November was a magical month for me since I was at Disney for 4 days but also because I attended the Food Allergy and Celiac Convention (FACCWDW) held at Walt Disney World at the Coronado Springs Resort on November 22, 2014.
One of the most magical experiences was the Brer’s Breakfast Buffet. This allergy friendly breakfast was one of many conference highlights. Every menu item was free of the eight major allergens and the Mickey waffles were indeed my favorite item. I had several helpings! I also enjoyed the oatmeal cups from Canyon Oats and the allergy friendly baked goods including muffins and cornbread.
As a volunteer for the event I assisted speakers throughout the day. Chef Gary Jones, WDW Culinary Dietary Specialist, gave a great overview of Disney’s commitment to cooking for people with allergies. In 2013 WDW served 650,000 people with food allergies. Jones was applauded when he said,“You should be able to eat good food too.”
Other speakers included Amy Brown from WellAmy.com who provided research and tips on menu planning to reduce toxins. Kate Hufnagel, founder of the Diary of Ana Phylaxis, gave an empowering and interactive presentation on living with food allergies, especially as adults. From Anne Roland Lee, Director of Nutritional Services for Schar USA, I learned a lot about nutrition and food additives and how these additives affect people with food allergies.
Rounding out this excellent conference were the variety of vendors. Some of my favorites included Enjoy Life Foods which provided samples from its menu of tasty products all of which are free from the “top eight” allergens. The Artisan Tavola introduced me to new pastas made from ancient grains and beans. Babycakes NYC has been a favorite for many years and at FACC I tried new goodies including delicious cinnamon buns.
FACCWDW was an amazing event, especially in light of the fact that this was the first annual conference! I am blown away by the amount of information, events and vendors attending this 1st annual event and offer kudos to the two organizers Sarah Norris of Gluten-Free Dairy-Free at WDW and Laurie Sadowski, author of the gluten-free, allergy-friendly cookbook series The Allergy-Free Cook. I can’t thank Sarah and Laurie enough for organizing the event and welcoming me to the conference. It was truly a magical weekend meeting and sharing similar stores with others diagnosed with food allergies, learning from experts, and getting to know new dairy free, allergy friendly products.