Today I attended the Celiac Awareness Tour in Cleveland, OH.
The Celiac Awareness Tour has several stops throughout the country. Each stop has presentations by celiac disease experts, chef demonstrations and dozens of gluten-free food and beverage exhibits. You will find both local and national gluten-free food and beverage manufacturers at the event, and have an opportunity to ask any questions you may have.
I was very excited for the Celiac Awareness Tour because I knew I was going to have the chance to connect with several people on the gluten-free diet, including attendees, speakers, and business owners. I love a good networking opportunity, so I got my G-Free Laura business cards ready to go.
When my mother and I arrived to the event we first got the lay of the land. There was a ballroom filled with gluten-free vendors where you could sample and purchase products, watch chef demonstrations, and then there was a separate room where the presenters would speak. We got our game-plan together, marking down which speakers and chef demo’s we wanted to see.
While walking around the ballroom, I was able to sample some new gluten-free products, and also taste some favorites that I already have highlighted on my website. It was neat to see others so happy about the product availability, and it made me appreciate the fact that I am able to review these products so often.
One new company I connected with is Savory Foods. I spoke with Chef Jean-Rene Renusson about their gluten-free pizza crusts and pre-made cookie dough. I thought it was great that the company offers cookie dough in a tub, and it brought back memories of elementary school fundraisers when I would sell tubs and tubs of what I now refer to as my poison. Savory Foods also had an awesome recipe for gluten-free stuffing as well, and I plan to highlight it on my Gluten-Free Recipes page for Thanksgiving!
I was very interested in learning about a company called GlutenTox. They sell test-kits that help you to identify traces of gluten in different products. I also was able to sit in on the company’s presentation and was amazed at all of the information I was not aware of! It seems crazy that I’ve been on the gluten-free diet for over 3 1/2 years yet there’s still things I have to learn! I plan to use the GlutenTox test-kits to identify the risks of contamination in shared kitchen products/utensils (i.e. shared toaster) and re-used pasta water. Keep an eye out for the post – it should be pretty interesting!
I also was able to have a conversation with Staff Physician in the Department of Gastroenterology, Digestive Disease Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Abdullah Shtnawei. It was amazing that Dr. Shtnawei took the time to have a private conversation with me and genuinely cared about my questions and personal struggle.
Finally, I met Rebecca Black, a.k.a. Pretty Little Celiac! After having multiple conversations online through several different social media sites, I met Rebecca in person. It’s always interesting to meet someone who, although you have never officially “met”, you feel like you already know. Rebecca gave me a shout out to the audience and encouraged open conversation in her presentation. It was great!
Overall, the Celiac Awareness Tour was an awesome experience. It was the perfect way to spend my Saturday and I am very happy I decided to make the trip to Cleveland!
To see if the Celiac Awareness Tour is coming to a city near you, check out their website!