I just got back to Raleigh from my weekend trip to Atlanta for the GFAF Expo, and I had such a great time. It was so awesome to see so many familiar faces (Carolyn and Kayce from my fave, Enjoy Life!) and meet tons of new ones. I especially loved getting to meet the family that won free tickets for the event from the giveaway I hosted here on my blog. We randomly ran into each other at the Pascha chocolate booth, and had a 30-45 minute discussion/rant about health, doctors, and holistic approaches to healing. It was so cool to connect with them. 🙂
There were also a ton of great vendors at the event. Enjoy Life was there (always a treat), SunButter was there (yum!), and so was my new friend Tiffany from GF Mom Certified! We met at the Charlotte Expo a few weeks back and now I’m officially a part of her blogger program. She has a great cookbook already out, and another fantastic kid-friendly one in the works, so I’m incredibly excited to be a part of her business and help promote the awesome work that she does!
I also got to learn about a bunch of new products and companies that I thought were super cool. The neat thing about these events is that they don’t just feature food vendors – they also feature vendors for skincare, health and wellness. An important thing to be aware of when you have food allergies is what you’re putting directly onto your skin, not only what you’re putting into your body. Many different topical products, makeup and medications contain gluten or other allergens. (Benadryl and Mederma both contain corn starch, which I found out the hard way).
I was really interested to meet representatives from companies whose products feature clean, allergy-friendly ingredients. One company was Bare Belly Organics. Right after the blogger meet and greet, my new friend Carly from The Puzzled Palate told me to go check out this booth. This company produces sunscreens, face sticks and lip balms that are gluten-free and free from yucky preservatives. I met one of the reps, Lisa, who was super friendly and gave me a few samples to try out and review. Awesome! A second company was Younique, which is a makeup company that uses natural, clean ingredients in their products – some of which are allergy-friendly! I will hopefully be reviewing a couple of their products in the future as well, so be on the lookout for that!
Another health product company that I had the pleasure of learning about was CocoKefir, which makes probiotic coconut drinks and a yogurt-like product. Probiotics are super duper important when it comes to regulating gut health and digestion. Did you know that you have a whole microbiome of bacteria living in your intestines (10x more than the number of cells in your body!)? These guys play a important role in the immune system, and are important in regulating digestion and protecting your body from disease. Probiotic supplements contribute to the good bacteria in your body and help them do their job. Usually I take probiotics in pill form, but these drinks were super good and the yogurt kefir was too. It’s hard to find thicker kefir that is dairy-free, so I was happy.
Make sure to stay tuned for the 2nd part of my recap, in which I’ll talk about the food products I found and some of the people I got to meet!