2015 Dallas GFAF Expo Review

So if you kept up with my social media posts the last few days, you’ll know we had an AWESOME time at the Dallas Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo this year!

day 1This year, I was able to not only attend as a blogger and gather tons of great resources for you, but I was also able to set up as a vendor to sell my first book, Real Food Dinners for Two: Healthy Paleo Recipes at Home. Overall, both aspects went very well! I am so blessed to be able to attend these events and share with you! Let’s break down the awesome group of vendors at the expo:

Massel: produces quality, nutritious and tasty gluten-free stocks, bouillon and seasonings. I challenge you: next time you are at the store, pick up a package of bouillon or stock – read the ingredients. It may surprise you to see all of the “ingredients” listed. What I love about Massel is their dedication to using clean ingredients that are free of major allergens. They also adhere to sustainable and ethical business practices which make them a great company to buy from. Check out more of that info here. Their products are gluten-free, vegan friendly (yes, even the chicken & beef flavored items), Non-GMO, No MSGs, low-salt, etc. I’m just getting accustomed to their products but so far I’m loving the liquid stock concentrate. It’s an easy way to add lots of flavor to recipes without much work – the concentrated version is perfect for quick skillet dishes! Massel products are available in most national stores but can also be purchased online at Amazon and other retailers.

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Hail Merry: is one of my very favorite brands. Their products are some of the best treats I’ve ever had. I was so excited to hear that they were bringing some of their new tart flavors to the expo! I snagged a package of the new Pumpkin Spice Tartlets – and WOW, SO good! I’m not sure how they do it, but Hail Merry takes simple, nutritious ingredients and transform them into something amazing. It’s an understatement to say that I’m obsessed with their products – tarts, macaroons, grawnolas, everything. This year, I was able to meet their CEO, Sarah. Everyone I’ve ever met from that company is fabulous. They are so kind, helpful and passionate! I loved getting to hear the story of Hail Merry while sampling my favorite treats. Typically, you can find Hail Merry products in the refrigerated section of stores – Whole Foods, Sprouts, etc. They are not in stores local to me YET – but don’t worry friends, I’m working on that! 🙂 You can also buy online and let me tell you, the overnight shipping is totally worth it. I can’t say enough about how much I love Hail Merry products.

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Bliss Bites (Fork That Foods): is a company that I was not familiar with prior to attending the expo. Bliss Bites quickly became one of my favorites from the expo due to their great product and friendly representatives. I actually met the owners while I was still setting up my booth – they came around to introduce themselves, which was super nice! Bliss Bites are DELICIOUS little nuggets of superfood dessert goodness. Bliss Bites are like little raw cupcakes full of quality, nutritious ingredients that are not only tasty but good for you. For example, I sampled (and eventually purchased several) of the Caramel Pecan Turtle bite. The ingredients for this is: almonds, dates, organic virgin coconut oil, raw organic hemp hearts, goji berries, peanut butter, coconut sugar, raw cacao, vanilla, pecan, coconut milk. Yes, that’s it – and most of the ingredients are organic. They create other flavors and what is best is you can order online! I HIGHLY recommend you check them out!

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Paleo Folks: produces Paleo-friendly baking mixes. Honestly, I feel like I met my “Paleo Soul Sister” when I ventured over to this booth. Our stories are similar and Kirsty is just an all-around, driven, dedicated and sweet person. I’m so happy to have met a new Paleo-friend! The mixes she creates are amazing! I’m always so excited to find Paleo mixes so I can save time in the kitchen. Yes, I love to bake (especially from scratch) but let’s be honest, we all need to save time on occasion. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the chocolate chip cookie mix. It’s the best cookie mix I’ve had. I also got the pancake and cake mix to try and I CAN’T wait to see how they taste! Paleo Folks has done an excellent job of putting together natural ingredients that are great for almost any diet. I wish Kirsty the best in getting the mixes in shelve across the country! For now, you can find them in Whole Foods in the Dallas area and you can also buy online here.

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Kratos: is another Paleo-friendly company from the expo. Last year, there really wasn’t a Paleo specific brand out there so I was VERY happy to see a few new brands I didn’t know about! Kratos creates high protein beef bars that are great for just about anyone – people on the go, athletes, cross-fitters, etc. Their beef bars contain 15g of protein, 99 calories, no MSG or nitrates, no gluten, no nuts, no lactose, 2g of fat without any fillers or preservatives. My husband is pretty picky when it comes to his protein bars and especially Paleo friendly ones – but he LOVED these. They were flavorful and not too dense – great for a post-workout snack. Buy them online here (and get the Ginger & Wasabi flavor – you won’t be sorry :)).

Abundant Love: was another brand I wasn’t familiar with. They were actually my booth ‘neighbors’ so we got to see (and smell) their products for two days. One thing I have found with gluten-free baking is texture and consistency problems. I’ve used SO many varieties of baking mixes and flour combinations and each presents a different result. What I was so impressed with from Abundant Love cake mixes were how much they looked and tasted like traditional cake. Their samples were moist, light, fluffy and pretty much perfect. I would never have guessed they were gluten-free (if I hadn’t been at the gluten-free expo). I purchased this cute little gift set from them and I can’t wait to try the baking mixes at home! My kids can’t wait either…. they love cake! 🙂 Grab them online here.

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I Heart Keenwah: has really tasty products! If you’ve got kids (or husbands, friends, roommates – really anyone!) who loves quick little snack foods, they will LOVE I Heart Keenwah products. I love quinoa and it’s nutritional value but this company has taken it to the next level in the most delicious fashion. Quinoa is an ancient super food that contains all 9 amino acids, lots of protein, fiber, vitamins, etc. I Heart Keenwah takes this wonderful grain and transforms it into fun snacks for everyone. We really LOVE the new Quinoa Puffs – especially the Aged Cheddar flavor. They also have Quinoa Clusters – in sweet and savory flavors. Both products are full of flavor, perfect for on-the-go, lunchboxes, movie night, etc. Click here to learn more or order online and click here to find them on Amazon.

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Freedom Foods: was a VERY popular booth at the expo. Every time I tried to check them out, they were crazy busy! Which meant, they had something good to offer! Freedom Foods is an Australian based company that specializes in allergy-friendly cereals and bars. They use strict allergy testing procedures to ensure their product quality meets required standards. In addition to being gluten-free, they are also dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, soy-free, Non-GMO, vegan, kosher, etc. I learned they were very popular with their kid-friendly cereals, like TropicO’s, Rice Puffs, Cocoa Crunch but they also have more “adult-friendly” versions like Pro-Teen Crunch, Maple Crunch and Ancient Grains. These are some of the cleanest and healthiest cereals I’ve seen and my kids already love them. They are in several major stores like Whole Foods, Sprouts, Kroger and the list is growing. However, you can also buy them on Amazon!

Tula’s Coco Kefir: was a true diamond find. As someone who is SO intrigued and believes in probiotics, I loved finding this brand that uses coconut kefir. I’ve been making my own coconut milk yogurt but I’m always looking for clean, store-bought options to save time (and space!). Tula’s offers a few different flavors of their Coco Kefir beverage supplements as well as a yogurt-like blend called CocoYo. My favorite was the CocoYo – because I like yogurt but the actual kefir drink was great too (the best I’ve tasted!). By using coconut water, the flavor is mild compared to some dairy kefirs I’ve tried. If you have some gut issues, I suggest you talk with your healthcare provider about the use of probiotics (in various forms). Tula’s products are a simple and tasty way to get those probiotics for gut, immune and overall health support. Check them out & you can buy online!

EndoMune: speaking of probiotics, I’m so excited to test out this line developed by a board certified GI doc, Dr. Hoberman. I was able to personally meet and speak with Dr. Hoberman, not only about his new probiotic formula, but about GI health in general. Honestly, Dr. Hoberman seems to be a caring and passionate health professional who wants to provide better options for people suffering from IBS or IBD symptoms or bacterial growth issues. EndoMune is different from other probiotics in the fact that it is made with so many different healthy bacteria strains (10 total strains). Not only is it available in adult form, but they’ve also created child formulas (tablet and powder form). I sampled the child’s tablet and the flavor was great – enough that my kids will even eat them (and they are picky). I’ll be sharing a more detailed review with you about these products once I get a full grasp of their effectiveness – stay tuned!

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Atrantil: has the potential to be helpful for so many people. Atrantil is a nutraceutical developed by another board certified GI Doc, Dr. Kenneth Brown to help reduce the symptoms associated with IBS, SIBO, bloating, abdominal disorders, etc. The product uses three natural ingrediets: M. balsamea extract (to help slow down digestion to allow proper time for the other ingredietns to work), Quebracho extract (flavonoids to absorb hydrogen to assist in the breakdown of methane-producing bacteria), and Conker Tree extract (Saponin to stop methane production). The combination of these ingredients are designed to help with gas, bloating and discomfort. Again, I’ll share a full review once I have a change to see the effectiveness of these products. If you want to give it a try yourself, click here for more info!

Other vendors: In addition to food vendors, there were SO many other business and individuals present at the expo. I was able to share my booth space with 3 other fantastic authors and individuals. It’s so amazing how you close you can become with people in just 2 short days of an expo.

GF Mom Certified: I actually met Tiffany and Will Hinton of GF Mom Certified at last year’s Dallas expo. Tiffany and Will have a remarkable story and are great resources for gluten-free families. They have three little beauties with food allergies/sensitivities and use those struggles as inspiration to create wonderful recipes and cookbooks for others to enjoy. I was SO excited to get my hands on their new “Kid Approved” cookbook and it did not disappoint. The book is loaded with easy, adaptable recipes that kids are sure to love. Check out GF Mom Certified here – or you can grab the book from Amazon!

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Faye Elahi, MS, MA: is truly a wonderful person that I am so blessed to have met. Faye is a non-celiac, gluten sensitive nutritionist with years of experience in various nutrition issues as well as other disorders affected my nutrition: ADD, Autism, etc. Her book, “Ready, Set, Eat!” is a great resource for everyone. In addition to great recipes, you will find helpful information on managing certain diets/lifestyles and the research to support it. Plus, there’s meal plans which are a HUGE time saver for many! If you ever get the chance to meet Faye, you’ll will be truly touched and inspired by her passion to help other and sincerity. I’ll never forget Faye and hope to see her again soon!

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Nancy Addison: is another beautiful soul I was so happy to meet! Nancy has similar beliefs and practices towards diet as I do and it was so fun getting to talk with her about life! She has an extensive background and certifications to support her research and educational information she provides. She truly believes in what she talks – she has helped her patients reverse disease symptoms, lose weight and lead healthy, balanced lives. I got her book, “Raising Healthy Children” to gain a better understanding of the dietary needs, environmental aspects and other issues pertaining to children’s health. In addition, she also has authored other books, “Lose Weight, Get Healthy”, “How to be a Healthy Vegetarian” and more. She has put SO much work into these books and it shows. Make sure you check out Nancy’s site and work. She also has a podcast available too! Find more info on Nancy here!

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This is just a quick list of vendors – it doesn’t include all of them! There were SO many other vendors at the expo and I could go on for days about each of them. Here’s a complete listing with links to sites. I will be featuring several of these vendors as part of my weekly product reviews in the future – in addition to what you read here.

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ALSO – Several vendors provided products to donate to my awesome readers! Please stay tuned for an AMAZING expo giveaway very soon! Help show these vendors your support for their efforts in allergy-friendly living. They are helping make this lifestyle easier for all of us!

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If you ever get a chance to attend one of these expos, please do so! They are a valuable resource for everyone! Here’s a list of upcoming dates for 2016 – and who knows, you might just see me there! 🙂

If you have any questions about the expo, a particular brand or anything, just ask! I’m happy to share any knowledge I can!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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