What I’m looking forward to at this year’s GFAF Expo

Every year, I look forward to the GFAF Expo here in Dallas. I go as “Press”, which is quite fun and fancy.~ I apply for the next year as soon as the applications go up—I can’t remember whether I have already applied for 2018. I probably don’t have to keep applying…I’m probz on the expected list by now…I guess I just do it because it’s an item I can tick off my mental to-do list.

Official GFAF Expo Blogger badge; sponsors listed: Udis Gluten-Free, Glutino

One of my responsibilities as a member of the Official GFAF Expo Press Team is to write a blog post beforehand announcing the event, and I try to make it interesting because press releases be boring.~

Some nights ago, I dreamt Charlise and I forgot about the Expo until it was Sunday after it ended, and I was so disappointed in ourselves because it meant I’d have to wait a whole other year.

An embarrassing thing I realized about myself is that I’ve worn the same outfits each year.

So I’m going to, uh, definitely try to make it a point to have other clean clothes for this weekend—because I promise I own more than just those.~

I’m looking forward to…

…chatting with vendors.

We go both days and to every vendor, and when you do this for several years, you develop relationships with them. They remember you. As nerve-wracking as it is, some of them come to read your blog. I used to think I’d get bored talking about products, but I enjoy hearing the Freedom Foods guys talk to us about cereal in their Australian accents and learning about what is coming (aside from winter).

Even though it’s strictly professional, I’ve realized how much of a passion I have for free-from things and the intensity to which it extends.

…the meet-and-greet.

Even if this wasn’t mandatory, I would attend the meet-and-greets. I liked how, in the first year we went (2014), most of the bloggers were lifestyle bloggers and I sorta got to know a few. This hasn’t happened thereafter, but I have to admit 1) I’m quite proud of my GFAF Expo “Blogger” badge collection, and 2) I do so enjoy the swag we get from the feature sponsor.

…trying ALL THE THINGS.

(Or at least most of them.)

I’ve noticed I’m more daring since subbing to snack boxes. I tried hummus the year before last. I wasn’t a huge fan—I think it’s an acquired taste, and also I love Frito Lay bean dip way too much, though there is one brand I liked that I got in a box? ‘Twas triangle-shaped, and that’s all I remember.

I prefer the samples I can take home and try, because food tastes different (and sometimes better) at home, and I haven’t tried 30 things before it. I’m also more likely to remember packages more than business cards, and I remember the flavor more? And I like the ability to try a sample in recipes before going full-size. But this doesn’t stop me.

…Udi’s pastas.

They have like a “Chicken Florentine” and “Alfredo” something or other, and UMF. They’re so warm and hit. the. spot. even when I’m full.

…Mike’s Hard Lemonade.

There’s only one alcoholic beverage brand I drink these days, and it’s Mike’s.

(I used to drink wine coolers.)

…the “I fit here” aura of the expo in general.

It’s a professional setting, but going to the GFAF Expo feels more like play than work, and I feel like I fit in with the people there, because I have allergies. There is the general assumption that I’m “gluten-free”, which is hard/tiring to explain sometimes, but most people are understanding.

There is little non-allergicsplaining happening, i.e. being told, “You’re not allergic to milk, but the protein,” when I’m actually allergic to milk because it’s mold-forming (and also lactose intolerance). Most of the booth-runners are great at respecting allergies and transparent when it comes to revealing recipes. It’s a different scene, kinder than going someplace and the biz rep not really wanting to tell you what’s in it.

I like that there is a common courtesy/level of expected respect from both parties, and I don’t have to worry.


If you’re in the DFW area and not busy Saturday, 28th October and Sunday, 29th October, consider checking out the GFAF Expo at Dallas Market Hall (enters off Market Center Blvd.). It’s fun and yummy, and filled with lots of swag (you get a bag full of goodies when you enter). More info is available on the site.

Through 10/27, you can get 20 percent off advanced expo tickets with the code “ADVANCE” at checkout.

If you do go, I’m totally up for meeting and photos, just please let me know before.

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Comments on this post

Jamie’s gravatar

Honestly, this event sounds exciting in itself. I’m wondering if there are events like this one here in So. Cal?

Here’s something I bet you didn’t know about me. I don’t drink alcohol. I had a semi bad experience with it in the past. I was alone when I had gotten drunk (I made daiquiris when it happened). I had gotten drunk and had the hangover all in the same day. When I turned 21, I didn’t even have a drink. It wasn’t until my friend introduced me to Smirnoff. Drinking beer and other Alcohol is an acquired taste just like that of hummus, which I have also tried and like you, find it tasteless and not for me.

Still, this event sounds fun and hope you have fun (which I’m sure you will?). I believe you sign up every year as it’s a bad habit and plus a feeling of satisfaction that you did something? I dunno. It’s hard to say why we do continue to do something we love. I love blogging, but my mother doesn’t understand because she was never around when I first stated and basically told me to stop blogging. I’m sorry, I’m not going to stop doing something just because she doesn’t approve of it. I’m an adult, I can make my own decisions.

Jamie’s gravatar

I’m sorry if my last statement made you feel it was due to a bad habit. I just meant that signing up every year when you might not have to could be just a bad habit. If that makes any sense? I apologize for the confusion on that statement.

I’m not actually allergic to any foods (that I know of, I never had an opportunity to take an allergy food test, even though I had requested one a few years back, but I was denied), but I do share something in common with you. Like you, I have reflux really bad when it comes to certain foods and certain medications. This event definitely sounds interesting and educational. I can’t wait to read your review post.

Jane’s gravatar

? How do you get denied, unless in the event of it being a volunteer event? The way I got it was when I’d had to fill out a hot pink (ugh) sheet at the doctor’s office, because I was going for the first time and was really sick and not getting any better. That sheet was put in by an in-office allergist, who wound up becoming mine. Allergies are not often taken seriously by general practitioners, or most doctors, but awareness and education of the seriousness of many of them are coming into light. Allergy tests cost a lot of money, and I was fortunate to have had insurance that took great care of allergy sufferers. Because they cost a lot of money, some offices can’t afford to do tests “just because”, so perhaps your doctor didn’t see much concern for it. I got one, because at the rate I was going, I was pushing hospitalization.

Jamie’s gravatar

I got denied simply because I had a douche of a doctor (our personalities clashed, and one time while talking to me he gave me the middle finger without realizing. First time that has EVER happened to me. I know for a fact he didn’t care for me nor I him.) . I wanted to see if I was allergic to anything because my younger sister is allergic to lemons and all I know is I’m allergic to pennisilin, which oddly enough can be found in the salad dressing blue cheese. I was wondering if I was allergic to any foods as I overheard one day a woman going over her allergy food test results. That got me to think if I was allergic, and I wanted to make sure and be on the safe side to better my health. Ya know? Other than my doctor at the time being a douche towards me, I don’t know why I was denied. It was a sharp, straight up answer, without any hesitation – NO. I was like “Why?” (I didn’t ask this to him, but myself. I should have though.) I figured, later on, when I would think of it again or if I had a nicer doctor that worked with me and not against me (and I’ve had a few of these that worked against me for saying my medical problems in an open door for others to hear, which rather rude and unprofessional) I would ask. I didn’t think of this until just now. Maybe I should ask my doctor that I have now? I’m sure he’ll be cool with the allergy test.

Jane’s gravatar

Penicillium roqueforti is in blue cheese dressing, but the enzymes render penicillin neutral, make it safe for people allergic to penicillin. Penicillin and penicillium allergies are two different allergies, and it’s often dismissed by doctors because a lot of people claim to be allergic to penicillin (not claiming you’re not, just saying that the two allergens are not necessarily connected in terms of being allergic to them). I’m allergic to both because I’m severely allergic to molds (there’s an allergy scale of 0-4, and most mold groups are a 4 for me, while the rest are 3 (still bad).

I’m not claiming to be a giver of medical advice, just saying based on my experience, so it’s up to you.

Jamie’s gravatar

I know, I am allergic to Penncilin because I had a break out when injected with the medication. In fact, there was a time I was really sick and couldn’t stomach anything for two days and lived off of milk and water for two days straight. When I went to my doctors after they heard what was going on, they wanted to inject me with something I can’t remember the name, but it’s in the same family as Pennicilin, so they injected it even after knowing that I am allergic to the family itself, they were looking for a break out aka rash around my face and chest area, but what they didn’t know was (and neither did I until I got home) was the fact that I DID break out on my stomach area. Just because it breaks out in one area on other people, doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll break out in the same place as other people. They should have known this factor. That’s the ONLY thing I know, I am allergic to besides the erothyomycin family, which I was given for as an antibiotic when I had my wisdom teeth taken out. So two things that I know of I’m allergic to besides pollen, and I know that for sure because I definitely have the pollups in my nose when a doctor looks through it and sees them. I could get surgery to correct it, but I really don’t want to mess with nature if could be avoided. My mom wants me to get it as she claims it does NOT give you headaches whatsoever, but that’s not true. She’s forgetting a lot of things and mixed up some things with me and her. But that’s a different story, and unrelated to this. But yeah, she wants me to get my septum corrected, but I don’t want to. Plus, it’s like with the cyst that I have in my lower right side back. I went to see a surgeon, per the doctor’s request, and he said “If it’s not broken, why fix it?” So, it’s still there, but it doesn’t bother me. It does, if I feel for it and know it’s there afterwards, but if I don’t think about it “Out of sight, out of mind,” it doesn’t bother me. Just like with the deviated septum thing. I don’t want to think about having to get surgery if I don’t need it. I don’t want to mess with nature. Sure, I get headaches, but I don’t care. This is what lead me to think that maybe I might be allergic to just Pennicilin and its family and the pollen family.

Jane’s gravatar

Woah, I wasn’t looking for an explanation/statement of proof. I’m not the one to rant to about what doctors should and shouldn’t do—I’ve had my fair share! I don’t have anything to say here…I’m not a doctor, I was just sharing why your previous ones may’ve overlooked a need for it, as I know from experience that doctors assume people are hypochondriacs when they say they’re allergic to penicillin (been there, proved that wasn’t the case).

Allergists study these kinds of things—GPs may be aware of allergies, but allergists are the specialists to go to for this kind of information on a personal basis.

Jane’s gravatar

I’m not sure if the GFAF Expo goes to SoCal, but they have the ability to vote for your city. It’s not precise, but rather the one closest.

I don’t find hummus tasteless, rather if I was more precise, it’s not something I can have on account of it not agreeing so well with my IBS and acid reflux, and my inability to handle certain sensory input.

I signup to go every year as a blogger for the expo because it’s become a tradition and allows me to go when I can’t afford it. I also feel, as an influencer, going every year instead of ever so often allows for more credibility—I’m in this for the long haul. I support the GFAF Expo’s efforts and often refer to it as my “saving grace”, because it wasn’t until I attended my first one in 2014 that I discovered a lot of foods I can eat that are safe. I go because I’m allergic to a lot of things, and this expo is my #1 source to discovering free-from products. I go because I have a professional relationship with many vendors now, several of whom are more likely to trust me with unreleased, upcoming product information, and give me the impression that they are happy to see me every year. Attending this event is fun, but it’s work first. I go because I have readers who “look forward” to my GFAF Expo coverage posts, they tell me. I don’t go because it’s a bad habit or out of satisfaction that I went, nor for some kind of play; it’s a professional setting—work—though there is fun in it. It’s the best kind of job.

[…] say “waiting”, because I feel like that’s what I did much of it—waiting for the Expo, waiting for my nasty cold to go away, waiting to finish reading several books because I fell super […]

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