Tuesday, May 12, 2015

CDF Conference and Expo 2015 Recap - Top 10

What can I say? The Celiac Disease Foundation Conference and Expo was a HUGE success! It was a weekend FULL of resourceful information from expert speakers, meeting new gluten-free friends, trying new products and talking with children and their families about living with celiac disease.

I think the best way for me to share this packed weekend with you, is to share my "Top 10" from the weekend. It's a long post, but that's because I have SOOOO MUCH to share with you!

#10 - Conference Highlight

Dr. Joseph Murray discussed "Celiac Disease 101" - he covered everything! Here is just a bit of information I found helpful:

Management Plan:

- Explain the disease
- Strongly advocate a     gluten-free diet
- Refer to expert dietitian
- Check bone density
- Identify and treat     deficiencies
- Calcium and vitamin D    replacement

What's on the Horizon:

- Screening targeted at risk groups
- Point of care tests (finger stick)
- Biopsy avoidance for diagnosis
- Prevention (infant feeding)
- Tests of adherence
- More accurate genetic prediction

Why do we need a drug:

- Relief of ongoing symptoms in treated patient doing their best on gluten-free diet
- To accelerate the response of symptoms and immune markers and healing in patients untreated celiac
- To reduce risks of long term consequences of ongoing inflammation
- Refractory celiac disease
- Reduce burden in treated patients to permit some degree of gluten exposure

#9 -  Expo/Exhibitors

With over 100 exhibitors, the expo was FULL of goodies to share. Pamela's showcased their new graham crackers, while Cheerios and Chex shared their gluten-free cereals. As you may know already, Cheerios is going gluten-free and will launch their GF cereals in Fall 2015. 

And here are a few others who were in attendance: Crunchmaster, Enjoy Life Foods, Way Better Snacks, Breton Crackers and Lucy's. The Scratch & Grain cookie kit is featured is the Crafted Gluten-Free - which is a monthly gluten-free subscription box.. I was so excited when Crafted Gluten-Free so kindly gave me a box of Scratch and Grain Cookie Mix! If you've watched Shark Tank on TV, you may recall, that Scratch and Grain were featured on there - I even emailed them after watching the show - so I'm super stoked to make their cookies. More to come on Crafted Gluten-Free, so stay tuned!

#8 - Swag Bag

Before entering the expo, you receive a bag that has gluten-free goods in it - just look at the picture below on the left - that's how you start!! And then, look at the picture to the right, that's what you come home with! People were walking around with LOADS of gluten-free goods in their bags! I've never seen bags so FULL!

#7 - CDF launches Gluten & Allergy Free MarketPlace 

The Marketplace showcases products and services from companies that care about the gluten-free and allergy-free community, and have made a deep commitment to supporting CDF’s mission of diagnosis, treatment, and a cure for celiac disease.
The Gluten-Free Allergy-Free Marketplace allows consumers to browse by dietary preferences, including special medical, dietary, and religious requirements, and view product pictures, ingredients, and nutrition facts. 
Gluten-Free Allergy-Free Marketplace app for Apple’s iOS will be available in the second quarter of 2015. An Android app is planned for the fall.

#6 - Meeting children living with celiac disease

Having an opportunity to talk with children about living with celiac disease is something that I am truly passionate about.  I try to bring a smile to their faces, if they aren't smilin' already and encourage them to keep up the good work. One day, Jack will attend one of these events with me and he will be able to see all the other children living with celiac disease as well. They are the next generation of advocates, we must be their voice and encourage them to stay positive and continue living a healthy gluten-free life.

Just look at some of these sweet faces from the expo!

#5 - Location - Pasadena, CA

The CDF conference & expo was held at the same location as last year, the Pasadena Convention Center.  The convention center was in walking distance from my hotel with an outdoor mall right across the street.  There is plenty of shopping and dining available - P.F. Chang's, which is a perfect gluten-free spot for lunch or dinner.

#4 - Raffle Prizes

Raffles prizes were given throughout both days at the expo. Fabulous baskets as you can see below from Pamela's, Glutino, Mia's Kitchen and more. The picture below is just from 1 day of prizes. Raffle tickets could be purchased and if your name was called, one of these lovely baskets was yours! A fun way to donate money to CDF. Thank you to all the exhibitors who participated.

#3 - Blogger Friends - New and Old

I love meeting up with old friends and meeting new ones. I had an opportunity to hang out with some awesome GF ladies. I've known Erica, Celiac and the Beast, for a couple of years now. She's witty, funny and knowledgeable about celiac disease and gluten-free living. She often speaks at these expos and has even written her own book.

I also met a couple of new friends/GF Bloggers.  I had the pleasure of hanging out with April Peveteaux, Gluten is my Bitch and Alison Needham, A Girl DeFloured. April wrote a book, entitled, just that, "Gluten is my Bitch" and is working on an upcoming book, "Bake Sales are my Bitch". Using a sense of humor and some profanity never hurts when dealing with a chronic lifelong autoimmune disease! I really enjoyed getting to know her and look forward to reading her book(s). Alison is a FABULOUS baker, building her fabulous business, Ginger & Fox Bake Shop. You can find out more about Alison, here.

#2 - More Gluten-Free Goodies

#1 - CDF Shirts

This conference and expo is to support CDF in their efforts to raise funds for research and advocacy efforts. There are so many ways that you can donate or be a part of raising funds for the Celiac Disease Foundation. Purchasing these shirts is one, but there are many others ways to donate. Click here to find out more.

PHEW! There you have it! I told you it was long, but I had a lot to write about! O, I can't forget to mention CDF's 25th anniversary celebration, which took place Saturday evening. I did not attend, but I heard it was wonderful. Congratulations CDF on 25 years!! Here's to another 25! 

I also want to thank my family and friends for their support!! Thank you for donating to my GoFundMe, allowing this momma to be part of such a great weekend! Knowing you all are behind our family on this journey, means more than you know. And one day, Jack will understand all this and will no doubt, feel the same way I do.

Find out more about CDF and their mission at celiac.org

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