Recap of the 2018 Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo

What: Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo
When: June 23-24, 2018
Where: Renaissance Glendale Resort and Spa
By: Jessica Cowan

For those living with autoimmune diseases, everyday living can be a challenge at times. Recently, Glendale hosted the Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo, a forum for some of the most gluten-friendly products, restaurants, and speakers available. Jen Cafferty and her team at Gluten Free Media Group founded this expo 12 years ago, an important undertaking because, as Jen puts it, “[Being gluten-free] is more of a lifestyle than a diet.” The expo allows her and her team to contribute to the gluten-free community by bringing consumers and gluten-free brands together.

I had the opportunity to attend the GFAF Expo in Glendale on June 23 and 24, and the experience was truly eye-opening for a consumer that does not live an exclusively gluten-free lifestyle. Every product available for sample was gluten-free, and many booths boasted dairy-free options, nut-free samples, and even some vegan foods.

Whether it was the delicious pumpkin seed butter from 88 Acres or the soft Brazilian cheese bread from Brazi Bites, each product left me feeling satisfied. Mom’s Place Gluten-Free bakery offered one of my favorite samples: a moist red velvet cake and cream cheese frosting. I never would have guessed gluten-free could be so delicious! Sprouts, Costco, the Vitamin Shoppe, Hello Fresh, and Spinato’s were some of the more notable booths on-site, each offering coupons, samples, products, and an in-depth look at some delicious gluten-free options. Another favorite of mine came from Freedom Foods, which offered breakfast cereals and snacks that were both gluten and peanut free.

One of the most interesting parts of the expo were the speakers. Dr. Peter Kan kicked things off with a conversational workshop that focused on addressing autoimmune concerns in order of priority and concentrating on what makes sense for the body. Another informative speaker was Erin Rhae Biller, ND, who provided an overview of food allergies, sensitivities, and hidden inflammation within the body. She encouraged all her participants to “create anti-inflammatory lifestyles” and provided tips and tricks to assuage inflammatory responses in the body, including getting enough sleep, consuming fish oils, and participating in a regular exercise regimen.

This year’s expo was a great success and saw hundreds of visitors, six presenters, and over 70 exhibitors. This expo travels all over the country in locations like Dallas, San Diego, Atlanta, and many others. Visit their website HERE to see the schedule of upcoming expos; and next year, be prepared to gather your fellow foodies or gluten-free connoisseurs, and experience an array of delicious products and informative classes designed to fit many lifestyles.

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