This past weekend I had the privilege to attend the inaugural Gluten- Free Living Conference in Orlando. I learned so much for my blog along with gluten free as well. Gluten free has come so far since we made Logan gluten free over 10 years ago. Nowadays I just need to stop by Publix to grab a plethora of gluten free products, all of which are conveniently marked right on the shelf. Yet another reason “Shopping is a pleasure” at Publix but that is another post altogether. This one is about the amazing products we found and all the information we learned as well.
Friday was Blogger U. This was a one day pre conference event that was put on for anyone not just gluten free bloggers. It was a day filled with classes on how to take photographs for your blog from Stay Basic to when is the best time to post from GFJules. Amy Leger of The Savvy Celiac showed us how to make our posts more news worthy in order to become known as experts in our field. The Healthy Apple was so inspirational telling her story. I left having made some great contacts and with a renewed passion for my blog. I can see why the big bloggers recommend going to blog conferences. It was so motivating to learn from others as well as be around like minded individuals.
Saturday was the Expo along with various classes. There were rows and rows of gluten free items to look at and sample. Madison thought she was in heaven. Gluten free whoopie pies,Helwa, Free Time, Gluten Free Chocolate Covered Wafers, , and bacon bites were big hits in our family. Makeup and cleaning vendors were there to show us gluten free options. Generation Rescue had a booth giving out much needed autism information. This was our first gluten free expo so we expected to see the big names like Enjoy Life and Udis. What I most enjoyed were the less known ones like Chunkie Dunkie, Brazi Bites, and Taste Guru. Things I didn’t even know existed! Samples were abundant along with coupons.
Madison and I also attended classes on Gluten Free Baking with a Light Touch and the uber awesome Lagasse Girls with their cookbook,The Gluten-Free Table: The Lagasse Girls Share Their Favorite Meals. Lots of tips were written down in both classes . Who knew that you should weigh your ingredients instead of measuring or that your eggs should be at room temperature (I actually knew that one). Coconut oil was a favorite topic in the session with The Lagasse Girls who incidentally are the daughters of Emeril. I bought their cookbook for myself and one as a giveaway ! Stay tuned for that announcement!
The Family Breakfast at Sunday was a big hit with Logan who discovered Glutino Gluten Free Toaster Pastries for the first time. He was so confused by them that he didn’t know whether or not he was supposed to toast it. We all had quite a laugh over that. Another turn through the expo hall to gather swag for another giveaway and our day was complete. There were also classes about The Do’s and Don’ts of Raising A Gluten Free Child where she gave great advice about getting a 504 plan for your child if they attend school and helping the child take responsibility of their own health which is always a good idea. The event ended with a panel of gluten free experts answering questions from the audience.
I think Gluten-Free Living did a phenomenal job on their inaugural event. Of course there were a few things they could do differently next time. More local advertising would be a great addition. Utilizing the bloggers who attend to promote it for them as well would be a good idea too. This could be a win – win relationship for both blogger and the expo. They were more than gracious and generous to the bloggers that attended the event. I hope this becomes a yearly event here in Central Florida.