I had the privilege of attending a very exciting event here in Raleigh, NC at the NC State Fairgrounds on August 12, 2017. The Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Expo took place in the Kerr Scott Building, and featured multiple key note speakers discussing topics including holistic and functional medicine, allergen free cooking tips, and tricks on traveling the world with food allergies. More than fifty vendors came out to participate in the GFAF Wellness Event, and hundreds of attendees flocked from across the state for a chance to try gluten free products, purchase handmade soaps, learn more about holistic healthcare, sample a few granola bars, hear gluten and allergen free speakers, and so much more.

Now that you have a broad overview of the event, here are some of the highlights:

Whole Foods Bakehouse

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Olivia Chadwick

One of my favorite tables featured all sorts of gluten free baked goods, from cupcakes to cakes, cookies to pies, stuffing to scones, and so much more! The Gluten Free Bakehouse is located in Morrisville, NC and supplies Whole Foods’ all across the country with their certified gluten free products. The one who started it all, Lee Toibin, discovered his Celiac disease in 1996, and made it his mission to create a certified gluten free kitchen where delicious and safe gluten free products are made for customers. After talking with him for over 15 minutes, it was clear that he loved his job and took pride in his work. Without him, thousands of consumers across the United States wouldn’t be enjoying the perfected gluten free baked goods!

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Olivia Chadwick

You can find more about Lee and the Gluten Free Bakehouse story here.

Justin Case Bee Products

Olivia Chadwick

"Justin Case Bee Products" is a local honey and beekeeping company in Randleman, North Carolina. The father-son team successfully runs a third generation beekeeping business, and promotes their products with fun decorations and quality honey every single time. The father, Mark Sr, has had a passion for beekeeping for over 10 years, and has passed on the interest to his son, Micah. The company has buzzing new products, including local honey, lip balm, paw wax, and beeswax tea candles. 

pizza, cake, coffee, beer
Olivia Chadwick

You can find more about "Justin Case Bee Products" and their products here.

Kind Bars

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Olivia Chadwick

Perhaps one of the most common granola bar companies on the market, Kind prides themselves in their clean and simple ingredient list. Their catch phrase, "ingredients you can see and pronounce", involves promoting simplicity and authenticity of their product. All of their granola bars feature non-GMO ingredients, no artificial sweeteners, low sodium, and are all gluten free. No worries if you can't decide between which granola bar to try- they have over 70 different granola bar flavors, varieties, and sizes. Enjoy and be Kind!

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Olivia Chadwick

To learn more about Kind's mission and various healthy snacks and granola bars, click here.

Tito's Handmade Vodka

coffee, beer
Olivia Chadwick

Vodka can always be a toss up for someone with severe gluten intolerance or Celiac disease, and Tito's Handmade Vodka prides their company in the creation of a certified gluten free product. Tito Beveridge, (yes, really) is the Founder and Creator of Tito's, and built his own condensers and stills in Austin, Texas. After many years of trial and error, he has won countless awards for his vodka, including the "Unanimous Gold Medal" at the World Spirits Competition. So go ahead, sip sparingly, and enjoy the classic taste of this original craft vodka.

To learn more about Tito's Handmade Vodka, check out this link.

Z Pizza Tap Room

tea, coffee, beer
Olivia Chadwick

Z Pizza Tap Room combines two things Americans love: pizza and alcohol. Founded in Laguana Beach, California, the moderately priced restaurant features build your own veggie/meat pizzas, gluten free pizzas, calzones, sandwiches, salads, and appetizing shareables. If that isn't enough, the craft beer selection will send you to Cloud 9. I ate here a couple of years ago, and was amazed to see their gluten and dairy free pizza: featuring vegan cheese! This company caters to all consumers, which thoroughly impressed me.

Olivia Chadwick

Z Pizza focuses on creating pizzas with healthy and simplistic ingredients. To learn more about Z Pizza Tap Room and to order online, check out their website

Norm's Farms

blueberry, grape, grape jelly, pasture, liquor, berry, wine
Olivia Chadwick

Norm's Farms, located in Pittsboro, North Carolina, creates healthful supplements, jams, jellies, and syrups using elderberries. According to their beliefs, elderberries are a "true super fruit" and have an extremely high antioxidant content. Furthermore, these berries have been used for centuries in culinary and medicinal uses. Norm's Farms works with smaller farms across the country to provide a successful market for elderberries. Rodger Lenhardt, Chief Passion Officer, works hard to ensure that the public understands the health benefits of elderberries, as well as produces a high quality product each and every time.

To read more about the Norm's Farm operation, try delicious recipes, and shop elderberry products , check out their website.

Gluten Free with Sarah B

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Olivia Chadwick

"Gluten Free with Sarah B" is a small bakery in Rolesville, North Carolina. The company takes pride in their "TASTY" and local baked goods, including breakfast items, desserts, and breads! I had the opportunity to try the allergen friendly doughnut, pictured below. This fluffy dessert was wheat, nut, dairy, soy, and gluten free- but you couldn't have guessed! The flavor was delicious, with hints of warm spices. I was very impressed with how the doughnut rose, especially the fact that is was made without wheat or gluten. The owner was as sweet as can be, and no doubt was very proud of her successful baking operation.

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Olivia Chadwick

To read up about "Gluten Free with Sarah B" and follow her posts and photos, click this link to her Facebook page.

Enjoy Life Foods

chocolate, beer
Olivia Chadwick

Just like the name sounds, Enjoy Life Foods promote "eating safely and enjoying life". The company's slogan, "eat freely", coincides with their mission to provide healthy and allergen friendly food to consumers without fear of an allergy attack. Every product at Enjoy Life is free of artificial ingredients, trans fats, GMOs, gluten, wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, soy, fish, and shellfish. Catch anything? Those are the top 8 allergens recognized in the United States. This nationally known company produces all products free of the 8  most common allergens. How is this possible?! Simple- the company and all affiliates have a passion and dedication to providing safe foods to consumers with food allergies.

chocolate, goody, sweet, candy
Olivia Chadwick

The Enjoy Life table gave away countless "goody bags" with snacks, food allergy guides, and coupons to interested consumers. Their mission was clearly displayed through their ability to successfully sell products free of common allergens, and dedication to educating the public on the severity of food allergies. 

To read their blog, try their recipes, purchase their products, and to learn more about the company, check out their famous website.

There you have it! The Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Expo featured a variety of speakers, talented artisans, local bakers, and allergen friendly companies from all over the country.

As food allergies gain popularity (unfortunately), these events help raise awareness and provide support for allergenic individuals. I am so excited to have attended this memorable expo, and cannot wait for the next one!

wine, pizza, beer
Olivia Chadwick