Home > Uncategorized > The Gluten Intolerance Festival 2008

The Gluten Intolerance Festival 2008

This was my first Celiac Conference, as I was only diagnosed in March of 2007 and didn’t really understand what having Celiac Disease really meant until June, so you can imagine that I was really excited. The conference was held in Victoria, BC which was great because it was only a ferry ride away for me. I went on my own and I’m really glad that I did. The people at the conference were very friendly and welcoming. I was sitting with someone different for every event, and it was great because I met someone knew and learned different things. The conference started on Friday May 9 and ended at noon on Mother’s Day, May 12. I was really lucky that I ended up in a hotel that was literally across the street from the Victoria Convention Center, so not only was I close by, but I was also forced to walk around – and believe me, I needed it after each day! Connected to the convention center is the Emperess Hotel, and their kitchen staff were the ones who were catering the event. They did an amazing job and created a wonderful assortment of GF foods.

I walked down to the convention center to register and was surprised when they gave me this bright green reusable bag filled with different samples from both the exhibits and the sponsors. There was also a package of information sheets from all of the vendors. I don’t think that I can even begin to discuss how overwhelmed I felt. As I said this was my first conference, and I went on my own, but to see all the exhibits laid out and to know that I was able to try all of the offered samples was stunning. So, I went to take a look at the cookbooks that were being offered.

Both Donna Washburn and Heather Butt were at their table selling their 3 books. I had taken my copy of their latest one for them to sign, but ended up buying their first 2 books instead and had them sign them. They were very nice ladies and were more than willing to answer any questions that I had, and believe me I had many. It was also great timing because people were still heading in and looking around at the other exhibits, so they weren’t too busy.

I then headed into the conference room with the other exhibits. I don’t think that I can even remember all of the vendors that were there. The ones that really stick out for me are the following:

  • Silly-Yak – a bakery that is based at Village Bulk Foods in Qualicum Beach, BC – they had deliciuos cinnamon raisin bread
  • Glutino – who had samples of their new cracker line (I loved the vegetable ones and plan on asking my local superstore if they’ll bring them in)
  • El Peto – they had a collection of their products lined up on a few tables and were taking orders that included free shipping. I did buy some “toasta bags” from them.
  • Freybe
  • Rice Works
  • Pamela’s Products
  • Kinnikinnick Foods – had some delicious samples such as their cinnamon sugar donuts, waffles, and cookies. They were also handing out their GF graham cracker called “s’morables”. They’re not bad, and I think that might buy some in the summer when I go camping. Whether or not I make s’mores though, is a whole other story since I’ve never had them and I’m not really a big fan of marshmallows (to put it nicely), but I like the idea of chocolate.
  • Rizopia Rice Pasta

These are only a few that stick out for me, but there were many more and can be found on the Canadian Celiac website, Victoria Chapter, if you just look down the left hand side. I’ll add more when as I remember them or find the info that I collected (I have yet to go through the bag of goodies/info since my return). I placed an order with Kinnikinnick since they’re one of my favourite companies and they also had free shipping. Their prices were much better than store prices, obviously, so I thought I might as well check it out and fill up my freezer so that I’ll have some goodies for work parties on hand.

On the Saturday, Dr. Alessio Fasano (University of Maryland, USA) spoke about the past, present, and future of Celiac Disease, and for me, it was a real treat to hear him – he was a great speaker with lots of information. I have pages of notes that I took from him as well as Dr. Mohsin Rashid (Dalhousie University, Canada), who discussed CD and Anemia. This was an important discussion for me, as I have been plagued with anemia for years and it is only within the last 6 months that it has finally started to turn itself around. It makes a big difference when listening to someone than researching it yourself, although I found that I was able to make many more connections to his information because of my past research and this allowed me to take in much more. Dr. Connie Switzer (Edmonton, Canada) spoke about tTG and what it’s good for and we finished the day off with Dr. Godefroy, discussing labeling in Canada.

In the afternoon we also broke out into 2 different groups with a choice between hearing Shelley Case speak or attending “Baking Tips” with Donna Washburn and Heather Butt. I chose the baking tips because I bake the majority of my foods. So far I’ve been lucky, and about 95% of my baking has turned out well, but I really wanted to learn the tricks of GF baking.

I still have my notes on all of the speakers, and I will be writing up posts on each one, hopefully this weekend. I’ve just realized that this post is probably scrambled (as are most of them) but there was so much to take in over the weekend and then I returned to work chaos, so once I’ve found where I left my brain I’ll add more information.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. May 20, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    what a great festival to attend! sounds like all the top speakers were there. how cool!I wanted to say “hi”. I just found your blog today. I look forward to reading more :)Eden

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