Last weekend, mom and I attended the 2016 CDF (Celiac Disease Foundation) National Conference and Gluten-Free Expo in Pasadena, CA...what an incredible experience! I honestly don't even know where to begin? The conference itself featured dozens of speakers throughout the morning and afternoon (I swear, just about every single one of them had either an MD or PhD at the end of their names!!), and the topics addressed by these experts included everything from “The Science Behind the HYPE” of Celiac Disease and the possible links between Celiac and “Depression, Anxiety and ADHD,” to the current “Trends in Gluten-Free Nutrition” and whether “Strict Adherence to a Gluten-Free Diet is Enough.” My head was literally spinning (and my brain was completely exhausted) by the end of the day! It was a lot of information to process, but it also made me realize how much we truly DON'T know yet. One of the biggest, and most recurring messages of the day was that there is still a huge need for much more research to be done. We are only beginning to understand this disease and everything that it means for us.
Which is precisely the reason that CDF is launching iCureCeliac, “a patient-powered research network dedicated to enhancing and accelerating research efforts to better understand and ultimately cure celiac disease.” If you have Celiac Disease, I HIGHLY recommend you take a moment to read about this incredible study, and make the decision to participate in the online survey. It takes a bit of time to answer all the questions, but it is SO worth it.
As for the Gluten-Free Expo that accompanied the conference, all I can say is, WOW!!! So much gluten-free goodness in one place! More than 100 GF products were featured at the expo (many of which are brand new and haven't even hit the shelves yet), and I think we brought home samples of just about ALL of them...plus, I'm pretty sure I gained at least 5 pounds just from all the free tastings we got during the expo!
One company that really stood out is a gluten-free bread company called “Bread Srsly” out of San Fancisco, CA. I seriously wanted to CRY when I tasted their sourdough dinner rolls. Honestly, they tasted just like the dinner rolls I LOVED as a kid...before I was diagnosed. So, so good!! And could these ladies be any cuter?!?!? I know, right? ;-) Oh, yeah, I almost forgot the best part...ALL of their products are free of not only gluten, but also dairy, egg, soy, nut, potato, tapioca, and garbanzo. HOW do they do it? I have no idea. But I don't really care, just as long as they keep doing it. ;-) As of right now, they don't have a location here in Las Vegas that carries their bread, but you can order online with just a $5 flat-rate shipping fee. Woohoo!! Seriously (SRSLY...get it???), you just GOTTA check out this company!! http://www.breadsrsly.com
Oh, there was one more super-awesome-totally-cool thing that happened this weekend...mom and I were invited to attend the Bloggers' Dinner hosted by Enjoy Life Foods at Real Food Daily. We arrived on Saturday evening, shortly after the conference ended, and knew immediately we were in for a great night. First of all, the restaurant was incredible. Real Food Daily features an amazing organic, plant-based menu that you would never know is also healthy, because everything tastes so dang yummy! LOL There are tons of gluten-free options to choose from. Mom and I enjoyed the Not-Chos, Seaside Fries, and Mexico City Tacos...all completely vegan, gluten-free and super delish. We even got to have a big 'ol slice of GF chocolate fudge cake for dessert! But the best part is that we got to spend the evening with Scott Mandell, the CEO/founder of Enjoy Life Foods! I have LONG been a fan of Enjoy Life Foods, with their huge array of delicious GF products, and it was truly an honor to meet the man behind it all and hear his story. A big thank you to Scott, Jamie Siegel & Kathleen Shannon of Enjoy Life Foods, and to Gillian Entin from CDF, for organizing such a fantastic event!!!!
I am super excited to let you know that April Peveteaux’s new book “THE GLUTEN FREE CHEAT SHEET: Go G-Free in 30 Days or Less” was officially released TODAY! Woohooo!!!
Okay, for those who don’t happen to know who April is (maybe you are a gluten-free newbie, or you’ve had a serious case of gluten-induced brain fog the past couple of years), allow me to explain. April Peveteaux is one of the the bomb-diggity-est coolest bloggers in the gluten-free world…she also happens to be the author of one of my other favorite GF books, “GLUTEN IS MY BITCH.” Seriously, if you don’t already follow her BLOG, you really should! She posts tons of tips and advice for those of us relegated to this wonderful (eh-hem) gluten-free lifestyle, and she also happens to be freakin’ hysterical! Her NEW book is filled with incredibly useful info for GF newbies and veterans alike, and includes TONS of different gluten-free recipes for things like Hushpuppies, Crab Cakes, Coconut Flour Tortillas, Parmesan Popovers, Sugar Cookie Cheesecake, Deep-Fried Chocolate Cream Cookies, and much, much more!!!
“In addition to 100 delicious and simple recipes, The Gluten-Free Cheat Sheet is the gluten-free consumer’s guide to survival, tackling issues like myths & facts about gluten and how to eat safely out at restaurants as a celiac.” ~ Keely B. Platte, Penguin Random House Publishing
I discovered so many wonderful new gluten-free products at the 2015 Las Vegas Gluten & Allergen-Free Wellness Event in April, but some of absolute FAVORITES came from Elisabeth Hasselbeck & NoGii (gluten-free solutions for healthy families). I had seen the protein bars at Walgreens, but never tried them before. Oh my goodness, they are COMPLETELY DELISH!! I had no idea they would be that good. The Chocolate Caramel Bliss Protein D’lites may possibly be my new ALL-TIME FAVORITE go-to snack…with only 120 calories and 7 grams of protein, these little goodies pack a punch! The Cookies & Crème Super Protein Bar, with an incredible 29 grams of protein(!!!!), is now my husband’s favorite quick-and-easy meal replacement. We also got a sample of their brand NEW Whey & Quinoa Protein Powder (160 calories and 20 grams of protein), and today we made some yummy mixed-berry smoothies with it…seriously good stuff. WE are super excited about ALL their products! And the best part? You can find them at places like Walgreens, CVS, and even Walmart!!
NoGii Bars were created to provide a NO GLUTEN alternative for active lifestyles. Whether you are on-the-go, at play, or in the gym, NoGii bars are formulated to give you and your family good, clean, gluten-free nutritional food choices.
A few weeks ago, on Saturday, April 18th, the Suncoast Hotel in Summerlin played host to Nikki Everett and the Gluten & Allergen-Free Wellness Event….and it was a HUGE success! Incredible speakers, awesome vendors, and TONS of delicious gluten-free food to sample. Probably my #1 FAVORITE find was a product called Brazi Bites (specifically the Jalapeño Pepper Jack flavor!!)...they would have to be the absolute BEST thing I tasted all day! And that’s saying a lot, because there were so many yummy things at this expo. But seriously, these are AMAZING! I think I shamelessly went back to booth about 10 times for more samples. ;-)
You can purchase them online or look for them in the freezer section of Sprouts, Fresh & Easy, and Whole Foods.
Brazi Bites is on a mission to share Brazilian Cheese Bread with the U.S.! Naturally gluten-free, non-gmo, made with 100% natural ingredients and ready to bake. Brazi Bites Brazilian Cheese Bread (pão de queijo in Portuguese) go straight from the freezer to the oven and are ready to enjoy in just 20 minutes. With a crispy crust and fluffy center they are great for parties, family gatherings, game day, or just as part of an everyday meal. Try them on their own or paired with your favorite meats, cheeses, soups and spreads.