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!!!!