It’s that time of year again, friends!
No, no – not fall. Well, that too, almost.
It’s time for the Gluten Free and Allergen Friendly Expo in Dallas and I am so stoked to be invited back as an official blogger this year. I actually volunteered last year and definitely had a blast attending, both in getting to know fellow volunteers and of course .. people watching! While I do not lead a gluten-free lifestyle as I thankfully do not have any issues with digesting the protein, I have noticed through experimentation that a low carb (and therefore, for the most part, a low gluten) lifestyle is what works best for me and leaves me feeling my healthiest. And if you know how challenging it can be to stay away from all the “good stuff” – bread, pizza, chips, cookies, pasta .. the list goes on, huh? – and wonder what in the world there is left to eat, then this Expo is definitely up your alley.
Talk about innovation and creativity. My favorite part by far is being able to meet all the vendors and learn about the amazing array of products they bring to the table (literally). They also have educational classes at the Expo throughout the day which are actually really informative and interesting; I highly recommend checking them out as well if you get a chance. But I’ll be honest – do prepare to be a little drained at the end of the day because it is a LOT of new products, information, and people all at once. But without a doubt, well worth it.
My favorite, new-to-me thing from the Expo last year? Hmm.. it would have to be the to-go portable packs of Enjoy Life’s mini chocolate chips. I mean, c’mon – They’ve thought of everything! And of course I would remember the chocolate over everything else, ha. OH! And the Hail Merry snacks. Okay, THAT might be my favorite thing (sorry, Enjoy Life). Those coconut tarts were seriously amazing. I might have made more than one round (five?) past the table to keep snagging more samples. So yes, I definitely cannot wait to see what this year brings.
And to help you make the most of your visit if you do plan on attending, I have a few tips for you:
- Comfortable shoes – It’s going to be a long day on your feet so forget those heels and opt for something you can stand in comfortably for a couple of hours.
- Pack a few veggies or fruits – Now I know this may seem counter-intuitive especially since you’re going to a place that has nothing but food from end to end.. but trust me, all those carbs and treats get old pretty quickly. Last year, I was there all day from roughly 8-4 pm, volunteering during the first half of the day and enjoying the Expo during the latter. My salad truly came in handy when the hanger hit and I was tired of all the processed food, as delicious as they were. Now of course, you naturally will not be staying all day but the point is that we all could use something more wholesome from time to time. Think of it as a palate cleanser in between all the samples.
- H2O – Number of thirsty people >>> Drinking fountains. Always. Don’t be that person who misses out on Expo fun because you’re waiting in line for ages for a sip of water. Bring your own and bask in the fact that you one-upped so many people there.
- Bring a sweater – Something about expos, conferences, seminars, events .. the venue is almost always freezing! So come prepared and thank me for it later.
- Comfortable shoes – I don’t think I can overstate this one enough!
And of course, the actual logistics:
Where: Dallas Market Hall – North Hall (2200 Stemmons Freeway)
When: October 28 (10am-4pm) & 29 (10am – 3pm), 2017
Why: Two things – (1). It’s pretty much foodie paradise (come hungry). (2) S.W.A.G. I kid you not. You’re going to need that upper body strength to carry everything so start training, friends!
Tickets are 30% off through the 27th of September with the code EARLYBIRD and 20% off through the 27th of October with the code ADVANCE. Plus they honestly aren’t that expensive – I mean, 5 bucks! – and the amount of free samples one gets, let alone all the new information, is well worth the investment in my opinion. Even if you don’t lead a gluten-free lifestyle, I think it’s always interesting to take a glimpse into a different dietary lifestyle every once in a while; no good comes from being stagnant. Plus chances are, if you aren’t gluten-free, you know someone who is. So take a walk in their shoes, if you will. The Expo gives you the chance to do just that. And who knows – you may even like some of these products more than the “gluten-filled” stuff. (Psst, those Hail Merry snacks..)
I hope to see some of you there! And stay tuned to my Instagram because I maaaayy just host a giveaway.
Images courtesy of the GFAF Expo.
Are you or do you know anyone who is leading a gluten-free lifestyle?