Dealing with Celiac can be tough. Well meaning friends encourage you to eat “just a bite” of your favorite foods, not realizing Celiac is an autoimmune disorder and one bite can cause hours of illness. There’s also the fun of reading labels to make sure no wheat is included in the ingredients, learning to deal with the difference in the texture of food and trying to find something that tastes good. When I told my daughter we would be attending the Nashville Gluten Free and Allergen Wellness Expo, she was thrilled. She was ready to position herself in the car days in advance in anticipation of samples she could eat. She had learned to hone her sample skills in her preCeliac days as a child at Sam’s Club and couldn’t wait to munch her way through the expo.
Being able to chat with people who suffered from Celiac was a bonus for her and she eagerly took notes from Pam Jordan, who runs the website, Imaceliac.com, and has been diagnosed from Celiac for fifteen years. Her best tips? When eating at a restaurant, tell the waiter you are allergic to wheat. Many restaurants don’t understand intolerance or autoimmune disease, but they do understand allergies. Also, don’t feel you have to give up your favorite recipes! Adapt them to suit your tastes and find ingredients that can be substituted for wheat products.
While sampling from 20+ vendors, we found some highlights we want to share. These foods taste so good you won’t believe they are Gluten free.
Enjoy Life Foods— Contains no artificial anything, free from the 8 most common allergens, gluten free and still tastes good? It sounds too good to be true, but they have accomplished it. Try their Plentifuls Lentil Chips for a quick snack or try this recipe for Smores Bars I made.
Roots Hummus— They make nine flavors of hummus, including lima bean, which my daughter declared, “The best thing that has ever happened to me! ” She told the rep, “I’ve never had a lima beam I liked before!” I had planned to use these in a wrap recipe, but my daughter took all the samples home with her to eat without sharing!
Grab The Gold–All natural gluten free chocolate and peanut butter protein bars that are moist and taste good. They are high in fiber and keep us full for 4 hours. I’ve been eating them for breakfast each morning. Yum! Great for busy on the go mornings or snacks.
Bumblooza— Seriously the first moist gluten free cake mix I have ever tried. I asked them if they were sure it was gluten free. It’s good enough I am purchasing several boxes to make my daughter a gluten free wedding cake since our local gluten free baker closed.
Freedom Foods — New to the US, these cereals are free from gluten, wheat, nuts, soy, and eggs, low in salt, high in fiber and still taste good.
And of course, the old stand bys, Udis and Glutino, who have been making gluten free products for years.
My daughter left the event full of samples and declaring, “This is the first time I’ve eaten in months without my stomach hurting!” The Gluten Free and Allergen Wellness Expo will be coming to the following cities; St Louis, Little Rock, Raleigh/Durham, Virginia Beach, Hartford, and Jacksonville. It is well worth attending for the presentations and tips. The gluten free goodies are a bonus!