Having grown up in the Midwest, it’s wonderful to be back in the region. And it’s always fun to be a part of the Fest activities, especially getting the chance to meet and greet the people who attend. I staff the magazine’s booth, which gives me the opportunity to catch up with readers and to hear their gluten-free stories.
Many people are seeking answers to their complicated health issues—and going gluten-free can be part of their solution. As an example, a young woman with chronic fatigue syndrome told me she was at the Fest to learn more about gluten-free living. She was thinking about going gluten-free to address her symptoms (extreme and unrelenting exhaustion, GI issues and overall body aches).
She might be on to something. We happen to be covering a new study in GF&M’s upcoming December/January issue about this very topic. Research recently conducted at Columbia University Medical Center suggests that there’s a significant group of people with chronic fatigue syndrome who have blood markers associated with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. I was able to share this information with this young woman, a data point for further investigation.
The Fests are all about this kind of connection. That’s why we put on the Fests and that’s why people attend. With over 60 vendors (free samples of gluten-free products!), expert speakers and cooking demonstrations, attendees can pick up a lot of very useful lifestyle tips. Plus, there’s a lot to be said about being in a crowd of gluten-free people – no need to worry or explain as you stuff your face.
A surprise bonus for me at this Fest: GF&M’s booth happened to be located next to the Brazi Bites booth. My dream neighbors! The very nice Brazi Bites ladies were busy baking and sharing their amazingly delicious hot cheese bread all weekend long. I was not shy about helping myself. A lot.
And did I mention that the Free Indeed food truck was located directly behind me, offering gluten-free donuts (yes, warm cinnamon donuts!). And that Auntie M’s food truck was making gluten-free fried funnel cakes parked just outside the front door? Yum! There’s nothing like chatting with new friends with a fragrant funnel cake in one hand and a warm, tender donut in the other.
This is why we put on the Fests. This is why people attend.
Just one Fest left this year – in Portland, Oregon, on November 3rd and 4th. If you’re in the area, please stop on by!Originally posted October 2018