Gluten Free Expo 2013
Every year Phoenix has a Gluten free Expo sponsored by the CDF. It is actually located in Scottsdale, AZ but since it is hosted by the Phoenix Chapter, then well I am assuming that is why it is referred to as the Phoenix Expo.
Anyway, this was my second time. I almost missed it to do being very ill for the week prior and recovering for a week after. I tried to get our money back, by calling the Phx chapter and talking to a lady in charge, 2 days before the event. She was quite rude and saying she didn’t care if I were sick, and no refunds. I thought I just had a terrible case of food poisoning, with a high fever. My fever broke the morning of and I forced myself to go. I am glad I went, but it turns out I had Viral Meningitis. Which can be deadly and very contagious. Did you know you could die within hours? So my reason for telling you is in case you have an aversion to regular doctors, if your fever spikes very quickly and you have a severe headache and neck pain and/or swelling, just go to the emergency room. If I had known I would have. It wasn’t till the following day when my skin was bleeding into what looked like blood blisters, that I knew something was very wrong. I made a full recovery and ahead of schedule and luckily no one I was around, caught it. I thought you should just be aware of how serious, how easy it is to catch and how quickly it can take over.
Here was the first sign of septicaemia, subtle but dangerous. I hope you never have to see a child or anyone go through it, but it is common and some of you will. So please take notice, this happened in minutes day 8 for me, but it can occur at any time. I have known 2 other adults that have had this and a few young teenagers.
Now back to the expo. Keep in mind this was the first day I had been around food in a week, and out of bed so my viewpoint may be a little skewed.
So here is the table to pick up or purchase your tickets, get your band and a list of booths attending.
Here is the line to get into the conference room.
Before entering, they have a booth outside the entrance and hand you a bag with maybe some coupons and a local magazine by the paid sponsor. In this case it is Sprouts. The line on the left is to get some coupons and samples from the sponsor and everything on the right is booths that you can walk freely around. They have a raffle, auction, fresh food samples, packaged samples, coupons, recipes and basically it just really depends on the discrepancy on the companies that are present.
Here is a booth, Kinnikinnick
Here is a local Gluten-free Bakery purchase.
These were my favorite thing ever. Not dairy free as you can see by the cream cheese frosting! But 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.
By the end of the day, I had purchased another Delight Gluten Free Magazine subscription, cupcakes that I didn’t share(sorry honey, next time order your own) bread from Gluten-free Creations bakery in Phoenix and one from a non-local bakery and 2 bags full of samples that my honey carried. I felt bad so I shared a little. Seriously you know you are going to want some, just order your own.
You do get a chance to try new pr0ducts that big companies will be coming out with and you get some coupons that pretty much pays for your entrance fee and maybe more. This year we got a couple soups, granola type bars, dried fruit, kids snack(fruit and veggie), popcorn bags, chip bags, cookies, nut butter balls, energy bars, dressing, chocolate syrup, pretzels, crackers, and the list continues a bit more. The only problem for us is the other allergens, in my case Soy was in many of the take home samples. Just because it is gluten free expo does not mean it doesn’t contain other allergens in their samples and products. Pretty much anything else could be in the samples. If you have other allergens, go early or late to be able to ask what other ingredients are in the samples. In my opinion late is better to ask questions but most of the samples are gone.
When there is a long line and rude people use their kids to cut the lines and take multiple samples, it can get hectic. I tried to talk to the Celiac Disease booth and tell them how much of a problem that was and they said that didn’t happen, as it was happening a couple of booths down. I learned that next time I need to bring a bigger cooler to store all the goodies in and maybe a squirt gun to squirt the parents of the cutting kids.
Honestly the Phoenix Expo is considerably small, compared to other large cities. Hopefully more people attend so it can grow. I also suggest not changing the timeframe of the event by months. This is way too big of a difference to gain repeat attendees. Maybe the CDF wakes up and realizes the need to promote it more, keep at least the same month for the event and change to a bigger location. Many of the larger companies that won’t attend will use volunteers to at least spread coupons, you can contact the company directly to find out more if you are interested.
I will say I am very Happy that Udi’s has been coming out in the years I have attended and brought their amazing products to taste. Thank You!
If you live in another area, see what local gluten-free expos you have and send me a link with a short review so I may post it for others. Spread the knowledge by letting others know there are event’s for people like us. I know I told a tech in my Vet’s office after she mentioned she had Crohn’s disease, she was surprised and so grateful. You never know who could benefit from something like this. She later mentioned her daughter suffered as well, and it would be good for her to see other kids with similar problems, and not feel so alone.