I travelled north to Seattle, Washington to promote CC Gluten Freed at the The Gluten Intolerance Group’s Health and Wellness Event on June 16th. Seattle is incredibly gluten-free-friendly (GFF). I experienced a lot of great food and great customer service. I have been to many of these GF conferences in the past and, I must say, the GIG’s Health and Wellness Event was one of the best gluten free conferences I have ever attended.
Even for people with Celiacs, the gluten free diet is only one, of many, components to a healthy lifestyle. The GIG event really brought this point to the forefront of their conference by providing all attendees with free health screenings including Bone Density, Blood Pressure, Type I Diabetes Testing, Spinal Health Screenings and more.
In addition to the free health screenings, GIG also had a ton of great vendors at the conference including brands like Udi’s, Triumph Dining, Glutino, Canyon Bakehouse amongst many, many others (including CC Gluten Freed!!). I was lucky enough to be in a booth next to Brazi Bites, a company that makes a Brazilian cheese bread that is naturally gluten free. Before the conference, I had never encountered Brazi Bites before. They are one of the best GF snack foods I have ever had! Check them out online. They have the taste of Cheez-its and a dual texture: crispy, crunchy on the outside and gooey and light on the inside.
In addition to the great vendors, there were some very interesting people there including Mrs. Alaska (Brandy Wendler), promoting her pageant platform for Celiac Awareness and Kyra Bussanich,a gluten free baker and the winner of the Food network Channel’s Cupcake Wars!
My favorite part of the conference was definitely talking with the local Seattle gluten free community. What a smart city! I had incredibly interesting conversations with almost everyone who stopped by to chat at my booth. For example, Junea and Cameron (creators of Brazi Bites/my conference neighbors) and I discussed the important distinction between foods that are naturally gluten free and foods that are created to replace glutinous foods e.g. Brazi Bites vs. GF penne or GF sandwich bread. You can expect a future post about the issue but, in short, I really do prefer foods that are naturally gluten free like Brazi Bites both in a philosophical sense and from a culinary perspective. Another chat I had with a local was about how to get groups to adapt to the GF diet. For example, the person I spoke to is part of a group at her church and always has trouble when they have their monthly potluck. I also heard that Doritos are going gluten free! I always learn so much at these conferences.
Many people asked about where to buy CC Gluten Freed t-shirts, so I created a webpage to order the shirts. From what people said at the conference, they just love the logo! My grandfather, Ernest Marquez, was a cartoonist for years. When I created CC Gluten Freed, he drew this logo for me and had it framed (and put on a jump drive) for me for Christmas.
I will definitely be attending the conference next year and I encourage my readers to make the trip out to Seattle as well! For more information about GIG go to http://www.gluten.net
What else did I do other than attend an all-day GF conference?
My Dad and I went to the Mariners Vs Giants game for Safeco Field’s Gluten Free Awareness Night! I had a hotdog. My dad asked me why I didn’t wear my CC Gluten Freed t-shirt to the game since we were sitting in the “gluten free zone.” I told him that I wanted to watch some baseball, eat a hotdog and just enjoy the work of great nonprofits like GIG. It was a relaxing experience, something I rarely say about dining out!
My Dad and me at the baseball game
We also went to the Flying Apron bakery, a 100% gluten-free, vegan bakery in Seattle. Pike Place Market was a great experience too! I stopped over at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, a famous cheese shop, that sells a GF version of their “world famous Mac N’ Cheese.” We didn’t just dine around the town, we also checked out the tribute to the movie Avatar and the Jimi Hendrix exhibit at the EMP Museum. This museum was really fun and interactive! They have a whole section of the museum for making music: my dad and I took advantage of the practice rooms. He played guitar and I played drums.
No trip to Seattle would complete without a trip to the Space Needle. We had a great lunch up at the top. I enjoyed both the food and the view. The waitstaff was pretty good about making GF accommodations but their menu items are somewhat limited. If you are in the mood for a great salad (like I was), head up to the top of the Space Needle but if you are super hungry, I’d stop somewhere else for lunch!
The view from the Space Needle. We were able to see Mt. Rainier
My Seafood Cobb Salad from the Space Needle, 100% GF
The highlight of my trip was going on the radio with KZOK during their morning show. I was a little nervous going on air, considering it is a live show with Seattle, literally, listening but I had a great time. In fact, Im quite jealous of my Uncle Danny’s job. Danny chatted with my dad and me for a bit on air then, during the news section, Danny let me make an announcement about the GIG’s Health and Wellness Event.
After my jam-packed trip to Seattle, I am quite tired but I am so happy that I went. The conference, like I said, was one of the best I have ever attended and the people I met at the conference were so interesting, dedicated to their health and fun to chat with. In fact, many of the people that I met at the conference are checking out CC Gluten Freed for the first time right now! I just sent out the “invitation to follow” email and I hope that some of my new GF acquaintances sign up!