Twice a year I am part of the Gluten Free and Allergy Free event team. If you are not familiar with this event, you need to be. Nikki, the show organizer, puts together a variety of vendors, both local and national, from the food allergy community. Whether you are gluten intolerant, or allergic to nuts, or other foods, there is something at this show for everyone. My job, is to report back to you about the great new products on the market. Naturally in order to do this, I need to taste everything (aside from the stuff that will kill me of course!). I got to do this and so much more this show! This year was extra special for three reasons, first Nikki asked the Allergic Traveler, aka me, to present and share some of my stories with a very engaging group. It was an honor to be able to share my travel adventures and tips on how to survive on the road with allergies. What I appreciated even more so, was to be able to hear others’ stories or address questions. It was a tremendous learning experience for all.
The second reason was because of the location, the event was held at NC State University. I have worked with the school, specifically with Kathleen Shannon who has done a thorough job of making it safer to dine on campus. It was terrific to be able to see her and work with her again.
The third and most important reason why this show was so memorable for me was because my mother flew in from Montreal.
To be able to show my mother what the world of food allergies has become was such a gift. I never thought it would have such an effect on me. You see I grew up in a world prior to social media, prior to allergy support groups, and prior to the internet! My mother had to wing it. She had to figure it out on her own, what to feed her two children that combined could not eat milk, eggs, nuts, mushroom, shellfish and wheat. My hat goes off to my mother. She fed us, raised us, loved us, and when needed rushed us to the hospital. I wonder how her life would have been different with today’s products. Whether it be the various nut free bars, or dairy free cakes or even the flourless pizza, I am sure she would tell you that all this could have brought less worry to her life. Watching her walk around the show and learn about all the products, gave me a sense of pride. We should all be proud to be part of such a strong growing community.
If you missed the show, I am truly sorry! It was scrumptious as always. Here is a recap of some of the wonderful innovative products on the market in our allergy community.
JP’s Pastry – Gluten free, dairy free, and vegan pasties. A local company that is growing. They just expanded into a 5000 square foot facility. Their product is available online for overnight shipping.
Kanundrumz Bakery – Lisa, the owner has just placed her products with 35 Whole Foods in the south east. Her tasty treats are gluten free, egg free, soy free and peanut free.
The Gluten & Grain Free Gourmet – Can you say soy free chocolate? I know it might not be a big deal to you, but to me it is huge. Her dark caramel with sea salt chocolate is to die for. If you are not a chocolate lover (does this happen?), then you can enjoy any of her baked goods that are soy free, grain free, gluten free and dairy free.
Strong & Kind – You probably are very familiar with this brand. They seem to be everywhere! What you may not know is that they have bars that are sweet while others savory with flavors like jalapens, Thai chili or smoked BBQ.
Artisan Tropic – My favorite thing of theirs is their cassava chips. If you are allergic to potatoes, (yes some of us are!), then here is your alternative. Look for them in convenience stores.
Ardenne Farm – Their mixes are gluten free, peanut free, dairy free and soy free. What I truly appreciate about this company is that they give you instructions on their boxes if you need to make something allergen free, then follow these steps. Available at Lowes and Ingles.
Primal Food & Spirits – This restaurant is always such a treat. We had the opportunity to go the night before the show. I had coffee encrusted steak on a bed of kale. It was divine!
GF Mom Certified – Tiffany and Will are the masterminds of the gluten free baking world. They have three children with a variety of food allergies, including but not limited to eggs, soy and gluten. I have the egg allergy as well. She recently discovered that you can use duck eggs instead of chicken eggs, most are not allergic to both. But of course get tested! Go pick up her book ..NOW!
I am Celiac – Pam, author, chef, consultant extraordinaire! She has successfully navigated the gluten free world with easy, simple and quick recipes. Check out her site to get your hands on one of her fantastic books.
This is just some of the things you missed. I suggest you check out their site to see all the vendors, or better yet attend one of the shows! If you were there, what was your favorite part? Share your comments
Author: Tarah Jakubiak
After working for 20 years in the corporate world, Tarah Jakubiak founded Allergic Traveler. Jakubiak, president of Allergic Traveler has traveled the world since the age of two. She has been to 25 countries and 34 states. Jakubiak has been to all inclusives, gone on cruises, gone camping; backpacking through Europe, gone to the big cities, and little hidden gems. She has multiple food allergies but it does not stop her from seeing the world. Jakubiak is allergic to eggs, nuts, mushroom, soy, garlic, corn, sesame, potatoes, celery, shellfish, chicken, pork, peanuts, and many fruits. She is originally from Montreal, Quebec and now lives in Greensboro, NC with her husband.