The Allergy Expo is on in the RDS in Dublin until 6pm today, and after spending much of yesterday sampling all the treats on offer here and listening in to the cooking demos (We’re located very near them), I thought I’d put out some tips of who to check out if you arrive out today, or who to look up if you’ve missed this lovely affair.
1. Everyone here is super friendly
I’m not sure if it’s something to do with there being less sugar, dairy and gluten in everyone’s system for the last two days, or if it’s that many of these businesses are small, local and largely started because they wanted to offer something great that can be hard to find, and those owners are mostly here with their products but whatever the reason, it’s made for a lovely atmosphere so come with all of your questions, the experts are ready for you.
2. Blue Haven
My God this stuff is good. I cannot stop going back to eat the chicken live pate. It is heaven in a tub. They also offer a smoked salmon pate and some other products, all gluten free. But you will have a hard time not going back for more. And more. And more.
3. Doherty Meats
Doherty meats offer gluten free sausages, meatballs and burgers. This post is definitely showing my carnivore side, these were my second-most eaten samples at the expo. As I write this I’ve just popped another of their cocktail sausages in my mouth. We forget that foods we love that aren’t bread can contain gluten and the freezer-friendly options from these guys are certainly family and time friendly. That and they are hella tasty. For those of you who aren’t fans of overly meaty sausages (i.e. Irish people), don’t worry, the sausages taste like regular sausages but better.
4. Rebelicious Foods
Breakfast – the most gluteny meal of the day for many people. So what if you could leave gluten out? Even if you’re not intolerant or coeliac, gluten isn’t the best thing to put too much of in our systems. Have a read why in our ‘What IS Gluten?‘ feature. I’ve eaten Rebelcious Foods lovely bran-flakes, is it weird that I love bran flakes? I know they look like cardboard but I’m a fan in general. The Rebelicious option is as good, lacking in things that aren’t good for you, and their whole range is really reasonably priced. They’re offering discounts here at the expo but even their general store prices are entirely doable – a welcome surprise for a niche product with such lovely packaging.
Sowan’s win best gluten free chocolate brownie at the expo, hands down. And there are a lot of them here. They offer bake at home products that are gluten free. Mix it up in a bowl and pop it in the oven and you get to enjoy the baking smells as well as the eating of them. There’s something very special about the smell of things baking, (especially when those things contain chocolate.) But sometimes things smell better than they taste, not Sowan’s. They nailed it.
6. Dr. Coys
Dr. Coys are a very new business, having only launched in June. And coy they should be, the packaging is sexy and the lime and ginger chocolate tastes like nothing I’ve ever eaten – in a really really good way. It’s like a little holiday for your mouth and your brain. It would take me a paragraph to describe it in a way it deserves so just come taste it yourself. Their ethos is to use organic products and superfoods that have countless benefits, meaning it’s not just about the taste, it’s also about health and beauty and putting things into your body that give you more energy and make you feel good. It’s chocolate/art so perfect for a Sunday.
Bfree are here with sombreros and seats that look like loaves of bread so that makes me love them anyway. But they have gluten and wheat free fajita kits that are also vegan friendly, egg free, soy free, dairy free, nut free and high in fibre. They’re dead handy, so easy to make that they’re making them here and taste perfect. If the thought of going gluten-free makes you tear up about missing beautifully fluffy white bread, BFree are there for you for that too. Lovely!
8. Health & Herbs
The famous Galway health store where Dr. Dilis Clare is based are here to help you out with herbal ways to cope with allergies. Dr. Dilis Clare was also presenting at the expo. Her top tips for when you’re dealing with the symptoms of an allergy? Cool down your system like the engine of a car! Give it oil, fatty acids like Omega 3 and water. Herbal teas and tinctures can help too and they’re the perfect people to chat to about it.
9. Silk Sleep Pillows
These guys asked me if I wanted a pillow (which I thought looked overly shiny for sleeping on) every single time and I passed and I kept saying “No thank you, no thank you,” until eventually I had to stop and ask, “Ok, what is the deal with the pillows?!” The pillow covers are made from Mulberry Silk and are hypoallergenic as they’re naturally resistant to dust mites. But these guys began selling them in their beauty clinic, as they help prevent ageing, by stopping sleep creases and lines and don’t absorb the night cream you’ve so carefully put on your skin before going to sleep so they leave your skin more hydrated – they wanted to create more value for customers skin care purchases.
10. DS Gluten Free Pizza
It looks like pizza, it tastes like pizza, what’s not to love? Eating it, I wouldn’t have picked it out as being free of anything! Which is want you want from a pizza.
Other great people here to check out that I don’t have time to write about before the laptop battery dies!
The wonderful Blazing Salads; my neighbour here today, the College of Naturopathic Medicine have a stand if you’re thinking of starting a course or furthering training, the wonderfully tasty and Vegan-famous Cornucopia, Doireann Barrett from the Gluten Free Kitchen Co., Anneco; a natural mineral make up products (an Irish company), the American Muffin Company; lovely lovely guys as well as a great range of your favourite baked goods, PureBred; another lovely bake-at home range, the Gluten Free Foodie; the best Apple Tart here and on special offer at the expo – get one for your lovely mam/friend/housemate/someone who want to thank for something and drink tea with, and Iswari Superfoods; carefully and considerately sourced, high quality organic superfoods, for when you need to eat little things that make you feel like a superhero.
Replace the things you ‘shouldn’t have’ with things you’re going to love
Because there’s more to a healthy diet than carrots, quinoa and juicing.
11 – 12 october, RDS, Dublin | 8 – 9 november, City hall, Cork
The Allergy & Free From Expo is Ireland’s largest event dedicated to those suffering from allergies and / or leading a gluten free, wheat free, sugar free and / or dairy free life. It is a family oriented expo of information, advice, seminars and demonstrations, as well as a showcase of the best free from suppliers in the country, all offering their latest products for you to try.
“As organisers of The Allergy & Free From Expo, we, through our own experiences, recognise many of the issues you and your family face. We understand how difficult it can be to access credible information and advice that can make a real difference.”
What can you expect
Free From Food: Try and buy the latest free from products, treatments, therapies and services. Exhibitors in Dublin and Cork will be on hand to offer advice and product information for all the family on food and drink, cosmetics, skin care, allergy solutions and more.
The Kitchen: All day, every day professional chefs will be combining and cooking free from ingredients and products. Take full advantage of this opportunity to expand not only your diet and menu, but also to listen to the experts on how to create your own delicious stuff.
Seminar Zone: The Allergy & Free From Expo’s will be packed with free-to-attend seminars from Ireland’s leading experts in allergies, coeliac disease, eczema, asthma and much more. Association representatives will also be available and happy to openly discuss the challenges you face every day.
Read more in our Summer Issue Special on the alternatives out there for you and some of the highlights of the upcoming expo – ‘Gluten Freedom’
11-12 Oct, RDS, Dublin | 8-9 Nov, City hall, Cork?
The Allergy & Free From Expo is Ireland’s largest event dedicated to those with allergies and/or leading a gluten-free, wheat-free, sugar-free and/or dairy-free life. It is a family oriented event with information, advice, seminars and demonstrations, as well as a showcase of the best free from suppliers in the country, all offering their latest products for you to try. And they’ve given us some free tickets to share!
What Can You Look Forward To?
?Cooking Demos with the Experts: Kevin Dundon (Dunbrody Country House Hotel), Erika Doolan (Rustic Stone), Lorraine Fitzmaurice (Blazing Salads), Eddie Eriksson (Cornucopia), Keith Kenny (author of Cookability, Ireland’s only DF & GF cookbook) View cooking demo schedule >
Seminar Speakers will offer the latest research and findings on food, skin and respiratory allergies, coeliac disease, IBS and food labelling amongst others. View seminar schedule >??
Their latest exciting addition to the speaker list is Anna Sonnenberg. Anna is a gluten-free travel writer and consultant based in the US. She writes about where to go, what to eat, and how to stay healthy on the go.
How to Win Tickets
We have 5 Pairs of tickets to give away. And here’s how you can be in with a chance of winning them. Simply…
- Email email@example.com
- Comment on our facebook competition post ?
- Or tweet at @PositiveLifeMag and @TheAllergyExpo?
Telling us which speaker or expert you’re most looking forward to seeing.
We’ll announce winners on Monday 15th of September.
And you want to get a hold of tickets right away, they’re on sale for €10 via theallergyexpo.ie
What IS gluten anyway?
By Elva Carri
With the Allergy and Free-From Expo coming to Dublin and Cork this autumn, we thought we’d take a look at some of the most commonly avoided foods, exciting alternatives and a few tips from the top from expo speakers on how you and your family can really enjoy living freely with your food.
What is gluten anyway?
With lots of people avoiding gluten, it was fun to see Jimmy Kimmel do a short video piece recently where he asked a number of gluten-free enthusiasts what gluten actually is. While all were aware of what foods to avoid, none could answer the question! Gluten is a composite protein made up of gliadin and glutenin and found in grass-related grains. Dr. Tom O’Bryan explains that when it comes to digestion, protein is a little bit like a brick wall. Our digestive system’s role is to take the mortar off the bricks and use the individual bricks for things like building muscle. With a gluten intolerance, your system can’t take the mortar off the bricks. Your brain doesn’t recognise what the brick and mortar combination is and instructs your immune system to produce antibodies to fight it, resulting in the symptoms you’ll be familiar with. The gluten content of wheat has actually gone up by 50% in the last fifty years. More gluten means lighter, fluffier bread, but it’s not making our digestive system as happy as we’d like to keep it.
Where to get the best gluten-free stuff
Ten years ago, sticking to a gluten-free diet might have felt like a chore. Today, it often sets people off on quite the food adventure. Not only are there a lot more products on the market, but there’s also a lot more advice available on what to eat, rather than what to avoid. And Ireland is ahead of the game in some ways. The first entirely free-from gluten kitchen in Europe was The Gluten Free Kitchen Company in Tralee, it’s still the only one of it’s kind in Ireland. It’s all home baked and the perfect spot for food lovers and health conscious alike. The American Muffin Company are a specialist baker based in the UK with a scrumptious wheat free, gluten free classic muffin. In Ireland, the Gluten Free Foodie is a great artisan bakery specialising in wheat free and gluten free handmade breads, cakes and tarts. If you like baking at home, Sowan’s Organic make a great chocolate brownie mix. And if you’re more a fan of savoury treats, Keogh’s make the only Irish produced gluten-free crisps. And you can check them all out in one day at the Expo as they’ll all be exhibiting. (Scroll to the end for a links.)
Get to know your body
If you’ve been living a healthy lifestyle and still find nagging, little problems that you can’t quite figure out how to shake, it might be time for an allergy test. People are often surprised at the simplicity of a small diet change and the positive impact it can have on their whole life. There are a growing number of places you can have an allergy test done, with some even offering a test by post. Some reliable testers with many happy clients testifying to the benefits include Nutricentric and YorkTest. There’ll be information on them and plenty more at the Expo. Along with these guys and some of the exhibitors mentioned above, you’ll also find some great speakers and cookery demonstrations to get you inspired. We spoke to a few of the expo experts for some pre-show tips.
Herbal Helpfulness, Dr. Dilis Clare
Dr. Dilis Clare recommends a tea with nettle, camomile and ribwort to sooth the inflammation of allergies. If you already have a camomile tea, simply snip some nettles and ribwort from the garden and brew it together. Interestingly, the herbs that help hayfever come out at the same time of year as our symptoms. Secondly she advises that because allergies are often an ‘overheating’ of the system, just like a car – check your oil and water! Get some essential fatty acids into your diet and hydrate.
Green Spaghetti, Eddie Eriksson
Working as a vegan chef, Eddie is well used to avoiding dairy and eggs. He says rice flour is his favourite substitute for regular flour, and works on a one to one ratio when subbing it in. And as a great, green alternative to spaghetti, try using a jullienne peeler on a courgette with your spaghetti bolognese. Use it warmed but raw. Much prettier than beige pasta.
Paul Kelly, The Great Irish Bake Off
Paul is a great believer in the importance of food as part of looking after our wellbeing and our state of mind. He recommends trying out new recipes at home for the sheer joy of it. Paul also noted that if you’re changing your diet, be patient with yourself because it’s not easy in the beginning. His advice – do your research, don’t worry about getting things right the first time and experiment until you’ve created dishes you love!
Dr. Denise Kelly, The Gluten-Free Foodie
Dr. Denise Kelly who runs a gluten free bakery and will be speaking at the expo gave us her best tips for alternatives in baking and pizza bases! Wholegrain rice flour has quite a neutral flavour and performs very similarly to wheat flour with the addition of xanthan gum. With savoury pastries, I’ll often add some gram flour. It has higher protein content than most other gluten-free flours and lends a lovely savoury flavour to the product. With products that stale naturally quite quickly, such as scones, I’ll use some potato starch to hold the moisture in the product. Another flour that I’ve discovered relatively recently is sorghum flour which makes a lovely flatbread. And tapioca flour makes a lovely pizza base with very few additional ingredients.
- Dr. Dilis Clare, GP and Medical Herbalist. Fresh insights from her years of experience.
- Dr. Joe FitzGibbon, doctor and author with specialist interests in allergy, fatigue and nutrition.
- Dr. Denise Kelly, Phd in Food Anxiety, will talk about parental stress concerning children eating out.
- Eddie Eriksson of Cornucopia, will look at a ‘flexitarian’ approach to family cooking.
- Lorraine Fitzmaurice of Blazing Salads, pick up some tips for nutritional home cooking.
- Tara Canning: Nutritionist, dietitian and Masterchef.
Gluten Free Greats
- Purebred: Tasty alternatives like raisin toast and chia seed loaf. pure-bred.com
- Sowans: ‘Make at home’ mixes, Ginger Cake, Chocolate Brownies and more. sowansorganic.ie
- The Gluten Free Kitchen Company: A entirely gluten free kitchen, café and delicatessen in Tralee. on.fb.me/1gg19Pf
- Keogh’s Crisps: Gluten-free treats for active kids, busy teens and you. keoghs.ie
- The American Muffin Company: Classic American Muffins with no wheat or gluten. americanmuffin.com
- Gluten Free Foodie: Irish artisan bakery serving the best handmade gluten and wheat free breads, cakes and tarts. theglutenfreefoodie.com
theallergyexpo.ie | 11 – 12 October, RDS, Dublin | 8 – 9 November, City Hall, Cork