Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event – Kansas City 2015

I’m always so excited to attend expos and events related to gluten-free living. Why? Because I get to meet SO many great people! I also get to become more familiar with companies creating gluten free or allergy friendly products or services. These events are full of “my people”!

On Sunday, Sept. 27, I was able to attend an event VERY close to me in Kansas City! At the KC GFAF Wellness Event, I got to go not only as a blogger, but also as a vendor! That’s right – my FIRST official event as an author! ūüôā

20150927_092626

The event did NOT disappoint. There were several vendors and it was located in a very nice facility and area of Overland Park. The event was very well organized, which made everything go nice and smooth!

Here’s my full review of the event:

Vendors20150930_120808

  • The Gluten & Grain Free Gourmet: Jen over at GGF Gourmet creates DELICIOUS allergy-friendly foods. She was actually one of the few vendors who carried products I could actually eat! I ended up buying the No Bake Pumpkin Treats and some of her Chocolate bars (of course). Both were fantastic but I’m a sucker for chocolate. Jen’s Paleo Almond Sea Salt Bar had just the right about of sweetness and salty taste with a smooth texture. Honestly, I wanted to try all of her products. Good news is that Jen ships her products from her website! She’s based out of Ohio but you can order easily online. Check her out here!

20150930_115634

  • Enjoy Life Foods: What I love about Enjoy Life is they are easy to find! I can even find their products here in the rural small towns of SE Kansas. Plus, they are always creating new products – like their new baking mixes (review here). They also have a fantastic showing at events. Their booths are well organized with a huge variety of products to sample. We love them all – bars, granola, chip snacks, cereals, etc. You can find their products in most stores, plus online through their website, or even on Amazon.
  • Andrea’s Gluten Free: A St. Louis based bakery with a¬† variety of baked goods available. At the event, they were sampling Chocolate Chip Cookies, Pumpkin Muffins and Biscuits. They have products that are gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, soy-free and customizable. We loved the biscuit sample! Check out all of their products here.
  • Food Equality Initiative: This booth truly warmed my heart. FEI is an organization that helps provide allergy-friendly foods to low income households. I feel as though a lot of us don’t understand or know the severity of hungry families in the US. One thing many don’t consider (myself included) was those people with food allergies or sensitivities AND a need for food assistance. It’s not a secret that healthier foods tend to be more expensive but for some, allergy friendly foods are CRUCIAL to a healthy body. I personally know how important it is to be aware of foods with allergens. However, adding a low-income factor into the equation makes the problem even more difficult. I really appreciate what FEI is doing to help those in need. Check out more of their mission here.
  • Eat Without Gluten: So Sema is a fellow gluten-free blogger with a special fact: she’s in high school! That’s right – Sema is one of the youngest food allergy bloggers! She’s got such a great, positive outlook on her challenges with Celiac Disease and I love her proactive approach to helping others and making gluten-free living easier, especially for teens. Check out her cute little blog here!
  • Hilary’s Eat Well: If you are looking for great dressings and marinades that are free of the common allergens – check out Hilary’s. They are one of the largest producers of allergy-friendly dressings for Whole Foods. AND they also make delicious Veggie Burgers! Their burgers are made with a variety of ingredients, yet no GMO fillers (like soy or corn). Hilary’s provides a great listing of quality, clean products and they are based out of Lawrence, KS (Go KU!). Check them out here – and do yourself a favor, grab a bottle of their Apple Fennel Dressing!

20150930_120003

  • KC Natural BBQ Sauce: So this was probably my husband’s favorite booth. Scratch that – it was his favorite, no doubt about it. My husband recently built his own meat smoker and LOVES cooking with it and he’s very good at it! However, we’ve had a rough time finding a quality BBQ sauce (or making one) that I can eat also. I don’t eat a lot of BBQ so I didn’t think it was a big deal… until I tasted KC Natural’s Mastodon Paleo AIP sauce. Holy cow (no pun intended)! I didn’t realize I was missing out on so much until I tried that. Now, I will be putting it on everything. In fact, as soon as we got home, I poured it over a grass-fed bison burger. Delish! Husband loved their Sriracha-Q Sauce. It’s about time someone in Kansas City came out with the PERFECT BBQ sauce for all that delicious BBQ. Check out KC Natural!
  • Mean Vegan: Ever heard of¬†jackfruit? Yeah, me¬†neither.¬†Let’s just say it’s one of those mind-boggling, fantastic foods that will blow your mind. Yep – Mean Vegan uses jackfruit to¬†create tasty vegan foods (in place of meat!). I tried their¬†Chick-Un Salad and it literally tasted like my own chicken salad – with NO meat or dairy. They also had Jack Tamales to sample – husband tried those and loved them. In fact, we¬†bought a pack of 6 to¬†bring home! If you are looking for a great vegan meat alternative,¬†check out Mean Vegan. They also sell mushroom jerky – you have to taste it to believe it! You can get the jerky online!
  • Simply Healthy Kids:¬†¬†This was another booth that was doing great things. The organizers of Simply Healthy Kids have created a 28-day program to help busy families make healthier food choices. Basically, they have done 90% of the work for you: meal plans, recipes, shopping lists, tips + more! All you have to do is buy and prepare the food! Their mission is to help families give children nutrient dense foods and help them reduce their dependence on packaged foods or fast foods. I fully support their efforts and hope they can tough as many lives as possible through their program. Find more information here.
  • Mama Resch’s Gluten-Free Bakery: This bakery is local to Kansas City and is one of the most dedicated bakeries I’ve ever run across. They are free of TONS of allergens plus the facility is gluten and nut-free to provide area nut-free schools with safe baked goods. How awesome is that? A lot of work has gone into creating an allergy-friendly bakery like Mama Resch’s and her dedication shows. Plus, her baked goods are some of the best we’ve tasted. Stop by her bakery or check out her website here.
  • Me! As I mentioned, I was also at the event as a vendor to sell signed copies of my book, Real Food Dinners for Two: Healthy Paleo Recipes at Home. I really enjoyed meeting all of the vendor representatives as well as all of the attendees. I got to hear some pretty great stories of those with similar health issues to mine. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hello!

For a complete list of all the vendors and other sponsors – click here. There was really a great showing of products and services in the KC area. I am sure the awareness and initiative to create even more allergy-friendly resources will grow. There were other bloggers there as well and I got to meet a couple! Check out their blogs here: Soul Food Heals, Be Free Bakers, Feud with Food.

Even though the allergy-friendly trend is growing due to more frequent diagnosis, I am thrilled to be a (small) part of the efforts to make the living easier. Having food allergies or sensitivities doesn’t have to be difficult – in fact, it can be a blessing in disguise. By paying better attention to what we put into our bodies, we have a better chance of making healthier choices in our lives. With events like the KC GFAF Wellness Event and supportive vendors mentioned above, allergy-friendly living is not only easier, but delicious!

If you get a chance to attend one of these events in your area, I HIGHLY recommend it! Any questions, feel free to ask!

Stay happy & Healthy!

 

P.S. HUGE thanks to this guy for always supporting me 100%, for going to these events with me to keep me sane and for loving life with me (even our new life). Life doesn’t always go how you plan, but it’s important to have people who will always be there.

12033099_10206032177821946_6776843233897825660_n

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.