Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Nourish: Sleeping Beauty Oatmeal Pancakes and Gluten Free Health and Wellness Festival Review

Well the First Annual Gluten Free Health and Wellness Festival in Victoria has come and gone and hopefully I will see it around again next year. It began on Friday, February 21st with a Dinner and talk with Dr. William Davis, author of The Wheat Belly at the new ”Be Love” restaurant. Unfortunately, do to my work schedule and living further up island I couldn’t make it in time for this. Although I’ve never read Wheat Belly, I’ve heard a lot of people quote it and I think it would have been a very interested evening.

The following Saturday was the festival itself. I was able to make it to the start of this; however, having ill family members I wasn’t able to spend as much time as I would have liked to here. I think the expo portion was great. I was pleasantly surprised by how many vendors were there. Having been around the block of the gluten free world for a while now I was familiar with the majority of the products being showcased, but even then I still found some new and tasty things to sample and other offerings.  Several grocery stores were in attendance with tones of free samples … everything from chips and cookies to meats, cereals and baking mixes. I basically went around the conference sampling my way through lunch. It’s a great way to try products that you may have seen on shelves already, but weren’t sure if they were worth the money. You know gluten free food is expensive and you either love it or hate it, so you might as well try the free sample before forking over 8 bucks for a box of cookies.

Holy Crap cereal was there with their brand new endorsement from Chris Hadfield and yummy recipe cards for Blackberry Breakfast Parfait and Zucchini Quinoa Clusters. Udi’s, Glutino, and Wise Bites were on the seen. As well as nutritionists, lifestyle coaches, masseuses, and several make up companies, including Arbonne.

Also my favourite indulgence of late Vij’s frozen ready meals. Vij is famous for his very tasty curry restaurant in Vancouver and he’s even on Canada’s Chopped as a judge. Some of their products say gluten free and some do not. I wrote them to inquire about the safety of their food and they informed me that all of their ingredients are gluten free, however, ‘asafetida’ a spice is commonly cut with wheat. Although the spice doesn’t say it has gluten, they suggested avoiding any of their products with that spice in them. So I have and greatly enjoy their Mother In Laws Pork Curry on one of those days when I just don’t feel like cooking.

Another favourite curry provider was in attendance, Daksha’s Gourmet Spices. She has a wonderful collection of spice mixes for every curry imaginable, as well as chai tea and salsa. I also have a gluten free Indian cooking book by her. Her products are reliably safe and always tasty.

I won’t be able to remember every booth that was there, but there were a few new booths that caught my attention as well. One was Abuelo’s Corn Tortillas made in Courtenay. They were delicious.
The other was “The New Gluten Free” a book on “Demystifying Gluten Free Baking” and online baking school. And as a result of looking into this and keeping an eye on the Celiac Scenes facebook updates, I’ve discovered the authors of this book (two registered dieticians) give in person gluten free baking courses at Creative Occasions, which all sounds pretty fantastic. I would love to try them out one day.

In addition to the expo portion there were also several speakers and yoga classes taking place. Sadly for me, I had troubles finding signs for where the extra events were and what there schedules were so I didn’t get to experience them. As it was a first time running this event there were bound to be a few things that could be improved. For me it would have been signage for events, signage for any vendors that might not be entirely Celiac friendly and bags to put samples in. But these are all things that are easy to improve upon, and I’m sure next years event will do just that.

Finally the weekend wrapped up with another opportunity to here from the author of Wheat Belly that evening.

As the Gluten Free Health and Wellness Festival has officially ended, this will be my last post about it and I will return to my regular blogging. But before I do, the organizers of the festival wanted me to share one last recipe with you. This one comes from a place called Nourish in Victoria near the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific. I’ve been to the Horticulture Centre before which has lovely gardens to walk around, but I have yet to experience Nourish. After checking out their menu though I think I will have to go there soon.

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