Sunday, February 26, 2012

Gluten Free Expo-West Palm Beach

This past week I went to the Gluten Free Expo that was in West Palm Beach FL.
According to Webster's Dictionary: Gluten is a tenacious elastic protein especially of wheat flour that give cohesiveness to dough. Gluten is the common name for ALL the proteins in specific grains that are harmful to people with Celiac Disease. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, 1 out of 133 people are affected by this autoimmune inherited condition.

I am one of the 1 in 133 people that has this autoimmune condition. I also have a sister that has this condition. I love food, and was raised on Italian food, pasta, cookies, cakes, and many things that are made from wheat, barley, rye and other components of these grains.  In this modern world, so much processed food is derived from wheat. Things like: soy sauce, salad dressings, non-stick oil spray (Pam), barbecue sauces all have processed gluten. Giving up gluten is just not giving up bread or pasta; it is a lot more involved. Being gluten fee is always on my mind when I travel or dine out.
Admission was $5, and there were 85 vendors displaying, sampling their products with over 3,000 attendants. There was a variety of  products from breads, pastas, mixes for cookies and brownies. Also featured were prepared foods like: frozen pizza and microwavable meals.
I enjoyed sampling and tasting virtually all of the vendor's samples. It was quite a joy to be able to enjoy food without questioning or checking the label! It was also nice to meet other kindred spirits that share a similar passion for healthy living. One such subject as Dr Ira Gulker, who was one of the sponsor's of the event.

I love soups and chowder, however so many soups have gluten in them. Living in Maine we are KNOWN for our chowder. To my surprise I sampled some clam chowder that was remarkably delicious! The brand was Kettle Cuisine and they are out of Boston, MA.
Many of the products at the expo were from small "Mom & Pop" start-up companies. Many of these people that started these companies are gluten free and could not find products, so they made their own and now sell them. There was also bigger named vendors like Jone's Sausage, Udi's Bread, and Hodgson Mill. These products are readily available at most supermarkets in north America.
I have compiled a list of some of the samples, and products I've tasted along with their websites in no particular order:
Gluten Free Resources
Kettle Cuisine 1.800.969.SOUP Great tasting soups and clam chowder!
Jones Dairy Farm Certified GF products.
Celiac  Disease Foundation of Florida good resource.
Bloomfield Farms Bakin Mixes I tried their brownie mix; it was good
Caesar's Pasta Specialties. Wheat free lasagna, manicotti, stuffed shells. My favorite: gnocchi 1.856.227.2585.
Black Bean Chips (yes, there is such a thing) Beanitos Delicious!
Hodgson Mill, a natural fmaily owned company with a line of Gluten Free mixes, pastas and products.
Pizza Gluten Free by Beverly. This was the best pizza I sampled. Located in Florida. 941.554.7300.
With a name like Belly Hugs I had to try their products 954.322.829.
Power Bars by Nogii This energy bar is actually good, it's made by Elisabeth Hasselbeck. I really find Elisabeth Hasselbeck incredibly annoying and whiny and wish that there was a different vendor to purchase these from. The bars are incredibly expensive.

Glutino Products, sold at most grocery stores. Crackers, frozen meals, baking mixes. I find the prices to be expensive for this line.
Mina's Purely Divine mixes. Nice assortment of pancakes, brownie and pizza crust mixes. Order on-line 404.508.6222 ( free shipping on all orders over $18) Very nice people.
My friend Eileen, has a great blog with recipes, gluten free and paleo food ideas.
There is also a magazine that specializes in gluten free recipes that was at the expo. Delight Gluten Free yearly magazine subscription $18

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