Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The Expo

I went to the GF Expo in Sydney on Saturday, WOW!! Seriously it was bigger than Ben Hur! Mum and I went armed with one green recylced bag, and me clutching my walking stick (from the accident, my hip still can't handle long periods of walking). We followed the crowd, and both looked at each other wondering why people had suitcases, in some instances, several suitcases and massive bags! We thought that there must be something else on, or they had travelled interstate for a convention...

When we walked into the Expo, we were blown away by the amount of people! The suitcase laden people, weren't travelling anywhere, nor going to a convention, they had brought such huge bags to stock up on various types of gf goodies!!!

Honestly, it was overwhelming, there were so many people, and so many exhibits that were offering samples of the various gf products they had to sell.  There was so much food to sample, that we didn't even have to eat lunch, we were too full from all the samples!!

There was even gf beer that you could sample!! As we all know, beer is made from gluten containing products, making a diagnosis of coeliac hard on the beer lover, or even just someone like me who might like to have a beer every now and then. There were two different types to buy, I'll mention one now, and the other in a post dedicated just to the one beer. One of the beer's I tried was a German beer Schnitzel, and the best thing ladies, was there was one type that was blended with lemon and lime, it was sweet and refreshing not the usually bitter taste of beer. You can buy this beer at most Dan Murphy's in the international beer section and some other independent stories.  Let me know what you think if you try it.

Now as I have explained before I went wearing my logo t-shirt, and armed with boxes of cards advertising my blog. I had already arranged two exhibitors to display my cards, and I would write a post about their product, sort of like a trade off.

In my case, the Expo was beyond what I hoped for, 16 different exhibitors agreed to display my cards, one was already a reader of my blog! I don't know who was more excited me or her, when we met! And I also handed my card and gave some advice to some random people who I overheard talking about problems that they were having or there friends were having starting the gluten free diet and dealing with being a coeliac.

So for the next few weeks, as promised I will be dedicating various posts, to the lovely exhibitors who took my cards and passed them around to people. I want you to know that these aren't payed advertising posts, its just returning a good deed and honestly informing my readers of all the fantastic gf food and drinks that are available out there, I had no idea there was so many! There is a market of gf and casein free kid based food products, which you can stock in the pantry for all the kids in the household, so you don't have to deal with the common problem that often emerges when one child can only eat a limited amount of food compared to their siblings, I'll feature these products shortly.

There were also guest speakers at the expo, unfortunately I only got to hear part of the talk from Dr Tye-Din. I am proud to say that I've been researching well, because there weren't many things that I heard him talk about that I wasn't aware of. He did clarify some myths associated with the disease, such as you have to come from an Irish background, which I do (now the disease has been identified, in people from a vast amount of racial backgrounds).

One of the big points that Dr Tye-Din did focus on was that it is important to not self diagnose and take yourself off gluten because as I have mentioned before, prior to having the only conclusive test, that 100% guarantees you have the disease (the endoscope) you need to eat a great amount of gluten in the lead up to the test, yes you may feel horrible, but if you take out the gluten the disease often won't show up if you have stopped completely eating gluten. He did also identify there is a genetic link to this disease, so yes there is a big chance one of your parents had the gene for coeliac, apparently you don't need to suffer but you can be a carrier of the gene, but you can pass it on. There is also a blood test that you can have, but the doctor did stress once again, the only way to correctly diagnose is an endoscope (the camera down the throat and a biopsy), even if the blood test comes back ok and there are some other symptoms you could still have coeliac disease..  One of the scary facts he did identify was that the statics at the moment in Australia is 1 in 100 suffer from coeliac disease, they believe that the stats are much higher, that there are actually a large number of undiagnosed, or incorrectly diagnosed ie; IBS, is a common diagnose given instead of coeliac. Basically if you have any suspicions that you could be a coeliac, go to your doctor and ask for a referral to see a surgeon who specialises in gastrointestinal disease, and they will conduct the appropriate test for you.

I hope I have provided you with enough information, next year if your in Australia, definitely go (it is in a number of states), its well worth it! And my readers from all over the world, I would love to know if your country has these type of expos and what is the awareness like in your country of this disease.

I will try and alternate posts of the various product reviews from the expo, with my traditional post, and I do have a few yummy recipes to put up for you all shortly.

Hope this has helped some people, and welcome to any new readers. Please comment or email me if you have any questions.