoroughly entertained.  Once we got home, I unloaded our loot, and was in shock. We seriously came home with some much stuff!! Totally worth the $15 ticket, and we will most certainly be back. So wonderful to be introduced to new companies, and new products, as well as talk with companies directly about their products. Thank you to Gluten Free & More magazine for putting on such a wonderful event!!

The Loot

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