Sunday, April 15, 2012

Back from the Expo!

What a whirlwind weekend!
Thursday evening I headed home to Surburbia to hang out with my mom and sister to steal my mom's car for two days.  The 2012 Gluten Free and Allergen Free Expo was held in Lombard this year.  For the first time ever, there was a blogger conference on Friday and I was thrilled for the opportunity to attend.  The rooms were packed with bloggers and future bloggers nationwide!  I had a blast and met a lot of people with similar food intolerances, traded lots of business cards, and expanded the "blogs I want to read nonstop" list about fifty-fold.
Saturday was spent on my feet at the expo all day.  I volunteered as the Public Stage Attendant so was able to hear many exciting speakers share their stories and advice.  The entire afternoon was spent chatting with many vendors and three and a half hours was not enough time to talk to everyone!
Today, my mom and I shopped till we dropped and planned my city garden.  In my four foot wide space, I will be growing a nice variety of vegetables and got loads of tips from my mom: the pro who's garden can be seen from Google Earth.
There will be a longer post about this weekend soon.  But there's still bags of goodies to unpack and fill my pantry before work tomorrow!

For new readers:
In October 2008 I had an appendectomy and never felt right after surgery.  In March 2009, I went dairy free.  (I am able to tolerate goat and sheep cheeses, but have not experimented with defining my dairy intolerance so am not sure if casein, lactose, or cow's milk dairy is the culprit.) In June 2010, I went gluten free.  After many doctors and tests, I learned that I have Non Celiac Gluten Intolerance.  On the gfcf diet, I feel fantastic!  My story (really early on in my gfree life) even appeared on the Chicago news: 
My background is in theatre (I was a theatre and creative writing double major) but decided to give up stage management and design when I had to teach myself how to cook and eat healthier.  For me, it was too difficult to juggle a day job at a law firm, an evening job, and home cooking.  Currently, I work long hours at a law firm in the Loop so am always looking for easy lunches and healthy snacks.  I consider my culinary education ongoing: from sushi classes to cake decorating, I want to learn it all!  I have taken two Wilton classes (their buttercream is dairy free thanks to Crisco and water), my posts from class are here:  Last May, I did a 28 Day Healthy Eating Challenge where I went vegan and completely changed how I eat (from mostly beige to a lot of greens).  Check out some entries here:
I'm always excited to try new products and review existing products for the gluten and dairy free communities.  I have a busy schedule, a somewhat small kitchen, and live on a budget.  Some key things I look at are affordability, preparation ease, convenience factors, taste, texture, visuals and accessibility.
I'm on twitter: @windycitycookin
And pinterest:
Be sure to follow me!
Are you a blogger?  Be sure to comment so I can follow your blog, too!

For my low fructose followers:
Oh, and some exciting news about my low fructose diet!  I met with my doctor last week.  Since I lost so much weight (3 pounds in a month and am officially "deathly skinny" by my mom's standards) and my biggest improvement was when I eliminated the two glasses of juice with breakfast mistake I had going for me rather than the solid month of maxing out with 10 grams of sugar a day, I'm back on sugar!  Everything in moderation, of course.  My new objective is to determine how much sugar is too much and stay within that healthy range.  My translation of doctor's orders: I can go back on cupcakes and cookies if I watch the sugar levels in my fruits and veggies. :-)

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