In the world of special dietary requirements there is much talk of how clean is clean. Delving into the minutia, constantly, makes one feel a bit cross-eyed not to mention the endless label reading, grilling manufacturers about their facilities, how their lines are maintained and cleaned between each product run wears very quickly.
There are also our interpersonal relationship discussions. What soaps do they use? Did they hand wash or use the dishwasher? Is this a home I feel safe in or wary? Please don’t put your lips close to my face if you’ve eaten something I’m allergic to.
And then there are the blessed weekends when we find a place where we feel like we belong. This last weekend was spent at special dietary needs conferences like Living Without’s Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest in Austin, TX.
What a joy this conference was. It was a bit of a break from treading through the weeds to have the opportunity to pop up and say “hello”.
Hearing people’s stories, was so refreshing, so varied! Some shared stories of with long battles to get their diagnosis, some with being diagnosed years before there was much information or help, and others, just recently diagnosed desperately looking for help with their new normal.
There were some really fantastic vendors, as well. Not only were their products amazing, but they were extremely open about their manufacturing process – which was so refreshing. I love the small companies who are driven by all the right things: openness, quality, and genuine care for their customers. Amazing stuff.
But most of all, I loved seeing the support. How sweet it was to my heart to see someone walk in with their friend or relative tagging along for support! Yes, please! Life has its ups and downs. Not everything is going to go my way or be perfectly suited to me, but if I have the support and care of a friend, it makes all the difference.
Much of what I saw this weekend was a direct result of that very thing. People lost in the minutia, reading labels, going cross-eyed…one day deciding to take a leap and do it for others. The micro and macro are tied and intertwined together, each individual thread embodying its color coming together in a tangled mess to create a beautiful masterpiece.
As featured on Food Allergy Gal.
Product reviews from the Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest coming in next several weeks! Stay tuned.