The map said that it was only a 13 hour drive from Toronto to Raleigh, North Carolina where I was to make a presentation for the Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event. It seemed like days upon days. It was only 15 hours from point A to B but I had my sister (also known as Princess Gluten-Free, a sometimes-blogger you can find by clicking HERE) as my travel buddy/photographer with me and we can all guess how siblings act towards each other stuck in a car that long? Actually, we got along great. We stopped at most of the rest stops and took pictures. We sang along to the insane amounts of Taylor Swift that plays on American Radio stations, and in the morning, marvelled at the mountains as we drove thorough them, all covered with beautiful and thick-like-soup fog.
Along with the fact that I was asked to make a presentation about Men and celiac disease; I was able to walk around and meet a lot of different people who run and/or work for a lot of different gluten-free food companies. Many of which are central to North Carolina and don’t necessarily come on my radar as a Canadian, but that’s what shows like this are all about. Getting the knowledge out there and seeing what can be and is available to you.
I was able to finally meet some amazing people at the Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event, some I have talked to via the internet for a while now, and some I have just recently met. All in all it was a great way to finally put a voice to the faces that I see on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Those first impressions are something that will never go away.
I’m not going to start with a list that is good or bad, I’m just going to talk about some of the stuff I came a cross while I was in Raleigh, North Carolina for the Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event.
Tiffany Hinton of GF Mom Certified was someone I chatted with a bit, and did a book review for last year. Meeting her was great. I was able to listen to her presentation too and actually learned something new. Never let anyone tell you that celiac/gluten-free events are dumb, never let anyone tell you that holding these events for people with celiac isn’t a good idea because we all already have this disease. I learned something new. This is what they are for. To learn and to teach others about the knowledge they might not know.
Pam Jordan, also Imaceliac.com, is a great person who did a blog post for me in 2014, and I finally met. I scored a t-shirt from her too and found out that her and I are a lot alike and really hit it off. This is something I never would have really known had I not drove to North Carolina to this event.
Nikki Everett organized the whole Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event and from what I saw, it all was pulled off without a hitch. Organized perfectly, talks flowed smoothly. I missed the meet and greet for the vendors at the very start of the event, but Nikki had no problems finding the time to usher me to those who might benefit from meeting me. All days she was smiles and all day she was there to answer any question I had (even recommend lunch for my sister and I, which was so good).
Josh Schieffer of the Gluten-Free Buyers Guide, Tracy Bush the Nutrimom, Justin from the YoDish app. All really awesome people that took time out of their days to talk to me and take a picture with me and just be a person to me. There are so many people that I go to talk to that I wish I had A) taken notes B) taken more pictures C) spent more time (as you know, my sister and I drove to North Carolina from Toronto. And as fast as we drove down there, we spent that much time there too and were on our way home by 6:30pm that night). I never got a second to say anything, but the representative from inBite really cave me a nice ego boost when she dropped something in my bag and referred to me as ‘The King’.
Jenna Drew and I had a nice moment talking about a missing cell phone (I know that seems like a cold hearted kinda memory, but It was nice. We had a chance to talk about a few things and talked like we were old friends).
A few gluten-free products that I liked (in no particular oder):
BRÜKS BARS gluten-free nutrition bars were so good I’m a little sad I only had a sample of them and didn’t buy a whole box while I was there (I’m pretty sure they will ship to Canada). But each bar is handmade?!? crazy. Taste good and each one is unique, and the owners were super nice and took a lot of their time to talk to me.
RALEIGH RAW is organic, raw and cold pressed fruit juice and shit it was good. I had a few sips of each of the drinks, I bought and took home the coconut, cinnamon one. I’m not even 100% sure thats what it was. All I know is it tasted great and tasted like liquid rice pudding. A plus, a total plus.
JP’S PASTRY gave me this cream cheese brownie which I am pretty sure is the love of my life and all I want to do is marry it and have babies with it. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with it. It was that good and I am so sad that it isn’t a part of my life anymore. It made it all the way to Canada and in my fridge. With each bite I was blown away by how moist, delicious and unique it was (this was probably the grossest review of a food I have ever done and probably any food on the internet, but if you get your hands on one of the cream cheese brownies, I bet you’ll feel the same way I did).
FREEDOM FOODS had this Maple crunch cereal that was great. Like someone poured maple syrup on the non-sweet parts of Lucky Charms. I kept going back for free samples. Hindsight is always 20/20 because I wish I kinda bought a box at the show.
CALY’S KITCHEN is a booth I’m not sure was there, but their products were in the blogger bag that I took home, and if you caught my live review on periscope then you know they really hit it home with the granola. It smelled great and tasted great, it’s just a shame the bag was so small. It’s also a shame I ran out (Dear Caly’s Kitchen, please send me more of that honey granola -Love Jordan).
These are just a few of them that stood out in my mind as I wondered the vendor floor at the Gluten & Allergen Wellness Event in Raleigh, North Carolina. That’s not to say that I hated everything, quite the opposite. Amy Fothergill the Family Chef and I had a nice little interaction, and missing her presentation about making gluten-free pasta is something I kinda regret.
Would I attend another Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event? Heck yeah I would. I had a blast.
Would I speak at another one? Yup. It was a great experience. It may have been my first time but I doubt it’ll be the last time you see me on the speaking circuit.
I huge thanks to Katrina, my little sister for coming with me and keeping me level headed during my less strong moments and then going to Target with me and braving the back to school shoppers.