GFAF Expo 2018 Worcester
I had the pleasure of attending my first GFAF Expo in 2017 in Worcester, MA when I was very pregnant with Baby Foodie and met up with Kathlena, The Allergy Chef ---if you have not yet checked her and her work out, you need to do that now here. It was so fun to see my corn-allergic Mini-Foodie light up when she and I were be able to try some gluten-free, corn-allergy friendly foods and to attend one of the lectures where I learned a bit more about Celiac Disease.
This year, I was blessed to be able to attend as an official blogger. I was so excited because the lineup of exhibitors had changed just enough to be able to see and explore other companies.
I suppose that if you are a corn-allergic reading this, you may be thinking: “What’s the point of going to an event like this, you won’t find anything corn-allergic safe.” In my experience, this is not the case, but we must always keep in mind that YMMV (your mileage may vary) and that there are different levels of sensitivity, so for disclosure and so that you may be able to have as much information as possible, please note that Corn-Allergic Mini-Foodie and I do react to derivatives as well as obvious corn and to corny fragrance, cigarette smoke, gas stove, etc. We are able to touch adhesives with our hands, but we never lick stamps for example. We are very rarely around airborne corn except driving by a field here and there, and we do notice some environmental allergy type reactions. If corntaminated, we thankfully do not experience ana. We stay away from citric & lactic acids unless we have verified the source as non-corn and non-gluten; same is true of natural flavors and vanilla extract. We also avoid “salt” unless we have verified it is non-iodized salt. I hope this context helps you as you read our reviews.
Other allergens besides corn and gluten we avoid include: oats, soy, bovine dairy (unless we find a safe European cheese that follows old world methods & ingredients), legumes, walnuts, cod (yes, this makes this Azorean mama sad, but having a healthy kid makes it okay), potatoes, and tomatoes. We eat mostly paleo, but occasionally we have rice, buckwheat or quinoa.
As I mentioned on an Instagram post, the GFAF Expo was so much fun! There are several highlights and a huge surprise for me and my gals:
We met Colleen of Zego Snacks in person and sampled Zego Bars and Zego Mix-ins. Fun Fact: Colleen is the mother of a corn-allergic who we also had the pleasure to meet which is one more reason we can feel safe with Zego Snacks! These bars are so awesome and safe that Baby-Foodie also tasted them and really enjoyed the pear bar. More details on the bars coming soon in an upcoming review. Exciting news: (1) a new bar is coming soon AND (2) yours truly will be working on a recipe or two using Zego Mix-ins for an allergy-friendly breakfast so stay tuned.
The huge surprise? Against the Grain Gourmet makes gluten free pizza that is free of corn! Yes, my jaw dropped when I spoke to the team at the booth AND corn-allergic Mini-Foodie did a happy dance inside --okay, maybe it was on the outside too-- when I told her we could have a pizza I did not have to make. It was the first time in nearly 5 years we had a prepared pizza! We also learned about new yummies that are coming soon from Against the Grain Gourmet and it is exciting. Stay tuned for more.
Another highlight was having the chance to learn more about Pascha Chocolate and tasting corn-allergy-friendly white chocolate as well as rice milk chocolate. It was yummiliciousness that I will share with you in a future post.
We also learned more about Elmhurst unsweetened nut milks as well as 88 Acres butters, tried out Vital Proteins, SuperSeedz (only the salted versions as I am waiting to hear back regarding the corn status of the vanilla used), Home Free (only Lemon Burst is corn-free), Evergreen, Free Yum (not corn-free). In upcoming posts I will review with the Mini-Foodies some of the items we tasted. I am also working on collaborations with companies that offer gluten free and free from corn options so look for the expansion of reviews as well as recipes that will include not only Zego, but also Chebe Mixes, Siete products, and more.