Last weekend I had the awesome opportunity to attend FABlogCon in Las Vegas. The was the second year for the conference, but it was the first year I attended. Fellow food allergy mamas and bloggers, Jenny Sprague and Homa Woodrum planned the WHOLE thing (Thanks to both of you for this wonderful event!).
I'm sure you and I both have been to enough conferences to know what they're all about. You usually sit a lot, listen to speakers, make new contacts, and hopefully enjoy a nice hotel bed all to yourself (and I DID enjoy that bed all to myself...I missed my little ones of course, but I LOVED sleeping!).
But this conference was different.
All the attendees had a common bond that was very personal. Everyone was there to learn, share and connect about food allergies and sensitivities, or "custom eaters" as I've heard it called lately.
For me, this conference was all about:
Connecting with the food allergy community
The food allergy community at this conference included food allergy parents, bloggers, organizations and great brands who you and I probably use every day!
Here's the full sponsor list and here are some quick tidbits from a few great companies who attended:
- Do you ever eat SunCups? They're just like Reese's PB cups, but they're made with Sunbutter instead. We can't eat them because they contain milk. But I just heard at the conference from Kate that SunCups is coming out with a DAIRY-FREE version. YAY!
- Dave Bloom from SnackSafely.com said that this food allergy guide was downloaded over 60,000 times this month. They are coming out with a new service that includes allergen profiles for 11 allergens. You will be able to make a profile for each of your family members with food allergies, and find safe snacks based on each person's allergens they avoid. I can't wait since the guide will include sesame. It's one of our most difficult allergens to avoid since companies are not required to label for it in the U.S.!!
- Joel Warady from Enjoy Life Foods said that this allergy-friendly company tests its products for allergens from supplier (i.e. - the companies that provide them with their ingredients) to the finished product (when you bite into that cookie). I don't know about you, but I'm thankful that this company exists - it makes my life easier.
Even though we've been managing Little Guy's food allergies for 4 years now, there's always something new to learn. I knew I could learn a lot from this amazing conference. I wish I could have attended ALL the sessions. There were so many great sessions about food allergy management, nutrition and the teen years that I missed. However, I did learn a few things like:
- Hanson Watkins from Indie Candy had a great tip on how to get in touch with a company with food allergy questions. She suggested calling the Marketing department, NOT customer service, if you can't seem to get the answers you need in a phone call.
- Dr. Ruchi Gupta, a well-known food allergy research and author of The Food Allergy Experience (affiliate link) showed us her new awareness video and presented recent research. Fact I didn't know: The older age of a person at the time of diagnosis is associated with a more severe reaction.
I attended a number of blog related sessions where I learned some great blogging tips. There are too many great sessions, bloggers and people to even name here! I hope take what I learned at the conference and make this blog a great resource for you!
Here are a few fun pictures from the conference:
|Colette Martin setting up her camera for a food photography session.|
|Cheryl Viirand from Freedible, Joel Warady from Enjoy Life and Homa Woodrum, conference planner extraordinaire!|
|I had to take a photo with Kyle Dine and the puppets! Little Guy was VERY impressed.|
|Amazing cookies From Cybele Pascal. I like making my own cookies, but buying them off the shelf is SO helpful to this busy Mom. I can't wait to find these at Whole Foods!|
|Oh, and take a look at the awesome bags of goodies we received. I had to ship this home since I couldn't fit it in my suitcase! Thanks to all the sponsors for these great items.|
If you deal with food allergies in your family, do you have a "go to" group who just "gets it"? I sure felt like I did at this conference!