Category: Expos and Conferences

GFAF Expo Chicago 2019: “Nourished Festival”

This year, the GFAF Expo held on June 1-2 in Schaumburg, IL {~40 minutes outside of the city; also in cities across the country} has rebranded as the Nourished Festival.

The Nourished Festival, with byline “The Gluten Free, Allergy & Specialty Diet Festival,” will now feature specific sections for keto, paleo, and plant-based products, alongside the gluten free requirement for all products and the nut free alley they have each year.

If you think like I do, you might be wondering: but will everything really be truly gluten free anymore? What about all those paleo products with GF ingredients, but not committed to serving the celiac community like many long-time exhibitors? Well, I was worried and inquired about exactly that. Via email:

All exhibiting brands must meet the FDA certifications for GF labeling. Same standards as the GFAF Expos ūüôā 

We are now just organizing the brands better into respective zones: general GF, GF & nut-free, GF and Keto/Paleo, GF and Plant-Based.

– Laura Gruninger, Director of Public Relations, Nourished Group, February 2019

As always, I’ll be attending the festival as part of the media team {I do not have to pay an entrance fee as a result} and I will be going through the show this year with an especially fine-toothed comb to ensure the integrity of the expo is still in tact for the celiac and food allergy community!

Many of you already know that I have extensive additional allergies and intolerances, as well as type 1 diabetes, alongside living with celiac. This means that I am a very specific consumer– and I’m also quite particular with the ingredients I’ll put into my body. So, while I’m eager to check out a lot of the paleo/keto options for lower carb things as a T1D in the celiac community, I will not eat any funky fake proteins, weird gums, or fake sugars {hello, stomach aches!}

At this year’s Nourished Festival, I will focus on any new options that are GF and egg free, as well as products for the low carb community living with celiac that have real, simple ingredients.

If you want to see some recaps of other GFAF expos {now Nourished Festival} I attended over the years, take a look here and here!

And come meet me on the festival floor on Saturday June 1 from opening until around noon. Because, of course, I HAVE TICKETS TO GIVE AWAY! *To enter for 1 of 5 tickets I’m giving away on my blog {more on my Instagram and Twitter in the coming weeks @breezygfreezy!}, leave a comment and tell me the brand you most want to hear about from the exhibitor list and why. I’ll choose some faves to interview on the Nourished Festival floor!

Win Free Tickets, comment on this post!

Take it easy, but take it — and see you on June 1!

Brianna

PS- To purchase tickets directly, 30% off until April 30 and 20% off until May 31, I would appreciate if you would use my affiliate link here!

GFAF Expo Schaumburg 2018– Ticket Giveaway!

It’s that time of year again– the GFAF Expo Schaumburg 2018 is quickly approaching!

As many of you know, I’ve attended the GFAF Expo in Schaumburg {NW of Chicago} for many years. This year’s excitement is April 7th and 8th. You can see my post from last year here and two years ago¬†here!

Each year, as I become a more seasoned blogger/media member, I have a more worthwhile experience at this local GFAF Expo–I attend primarily to connect in-person with the brands that have been incredible partners in the last year, as well as to get some face-time with newer brands and fellow bloggers!

My greatest recommendation for all those attending:

Spend time talking with the grocery stores that attend. They’re not just there as the only booths giving out fresh fruit {though it’s true!}– they want to hear more from the community about how they can better serve the GF/food allergy populations!

Last year, I really scoped out the products that were free-from multiple allergens. This year, I’ll be looking for items that are not only GF/egg free/peanut free/soybean oil free, but free of my newest allergen– gourds. To my beloved pumpkin seeds, I must say adieu and find a replacement for you.

Interested in attending this year?

I have TWO one-day adult passes for the GFAF Expo Schaumburg to give away! All you need to do is leave a¬†comment with a brand OR product type you hope to see at the GFAF Expo this year by next Friday, 3/9/18, ¬†and you’re entered to win!

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Don’t want to take a chance? You can always get an expo ticket here¬†{affiliate link} and major discounts are happening now!

  • 30% off ¬†w/ code EARLYBIRD (thru 3/6)

  • 20% off w/ code ADVANCE (thru 4/6)

Go ahead and follow along with the pre-expo hype on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram {@GFAFExpo} and don’t forget, I’ll be covering the whole event on my Instagram and Twitter!

Take it easy, but take it.

Brianna

GFAF Expo Schaumburg — Ticket Giveaway!

As many of you know, I’ve attended the GFAF Expo in Schaumburg {NW of Chicago} for many years. You can see my post from last year here!

Each year, as I become a more seasoned blogger/media member, I have a more worthwhile experience at the expo–I attend and look to get a handle on some of the new products and trends in the gluten free + allergy friendly industry right here in my home state {without the expense of getting to Expo West!}.

My greatest recommendation for all those attending:

Seek out the small brands with the little booths. While the bigger, familiar names sometimes seem to have more exciting decor and more samples to offer, as an entrepreneur myself, I can speak to the great grit, passion, and courage it takes these small businesses to enter our community and put themselves out there for critique at an expo.

Last year, I met my now-friends over at SunKrunch Granola. Their granola is now part of my daily routine and I order a shipment from them monthly– all because I took the time to talk to the unassuming booth–just a couple and a sign and some little taster cups.

Interested in attending this year? I have FOUR one-day adult passes for the expo to give away! All you need to do is comment with a brand OR product type you hope to see at the GFAF Expo this year by next Friday, 3/24/17, ¬†and you’re entered to win!

Don’t want to take a chance? You can always get an expo ticket here¬†and major discounts are happening now!

  • 30% off ¬†w/ code EARLYBIRD (thru 3/21)

  • 20% off w/ code ADVANCE (thru 4/21)

Go ahead and follow along with the pre-expo hype on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram {GFAFExpo} and don’t forget, I’ll be covering the whole event on my Instagram and Twitter!

Take it easy, but take it.

Brianna

Food Allergy Bloggers Conference (FABlogCon) 2016 Recap

FABlogCon, the brainchild of Ms. Sprague, had been on my bucket list since I began food blogging in January 2013. All the chatter about feeling like you’re surrounded in a huge family, like you can just breathe a sigh of relief, like the safety of food is not a concern–they’re all true.

My passion–as demonstrated in my work on Find Your Ditto–is breathing in-person connections into the chronic illness community on an individual level. Jenny has accomplished her mission–creating a larger scale opportunity for the ever-important human connection in the food allergy community.

My roommate for the weekend, Esther {The Gluten Free Nerd}, has been a long-time online friend–following her quirky Instagram photos of delicious GF food with cartoon characters in the most creative videos I’ve ever seen. When I arrived at our room, she was waiting with open arms and celiac-safe, egg-free chocolate chip cookies.

As many of you know, I’m recently egg-free and it has been the most emotionally devastating food restriction I’ve dealt with to-date. With full transparency, I’ve lived on eggs my entire life as the best Brianna-safe low-carb food option and the discovery that they’d been making me deathly ill has turned my life upside down. I’m learning how to adjust but Esther’s gesture {and a weekend with people who have been doing the GF/EF thing for much longer than me!} lifted my spirits higher than any words can describe; I am forever grateful.

I followed the blogger track (though there was also an educational track all weekend) and attended sessions like Food Photography and Styling {keep an eye on Instagram for improvement!}, Legality and Taxes {with the funniest accountant I’ve ever met!}, and the ever-popular Expo.

Of course, the highlight of the weekend was Chef Keith and his attention to every single food detail. With hundreds of food needs–even my low carb request was catered to without a grunt or eye roll when beautiful proteins and veggies arrived at my table instead of pasta salads and potato bars.

I must give a particular shout-out to the most special experience of the weekend–I arrived at the final lunch dessert bar to find a sign with my name {well, my social name!} and cupcakes made with sugar-free frosting. The simple gesture Allergen Free Bakes made for me to enjoy a cupcake that weekend–gluten free, egg free, AND low BG impact–brought me to tears. I am so grateful for her love.

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This community lifts me up and to see them in person was invaluable. To all the faces I can now match to Instagram and Twitter handles, I miss you already.

Take it easy, but take it.

Brianna

GFAF Expo Chicago– Top Finds!

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not great at live-streaming anything, regardless of the social media platform. I get wrapped up in talking, eating, looking around, and the photos/videos/tweets/snapchats, etc. ¬†just sorta fall by the wayside. Despite lack of visual evidence, I have some fantastic finds and old favorites that I gobbled down last weekend at the Gluten Free & Allergy Friendly Expo in Schaumburg, Illinois to share with you.

{Needless to say, the blood sugar day was a nightmare between all the eating and being on a CGM vacation, but one day a year–absolutely worth it to me.}

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Let’s start with the go-to favorites that I was munching on last weekend:

Smart Flour Foods Pizza {review here}, Whole Note Crepes {review here}, ¬†San-J Sauces {review here; they sponsored the bloggers this year!}, Allie’s Gluten Free Goodies {review here}, Sweet Note Bakery {currently revising recipes and rebranding, but previous review here}, Path of Life {review here}, Simple Mills {absolutely loving the new crackers; review here}, and of course the big player favorites like Glutino (oh those animal crackers!), Enjoy Life Foods (chocolate chips and crunchy cookies are my favorites!), Canyon Bakehouse (hello everything bagels), and Chebe Bread (fun to make into shapes!)

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Finally met CMO of Enjoy Life, Joel!

How about the favorites that I’m yet to review on ADSG? I couldn’t stop eating Beanfields Chips {I love the nacho flavor!}, Glutenfreeda products {purity protocol oats! And more than just oatmeal now!}, MyBread {that pita…yum.}, Three Bakers {some of the best bread for toast, in my opinion}, and plenty more I’m probably¬†forgetting!

And for the new ones to me and/or the gluten free scene that I enjoyed sampling:

  • Freedom Foods: Yes, I know this one has been around the block a few times, but I rarely can find safe cereal that is also relatively low carb (21g/1 cup; also purity protocol oats!). This company did it! Check it out here.
  • Isola Imports: Definitely a top find at the Expo for me. They have delicious flavored butters {that taste like cheeses, but less lactose=happier stomach!}, gorgeous balsamic vinegars, and brand new gluten free gnocchi that was to die for! Look out for an opportunity to hear more about them and perhaps even get some for yourself!
  • Jovial: A curious brand to me, as they have a full and successful gluten line as well as a safe gluten free line. I did finally get my hands on some bow tie pasta (can I get a heck yes for gluten free pasta shapes?! Where were these in my childhood?!) that I’m looking forward to making.
  • Kiki’s Gluten Free: This company actually won several awards for innovation in food as they’ve created a pouch that their delectable deep dish pizza can be delivered in to larger universities/restaurants/etc to keep it 100% safe and away from cross contamination!
  • La Brea Bakery: Apparently well-known for their gluten breads {I had no clue, of course!}, they’ve begun a gluten free bread line in a separate facility. Their loaves are counter stable for an entire 7-10 days and the most squishy, pliable gluten free bread I’ve found yet. Loved it.
  • Milton’s: With an entire line of crackers and a line of chips, this booth was happenin’. They were kind enough to provide me with lots of different flavors to try, and I’ve been enjoying tasting them all!
  • Osteobroth: Just getting myself onto the bone broth trend a little late–and still hating the name of the¬†category, so I’ll call it broth from now on–the individuals with Osteobroth were excited and kind and their broth was delicious! Though hard to believe, a warm cup of it was so refreshing after all the samples I’d had on the floor so far that day.
  • Sun Krunch Granola: A local small business, this couple is producing the most flavorful, simple,¬†and low carb¬†granola I’ve ever had! Working on getting some bags sent to me ASAP!

 

Phew, there you have it. GFAF Expo Schaumburg in a nutshell. What’s your long-time favorite brand? What product do you wish would hit the market in a gluten free/allergy friendly form?

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Take it easy, but take it.

Brianna

 

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Disclaimer: I was a sponsored press blogger for the GFAF Expo, meaning I was asked to write a pre- and post-event blog piece and was given extra product from vendors/the blog sponsor, San-J. All opinions are my own.