Counting down the weeks until the first Gluten & Allergen Free Expo on the East Coast, taking place in Secaucus, New Jersey from September 7-8, 2013. I am so excited that the GFAF Expo will be making it to my side of the country this year.
I am even more excited to have been selected as an Official GFAF Expo Blogger for the event! With the new iPad that my loving husband gifted me for my birthday a few weeks ago, I hope to share some of my favorite finds at the Secaucus Gluten & Allergen Free Expo LIVE via Twitter and Facebook! So be sure to Follow or LIKE Nom Yum & Free so you don’t miss out!!
And I hope all of you on the East Coast will be able to join me in New Jersey at the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo! If you’re debating whether it’s too far of a trip, know that I enjoyed the 2012 GFAF Expo in Chicago so much that I am set to drive four plus hours to make it to the 2013 GFAF Expo in New Jersey this year!
Last Year’s Gluten & Allergy Free Expo (Chicago 2012)
I went to my first Gluten & Allergen Free Expo last year in Chicago, a few months after being placed on a nursing mom’s elimination diet due to Baby Girl’s, then, multiple food allergy restrictions. Towing Baby Girl in a baby carrier, I got there expecting a couple dozen booths and a hundred or so attendees. I was not at all prepared for what I was about to walk into – a full hotel hall jam packed with vendors and attendees. I had no idea that there were so many others like me who love someone with food allergies, and I had been even less aware of the number of food allergy friendly options out there – ranging from everything from snacks to beer to even lipstick!
I also had a chance to attend one of the many gluten free, allergy friendly live cooking demonstrations during the Chicago 2012 event. I think that was where I first learned about quinoa (and now I can’t stop using this amazing allergy friendly, protein-packed grain in everything – I mean breakfasts, lunches, cookouts, dinners and desserts)! And everyone was so accommodating of my food allergy restrictions. When I shared that I couldn’t eat the pine nuts featured in the main course, the kitchen made me a special nut free plate!
I think the most rewarding part of the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo was realizing that I was not alone in my journey as a mom new to the world of food allergies. Even though (I am an introvert by nature) I only may have talked to a handful of other parents at the expo, the feeling of camaraderie was there. I remember a mother with her 8-year old daughter standing in line like Baby Girl and me, waiting to taste some allergy friendly baked goods. When the vendor shared her daughter’s long list of multiple food allergies that inspired her creations, the mother next to me (whose daughter made me think of mine in a handful of years) started listing off her daughter’s equally impressive list of food allergies. Overhearing them trade allergies like Kindergartners compare scars was a relief – my daughter and I were surrounded by others who had been there and understood.
This Year’s Gluten & Allergy Free Expo (Secaucus, New Jersey 2013)
I am looking forward to all that the Secaucus Gluten & Allergen Free Expo has to offer this year! Just looking at the list of sponsors, alone, makes my mouth water. Many of my favorites from last year’s Chicago GFAF Expo will be in New Jersey, including sponsors Udi’s, Enjoy Life, and So Delicious. And I cannot wait to also try out new allergy friendly products from the dozens of other companies signed up as sponsors or vendors for this year’s New Jersey Gluten & Allergen Free Expo.
From the class list, it looks like two days’ worth of yummy-sounding gluten free demonstrations also have been scheduled for the Secaucus Gluten & Allergen Free Expo. Fingers crossed that some of the dishes to be prepared might be dairy free and otherwise friendly to those with food allergy restrictions beyond gluten – selfishly, so I have good cause to take a break from my new (trying to cut inches) limited calorie diet! 😉
If you already have registered to attend the 2013 Secaucus, New Jersey Gluten & Allergen Free Expo or plan on doing so soon, please leave a comment below letting me know. I would love to say hi at the GFAF Expo. Or if you live on the East Coast and are still debating whether it’s worth traveling to New Jersey, how about still letting me know so I can try to talk you into it! 😉
And don’t forget to find Nom Yum & Free on Twitter and Facebook for LIVE updates straight from the 2013 Secaucus, New Jersey Gluten & Allergen Free Expo! Hope to see you in September!!