I’m sure all of you saw my buttons, links, and posts about how excited I was to go to the GFAF Expo in Chicago last weekend. So how was it? In a word, FUN! That’s not something the allergy world can often associate with a room full of food. Normally it’s nervously reading labels, avoiding contact, and telling your kids “Sorry honey, you can’t eat that.” Not so, here!
They had one side for gluten/allergy free, and one side for just gluten free, with color coded tables, and signs on every vendor table clearly listing present allergens of the Top 8 and more (which were very few). Saturday, the room was packed to the brim from start to finish. Sunday, it was STILL packed, but less so, and it petered off somewhat near the end, as all Expos do. It was amazing seeing moms handing their kids treats, saying “Go ahead! It’s safe!”. I felt liberated to be able try so many things, and it made me feel courageous. If I can conquer my food allergies, what other seemingly insurmountable mountains can I climb?
I took a class and learned how to start from scratch cooking gluten free (a great class if you’re brand new to this scene); I hugged the GoPicnic bear and teased a guy in a pepper suit. I got my husband to FINALLY try vegan jerky! I watched adults and kids hula-hoop to dance music at the Radio Disney event. I met vendors that were brand new to this too, and wanted to share their amazing products with the world (you’ll see more reviews of their products as we go!). Their stories of starting in their kitchens inspired me to start in my OWN kitchen and change the world from there. I got scanned and found out I’m waaay too low in antioxidants (matcha tea, here I come!). I got ideas for quick meals, tasted amazing baking, found out that kale burgers are actually yummy, and had a pasta throw down with a sassy Italian guy. I made LOTS of new friends, met other bloggers, and never felt out of place, because everyone there either has an allergy or lives with someone who does. It was an atmosphere of fun, adventure, and caring, because we’re all on a journey together. Will I be there next year? Yup! And I’d better see you there too, or at any number of the other Expos across the country. We are family, and that means nobody gets left behind to struggle on their own. That’s the whole point of this blog; to bring us all together so we can help one another eat freely and live abundant lives.