Monday, May 30, 2016

2016 Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo Recap + Giveaway #GFAFExpo

Disclaimer: I was provided admittance to the Gluten Free Allergen Friendly Expo in Schaumburg, Illinois at no cost to me to facilitate this post on The Eclectic Element and the giveaway prize was provided free of charge from several different companies. All opinions and expressions below are 100% mine and mine alone unless otherwise stated. 







Another year another Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo come and gone. This was my third year attending the expo (my first expo in 2014 and my second expo in 2015) and my third year lucky enough to be chosen as an expo blogger yet again. Even though there is a span of about 2 months in between it still amazes me how fast the time goes between being chosen as a blogger and the event itself.

Of course my GF bestie, Hannah of The Wholey Trinity, was with me for the third year in a row as well, this time as a legitimate full fledged registered dietician!  

I don't know if it was my imagination but it seemed like they had a lot more vendors this year than the past, including quite a few newbies that I haven't seen before, but as always there was plenty of food samples and products to go around.


The Arrival 




Hannah, her boyfriend, and myself left extra early in the morning Saturday to be able to go out to breakfast before the expo opened it's doors to the bloggers at 9:30am. We made it just as the big line was forming outside the door; thankfully we three didn't have to wait in it!





Registered and given our official badges, we wandered our way over to this year's expo blogger sponsor which happened to be San-J.




Did you know Tamari is just soy sauce with the gluten taken out of it? I didn't! San-J's Tamari is also certified kosher, vegan, and is Non-GMO Project verified as if being gluten free wasn't enough to win you over.

Aside from a large array of Tamari sauces, San-J also offers other gluten free oriental inspired goodies like Asian cooking sauces inclusive of (but not limited to) teriyaki, orange, and Mongolian, salad dressings, instant soups, and rice crackers.  

They put together a very nice gluten free goodie bag for each expo blogger complete with a wide range of their products as well as a few from other vendors; we use San-J a lot in this house so needless to say I'm pretty excited!


The Expo 


While this expo is normally a two day endeavor it has sadly become a tradition for us over the past 3 years to only be able attend one day out of the weekend. While not a bad thing, that's a lot of food to eat, companies to meet, and classes to take in just a 6 hour span of time!

Among the multitude of rows of vendors there were many familiar faces inclusive of Pamela's Products, Bob's Redmill, Glutino, Massel and more...





And quite a few new faces as well...






As always, there were a TON of different foods to sample, sweet and savory alike! I almost regretted eating breakfast before the expo because I definitely did not sample as much as in years past. That being said though, there was still a lot of eating my way through.

There were many things that I liked when I tried them and a few things that I didn't; I ran into someone who had a great tip: bring a bottle of water because you're inevitably going to taste something you don't like.

Genius I tell you!







While a majority of the vendors offered gluten free and allergen friendly edible goodies (found everywhere you looked at the expo) there were also a handful of non-food related products to browse through including physical therapy and chiropractic, beauty and makeup, books and magazines...







The Recap


All in all I'd have to say this year's Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo was a success in every sense of the word. Honestly, while the past two expos have been wonderful, I think 2016 may have been the best one yet in my opinion!

There just seemed to be SO much the expo had to offer this year. I was all over those product samplings of any sort of course but there seemed to be a few more non-edible booths this year as well.

I personally wasn't able to attend but they had some great educational classes that spanned the 2 day expo, too.

While all of these things combined make for one amazing experience, my favorite part of each expo these past three years are the people I meet and the stories I'm told. Each person you come in contact with, volunteer, vendor, or patron alike, all have a personal story on how they came to the gluten free and/or allergen friendly lifestyle.

All stories are different in one way or another but the underlying theme is the same for each of us; these changes come out of necessity and we're all trying to do the best we can in a world that seems to be against us.







Connect with The Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo: 





*****************************************

Since last year's giveaway was such a huge success, I went to this year's expo with another objective in mind aside from the obvious: gather as much gluten free* and allergen friendly samples, coupons, and products from the multitude of different companies to offer one lucky winner who couldn't attend the event themselves.

Thanks to so many amazing companies that contributed, not only do I have a great prize package for one lucky winner, I have enough for THREE lucky winners.

Instead of offering all 3 prizes in 1 giveaway, I have to separate them into 3 individual giveaways for financial reasons but that works out for you guys; three chances to win some incredible products!

A BIG thank you to the companies that generously contributed to this year's giveaway(s):


*Milton's Craft Bakers
*Living Now Gluten Free
*BFree Foods
*Ethel's Edibles
*Success Rice
*Enjoy Life
*SunButter
*Freedom Foods
*Jovial Foods
*Gorilly Goods
*Smarty Pants
*Kura Nutrition 


I also have included some coupons, information, and samples from other companies I gathered, too, so you'll be receiving a box chocked full of a little bit of everything!


 
{The Giveaway}


Gift Bag Full of Goodies from the 2016 GFAF Expo!!



Come read my recap of this year's Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo! Lots of great new and old companies, fantastic #glutenfree products, & some incredible people. Don't forget to enter the #giveaway for a #GFAFExpo prize package if you couldn't make it this year!


{The Rules}


1. You MUST use the name and email you want to be contacted with in the Rafflecopter.

 2. NEW RULE--You MUST leave a 1 to 3 sentence comment on my post in order to be eligible for the giveaway. Short, one to two word answers will be deleted from the post and entries associated will be deleted from the giveaway.

3. Contest will run from Monday, May 30, 2016 through to Monday, June 13, 2016.

4. Open to individuals 18 years or older.

5. Open to US residents only--Sorry everyone else!




a Rafflecopter giveaway




Good Luck!






 
 
*If you have strict specific dietary restrictions (gluten free, dairy free, soy free, etc) make sure to read all labels on each product before consuming because there is a mixture of many different products in this prize package.


Giveaway Disclaimer: This giveaway is open to US residents only, 18 years or older and will run from Monday, May 30, 2016 7:00am CST until Monday, June 13, 2016 11:59 pm CST. The winner will be chosen through Rafflecopter.com and be contacted within 24 hours of the drawing. You'll then have 24 hours (1 full day from when the winning confirmation email was sent) to claim your prize and send me all applicable information-If I haven't heard from you within that time frame, I will be forced to choose another winner. The Eclectic Element and all related parties are in no way liable or responsible for unfulfilled or damaged prizes.



110 comments:

Maryann D. said...

All of these companies have products that look wonderful to try. I have tried some already. I have not heard of Ethel's Edibles before this. So I think I would like to try any of their treats. The Turtle Dandy looks so delicious to try!
twinkle at optonline dot net

Margie said...

I have been having some problems lately which I feel might be gluten related. I would definitely like to try some of these products. Thanks for the chance.

Nancy said...

Sounds like you had a superb time at the expo. What a nice selection of wonderful products! I would be most excited to try the SunButter products.

Nancy
allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

Melissa Storms said...

Out of the companies highlighted, I think I would most like to try Ethel's Edibles products. My husband has very, very severe psoriasis, the onset was just a little over 8 months ago and now covers most of his body. Before we go the biological route we are trying to eliminate items from his diet. We are trying a gluten free diet but it is so confusing, and having good, tasty gluten free treats would help make this transition easier.

Gwendolyn Mulholland said...

I am most excited to try the Ethel's Edibles as I have never heard of them before. I went to an Gluten Free Expo a few years back in Michigan and loved the information, products, and coupons we received it is nice to be able to try something that you are not familiar with. Your expo was a lot bigger than the one I went to though.

Deanna Finzel said...

I wish I could have attended! It looks like it is a lot of fun and very informative. We too use san-j in our house, how I missed Chinese food when I found out we couldn't have it, then I found an icky gluten free soy sauce and on a whim I tried San-j and am very glad I did. My son would be very excited about me winning this, at 6 years old he's already very aware of having to ask people if the food they are offering is gluten free and that was the first phrase he could read! So some new goodies to try before buying and sending them to school with him would be amazing so I know if he actually likes them and would eat them.

Jenine Herrell said...

I'm glad you had a lot of fun at the expo! We're still trying to determine here how sensitive we are to gluten products. There seems to be a wide range between the six of us as far has what foods we can eat without them affecting our gut adversely. If nothing else, the research that I've done indicates that I should be going gluten-free because of my hypothyroidism. I haven't tried a strictly gluten-free diet yet as the stores around me seem to have a limited supply of foods in that category. I'd love some tasty bakery treats that are gluten-free. I'm going to have to look up Tamari because we eat a lot of Asian-style foods here at home.

jopb said...

I want to have these product for my husband who has been suffering from many different allergies. I hope they will help him.

Karrie Millheim said...

I am really sensitive to sugar and other things. I was looking on the outside for the problem but it turned out to be my diet. since going gluten free I feel so much better

Ellen said...

Allergy free living is important to me because my daughter is gluten intolerant.

Raven P. said...

I have been having a lot of problems over the past 2 years and ended up being diagnosed with IBS, IBD, Chrohn's Disease, Gluten intolerance, Skin Allergies, and GERD. It is very hard for me to try and buy products that are good for me to eat, as I have a family of 5 and a budget not even above poverty level. This contest gives me a chance to try new things, and see what I would be able to afford, after I could look them up on the internet. It would also give me the things that I can obviously eat for free. Thanks for the chance, I wish their were more contests that had these sort of products.

chadro said...

I'm most excited about SunButter because I love to put any kind of creamy spread on my crackers, bread and melba toast.

Denise Morse said...

I am interested in Jovial and bone broth. Gluten free is important to me because I have to be gluten free, it is not a choice for me and I am concerned about what happens after the fad

Hil'Lesha O'Nan said...

It's important to me since I'm sensitive to gluten.

Terra Heck said...

I'm most excited to try Jovial Foods. I checked out their website and it seems they have quite the variety of foods that are gluten-free. Thanks.
partymix25(at)Hotmail(dot)com

Ancilla Jagdeo said...

This is the first time hearing about a few of these companies, but i love finding new gluten free items. i am most excited to try sunbutter. I love getting my fats from good clean sources and this sounds like on.

puye said...

I'm most excited to try Jovial Foods. I checked out their website and it seems they have quite the variety of foods that are gluten-free.

agnesye@hotmail.com

juliemurphy said...

i would like to try Ethel's the most. Looks good.

Shelley Zurek -- Still Blonde after all these YEARS said...

I am allergic to nuts so I love that allergies are recognized so prevalently in labeling now.

Cindy Merrill said...

I have read about Jovial food products but I've been hesitant to try them, because not familiar with brand. I would love to try a few samples.

Shelly S said...

I would love to have gone! My daughter has celiac and I'm always on the lookout for good new things.

Jade Samson - Diva Fabulosa said...

My son has G6PD deficiency, he cannot have nuts. Gluten free products are best for him because they specify allergens on their labels.

Rena Walter said...

I'd like to try the Freedon brand of products!

Julie Lynn Bickham said...

I'm excited to try the Freedom brand. I have a gluten allergy and always looking for great brands to try.

john said...

I am not gluten intolerant, but I have heard the more you eat of one particular food group you increase your chances of becoming intolerant to it - in this case wheat products. A diet including gluten free might be a good idea.

Lynne said...

I am most excited to try the Milton's because I love crackers and I've tried other GF free brands and would like to see how these compare to those.

Heather D said...

I think that the Tamari sounds interesting. My husband doesn't share my diet and uses lots of soy sauce so it could be a healthy alternative.

ufg8trj said...

so many great stuff to try!! I would love to see all the enjoy life products.

Jennifer Hess said...

I would love to try the travel Sun butters. We are a busy family of 6 so these would be amazing.

Jenny Scheldberg said...

I've begun to do research on a gluten free way of eating due to stomach issues. It's nice to see so many companies offer gluten free products now. I'd live to try the granola.

Holly Guerrio said...

I am most excited to try the Enjoy Life food.

Shannon Fowler said...

i haven't tried any of these brands, but ethel's edibles sounds like the one i would most like.

Cristi Comes said...

We definitley have allergies in our house. My husband and my kids all have gluten intolerance and I discovered after not eating it for a while it even affects my anxiety when I eat gluten. AND my son has a peanut allergy so I'm very interested in trying out all of these products.

Edith Rennes said...

I'd actually like to try them all

Sarah S said...

Gluten Free is important to me because my sister and two of her children have a gluten intolerance. I'm always on the lookout for foods and treats to share with them at family get-togethers.

aaron.capricorn said...

i saw what looked to be brownies by enjoy life? everybody likes chocolate brownies mm

Elizabeth Parker said...

I have always been curious about gluten-free foods. I have a stomach condition and they're supposed to be better for me.

Kim said...

I really want to try Enjoy Life so I am excited they are a sponsor! I have heard great things about them and would love to try the S'mores soft bakes! I just haven't had the chance yet!
addictedtorodeo at gmail dot com
Ashley C

bbrittbrat1398 said...

My sister has a gluten allergy so we are always trying to find great new foods for her. We were actually at the expo in Chicago. Brittney House

myriam BN said...

my boyfriend has lots of allergies, this would be great for him :)

Yvonne Woodstock said...

I am excited about ALL of the companies. This specific giveaway is important to me, because our young adult son, Jesse has suffered from fatal allergies since he was only 1 1/2. Despite being very careful he still nearly died and suffered anaphylactic shock and angio edema due to even microscopic cross contamination. He had to miss out on things other kids had so many times and still has to be careful all the time. It is still not easy to find products that are allergen free, so when we do find them, it is SUCH a special treat and very exciting, and a BIG DEAL! Thanks for this chance.

Jeanne Coulombe said...

Gluten free is important to me cause my son and I both have Celiac disease . So for us it's not a choice to eat gluten free it's a must. I have what thet call refactory celiac disease meaning my villi won't heal even on a gluten frr diet. I'm on lots of medication and have to eat gluten free of I don't I just get sicker and loose more weight.

Loraine Ellis said...

I think Milton's products look yummy!

Bruce Hammersmith said...

It makes me feel better and not tired.

LauraJJ said...

Gluten free is very important to me as I was diagnosed with celiac disease about 11 years ago now. I remember back then after my diagnosis, I went to the store and just cried. I could not find hardly anything to eat. I am so happy with all the progress over the years and love when companies come out with new gluten free products for me to try!

Alena said...

Gluten free is an important topic for me because I need to eat gluten free for my health.

Elizabeth Yummy said...

My story about going gluten free is that when I first tried it in 2008, I immediatly started losing weight. I ended up losing 60 lbs over 2 years. And I have kept it off since then (2010). So yeah, I'd say there's something about gluten that does NOT agree with me, if it was causing me to have all that extra weight!

Christy Maurer said...

I would love to try the freedom brand. I've never heard of them and would love trying something new!

cassandra huber said...

I am learning more about gluten sensitivity as my sister was recently diagnosed with Celiac and she has to be very careful with what she eats.

mini2z said...

I could have sworn I commented but this expo looked pretty awesome. I love finding new GF products to try. Still on the hunt for a bread that tastes like bread. I miss bread....

Pam said...

We are always looking for new gluten free foods to try because my daughter has Celiac. We really enjoy the Freedom foods products.

Fed Up with Fatigue said...

It looks like it was a great event! I just went gluten free a few months ago, and would love to try these new products!

Emily L said...

The Ethel's Edibles sound really yummy!

Anonymous said...

I have tried various gluten free products and have wondered if my family members and I would feel better if we totally changed to gluten free. Another relative was told by their doctor to go gluten free. Bev

mkjmc said...

My MIL is a celiac and since I prepare alot of meals for her I need all the help and info I can get

laroyal said...

I'm most excited about ethel's edibles b/c I love sweets.

Xty C said...

I am very much excited to try the Jovial Foods

Danielle Oyen said...

I have found that I have an intolerance to gluten and have cut it from my diet. It's nice to find products that are gluten free and give you a chance to enjoy food again.

Christina S said...

The topic of gluten free living is important to me because for many like myself is not an option, ur csn effect our health, livelihood, and overall interaction with the world. It's great it's becoming discussed more and people are trying to accommodate!

Emily said...

This is so incredible that there are so many different options for gluten free now, and I'm really grateful, especially because I have so many friends and family that are gluten free and them being able to eat goodies without suffering health problems and such is amazing. The world of gluten free is just expanding in great ways, and we've found more and more products we love too, especially a few pastas that we've found including Barilla's gluten free pasta. I would love to try the Jovial pasta.

Jennifer Aguero said...

Sunbutter. The kids have it in school and I really haven't gotten the chance to try it myself. They seem to like it. I find it's odd being made from sunflower seeds but I'd still try it.

Aimee P. said...

I'd like to try Miltons craft bakers. The snacks look good. It;s important to me because I like to feed my family what is good for their body

Barb said...

I am finding now that I have type 2 diabetes, I feel better when eating gluten free when I can.

Lisa Voyce said...

I'm most excited about the Sunbutter because I am a fan of sunflower seeds.

Lauren said...

It is important because both of my kids have nut allergies.

Misty said...

I have never heard of most of these brands, except for the Success rice. I'd like to try the Milton's Craft Bakers.

Danielle said...

Living with food allergies, especially when you grew up never having to think about them, is HARD!!! I am so glad to see so many great companies that offer tasty foods for those who can not eat the conventional ones.

arress said...

I would love to try the Jovial brand Pasta. I have a wheat and dairy allergy. I am always searching for a great tasting Pasta.

Annamarie Voss said...

Wow what a fun experience you must have had, it's so great finding new wonderful products. I have some of these on my favorites list so far like sun butter and Enjoy Life products, I would like to try Ethel's edibles because who doesn't like a sweet treat and Ethel was my Grandmothers name.

angela simms said...

My son has autism and we have found that a Gluten free diet helps with his behaviors. That's why it is important to me to find gluten free options for my son.

Marie Lowther said...

I'm excited to try out many of theses products I haven't tried before! My mom and sister are gluten free so this would be a great way to try new products out! My husband and I love sun butter and will be introducing it to our son when he gets a little older! Thanks for the give away!

rel8ted said...

Wife could really use this -still trying to find things to eat after recent DX

stefanie gladden said...

I'm most excited to try the Smarty Pants products! I've heard great things about their company!

farmgirl said...

I would love to try these products! I have ibs and have heard great things about going gluten free and would like to see if it could help my symptoms.

Courtney Kern said...

Great blog post! Love seeing so many wonderful gluten free products hitting the market!! They all look delish!

Michelle Richardson said...

Out of the contributing sponsors I am most excited to try the Nacho Cheese chips/crackers from Miltons! Snacking on Doritos is something I miss a lot since going gluten free and those could be my answer! Thanks for sponsoring such a generous giveaway! I have 5 family members that MUST eat gluten free not just a choice so we are always looking for new brands and products to try out!

Heidi said...

Milton's is one I had never heard of and would love to try!

sarah said...

I'm excited to try Ethel's Edibles I've never tried the brand and they look great for when you want something sweet, but really all the sponsors are ones I would love to try.

kassie said...

My mom is gluten free and I try very hard to accommodate whenever we are together. This would be perfect for me AND her!!

Misty said...

My sister-in-law, was told by her doctor that she was allergic to gluten. She has been suffering for a year and trying to find out what's wrong.

Susan Smoaks said...

i am trying to figure out what is causing the inflammation in my family. we have issues so i would like to try to go gluten free because i think that might work.

Emily Weeks said...

Being a 27 year old with a rare chronic autoimmune condition is so hard! I've found that the more I put food into my body that leaves out soy, wheat, etc., the better I feel. I lived in NYC before getting sick so I had a lot of access to gluten free foods. Ever since moving back to the South for health reasons, it has been so hard to find good GF foods! I end up ordering most of mine but it's still really hard to seek out new brands! I am anxious to try them all.

Paol Trenny said...

My husband recently discovered that he is gluten intolerant so anything and any products relating to gluten free is a great discovery. We are switching over to gluten free products in our household so that it would easier for my hubby to transition to this new eating style.

blew415 said...

I really want to try Enjoy Life

prettyinpink2904 said...

I would be most excited to try the Enjoy Life chocolate chips and the bar! Baking is so much more difficult and expensive when making everything gluten free so it would be great to win chocolate chips!

Aubrey Briskin said...

This is important to me because my husband is gluten free.

iggysaysno said...

It's important because I have food allergies.

Brandy C said...

I'm most excited about SunButter because I've heard great things about them but haven't had a chance to try it.

Angela Kinder said...

I am super excited to try Enjoy Life! My friends have told me they love Enjoy Life but I haven't gotten the chance check them out yet. They sound like a great product.

lemonlaurie said...

I have tried Sunbutter and Success rice ,I am looking forward trying the rest,

Southern Purple Veggie said...

I love seeing post from gluten free and allergy expo, it gives an opportunity to see what other brands are out there that I didn't know exist. It makes just a little bit easier knowing that there are expo's like this, oh would I love to go to one.

LesleyfromWI said...

The Sun Butters would be nice to win and take with us as we are always on the go

Michelle Robbins said...

I bet it was awesome to actually get to try all of those products before you bought a big bag of them. I hope you found some keepers!

Rose Santuci-Sofranko said...

I actually would like to win this to give to one of my sisters who is allergic to gluten. Thanks and God bless! ILuvTheEucharist (at) aol.com

curlyblu918 said...

I am excited about them all! But since I have to pick one it would be the Sunbutter, I am quite interested in how this will taste.

laurasloves said...

I am most excited to try Jovial Foods. They have so many products which I would love to try. I especially like their Organic Ginger Spice cookies. I love cookies but have never been able to find organic ones.
Laurie Emerson
lauraemerson17 at yahoo dot com

wen budro said...

Gluten-free and allergy friendly foods are important to me because I'm trying to address systemic inflammation. I love trying new products because I'm pretty overwhelmed with information. I need to find some good products to start out with.

marie cantelli said...

marie cantelli says I have been having some tummy issues and have seriously been considering switching to gluten free.

Beads App said...

Everything looks great I would love to try all of them. But I think I'm most excited about ethels edibles...I love chocolate.. Everyone in my family is gluten free, dairy free. It is so hard to find good snack that taste good and are good for you.

smeltzeramy said...

trying to eat healthier and would love to try all of the brands amysmeltzer21521 at yahoo dot com

Nicole T said...


My little brother has been gluten/dairy free since he was three years old. He had severe behavioral reactions to eating food that contained those ingredients. Would love to be able to give this prize to him!

Carolyn Daley said...

Allergy friendly products are important for some of our big gatherings so we do not have to prepare separate things or worry about anyone in the family having an allergic reaction.

Kristen Patton said...

I do not have a gluten allergy. My friend however buys a lot of gluten free items, If I won it would be for her!

melissa a said...

i do not have a gluten allergy, but i have been working hard to eat a more wholesome diet, and cutting gluten is one of my first starts. i LOVED peanut butter, so i'm really excited to try the sunbutter. being a snacker, i think it would be great to try some of milton's crackers and snacks. and ethel's desserts?? YES PLEASE!!!

Trisha McKee said...

It is important to me because it is such a problem among a lot of loved ones, including myself.

sarah cool said...

I am most excited to try the Ethel's Edibles products because i havent tried anything from them yet and ive heard some great things. One of my best friends lives a few states away now and she just loves all of Ethels items shes been telling me about the turtle dandys which are her favorite. But im really excited about alot of the products there some really great brands! I wish there was an expo near me that would be so fun to go to.
crazyweirdo33@yahoo.com

Jesse johnson said...

Tamarai is the product I would try

hazell perez said...

My doctor spoke to me about trying gluten free products and it has been a huge change in my life and health, I feel more happy to enjoy so many delicious meals & treats without not feeling sick and worried. It would be a huge blessing to continue to feel amazing and enjoying Yummylicious products that keep me happy, full and able to enjoy all the delicious things that I like. Thank you so much for the wonderful ️️chance and giving us the opportunity to try this amazing products. Good luck everyone.

Autumn @mamachallenge said...

My kids and my husband are all Celiac, so this is everything to me!

Jesse johnson said...

Banana cake is my favorite. I would love to try the gluten free banana cake mix.

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