Last weekend I attended the 23rd Annual Celiac Conference in Columbus, Ohio. Fortunately for me the conference was local. Check-in and vendors opened at 7:30 AM and I was there with bells on. I had eaten a small breakfast before heading out not realizing what kind of spread lay ahead waiting for me. Note to self: no need for breakfast next year. I was floored at how many samples were there! I was happy to begin eating my way through the different vendors.
Shortly after I started making my way through, I spotted Jillian, from Udi’s, setting up. I was thrilled to meet Jillian, as she and I chat on Twitter frequently. She truly understands my love for Udi’s and their bagels. Of course I had to sample the muffins and they were spectacular, as usual.
As I was making the rounds, I had the chance to speak with many of the vendors about their products and how they started. I will be writing individual reviews & reports of these encounters over the next few weeks. I was thrilled to speak with David from Outback Steakhouse about the possibility of adding bread to the gluten-free menu at more of their locations. There is a location in Atlanta (Roswell, I believe), that does have an extended gluten-free menu due to the manager or another staff member having Celiac Disease.
The seminar was great for those newly diagnosed or wanting to learn more information about Celiac Disease. The opening speaker was Dr. Jolanda Denham, who just happens to be the GI doctor that my kids go to. Dr. Denham is well versed in diagnosing & treating Celiac Disease.
The next speaker was Dr. Cynthia Rudert with a research update. Dr. Rudert practices in Atlanta, Georgia and was a pleasure to listen to. So nice to hear from doctors that “get” Celiac Disease and won’t stop trying to find the problem until their patient is feeling better. More doctors need to be attending seminars like this just to take notes on how to treat their patients!
Lunch was prepared completely gluten-free, but was a little disappointing. The meal consisted of meat loaf, mashed potatoes, canned carrots and peas, and cupcakes that disappeared before the first lunch session was even finished. It would have been nice to see salad and a vegetarian option offered as well. Many people were taking multiple cupcakes, which in my opinion was just plain rude. There were enough provided for everyone who attended the conference, yet many people were unable to enjoy them.
Before heading out, I made sure to stop by the Celiac Specialties booth to sample the most amazing gluten-free donut I have ever tasted. I kid you not. You can read more about the donut that Jon declared “The best gluten-free food E.V.E.R!” here.