Gluten & Allergen-Free Expo Offers Relief From Blah Eating

While this may not be the sexiest event on the calendar, it’s an important one, especially for people who suffer from celiac and food allergies and are tired of eating food that tastes like a hockey-puck. Keep reading for the release:

The Gluten & Allergen Free Expo (, October 1 – 2, 2011, is bringing the nation’s leading chefs, best-selling cookbook authors, and highly regarded nutrition and health experts to the Dallas/Fort Worth area to help people learn how to prepare healthy, tasty meals and baked goods without gluten and some of the most common allergens.

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“Living on a restricted diet doesn’t have to mean living without the joy of cooking, baking and eating foods that look and taste great,” said Jen Cafferty, mother of two and founder of the Gluten Free Expo, now the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo. “There is nothing like this in the area – a place where individuals, parents, and others can spend from a few hours to a full day sampling hundreds of products, and discovering that special dietary needs and cookies that taste like cardboard are not synonymous.”

Open to the general public, the event features themed cooking sessions that will enlighten both beginners and more experienced amateur chefs, as well as a vendor fair, where attendees will meet and sample among more than 70 gluten-free companies, under one roof. A portion of the event proceeds will benefit the Gluten Intolerance Group Lone Star Celiac Support Group ( All of the vendors are 100 percent gluten free; many also will showcase products free of the top eight allergens: milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. The Expo will include a dedicated area up front featuring nut-free products.

About 1 in every 133 people has celiac disease, a condition in which the body cannot tolerate gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and commercially available oats. More than 300 symptoms ranging from digestive issues to depression are linked to celiac disease, and more than 95 percent of people who have it are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, according to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. A gluten-free diet is essential for those with celiac disease, which many sufferers erroneously believe or have been told by medical professionals is irritable bowel syndrome or lactose intolerance. In addition, many families with autistic children are reporting a reduction in their children’s symptoms with a gluten-free diet. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that an average of 1 in 110 U.S. children has an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The Gluten & Allergen Free Expo Vendor Fair will be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, October 1 – 2, at The Westin Park Central, 12720 Merit Drive, Dallas, Texas. The cost to attend the Vendor Fair is $20 for adults; children 3-12 are $5. Tickets will be available at the door. The ticket price also includes an allergen-free arts and crafts area for kids as well as staged presentations by top chefs and bloggers. Seating is limited. Visit the website for additional information and to view the complete list of vendors.

Gluten & Allergen Free Expo cooking classes for the general public also will be held at The Westin Park Central in Dallas on Saturday October 1 from 8am to 5pm and on Sunday, October 2, from 9 am to 5 pm. Participants have the option to purchase sessions for part of the day or the whole day. All cooking sessions now have special themes from that focus in on one topic. From holiday cooking to bread baking, all levels of gluten and allergen free cooks will learn something new. All recipes taught in class will be entirely gluten-free, and most will be dairy-free. While eggs and sugar will be used, replacement information will be provided. Some, but not many, demonstrations will include nuts, soy and other allergens. The regular cost per session is $80, $100 for the “Bread & Beyond” session (Register online at This cost not only includes the full day of classes but it also includes printed recipes, and access to the vendor fair. A gluten and dairy free lunch is available for purchase for an additional fee. Registrants can elect to purchase this lunch when they register for their cooking session(s).