Thursday, November 7, 2013

We Are United #FABlogcon

I am still feeling the positive energy from the first annual Food Blogger Conference. I am exhausted – jet lag, changing back from daylight savings time, and behaving like an extrovert when I am really an introvert all contributed to that. But I am also energized.

Bringing together bloggers, authors, doctors, advocates, educators, and vendors who are connected by severe food restrictions was the brainchild of Jenny Sprague and it was a resounding success. As we were leaving the conference a friend said, “I hope she does it again next year,” and my response was, “Oh, she’s doing it again!” So, Jenny, don’t prove me wrong on that!

There is something cathartic about being surrounded by people who “get it.”

Despite the fact that some of us there were advocating for ourselves while others have children or loved ones with food restrictions…

And despite the fact that our food-related issues ran the gamut from anaphylactic allergies, to celiac disease, to eosinophilic esophagitis, to intolerances, to a plethora of other less-well-known illnesses…

And despite the fact that some of us have been managing food restrictions for years, others just received a diagnosis, and yet others are on a seemingly never-ending quest for a diagnosis…

We are all united by the desire to drive awareness, acceptance, and accommodation of severe food restrictions.

Acceptance was everywhere. Not one person questioned another’s need to avoid a particular food – for any reason. We didn’t look at each other suspiciously. No one asked pesky judgmental questions and no one suggested that they knew better what would work for your body than you. No one suggested that only “life-threatening” food allergies should be prioritized. And we all had each other’s backs.

I wish everyone who visits this blog could have been there. In case you weren’t, here’s a bit of what you missed:

The first session with the talented and funny Tess Masters, the straight-talking Joel Warady, and marketing genius Annelies Zijderveld was one of my favorites.

I didn’t bring enough Kleenex for this session on Facing Adversity with a Smile with Susan Weissman, Tiffany Glass, and Jenny. I think it’s fair to say that many in the food allergy community have had way more than their fair share of difficulties – including many non-food-related illnesses and other losses – yet, this is a group that moves forward triumphantly!

Henry Ehrlich made us laugh and gave us hope during his keynote address.

And we ate well. Very well. As always, I brought a stash of safe snacks, just in case. I didn't need them, and I didn't even need to open a box of the Enjoy Life cookies Joel shared with us. Even the restaurants had a top-8 allergen-free menu:

Before I go, I must give a shout-out to the fabulous Homa Woodrum. While she expertly avoided all stages and cameras she was busy making everything work behind the scenes. FABlogcon wouldn’t have happened without you Homa!

If you didn’t happen to win one of the fabulous prizes at FABlogcon (or even if you did) be sure to enter to win the Hamilton Beach blender giveaway – you have a week to enter.


Zen Honeycutt said...

Hi! Thanks for your recap! Looks great!! Just wondering if there was a speak on GMOs and glyphosate? (Roundup?) Dr. Oz just did a great piece o pesticides connected with our children's illnesses and if you look up "Anthony Samsel" and "Dr. Stephanie Seneff" or " Dr. Ron Huber" you will find videos about how GMO foreign proteins and Glyphosate are linked now to destroying the gut bacteria which protects the stomach lining, causes leaky gut and allergies...and a lot more illness too because they weaken the immune system. My sons has life threatening allergies and one went away and the other is vastly improved after eating organic for a year. Eating organic saves lives.

Gratefulfoodie said...

Colette, you nailed it. Great recap. I sooo regret missing Tiffany's, Jenny and Susan's talk. I needed to be in the other session. I believe it was taped right?

You truly captured the spirit of the event and you also made it a great moment in time.

Jean | said...

Colette, wish I could have been there. Sounds wonderful! I love that everyone was comfortable, no judgmental nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Colette, this recap is wonderful. You captured the atmosphere perfectly in the title - We Are United!

Colette said...

Zen, no, there wasn't -- but that sure would be a great topic for next year!

Caroline, yes it was taped.

Jean, I hope you can join us next year!

Alisa said...

I missed the talk on facing adversity, but heard it was a good one! It would have been great to hear Jenny speak.

Excellent job on the photography session Colette!

Unknown said...

Thanks Colette for sharing your thoughts, photos and memories from the conference. I can tell this was an inspiring few days and posts like yours will continue to fuel that inspiration.

Get some rest!

Colette said...

Joanne, we MISSED you!!!

Alisa, thanks so much. I enjoyed your session as well!