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Gluten Free Expo Recap

Gluten Free Expo Recap

Last weekend was an all around great one! Here is why…

  1. The weather finally turned fall-ish around here.
  2. We had some awesome family commitments with great friends, great people and for great causes.
  3. I was an OFFICIAL Blogger for the AZ Gluten Free and Allergen Free Expo.

Although I continue to work hard to share my small blog with the masses, I know it is still just a tiny little spec in the blogging world.  But this weekend really reminded me that I do have an audience that relies on me, who trusts me and who follow me because they know I believe in quality…and they do too.  The people who support me and engage with the pieces I write do so because they know that in their gut, “clean,” healthy, whole foods should be a top priority in any person’s diet.  Being able to share my findings at the Gluten Free Expo should be no different.

“Gluten free” is not necessarily synonymous with being a “clean” or healthy product.  I’ve heard so many times, “But it says “gluten free” it has to be healthy.”  This is often not the case.  This weekend drove this very point home as I walked the vendor aisles eavesdropping on conversations of people misguided by that very notion.  Learning to truly read and understand the ingredients listed on a product is powerful to your health.

3 Things To Look For On Ingredient Lists

With this in mind, here are 3 things to think about when reading a product’s ingredient list.

Ingredient list order

Ingredients are listed on a product in the descending order of how much exists in the product.  If the first ingredient on the label is sugar then it is no better than its gluten filled sister product.  A treat is still a treat, with or without gluten.  Trust me–I used to consume almost the entire batch of Paleo chocolate chip cookies all by myself and justified it because they were “Paleo.”  Um–no!  They were still a treat, although of great quality, and elicit the same insulin response as a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  Many gluten free products tend to add even more sugar to compensate for a lack of “traditional” taste.  Don’t be a victim to tricky ingredient add-ins.

 

Simplicity

If you can’t say the ingredient name then it probably isn’t an option that adds value to your health.  It can’t happen all the time, but if you can make a regular effort to read your ingredient list NOT just the nutritional information and look for simple ingredients, you are doing right for yourself.

 

Know Secret Code Names

And if that doesn’t make it hard enough–sugar and sodium also have secret code names.  It is as if they are secret agents trying to sneak into your pantry or frig (which is really the reality).  Know these secret names and be able to identify them before they enter your body.

 

My Tops Picks at The Expo

I’ll be honest, it was liberating and totally enjoyable to walk around and taste anything I wanted without having to ask a million questions about ingredients.  Many of the vendors had gone above and beyond to offer those limited by food allergies to have some traditional food and snack options.  I was in search of those vendors that really spoke to my desire to live a gluten free life that is still rich in whole foods and gluten free because of that.  And guess what–I found a few that I really loved and am excited to share.

 

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Path of Life

The Path of Life Brand was awesome!  They were “created with the desire to make eating better, flavorful and easy for the entire family” and they do just that.  They offer lines of frozen foods that taste awesome and are so easy to add into your life.  This is a mom’s must have for their grocery list.  Four minutes in the microwave and BOOM–quality side dishes for everybody. My favorites was the organic Kale and Quinoa mix which is an easy way to add a high quality carbohydrate and veggie to your day.  You can find Path of Life Products at your local Sprouts.

 

My “Treat” Pics from the Expo

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Aleias foods has a great story of ground up creation.  I love companies that find a passion and a niche and then knock it out of the park.  I do love a treat in my day but try and look for things that still maintain quality.  Aleias’ macaroons were amazing!  They were dense, chewy and make with ingredients I could READ.  Not to mention, the macro nutrient counts were spectacular.  I also love that for those who really want it–they developed a gluten free holiday stuffing mix. You can find Aleias foods at your local AJs and Safeway.

 

ProYo

img_0302Lastly–a unique option that popped up at the expo was ProYo. The packaging definitely takes me back to my youth with it’s “push-pop” like style.  I’ll be honest, at first impression, the packaging put me in mind of a not-so-high quality supplement I’d find at GNC.  It drew me in to want to learn more.  AND–I am so glad I did. Offered in 4 flavors (chocolate is my favorite), Proyo is a probiotic packed frozen yogurtm creamy texture that put me more in the mind of ice cream than yogurt.  It is high in protein, roughly 20 grams per tube, coming from a whey source with a gentle sweetness from Stevia (no sugar alcohol).  I immediately thought of it as a great post workout option because of its macro nutrient combo.  You can find ProYo at your local Safeway.

 

 

I was a blast to spend the day watching brand ambassadors share their products and passion.  I love being able to come back and share all my findings with you.  Gluten free or not–I promise you will love these products!  Try them and then comment below and tell me what you think. And watch out for my giveaways of these awesome products.

 

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Work Hard Be Kind,

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