I’m not even sure if I can trust my memory of what happened at the conference anymore, since it has been so long now. I want to start off by apologizing. I write a series of posts and lag behind on getting the finale up in a timely manner. I guess it’s a good thing I’m not a writer for “Lost.” I don’t think I have millions of people waiting with bated breath for this post, but I do want to be fair for those readers that I do have. So, my apologies. A lot of life stuff has happened to me since the last post. I promise if I ever have a series of posts again, I will have them all written ahead of time, so I can get them up quicker. Thank you for your patience.
So, away we go!
I cannot stress enough how much fun I had. I mean, since I was actually going there to do research and learn, I had a very good time.
Last time, I had left off after the doctors had spoken. Next up was the dietitians. Most of the stuff that the dietitians spoke about is already known by most people who have lived gluten free for a while. Plus, they were at the end of the conference, so they were rushed a bit.
I must confess. Since I completely devoured Shelley Case’s book, The Gluten-Free Diet for the information section of my website, I didn’t take many notes when she was speaking. I already knew most of what she was talking about. She did talk quite a bit about oats. But what she talked about with oats, I already knew. In fact, I wrote a whole post about the role of oats in a gluten free diet.
The next speaker was the dietitian, Anne Lee. She works for Schär. There were two points that she made that I thought were interesting. In the European Union, starting in January 2009, the regulation for labeling gluten free was changed. For a food to be labeled gluten free, it must contain less than 20 ppm. It can be labeled “very low gluten” if it has between 21 and 100 ppm. Don’t get too excited about eating European gluten free food just yet. Manufacturers have until January, 2012 to comply. Until then, they can still label a food gluten free as long as it has less than 200 ppm.
The other thing that Anne talked about was why those of us in the US have been waiting for so long to have the FDA actually make a regulation for gluten free labeling. There is a study that is supposed to be published on June 1st. So, they are waiting for this research to make their final ruling in the summer of 2010. I certainly hope so. We’ve been waiting long enough.
There was one more speaker, Frank Baldassare of “The Missing Ingredient.” I did not listen to him. I am sorry, but I was tired, and I wanted to visit some of the vendors. I needed to get up and walk around. Plus, most of the stuff he was talking about, I already do. Like how to set up your kitchen, etc.
Well, that’s it for the speakers. But I actually met a lot of people as the day was going on.There was a really sweet woman named Kathy sitting at our table. She was by herself, and my companions, being the inclusive people that they are, brought her into the fold. We found out that she is a psychology professor, which coincidentally, so is PHB. Hmmmmm. Lots of conversations between those two about how Celiac Disease and gluten can affect people psychologically. Ironically, listening to them talk made me finally realize how much it has affected my family. Looking back at the physical and psychological health of my mother’s family, oh boy, I definitely know where I got it from. So sad to think how many people might still be with us, or around longer if doctors had been more open to testing in the past.
Anyway, on a happier note, since I hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before, I drank a lot of coffee to keep myself going. Needless to say, I was sneaking out to the restroom a lot. But it actually worked out well for me because I used each trip as an opportunity to talk to someone without everyone else around. Much better conversations that way.
On my first trip, I passed the Pamela’s Products booth. I saw this woman there that I recognized. But I knew it was from a picture, not real life. So I stopped and talked with her. It turns out that it was Alison St. Sure of Sure Foods Living. She has her own blog. I realized that I follow her on twitter as well. And she runs the Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin. I had been trying to get to the previous meeting, but I got sick the morning of the meeting. Anyway, we talked for a while. She is so sweet, as was everyone else I met that day. It was really nice getting to know someone I had been following for a while. And finding out she lived so close to me. And now I feel that I will know someone when I go to the meeting, which is June 7th, for anyone living in the North Bay area.
On another trip, I met the folks from Tia’s Bakery. Not my bakery, though. So I guess if I do ever decide to have a bakery, can’t use my real name. (Eh, it’s still NOT going to happen, so whatever.) I’m guessing that the Tia means aunt, not a name, since it was founded by Marylin King. Gotta love the irony of them being all over Los Angeles, and I find out about them after I move 500 miles away. Harrumph! Well, they were also very sweet. We talked about living in Oregon as well as shop talk. They found out the hard way why Oregon is so green. They were lulled one summer. Moved up and promptly got drenched for the next 9 months. Yeah, I like being in California, now. I think they do, too.
One of my other trips (yeah, I told you I had a lot of coffee.), I stopped by and chatted with this lovely girl named Ashley at the Nature’s Path booth. She was so nice. I told her how the Little Man loves Gorilla Munch, etc. I asked her if I could take her picture at the booth, and she said ok. I introduced myself, and she told me her name. Then she said she was Elaine’s daughter as I walked away. I went a few steps and stopped. Uh, you mean the Elaine that founded the Celiac Disease Foundation. Hmmmmm. I looked at that picture a little bit better. Not as flattering as it should be. (Her eyes were closed.) Let’s delete and redo. So here is Ashley at the Nature’s Path booth. She really was a very sweet girl.
And, of course, I had to stop by the Udi’s Gluten-Free booth. For those of you that have tried their sandwich bread, you know what I’m talking about. Gotta give love to Udi’s. I met Heather. She is the Tweeter of Udi’s Gluten-Free. I had to commend her on a job well done. Makes Udi’s very approachable. I get the feeling she is a social media queen. What a fabulous job!
The only other thing I wanted to tell you about from the actual conference is chasing down the authors. I missed the first book signing, and it was unclear when the second would be because they changed the afternoon schedule around a little bit due to going over time. And, I’m telling you, I was totally geeking out. I wanted my books signed. I lugged them all the way there. Well, really, PHB lugged them all the way there because she was going to use them for her paper, but still. They were lugged. So, MIL dragged me out of the ballroom and said we were going to find the authors.
And that we did. First, we ran into Shelley Case. She was great. By the way, she was wearing a very sharp blue/green pantsuit. Wish I had a picture. Very spring. After that, we chased down Dr. Crowe. She also had on a blue/green suit. Not pants, though. Everyone was so spring. I had on black and white. Boring.
Dr. Crowe actually mentioned something when I told her about the website we were starting. She said that she wished she had known about it before her book was published because there are too many sites out there that are misinformed. So just a note to all of those that work really hard to keep up on all of the latest information from reputable sources, get it out to people, and provide great support. Keep it up. You know who you are.
I also chased down Anne Lee, even though she didn’t have a book. I just wanted to let her know I enjoyed her talk. She was also very gracious. I am just amazed at how easily approachable they all were. It was so nice.
So the last thing of the evening was the dinner. There was a cocktail reception before dinner, where we met a lovely woman named Diana. She is 85 and was finally diagnosed in August 2009. This poor, beautiful woman. She has been battling cancer, and the only reason they finally diagnosed Celiac Disease was because the cancer kept coming back when it shouldn’t have. She has brittle bones and fractures because she hasn’t been absorbing nutrients. She was just wonderful to talk to. She sat with us at dinner, too. I wish I had gotten her number or address. I would love to have stayed in touch with her. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite right by the end of the evening because I had to wait for 45 minutes for my food. They were short 4 salmon dinners. Not sure why. Maybe people decided the salmon looked better than the steak, so even though they said the wanted steak before, they changed their mind when they saw the salmon. I don’t know. I just know that Terry, another woman at our table, and myself, as well as two others at another table had to wait for 45 minutes after everyone else had been served. Does it take that long to cook salmon? Not at my house.
Anyway, they kept the wine coming while we were waiting. Oops. I do have to mention Todd from Lundberg Family Farms. He was so sweet and kept trying to give me his dinner. He hadn’t touched it, yet. But, silly me, kept thinking it would just be a minute or two. Not 45. By the time I got my dinner, it was very good. But I ate it in about 2 minutes because I was so hungry. I also scarfed the dessert. I ate dinner so fast that I was ready for dessert when everyone else got theirs. Hmmmm. No wonder I had a stomach ache that night. It was after this that we finally chased down Dr. Green. Even though I didn’t feel in my right mind, everyone had a few glasses by then, so it wasn’t too bad. He did mention that if he was ever invited to an event in Napa (right down the road) he would definitely make it. I think we need to hold a gluten free something in Napa. Wine is naturally gluten free, right?
After this, we were off back to the hotel and bed, just like I am off to bed, right now. Good night, all. If you enjoyed this blog even a fraction of how much I enjoyed my trip, then it was worth writing about. I recommend that everyone attends in the future. So well worth it. Even just to eat out without worry.
Until next time, here’s to… Living better, easily! ™
PS – Please let me know in the comments if this post was helpful at all. Was it helpful at all for me to go over all of this, or was it just me babbling about my day?
PPS – I forgot to tell you that the ballroom was magically changed into a Cuban wedding in just an hour or so. It was crazy. Flowers everywhere, and all the women were in gowns so lavish that I couldn’t tell who the bridesmaids were. Check it out.