*Please note that I am not being paid to promote any of the brands mentioned in this post. These are my god-damn honest thoughts on some bomb-ass allergen-adapted products*
My heart *and stomach* is still so full from attending the 2019 Nourished Festival in Seattle this past weekend. I met some dope, strong-ass women & amazing vendors, tasted tons of wonderful food, and had a total blast. The vibe in the Seattle Exhibition Hall was moving to me - an emotional product of a room filled with people who truly cared about the food they put into their bodies. *like me!*
When I walked into the red-carpeted, roped-off VIP Lounge, I was offered a piece of fluffy white bread topped with jam.
"Is this Gluten Free?" I instinctively asked before reaching out for one. He laughed that - yes, of cours it was! Durh, I was in the largest Gluten Free, Allergy & Specialty Diet Festival in the country. *the vendors weren't even allowed to bring in items that contain gluten within their sealed packaging into the building*
The VIP Lounge quickly filled up with other bloggers & influencers. For once, I was in a room filled with people truly like me. *I mayyyyy have checked each of them out individually online in the days before so that I could be prepared* The pre-event meeting hadn't even begun and already I couldn't stop smiling. We all started out with two bags for swag, and one was already full from our lovely sponsors: Promise Gluten Free Bread, Enjoy Life, and Manini's. Bags in hand, *my right one to be exact* I started introducing myself to my fellow bloggers. Through talking with them for just a few minutes I could already feel our combined excitement & literal hunger turning into energy around us.
I am Gluten-Intolerant *sensitive?*, allergic to soy, and I religiously avoid nightshades, dairy *unless grass-fed & from a brown cow*, corn, cashews, rice, potatoes, and refined sugar. Going into the Nourished Festival weekend, I knew that I'd be eating slightly off-diet but prepared myself as much as possible with my stomach guard & plenty of water to keep things a-movin'.
We heard some lovely words from our sponsors and were then let loose to eat, experience, and learn as much as we could at the Festival!
My first sample-stop was Manini's GF. Manini's is seriously *not even exaggerating here* the best GF Pasta on the fuckin' market. Their flour blend is so strong that the pasta actually stays together on the plate! For those of you who are non-GF-eaters, what you may not know is that Gluten Free pasta tends to disintegrate or turn into mush *BLEGH* on a plate when left out uneaten for more than 5 minutes *and you don't even wanna know what it does when you try to keep it heated or heaven forbid, re-heat it...* So you can imagine what a breakthrough Manini's is in this market for our community of eaters! Manini's GF is served in several huge restaurants across the country, in first-class airline meals, and it's totally in a grocery store near you! The best part about their product is that their flour is on-diet for me - the blend is Amaranth, Teff, Sorghum, and Millet whereas most GF Flours contain mainly rice or potato *both very much off-diet & stomach hurting for me*
For those of you who know me or have been reading, you know I fucking love pasta. I didn't cry when receiving multiple diagnoses of life-long illness - no, I cried when I was told that I couldn't have gluten for the rest of my life*aka pasta*. Trust me when I say that I've tried all the GF, Allergen-Adapted pastas and Manini's is hands down the best one out there.
I frequently buy Manini's deli-fresh pasta from Whole Foods and my non-GF-eating friends say that they can't even notice a difference! Manini's GF Pasta is truly an amazing product and a gift to this earth. Manini's even recently added some freezer items too and a pizza crust! #whatatimetobealive I can't wait to learn more about my new favorite GF Flour & Pasta brand so that I can share recipes, reviews, and tasty experiences with you.
I hope to remedy the following situation by visiting their plant in Bellingham soon, but I was too busy fangirling at the Flax4Life booth to remember to get a picture with them! Flax4Life brownies were the first GF store-bought treat to enter my evolving world of food. Up until that point, all I saw were shelves & items wrapped in metaphorical & emotional red tape. Good news is, you can find Flax4Life at both healthier & "normal" grocery stores! And the best thing about these brownies? No corn, soy, potato, or rice anywhere to be found. Just deliciousness and a texture comparable to brownie batter licked straight from the damn bowl. But their product line doesn't end there - you can see in my haul *proudly displayed below* that they also have chocolate cake, packaged granola, large-ass muffins, and even toaster buns now! Fair warning, their toaster buns, muffins, and cakes do have soy lecithin & corn solids in them, but again, if you can tolerate those ingredients then please do so because these products are 100% bomb-AF.
Onto highlighting more of my favorite booths at the Nourished Festival, up next is Jack's Paleo Kitchen: a local brand I've fallen head-over-heels for.
This family-run company out in Ferndale, WA makes the most delicious nut-free (except for coconut), grain-free, dairy-free, egg-free, free of any refined sugars, soy-free and non-GMO cookies on the damn planet. Their cookies are as soft as they are flavorful and you can actually taste the love and care in their products *plus the relief of knowing they're all safe to eat? priceless*! I loved listening to Jack tell me all about their family's journey of creating this company & product as I stuffed countless samples of said product into my face. You can tell that this Seahawks loving family *go HAWKS!* put so much time & energy into creating the best possible product.
They have a Classic Chocolate Chip, Cinnamon Raisin, Double Chocolate, Ginger Molasses, Lemon Zing, Snickerdoodle, and Sunflower Butter Cookies - and even nut-free trail mix bites. You guys - if you have not checked out Jack's Paleo Cookies yet, please do so as fast as humanly possible. Healthy happiness is waiting for you in a package of cookies and it has your *but actually Jack's* name on it!
Next up, Free Yumm is a PNW local, Mother-owned company I had heard of before the Festival but never got the chance to try. Let me tell you, I was missing out.
The depth of flavor in their delicious products is so on point that I could *and would* make myself sick from eating said products non-stop. Their goodies are Top 8 Allergen Free *Milk, Eggs, Fish, Shellfish, Tree nuts, Peanuts, Wheat, Soybeans* and include soft baked bars in flavors like Honey Apple, Blueberry, Raspberry Chia *one of my favorites!*, Chocolate Chip AND even soft-baked cookies in mouthwatering flavors like Double Chocolate, Banana Maple, & Ginger. But it doesn't end there folks! They've even got Himalayan Salt & Rasperry Crunchy Chocolate Bites. *drools a damn river, shorts-out laptop keyboard*
The only sadness here is that I cannot inhale their products 24/7 since they include GF Oats & Oat Flour *unfortunately, though gluten free, off-diet for me*. This is one off-diet product that I'd be willing to eat every now & then though due to the fact that they're such a tasty, filling, & sustaining treat. So basically what I'm saying here is: if Oats don't bother your body, eat all of the FreeYumm Products all of the time!
Many of the companies featured at the Nourished Festival were founded by people just like me who couldn't find accessible options and decided to make them on their own. These individuals adapted & created products even better than the ones we can no longer have. One such company & product is Rylie Cakes.
Missing the feeling of easy-to-access baking mixes, Rylie set out on a mission to create the best possible option & give it to her people *us!* in the best possible way. Not only are her products allergen-free, but they're sold in 100% biodegradable packaging and her cookbook even uses 100% recycled paper!! This kick-ass woman is so on point with every part of her business and I seriously cannot wait to get to know her & her products more.
I will be experimenting with Rylie Cake's Pancake, Biscuit, Roux, Cake, Shortbread, and Vegan Cookie mixes here soon!
The next booth I visited had some tasty-ass products I can't enjoy all the time, but definitely wish I could! Milton's GF Crackers have off-diet ingredients including brown rice flour, cornflour, GF oats, potato starch, potato granules, and rice flour. If these ingredients don't bother you though, I would encourage you to give Milton's GF a try! Their Cheddar Cheese crackers legit tastes like a Cheez-It and they have other tasty flavors including Olive Oil & Sea Salt, Fire Roasted Vegetable, Sea Salt, Everything, & Multi-Grain *I sampled all of them for you just so I can tell you from experience that they're all worth trying*.
The people at Milton's booth were as friendly as their crackers were flavorful! These crisps would be a welcomed addition to anyone's social gathering, Netflix binge, office snack stash, or pantry shelf.
Something totally new to me that I had the pleasure of discovering at the Nourished Festival was Sesame Milk! Brought to you by the cool crew from Deliciousness and Hope & Sesame, this thick, creamy milk alternative will quickly become a staple in your adapted diet. I'm one of a few people alive who doesn't like Nutella, but out of the 4 flavors of Sesame Milk available, their Chocolate Hazelnut was by far my favorite!
One of the things I love most about this product besides the dope-ass flavor is that it's protein-packed from all those little sesame seed friends! Protein gets me through some hard times *or like when I forget to eat a meal*, so is it obsession or preparation that I ordered multiple 6 packs of the Chocolate Hazelnut Sesame Milk off of Amazon..? *you tell me* Also, go get some for yourself and try it before coming to a conclusion & use code 40NOURISHED to get a screamin' deal.
Of the top most wonderful foods in the world, the best of these is bread. Hands down. And at the Nourished Festival, there were multiple companies sharing their Allergen-Adapted versions of bread with us! Parachutes, Promise Gluten Free, & Breadsrsly are just a few whose products really stuck with me.
Cheese is ridiculously important to me on many levels *including my personal values*, so when I found Parachutes, Parachutes, a Brazilian company that had literally just jumped into this event *not to mention the American market of packaged Brazillian Cheesebread* at the last second, I was genuinely intrigued. They had a wonderful presentation set up, well-designed packaging, and the best of attitudes radiating from their booth reps. Brazi Bites will always have a place in my heart & stomach *they have Churro bites now you guys - Churros!!* but Parachutes jumped right into the top favorite-cheesebread-spot in my heart *everyone has one of those, right..?* What really fuckin' got me *because trust me, the Brazi-Bite love is strong* was the flavor. The cheese flavor was so strong - it truly was a cheese bread more than it was a bread made with cheese. And it was almost a funky cheese taste! It was so authentic, gooey, and organically sourced that I couldn't help but weed through the ever-massing crowds at their booth to parachute in throughout the weekend for sample after sample. I know I just got you guys all excited about this product, but this brand is new to the market, so be patient when it comes to finding them in stores, okay? #goodthingscometothosewhowait
Next up, Promise Gluten Free is not only an amazing brand with an amazing product, but it's run by amazing people too! While this Ireland-based company produces some wonderful tasting bread with some of the best mouthfeel around, I will let you know that it does contain rice, corn, and potato ingredients and that, for those reasons, it is an every-now-and-then treat for me only. But if you're lucky enough to be able to tolerate those ingredients, you have no excuse not to have this amazing bread whenever you eat bread!
You really could feed Promise Gluten Free to a non-GF-eater and they wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Anyone who loves bread knows to look for a crunchy outside & a squishy middle - and if you've ever eaten GF bread before, you know these qualities just don't exist in Gluten Free alternatives. Well, enter stage right Promise Gluten Free: the squishiest damn loaf of bread around and perfection for a crust that's making me drool just thinking about it. What's really cool about this product is that it's available as a freshly baked option in a grocery store near you! I know, we get to have bread from the real bread place and not as a frozen brick in the smallest of freezer sections?! #spoiled
Continuing to be spoiled by bread sample after bread sample, I stumbled upon Bread Srlsy & their Sourdough Bread.
(Now, SDB & I have a long history - mainly times where SDB was there for me through family meals, days on end where I'd eat way too much of it *because I lived on my own and no one could tell me not to*, and times where I just needed to fry a piece *or three* of SDB in garlic & butter to console myself in times of sadness and/or hunger.)
I needed to cut myself off the endless bread sampling at this point in the festival, but given that I hadn't been able to enjoy SDB in the past almost 3 years, I *obviously* couldn't resist trying it. The photo of me on the left here has to be the most genuinely "happy-me" smile of the whole day. I couldn't believe how accurate Bread Srsly's SDB was! They even have Sweet Onion SDB you guys, so get your tastebuds ready for some amazing adapted bread coming your way! The product has really great, well-designed packaging & a simple ingredient list. While most of their products have rice flour, they do not contain potato or corn and are, therefore, much easier on me to digest and enjoy in a healthy manner aka, from time to time. *sorry SDB, our relationship was toxic - you knew how much I needed a salad instead and all you did was seduce me with your crip edges and squishy, white-as-my-pasty-ass center, poisoning me slowly over time & garlic butter* #timeforboundaries
I can't wait to check out all Bread Srsly has to offer and will definitely be using it with dishes I cook for myself & friends in the future. Can I just say, there's something so human about dipping a piece of bread in oil. The best part about all of these breads featured at the Nourished Festival, and especially Bread Srsly, is that the bread actually holds together in the dipping oil *which, trust me, used to be a rarity for our kind* and can absorb and hold the oil without falling apart in less than 5 seconds.
Next up is Red Plate Foods, aka my go-to for store-bought cupcakes. Though they have much more than cupcakes to offer *and it's all delicious* their cupcakes are the dessert option I bring for myself to every family gathering. I set them on the counter, usually grabbing one for myself and, before I know it, they're all gone! No one realizes that they're Gluten Free or Allergen-Adapted and they're always gone in a flash. Note to self: bring 3 trays next time so that I can have more than one goddamn cupcake.
While their products are completely gluten/wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish & shellfish, corn, mustard & sesame seed free, they do contain a bit of rice & potato, but hell, if I'm splurging on buying *because I don't have the energy to bake 3 dozen allergen-adapted* cupcakes to share, these are my always go-to.
I saw so many cool brands at the Nourished Festival that I'd never seen before *as I wandered around shoving sample after sample in my face*, but I was beyond thrilled to see one of Seattle's best Gluten Free bakeries had a booth there too! Nuflours is the brand behind the first local GF food item given to me by a coworker, who had been Gluten Free for a while and sensed it was not going well for me.
"Here," she said, handing me a cute little pan of Nuflour's GF Sweet Potato Coffee Cake. "This will help." And boy did it ever. Thus began my evolution into knowing I could eat good tasting shit while being Gluten Free, and a life-long obsession with Nuflours.
Nurlfours is a dedicated, Gluten Free bakery in the outskirts of Capitol Hill that uses a flour base *almost perfect for me* that's corn & rice-free. Their products are almost all soy and bean-free too, and have clearly communicated allergy labels and even include vegan options! With any-time treats to drool over *and cakes that make you feel like your birthday isn't a sad event worsened by a chalky, crumbly, shitty "cake" alternative* Nuflours is at the top of my list in most categories across the board. I'm thrilled to sit down & chat soon with the badass woman who created Nuflours so that I can share with you all the yumminess Nuflours has to offer. Bottom line, if you're Gluten Free and haven't had Nuflours yet, ya missin' out.
There were so many other booths & brands that caught my attention and who are making such a great impact on our community: Ghost Fish Brewery, Doterra, Brazi Bites, Full Circle, Imperfect Produce, Swerve, and more, but the last product that I want to highlight here and now is BeeKeeper's Naturals.
Bee-cause I have Fibromyalgia and a few Autoimmune Diseases under my belt, I struggle with Brain Fog quite often. It's nowhere near the Alzheimer-y level it used to be at, but it's definitely still something I struggle with. I was damn desperate for a solution a couple of weeks before the Festival, did some research and found BeeKeeper's Natural's Brain Fuel product online.
And you guys. It actually. fucking. worked. I'm here today writing this with hardly any brain fog because this wonderful product got me clear enough to think like a normal human being for a minute instead of being a forgetful-ass Fanny 24/7.
Having tried their product previously *and knowing it worked* I was thrilled to see that they offered other amazing bee-made products including an immune-boosting throat spray *stellar stuff that might actually replace Zicam for me*, hemp honey, and even bee pollen! This brand not only helps bees but it also helps the human body naturally regulate wellness and I'm 100% behind that shit.