Gluten Free Expo Worcester Re-Cap!

Meeting others with celiac, or similar dietary prescriptions -- people who understand. Discovering new options in the food-sphere, naturally gluten-free goods or fun re-takes on traditionally gluten-filled foods. Finding new resources, and listening to entrepreneurs and food allergy experts.

That's the Gluten Free Allergen Free Expo. What a blast! I always love especially meeting friends, clients, and fellow writers and celiac advocates, because an enormous benefit of these events is the connections they build.

We live better by finding our community. (This is why I love Freedible too.) Celiac Disease can seriously isolate.

I was disappointed to miss a few of the local brands and food curators who are such Boston-standouts for the allergen-free and celiac community!

So check out the highlights below -- (and find the highly recommended local and national no-shows this event, who attended last year):


THESE GLUTEN-FREE PEEPS DID MAKE IT


A favorite, and a company that knows celiac and gluten-free inside and out, B-FREE FOODS was a sponsor of the expo. Gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, and based in ancient grains, they debuted a sweet potato tortilla. Bends, wraps, toasts and works cold -- these rounds are round and big, low-grain (mostly sweet potato), and hold a sweet balance of sweet and savory. (They also make bagels, rolls, pita breads, multi-grain tortillas, and brilliant breads.)



Then there's always ENJOY LIFE FOODS. Top 8 allergen-free, Enjoy Life is a go-to, especially if you're first diagnosed.  But they made my day (and probably every attendee 10 and under's day) with their booth set-up like a CandyLand board.  I watched countless kids with their families hop along the board squares, pulling samples of Plentils (lentil-based crisps/chips), chocolate chips, and granola bars from stations along the way.  Good people; good food; good fun, gluten-free 









In the non-food department, NUBIAN  HERITAGE makes personal care products that are natural (chemical-free), African-black-soap-based, tied to the roots of the Harlem-based founders. Deodorants, shampoos, and lotions -- that list is just a brief start to all they offer. I already love the deodorant sample, and it's bloody brilliant to find one that isn't just free from. I'd buy this little bloke even if I weren't focused on allergen-free needs and sustainability. They're mainly fragranced by essential oils.

Their motivation, as they say, was "guided by our community’s demand for wellness products that spoke to their unique needs and have drawn on the rich healing philosophies of these communities around the globe" is so key to creating a healing culture through commerce and service, and  I'm looking forward immensely to writing about them in more depth later.


In the dairy-free alternatives, GOOD KARMA FOODS knocked the nut-free and gluten-free ball out of the park. Flax milks! So nut-free kids and adults who are also off the milk can drink to their hearts content. I loved the high-protein vanilla. Thick and creamy as the top off, well, real milk. But they also make yogurts! 

And GO VEGGIE brought a line of milk-free vegan CHEESE. In blocks, and packets of parmesan, these dairy-free cheeses are coconut-oil based: ace texture, flavor, and simple ingredients.

As I strolled through, I also ran into UNREAL CANDY. Oooer. Unreal, it's an appropriate tag for these dark chocolate almond butter and peanut butter cups. They've gone vegan, and are thus dairy-free: also, certified gluten-free.  I know some of the kids I've worked with will be over the roof excited. It's mad difficult to find celiac-safe candy thats also milkless! But I was skipping-happy to find they're non-gmo, committed to sustainability, and fair-trade too. 'Tis win-win, world.

SUNBUTTER also sponsored the expo. SunButter! Not only everything-but-sunflower-seed-free, this sunflower-seed-butter-maker is so dedicated to helping us  eat safely  their facility is now top 8 allergen free, and soy-free.

I love these people, their seed butter, and their attitude. I know I can take a single-serve SunButter with me to a hospital or school without risking the health of a kid with a nut-allergy. And I can share it with them. Best yet for me personally, I know their butters never come in contact with wheat, or gluten, on equipment or in any other stage of processing.


Another local -- whom I loved encountering last year: PEACE OF MIND BAKING. This CT-based baker makes muffins, whoopee pies, cookies -- and an amazing pizza crust (take-home-and-bake). Vegan, and freshly baked, everything they offer is delicious, celiac-safe, and dairy-free (and organic!).

More dairy-free -- and bakery goods! -- THE GREATER KNEAD, once Sweet Note Bakery, always run by the crazy-wonderful bagel ladies, has too many bagels to count. All gluten-free. All non-gmo. All dairy-free. All delicious. Where once a bagel -- any sort -- was a startling and rare gluten-free sight, The Greater Knead has made multiple varieties excellent and available. They do NY-style, with great texture and chew, and engage in the community with a dedication that really isn't crazy. More crazy-wicked-supportive. Crazy good bagels.


Even

And then talk about local! 88 ACRES! Right round the corner from me, 88 ACRES is a seed-based standout, producing gluten-free granola bars (in Dark Chocolate, Apple Ginger, and Triple Berry) that are nut-and-gluten-free, low-sugar...exceptionally good. But they also make granola -- and now SEED BUTTERS! I love the plain Pumpkin Seed Butter. But their sunflower seed butters, Dark Chocolate and Vanilla, lightly sweetened, are also bloody wicked good. Local-sourced and produced, they do celiac right -- and sustainable-local-sourced.

Another Northeast-local: Loved this vegetable-based sriracha. TRUE MADE FOODS: truly great sauces. They also make a BBQ sauce and a Ketchup.


In drinkables, it was great to encounter HEALTHADE KOMBUCHA. Small-batched, probiotic-teas, Health Ade makes a really wicked good line-up of drinks, with a kick to the Ginger and Cayenne, and a nice sweet (sans much sugar) to other flavors. Probiotics are the added benefit to the taste when you have celiac -- so these blokes soothe the taste-buds and the gut at the same time! Check back for a recipe, and a giveaway later in the Summer.




THE LOCAL NO-SHOWS

[ naturally gluten-free raw organic snacks ]

Bridget's Breads
[ great CT-based baker of big bread ]

Twist Bakery
[just outside Beantown keen bakery and breakfast stop ]

[ best gluten-free grain-free and tiff-based breads, bar none ever ]

NATIONAL BRANDS WHO DIDN'T MAKE IT



Elmhurst Naturals Nut Milks




What would you most like to try? And do you have a community of people who "get it" if you have a medically necessary diet?


Tumbling Free,

CJ

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