Living Free Expo

What can I say? Another great Living Free Expo in Jacksonville, Fl!

It is always a wonderful time, being able to meet up with friends and colleagues to help spread awareness and knowledge about food allergens. I truly enjoy getting to meet local vendors and see what is happening in and around our community when it comes to food allergens. Being in the restaurant industry, I always try to stay on top of taste and regional trends to help influence how I create my recipes.

At the Living Free Expo, it was great to see the local meal service company Kathy’s Table. They are a meal service company that is dedicated to gluten-free and dairy-free meal plan options that are tailored to your nutritional dietary needs. Drawing upon seasonal influences and fresh produce options, their meal plans offer delicious varieties that cater to your dietary needs.

I always enjoy seeing Your Pie here in Jacksonville, Fl when I come to the expo. They are a pizza shop that truly goes out of their way for patrons with allergies. They even have a separate room where they will prepare your pizza for you to ensure no cross contamination with gluten on your pizza. If you are ever in the Jacksonville, Fl area, you must give them a try!

A wonderful edition to the expo this year was Glutenberg Beer. In 2012, Glutenberg won all three medals in the “Gluten-Free Beer” category in the World Beer Cup. It offers quite a variety of options for beer lovers that just don’t love the gluten. I must say, after sampling these, I have been inspired to create some dishes I thought I would never eat again. Glutenberg you have given me back some flavor in my food.

M.Y.O. Cookies is a wonderful home-based bakery that truly showcases a passion for baking. Whether you choose to purchase pre-made or containers or dough to make your own at home, you are sure to find some amazing flavors to keep you wanting more. They offer Gluten-Free and Vegan options, as well as can work with your specific needs. M.Y.O. Cookies is definitely a company after my own heart.

With the belief that you should not have decide whether you want to eat something that is healthy or something that tastes good, Smart Baking Company created a line of products to accomplish just that. While these products are Gluten-Free, they are not Dairy-Free, so I could not try them. However, my son Alex loved them. He has sensory issues and it was great to hear that they tasted and felt just like a regular muffin to him. So to me, that means that it was not gritty, or chewy, or sandy, like some Gluten-Free products can tend to be. All in all, I would say if you can, give them a try.

Meal-kit and meal delivery services are becoming very popular these days. Hello Fresh is one of the leading services and they also have Green Chef that has a meal plan line for Gluten-Free.

Always a wonderful and welcome sight is the Gluten & Grain Free Gourmet. Creating a line of products that are free from Gluten, Grain, Soy, and Dairy, these are definitely treats you indulge on. The passion she has to inspire and teach others what she learned on her journey is wonderful and I love every time I get to meet back up with her.

A mom who worked to hone her skills in making sweets for her sons with food allergies, began to get rave reviews. At the encouragement of friends and family, she decided to start a business and Dolci de maria was born. Offering delicious treats and mixes, there is sure to be something for everyone. My personal favorite…. you take the blondie… heat it up for a moment.. add a scoop of dairy-free ice cream…..mmmmmmmm.. try it!!

Traveling with allergies can be a very scary thing. Especially if you are going to a country that speaks a language that you do not. Language barriers and communication barriers can cause very dangerous situations when it comes to food. In the Latin speaking countries, there are several words that are just an accent away from being a very different word. A simple pronunciation can change a word and can cause you to be put in harms way. Enter in Allergic Traveler International Dietary Alert Cards. You take the guessing out, the pronunciation errors out, the communication barriers out, and you put back in piece of mind. These cards are essential also for parents of kids that are non-verbal with conditions such as autism. These tools can be the difference that can potentially save a life. I urge and encourage everyone to reach out to this wonderful company and get a set of cards today.

I love learning and growing each time I meet with these wonderful vendors. Having such a passion for educating the community and growing with each other to develop new products, better procedures, and so much more. I cannot wait for the next one!

Hope to see you too!!