Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Review Of A Year On The Road Eating Gluten Free

Everyone always gives us a hard time about all the delicious food we post about while we are on the road and showing our social media friends what we experience. You can blame me for that annoying trait, because I find every trip an adventure full of the opportunities to get to know where we are by the cultures of food available. But just because our food has to be gluten free, this provides more of a challenge. It requires spending a little time reading reviews and assessing whether the food will be safe or not. We also always have a back up plan in case the first choice isn't a good one.

While perusing the hundreds of pictures we take on each trip, I was faced with a huge amount of food pics and was stunned at the sheer volume! For people who claim having to limit their options, the reality is we had a year of incredible food laid out before us in each city. So, we compiled those pictures into a video, highlighting only the best of what we had eaten, to illustrate how amazing you can eat on simply gluten free. Hopefully this gives you all a positive boost that your options are expanding slowly as we all continue to make our gluten free voices heard.
Note: We did not have other allergens to be aware of.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Deck The Allergy Free Halls With Less Stress

The roar of the Holiday season is in full swing and also the setting up of upcoming 2015 Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Events. So, even though we have been absent from our blog, there has been plenty of activity and buzz happening behind the scenes. We have event venues to finalize, speakers to schedule, vendors to contact, and sponsors to negotiate with. It can be quite chaotic from November to January especially with events held in multiple cities across the nation.

2015 Schedule

The added challenge of eating allergen free during the holidays can be overwhelming for any of us, and we are no exception. For anyone making changes to their dietary needs during the festive parties, potlucks, and family time can feel like a mine field of problematic moments and a burden when all you want to do is dig in to your favorite foods. The following story is how we started to deal with one of those bumps in the road.

I come from a large Southern family and our holiday meals have always been potluck dinners where each person would make enough of their best dishes to feed up to 20 people. We would meet in my family's Fish Camp (a Southern seafood restaurant specializing in fried fish, hushpuppies, and french fries) to make the mess easier to clean and have room for our large brood. Everyone arriving would place their delicious foods on a large banquet table to share. The sight of all that food made Thanksgiving and Christmas the best holidays of the year...until we went gluten free.

For three years after Doodle's celiac diagnosis, my mother and I would cook a completely separate gluten free meal and cart the lot over to the Fish Camp so Doodle wouldn't miss out on the festivities and family, nor the food. Although we still were missing out on 50% of the items at the large table, there was enough to fill us to stuffed mode before having to lug the leftovers back home. The great addition to this story is that Lake Todd Fish Camp now has gluten free fried fish and hushpuppies because of Doodle.

In December of 2011, we moved two hours away from the family to the mountains of NC. Thanksgiving rolled around in 2012 and it was the first time we spent holidays at home. I explained to my disappointed mother and father that we would not be there that year. There was no way I could justify making a whole meal and transporting it for a two hour drive, not to mention the challenge of food possibly spoiling on the way.

And you know what? It was the best feeling ever to wake that morning ready to cook our dinner with no time schedule to meet, no planning of who was making what, and no loading up the car and all the work that entails. We learned that day that all those years, my stress level had been higher than a kite on a windy March Carolina day. The new found joy of truly enjoying the holidays was one I will never forget. Now, we spend every holiday at home and plan a date afterwards to meet our family for a meal at a restaurant, with very little stress attached.

Just like most of our journey to health and wellness, the realization that stress is a factor in our healing process and avoiding it can be done with a little rearranging of the way things used to be has been refreshing. I hope that by sharing our story, inspiration will arise in how you can strive to add less and not more onto your plate.
Can you think of one way to make your holidays less stressful and more enjoyable for you and your family?

We hope you enjoy a stress free beautiful Holiday season.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

FREE Web Cast - Jacksonville Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event - Traveling, Grain Free Living, and Functional Nutrition

It's FREE Web Cast time again on Allergy Free Back Roads in preparation for the first 
The event takes place on Nov 15 at Hyatt Regency at Riverside from 10 am - 3 pm.

But, we hope you will join us for the webcast on
Nov 6 at 7:30 pm EST right here, to listen to interesting and 
informative information from each of our very engaging speakers.

Shannon Ford, Mrs. United States 2011, is an advocate for Celiac Disease Awareness. After being diagnosed in 2009, it became Shannon’s goal to bring more attention to the illness and advocate for better labeling of our nation’s food supply. A graduate of Florida International University with a B.A. in Psychology, the former Miss Florida USA also serves as a Miami Dolphins Ambassador (a select group of former Cheerleaders that represent the organization & advocate community service). Shannon strives to bring Celiac Disease awareness to others. In doing so, she has traveled the country speaking at various events & conferences, including Paleof(x), and was featured on the covers of "Paleo" magazine and “Delight Gluten Free” Magazine, as well as several times in “Shape” Magazine. Shannon is currently a Regional Director with IDLife, a health and wellness company in which all products are gluten-free.

Julia McRae has been in private practice for over twenty years, as a Certified Nutritionist. She herself suffered with Ulcerative Colitis in her youth. She has been colitis free for 30 years. Her passion to see others recover bowel health is one of the primary focuses of her practice. Customized, nutrient dense protocols are designed to bring lasting digestive health. She is a frequent guest speaker at Wellness events and for private businesses. Julia remains true to her belief that bowel health is foundational to a strong, functional immune system.

Recovering gluten addict, Jen Eccleston, is author of the blog “my BIG FAT grain free life” and owner of Jen Tilly Tea. Using humor and quite frankly, crybaby moments, she seeks to deal with food allergies, bowel health and autoimmune disease while retaining her belief that allergen free food really CAN taste delicious. Along the journey, Jen learned the important role probiotics play in overall health. After learning to make water kefir from a health conscious friend, Jen found herself and her family addicted to the delicious drink, and, just to make things weirder, she named her kefir grains. She now operates blue bottle bootlegger, hosting classes on the benefits of water kefir, including demos and tastings and allowing attendees to meet the offspring of "Squishy".

Jen Cuevas
The Gluten & Grain Free Gourmet supports delicious eating that is gluten, grain, soy, and poultry free. Jen Cuevas experienced her own journey to wellness by eating this way, and desires to share the message that life can still be delicious!
Just a few short years ago, Jen was ill with a multitude of issues (although not typical “Celiac” symptoms), including high cholesterol, pre-diabetes, sudden weight gain [over 60 pounds], Hashimoto’s, and arthritis (read more of her story here). After more than seven frustrating visits with various doctors, she finally learned about her gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease. In becoming well, she found that life without gluten was really great from a health perspective, but affected everything else that had a social factor.
In the time since her diagnosis, Jen has spent a lot of time learning. She was treated by Dr. Glen Aukerman (author: Better Health in 120 days) and attended all of his classes to understand the medical aspect of how various foods affect gluten sensitivity. After further health issues inspired her to do more research, Jen went completely grain and soy free in 2012, and became a certified coach under the direction of Gluten Free Society. She uses her own health journey to coach and inspire others to consider dietary changes as a way to achieve optimum health. In 2013 she established a support group, and found that food availability continued to be the biggest barrier to success. She began developing food products that support a grain-free, soy-free and even dairy-free lifestyle; many items are allergy-friendly and are free of refined sugars. She also offers allergen-free Communion to churches, raising awareness about the effects of gluten exposure.

Please fast forward through the hold music at the beginning of webcast.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hartford CT Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event 2014 Recap

The Hartford Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event October 5 was a fantastic celebration that brought community, vendors and speakers together for a filled day of fun, great food, and making friends. The comments we received afterwards were a testament to how much the people of Hartford CT enjoyed the event. We appreciate every comment we get and couldn't do it without attendees, sponsors, vendors, and volunteers. Within this post we will highlight some of the local companies that made it such a success.

We have loved Aleias products since they first came onto the Southern market and were really excited to have them at the event. We never knew they offered so many products either and all of them were delicious! Their stuffing makes life wonderfully easy at the Holidays. From the packaging to the ingredients, you can feel good about purchasing these for your family.

When we first visited Nature's Grocer last summer, we were blown away at what a jewel the city has for shopping and purchasing treats. We sampled the best gluten free Blueberry Cake Doughnuts with icing we had ever tasted at this booth. That's no exaggeration. Their Rye-less Rye and bagels are huge local hits and many restaurants use them in their gluten free menus. We purchased a few goodies from them before leaving.

We purchased a few bags of Raw Food Central goodies to take home like their onion rings, kale chips, and so much more. Love these delicious raw foods that are dehydrated on a lower heat to retain nutrients. These guys know so much about raw food that they hold classes and all kinds of interesting informative education. Check them out!

Nothing like homemade marinara sauces that taste like they are homemade and not canned. Born and raised in Bracigliano, located in the Salerno region of Italy, the Capaccio family knows the importance of using only the freshest and finest ingredients when preparing authentic Italian dishes. They own the Roma Restaurant  locally where you can eat as well. We purchased their Arrustica sauce and you can too on their website

But we could not have had such an amazing event without our local sponsors, Bakery On Main, Pan De Oro Tortilla Chips, De Puma's Pasta, Suzie Uie, Ola Foods and Mo Pweeze Bakery. Their row stayed so packed the only pic we could get was the one above before the event started in full swing.
We took home some from each of them and raved about them the whole way home.

Bakery On Main had samples of their delicious and convenient Oatmeal to share. We took home a handful for school breakfasts on the go
Pan De Oro Tortilla Chips are now my new fave and am going to be asking for them in our local stores!
De Puma's Pasta served up delicious Cavatelli pasta. Trust me there is nothing like homemade pasta and we can't wait until we can ask for them here in NC
Suzie Uie was a bevy of delights but we bought their Chocolate covered Graham-less Grahams for the ride home
Mo' Pweeze Bakery was our stop in for cupcakes to go in exotic flavors like Chocolate Cherry, nomnom
Ola Foods had their handmade granola and we stocked up for the road. Delicious without all the additives, for sure.
IDLife did health assessments and gave us some meal replacement shakes that are awesome!

Last, but not least, Doodle worked at the Schar booth and made mad amounts of sandwiches. She loved every minute of it and did a fantastic job. She has claimed their bread as her new favorite and has been munching happily on it ever since we came home.

We can't wait to see Hartford again in 2015!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Drinking Sarsparilla and Hunting Ghosts in Gettysburg Pennsylvania

On the way back from Hartford CT on our first trip in July, we made a little excursion into Gettysburg, PA to make the subject of history fun for my Doodle. She seemed to think it was boring. I, on the other hand, love history. Spooning it up with a vast knowledge irritates the 13 yr old wise teenager that she has quickly become - Evil maniacal laugh. The addition of ghosts is perfect for our October post, including the infamously haunted Gettysburg.

Road worn and hungry, we pulled into town, knowing from researching that there were far and few options in Gettysburg. But, one little pizza cafe, Deliso Pizza, was rated very high on Urbanspoon. We chanced it and although it isn't fine dining, it is definitely appreciated that the owner takes great care in providing possibly the safest option in town. She even uses rice flour and potato starch when handling her gluten dough so no cross contamination is flying in the air. That's nice.

Gluten Free Cheese Ravioli at Deliso

Sarsaparilla soda is a drink made from a root, if naturally made, which is uncommon these days. It was popular in the early 19th century for skin and blood problems, and is still popular at Mr G's Ice Cream Parlour. Most of their ice cream and toppings are gluten free. The bottles of their Sarsparilla are in an ice chest by the counter and made from natural ingredients also gluten free. So, stop in there and have a treat on a warm day. 

Mr G's Ice Cream Parlour - Banana Split and a Sarsparilla Soda

But, if in Gettysburg, and you want to have some fun with the kids, take one of their Ghost Tours that are abundant. Some are better than others by ratings on Trip Advisor. Ghosts or no ghosts, your tour will be informative in a fun way for all involved. We decided on the late night tour to fully enjoy without being in a crowd and am glad we did. The late night tours usually let you use the tools used by the famed Ghost Hunters of TV. These little gadgets are a blast, adding a bit of the TV magic to the tours.

After all that excitement and a late night hunting ghosts, we made our way back to the Baladerry Inn. This recommended spot was meant to be. The owner was aware of how to prepare breakfast gluten free and did an amazing job. As a matter of fact, another family had a gluten free child also. This made us all feel more at ease. The Baladerry Inn is said to be haunted as well, which led to loads of fun teasing Doodle about the man who likes their women guests. Nothing like making your child sleep with one eye open while you snore happily away.

From L to R: Our room in the old part of the Inn, Gluten Free Canapes served on roasted potatoes instead of crostini, Gluten Free Apple Upside Down Breakfast Cake, and Fresh Fruit Parfait started our day

Don't take our word for it. Book your trip today - We double dog dare you.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

FREE Webcast Hartford Part II - Organic Food vs GMO, Cooking Home Style, and Important Gluten Free Facts

We are so excited about this week's webcast line-up! 
Part II of the Hartford GFAF Wellness Event, September 25 at 7:30 pm EST
brings you:
Amy Fothergill - Author of The Warm Kitchen
Beth Hillson - Food Editor of Living Without, Blogger, Author, American Celiac Disease Alliance and was the founder of Gluten Free Pantry
Bill Duesing - Organic Advocate and Founder of Northeast Organic Farming Association, Author, and Radio Host.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

FREE Webcast Hartford Part I - Coping, Cooking, and Living With Food Allergies

Are you ready for another incredible installment of speakers?
We have some lined up for you preceding the Hartford Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event on Oct 5 at Marriott Downtown, 200 Columbus Ave., from 10 am - 4 pm. We hope you will join us to see what a celebration we throw and just how tasty and much fun learning can be.

The webcasts can be attended LIVE and are always accessible on our Archive page listed above. These interesting hour and a half presentations are composed of 15 minute interviews. They are perfect for not only newly diagnosed, but are positive, interesting, and informative to anyone seeking a healthier life.

Part I - September 18 - 7:30 pm EST
We will be looking at Coping, Cooking, and Living with Food Allergies with Rustie MacDonald, Dana Fuggi Martin, and Nikki Everett

Part II - September 25 - 7:30 pm EST
We will be delving into Importance of Organic Food and Our Health, Myths of Gluten Free Living, and Learning to Convert Your Favorite Recipes to Allergen Free with Bill Duesing, Beth Hillson, and Amy Fothergill

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Yankee Doodle Dandy Gluten Free Summer Trip Part II - Hartford Connecticut

Our first day in Connecticut, our mountain bodies tried to adjust to the dense humidity that enveloped us in 98 degrees of moisture, so thick it felt like you could cut it. We rose early to try and beat the heat and get as much done as possible. Other than the heat, we knew there were some amazing items to try while feeling like two fish out of water. I mean, let's face it, we live deep in the heart of Southern Appalachia where the pace is a little slower.

My father was born in the Jewish faith and on a weekend, he would take me to the oldest deli in Charlotte NC, which was in a small mall built in the 60's. I remember the smell of fresh pastrami, rye bread, deli mustard, and a barrel of fresh pickles steeped in dill and garlic, like it was yesterday. Occasionally, he would let me go into school late and we would stop in for a bagel with salmon and cream cheese. My mouth is watering just thinking of it.

Lucky for Hartford, they have a NY style kosher deli in Vernon CT that has a wonderful gluten free selection - Rein's Deli was where we landed. Let's just say, it was good enough that Doodle begged to eat breakfast there every morning.

Everything Gluten Free Bagel, Nova Scotia Salmon, 
extra onion and cream cheese with fresh made dill pickles on the side

The Gluten Free Menu in whole so you can salivate with me

We had to visit one of our new vendors, so we ventured to Glastonbury for Dee's One Smart Cookie bakery. The adorable little dollhouse of a shop holds treats that make your eyes light up. An allergen free array of goodies to rival Willy Wonka's factory any day awaited us. Non-GMO, gluten free, dairy free, and the other top 8 are achieved in a variety of options.
Get out your napkins...

Death by chocolate Jumbo cupcake

Clockwise: Peppermint Chocolate Chip cookies, Egg Free Crumpets,
Strawberry Rhubarb Bars, Birthday Cake

So much more to pack into our short trip. But we absolutely could not leave Hartford without visiting our Title Sponsor for the event coming October 5 at the Marriott Hartford Downtown, Bakery On Main. After having worked with them in events for the past 5 years, we loved being able to visit their business and see where their new larger facility was going in.

Bakery On Main Oatmeal is perfect for a healthy start

We heard Harry's Bishops Corner Pizza was the place for a safe delicious gluten free pie in town. Not only is it pizza, but local seasonal ingredients on a great crust made by local Still Riding Pizza? Sign me up! Harry's is also hosting a Farm to Chef program which makes us love them even more. Thankfully they will be joining us October 5th, so you can try some for yourself.

Oh yeah!

The next morning I talked Doodle out of more salmon and talked her into trying Blue Plate Kitchen in West Hartford. This cozy retro styled cafe features local and seasonal options and a great gluten free menu with very knowledgeable staff. 

L to R: Gluten Free French Toast and a Mediterranean style omelet
with fresh spinach, tomatoes, local feta cheese

Is that enough good food for you? Oh but there is so much more to explore yet!
We will just have to do another post to share it all. With the event right around the corner, please follow us on Facebook for detailed information on the event and all of its participants - local and national.

See you next time, right here, for more of Connecticut's best allergen free living.

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Yankee Doodle Dandy Gluten Free Summer Trip Part I

The last trip we blogged about was to the Raleigh event on August 9, which was a great time had by all. But before that, Doodle and I took a week long adventure and drove to Hartford, Connecticut to set up our event there on October 5. That's a 12 hour haul from the mountains of NC equaling a whole lot of "Are we there yet?" and "Can I just see the GPS?" Overall, she complained less than on the road to Little Rock and we both have gotten used to being on the road together.

I figured we could do some exploring along the way to spice up her summer. The first stop, as we rode deep into the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, was our founding father Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello. If you haven't visited this incredible landmark to history, you definitely should. He was a fascinating character of a man and the tour of the house is full of factual historical tidbits.

Not a lot of allergen free options at the Cafe Monticello, but they do have them. They suggest you call ahead. We simply carried some snacks with us in our cooler in the car and snacked before going in. They have some scenic vistas and benches in the shade to munch a bite before the tour.

Scenes from Monticello

We left Monticello and trekked onward to Pennsylvania. My plan was to surprise Doodle with an educational stop in Amish country. We pulled into Lancaster, PA before nightfall. I scoured the internet for a few minutes and found John J Jeffries. This little jewel has a Chef who believes in Weston A. Price Foundation nutrition guidelines and is locally sourced, organic, sustainable and absolutely divine! 
Selection of allergen free varies as menu is seasonal, but you can bet you will leave here stuffed with real wholesome deliciously handled food. Vegetarian options as well

But the most amazing of all was the Lavender Honey Creme Brulee
They change to Pumpkin Brulee in the Autumn

Oh my, right?

The next morning, we rose early to drive into New Holland, PA. A couple years ago, I found this amazing Amish Gluten Free soft pretzel company online. I paid a staggering shipping cost to buy them as a treat for Doodle, because they are frozen and have to have next day air freight. It was worth it as a very rare treat to see her face light up. But you can also now purchase their mixes online and you should! 

She heated them, salted them and placed them in a bag for a 
very happy child with a container of mustard. 

With no time to waste, we said farewell to the Amish and headed Northeast. After 5 more hours and a stressful drive through New York City, we finally made it to Connecticut! I couldn't wait to get out of that car and neither could the tired teen. I knew she would trip out on my next find, so I secretly typed it into the GPS and hid it to keep her from knowing where we would stop next.

When you become allergen free, the thought of walking into a diner that serves hamburgers, sandwiches and fries, is usually a far away dream. The dream became a reality in West Haven, Connecticut thanks to Georgie's Diner, a staple to locals since 1956 with new owners who care.

Pictured L to R: Potato Soup, Traditional Club Sandwich, 
and a Turkey Burger, all gluten free. Their Gluten Free menu is huge!

We drove on into Hartford, road burnt, and ready for sleep to recharge. It is always exciting to learn about a new landing spot for a GFAF Wellness Event. Hartford would prove to be no different, especially with our Southern viewpoint of learning New England style food and products.

Join us next time as we head out and about in Hartford searching for the best of what they have locally and in allergen friendly fare.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

FREE Webcast - Va Beach Part II , September 4 from 7:30 pm - 8:45 pm EST - Food Allergy Associates

In this week's web cast we focus on Food Allergy Associates of Virginia Beach with Dr. Liz Koman, Charity Luiskutty, and Kristin Osborne. These ladies have a wonderful dedication to helping those with food allergies and can impart a huge amount of knowledge to you including:
Peanut De-Sensitization
504 Plans
School advocacy
Organizational change
& so much more

Listen in for FREE anytime

Monday, August 25, 2014

FREE Webcast - Va Beach Part I , August 28 from 7:30 pm - 8:45 pm EST

I can't believe how incredibly lucky we are to have the great speakers we have in each event. The Virginia Beach event is no different in that respect, but very different in some respects. Your line up includes a Cupcake War contestant, someone who lives as a celiac in the wilderness, and an amazingly positive teacher of mindfulness, which are who we will be focusing on for this segment of Journey to Health & Wellness webcasts.
Be sure to join us September 13 at the Wyndham Oceanfront in Va Beach from 10 am - 3 pm EST for the first Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event to visit this coastal gem of a city.
You may join us LIVE or visit our archive anytime for playback at your convenience
This webcast is sponsored by

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Nothing Can Be Finer Than To Be Gluten & Allergen Free In North Carolina

The GFAF Event train is trucking through 9 events this year! We have been traveling non stop on Allergy Free Back Roads from the beauty of my North Carolina mountain home through Virginia to Connecticut and back down the coast to Florida. We have already been through Nashville, Little Rock, and St Louis.
That's a heck of a lot of road to ride.

It is amazing to meet so many people, experience all of these cultures and regions to their fullest, and work with incredibly interesting bloggers, companies, volunteers, support group leaders and attendees. Sometimes it seems like a blur because it is moving at such a fast pace, and we wish we could capture it in a time capsule to experience on slow motion rewind; therefore this blog will have to become the chronicle of our experiences.

"Doodle" with Nichole Thomas of Virtuous Living
gluten free organic spices that I adore
almost as much as I adore Nichole and that kid

My 13 yr old daughter, whom I call Doodle, has been devoting her summer to helping me work. She has been my travel buddy, my hardest worker, and my biggest fan. I can't tell you how wonderful it has been to connect with her and not lose her to the abyss of teenager-hood. To have her involved and interacting with our community of vendors, speakers, and all around great people is just icing on the cake. Knowing Doodle is devoting her time to helping out is the cherry on top!
So what does any doting mother do when we reached Durham?
Why, I take her to Daisy Cakes, of course.

Fig and Raspberry Almond Tarts, Chocolate Lavender Eclairs, Bacon Gingersnap Cookies, and the piece de resistance - Buttery Gluten Free Biscuits with local ham and cheese...
Doodle ordered 4 of these babies before we left town :) Can you blame her?
Daisy Cakes has a new gluten free flour and pancake/waffle mix available called Equal Measure

Among the events we plan, is the amazing North Carolina Gluten Free Community and their awesome celebration at the Raleigh Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event! Raleigh NC has been named on Huffington Post as a Top 10 place for Gluten Free take-out dining. Durham NC, only 20 miles north is a growing hotbed too. Their universities are right on board and NC State University has been noted as being one of the friendliest campuses to their students with special dietary requirements.
But even more endearing than any other tidbit, is that I call North Carolina home.

Josh Schieffer & Family of Gluten Free Buyer's Guide
 (Blurry shots of  Allergic Traveler, Gluten Free Jet Set, Jordan Gary of Delight GF Magazine)

We don't just have a gluten free trade show in any location. Our events are unique in many ways.
One such difference is we have a Blogger Team Dinner Party the night before each event. Our focus is to have an incredibly delicious safe meal and if they can do so in Farm to Fork style, even better. So when we heard about Primal Food & Spirits opening, we had to take a stab at holding it in the new 100% Gluten Free restaurant that calls Durham, NC home.

33 of us descended upon them and they handled it pretty well for a restaurant only open 2 weeks.
Get your napkins out and prepare to drool...

Local bacon wrapped dates with arugula and local feta cheese

Crab Cakes with Asian Slaw

30 Hour Braised  Local Beef Short Ribs 

They even brought my Dad a rich chocolate torte cake with vanilla caramel sauce to celebrate his 76th Birthday - Awww! Much thanks to to Primal for putting a smile on his face.

I know right?!?
There are worse jobs to have than having an amazing gluten free meal with incredibly interesting people.

The Vendor Hall set up the next morning was full of gluten free products, people,and then attendees in no time. Some notable local vendors can be found below:

We love, love, love Raleigh Raw and their interestingly mixed cold pressed juices!

Whole Foods Bakehouse - Yup, they are based right here in NC - shared by Eat, Play Win

Trevor of Bella Monica as captured by @DFMFoodExaminer
The pizza is amazing too, but the hat is worth the visit to their booth

Royal Cheesecake Varieties and their cheesecake was primo

Josh Schieffer and Family - Gluten Free Buyer's Guide and Gluten Free Awards

We managed to find a food truck in Durham, Bang Bang Banh Mi, that is Gluten Free Vietnamese with a Southern inspired local seasonal menu. Lucky for us, the owner has celiac and started this truck for those like himself. That was one of the best treats to have right outside our event and we are going to actively seek one in each venue from now on. It's nice to be able to buy a hot plate of food after trying all our other finds.

Bang Bang Banh Mi - Gluten Free Vietnamese Truck as shared by @DFMFoodExaminer
It was AMAZINGLY delish!

Can you imagine fitting more into your day? 
Try ongoing speakers, presentations, and demos going on from 10:15 am - 4:00 pm
We absolutely love it when attendees don't leave all day long and are just immersed in positive vibrations on how to live successfully healthier lives.

After all was said and done, the bags were packed and the venue cleaned, I hobbled to my room and collapsed. However, I had to see a few of my friends who I had not spent time with yet; Jennifer Fugo (from Gluten Free School), Chandice Probst (from Gluten Free Frenzy, Gluten Free Calendar & Celebrate Celiac), and two other friends who worked their hind ends off that day. We decided to make it a quiet dinner at Bella Monica.

Roasted Portobello Mushrooms and local goat cheese with peppers

Local Buffalo Mozzarella Caprese Salad with Evoo

Local Wagayu Beef Carpaccio

I told you to keep those napkins handy and I wasn't lying was I?
How much good food and friends can you have in one weekend?
Well we weren't done there.... 
The next day about noon, worn down and dragging, my friend Theresa and I decided a healthy brunch would do us good. So we took a chance on a little funky place I had read about and boy, were we glad.

The Fiction Kitchen in Raleigh is small, retro, local and vegetarian except for cheese and eggs, which you may opt out of. They only open for Brunch on Sundays, but it is sublime with hand squeezed mixers for cocktails and a very nice menu with everything from gluten free pancakes to gluten free muffins. The service was stellar and the food was amazingly fresh, well prepared, and locavore heaven.

Grits bowl with very creamy cheesy grits, kale, mushrooms, local eggs, and tempeh bacon

Fresh gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut free blackberry muffins
(Some of the best I have ever had and that's saying a lot)

There are many more vendors, volunteers, and attendees to thank who made this event have a successful third year. We appreciate the support of our Carolina neighbors and hope we can continue to outdo each year with more tremendous events.

Join us next time as we have a webcast for the Virginia Beach Virginia event speakers to gear up for their GFAF Wellness Event on September 13 at the Wyndham Virginia Beach Oceanfront, 2700 Atlantic Ave., 10 am - 3 pm