I am someone who is always on the lookout for Gluten Free products. Though not diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I have been aware of a gluten-sensitivity for well over ten years. When I first began this regime, there were very few commercial gluten-free products available and the materials to create my own products were not easy to find, either. I have been fascinated to observe the growing number of products that are available in almost any store now. However, the Chicago Gluten & Allergen Free Expo was a chance to find out who is doing what locally as well as sampling new products that are available nation-wide.
The Expo took place on April 12th and 13th at the the Schaumburg Renaissance Convention Center in Schaumburg, Ill. Though I had trouble finding my way, once I arrived, I was impressed by the large number of attendees and the quality of the products I observed and sampled. In addition to individuals with a celiac diagnosis, this event was helpful to those with gluten sensitivities, auto-immune/inflammatory diseases, and autism. In addition, athletes and the health conscious individuals also benefited from the Expo.
There was a dedicated area that featured nut-free products and special area for gluten-free kids. Another area was set aside for allergen-savvy health care practitioners who were available to answer medical questions. There were several free lectures, and the offerings from several gluten and allergen-free restaurants to sample, associated non-profits and more.
Products offered by all the vendors were100% gluten-free, and many products were also free of the top eight allergens: milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. I observed a variety personal care products, vitamins and supplements, and green household cleaning alternatives.
What interested me the most were the local vendors but once in a while I also took note of companies farther away. Wandering through rooms filled with samples, representatives of companies producing gluten-free items and lots of attendees, the booths caught my attention.
Though there were no samples at this booth, I was impressed with the goals of the group that is intending to spread the word about Celiac and related problems.
Happily, they met their basic kickstarter goals.
I noticed the “door to door organics” whose motto is “Eating well has never been easier. Skip a trip to the store and get farm-fresh food delivered. Then Shop By Recipe to put healthy meals on your table in no time. Check the door to door organics website
Spark of the Heart is an unusual company located in Chicago. They offer vegan, gluten and GMO free premium veggies & beans, all natural spices with nor artificial ingredients. To prepare their food, you just need to add water. This company is unique in that their products are packaged by the folks at “Gateway to Learning” and other centers. (These are facilities where developmentally challenged adults can develop useful skills, which can enrich their lives.)
Since I love honey, I was fascinated by the items displayed at the “Natural Honey by Allen” booth. This is their story. The Allen Honey website tells it all.
“Just like how a tomato you get straight from the farm is juicier, tastier, and healthier than the one you find sitting at the supermarket, natural, raw honey provides a better flavor and more health benefits than honey on the shelf at your local grocery store.
The generic honey product you find in a supermarket, in its familiar little bear-shaped plastic container, has been modified, treated and adjusted so many times that it’s nothing like the real deal. Heat treatment changes the flavor, while filtering removes flavorful and healthy compounds from the bees, as well as the pollen. Sure, honey is delicious – but it could be so much more delicious, and provide you with numerous health benefits. Allen’s Honey Candles offers several varieties of local honey that not only provide you with great flavor, but health benefits as well.” Profits are donated to breast cancer research.
The Lovely candy company/Woodstock, IL makes really good candy, consciously crafted. Check the Lovely Candy Company website
If you live nearby, check the Mt. Prospect Farmer’s Market. Mt. Prospect Farmer’s Market website.
Have you had problems finding Gluten Free items when traveling? Then “Find Me Gluten Free” can help you. The Find Me Gluten Free website tells about the makers of Find Me Gluten Free bringing you a gluten free monthly subscription box. Sign up early to get your first month FREE!
Kiki’s Pizza and other products came into being so that the child in this family with celiac can also enjoy pizza. Check Kiki’s website.
Sweet Ali’s came into being so that the delight of a cupcake and other sweets can be enjoyed by a child diagnosed with Celiac disease. Sweet Ali’s Gluten Free Bakery website.
Sweet Ali’s Gluten Free Bakery is a thriving, dedicated gluten-free bakery offering a variety of delectable sweet, savory, and special occasion baked goods. Sweet Ali’s offers dairy and other allergen-free options.
Located in Hinsdale, IL, Sweet Ali’s products can also be found in over 80 retail and restaurant locations throughout the Chicagoland area. Online shipping is available through Sweet Ali's website, and local delivery is available through
Molly’s Bakery isn’t quite local but close, in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. Their products are available online at the Gluten Free Molly’s Bakery website.
Amazing Foods for Life is based in Redding, CA but I found the products very appealing and hope the will be available locally. Check: The Amazing Foods for Life website.
Gluten free from Italy
The grain of corn used by Molino di Ferro comes from domestic suppliers that guarantee, with the certificates required by the law, the absence of gluten and GMO, genetically modified organisms.
The selection of suppliers is therefore upstream of the production process, out of "doors" of the company.
Only certified suppliers (constantly monitored by the internal laboratory and various external laboratories) to ensure always the highest quality of each raw material.
Once discharged the grain in the mill, it is subjected to further control steps to eliminate any residual gluten and toxins. The first step is through the specific machines: optical sorting to the cleaners.
Only after these steps the corn is ground. The corn flour is steamed and dried to ensure only true instant corn flour for polenta ready in a few seconds.
As an authority on both structural and functional health conditions, the Chicago Institute for Health and Wellness offers qualified answers, corrective options and positive results to people who want to attain a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. The Chicago Institute for Health and Wellness is conveniently located one block off I-90 on Randall Road in Elgin, IL. Chicago Health and Wellness website .
The book area contained children and adult books with lots of recipes and a section with lots of great online recipes.
Check the Tight Wad website
ABOUT THE GLUTEN & ALLERGEN FREE EXPOS
Managed by The Gluten Free Marketing Group, the Gluten & Allergen Free Expos are the largest and fastest growing special diet consumer events in the United States. Started in 2007, the events are professionally managed and have expanded from one to seven cities throughout the country. In addition to meeting the needs of the celiac community, the Expos welcome those with gluten sensitivities, auto-immune/inflammatory diseases and autism. Athletes and the health-conscious community also benefit from the Expos. The Expos will have an attendance of over 35,000 consumers in 2014. For more information, visit Gluten & Allergen Free Expos website
ABOUT THE GLUTEN FREE MARKETING GROUP
Headquartered in Chicago, the Gluten Free Marketing Group is the leading U.S. marketing and event company dedicated to promoting the gluten free lifestyle. The company holds a captive gluten free lifestyle community across its many facets including the Find Me Gluten Free apps for iPhone, iPad and Android and the Gluten & Allergen Free Expos. The Group is expanding in 2014 to keep up with the needs of this rapidly expanding consumer base with additional app features, a gluten free e-magazine, and a monthly gluten free subscription box. For more information, visit THE GLUTEN FREE MARKETING GROUP website
Photos: Barbara Keer