Category Archives: Food Allergy Bloggers Conference

Blogger & Consumer Advocacy Conference Wrap Up

I enjoyed another FABulous conference in Denver this past weekend with many of the top food allergy bloggers and consumer advocates.

This conference was the brain child of Jenny Sprague, who continues to run the conference along with Erica Dermer and Keeley McGuire.

Erica Dermer, Jenny Sprague, Keeley McGuire

My son was diagnosed with food allergies 20 years ago…before Facebook, before the Internet, before there was a support group or any food allergy conference, and before any food labeling law. About the only thing that was around was a very kind allergist who gave me copied materials from a non-profit group called Food Allergy Network (through several name iterations, it has now become FARE – Food Allergy Research & Education). It was a lonely place, and my neighbors certainly didn’t understand what it was like to try to raise a child with food allergies.

Going to the conference this weekend, I was most reminded of how grateful I am that there are so many people in the “food allergy world” now. Bloggers, parents, allergists, dietitians – all shared their experience, their knowledge, the latest research and hope. It’s not a group in which I ever aspired to be a member, but as I continue to walk the road of parenting a child – now a young adult – with food allergies, I am so thankful to be able to do so with a large group of friends.

Here are a few highlights from the conference:

All four national food allergy advocate groups – Allergy & Asthma Network, Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT), Kids With Food Allergies (KFA) -along with Kaleo discussed their new initiative to address food allergy bullying called No Appetite for Bullying.

Zac Chelini, a young adult with multiple food allergies, also spoke about his experience with bullying in grade school and beyond. If you’ve experienced bullying, or know someone who has, you can submit the experience on the website  referenced above and help raise awareness of this very important issue.

The expo at the Conference is the best I’ve ever seen. It’s so wonderful to get to sample new products and foods – many of which are top 8 allergen free or more!

Enjoy Life Foods

Enjoy Life Foods is a regular at expos and conferences, and for good reason. Their foods are free of the top 8 plus they are made without casein, potato, sesame and sulfites.

Kiss Freely

Kiss Freely is all natural, gluten and allergen free makeup, lip gloss, face paint and body cream. Their products are free of the top 8 allergens plus free of sesame, shea butter, peas, coconut, avocado and sunflower seed. I love the new body butter I discovered at their booth!

Allergy Superheroes

Allergy Superheroes empowers and protects allergy kids with their t-shirts, slap bracelets, buttons and Teal Pumpkins. Their focus is consistently positive and creative!

Angie & Steve of Sit By Me Bakery

Sit By Me Bakery is a Colorado duo baking without gluten, wheat, dairy, egg, soy, peanut, tree nuts (they do use coconut*), fish, shellfish, seeds, potato, corn, yeast, artificial colors, and preservatives. They provided many of the sweets for the conference. Steve was nice enough to provide a cinnamon roll for my son, Morgan, to try. It was a hit!

Morgan Smith, skipping the last of his meal, to eat a Sit By Me Cinnamon Roll!

The swag bags from the expo are filled with so many wonderful new treats, that I had to stop by my son’s place in Denver to share many of the goodies!

Free2b Foods Founder, David Lurie, and Nicole Smith, AllergicChild

Free2b  never allows peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, gluten/wheat, soy, egg, shellfish, fish, coconut, corn, mustard, or sesame in their plant or products. They are also free from artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, sulphites, GMOs, hydrogenated oils and transfats. David continues to develop new products in an attempt to make them taste even better than their “original” counterparts.

There were probably two dozen more companies and products at the expo, so these are just a sample of a few of them. If you’re in Colorado, you REALLY want to come to this conference to sample all of the exciting new products every year.

Evan Edwards of Kaleo & Nicole Smith of AllergicChild

For the past two years, Kaleo has been a major sponsor of the Conference. Evan Edwards is not only a founder and executive with Kaleo, he’s also a food allergy patient and parent. Which means that he’s just one of us. He participated in many of the sessions, learning about new research, and sharing his experience. It’s wonderful to have a pharmacy executive who is so down-to-earth. Kaleo has doubled in size as they continue to produce the wonderful Auvi-Q epinephrine autoinjector.

In separate blog posts, I will provide you some information that was shared about recent research and how to manage parental and child anxiety surrounding food allergies. Watch for those soon!

Thank you to everyone in attendance for a wonderful weekend!

Food Allergy Bloggers Conference Weekend Wrap Up



The Food Allergy Bloggers Conference was held in Denver, CO this past weekend, and wow was it fun! The conference is more than just about blogging, there’s also a “disease” track that offers wonderful speakers who spoke about research that their children were involved in; doctors who detailed eosinophilic disorders, parenting tweens/teens with food allergies and much more! There are many gluten-free bloggers who also are a large part of the attendees. And the Expo is amazing – so many new products for food allergy individuals and new foods to sample.

I started off the weekend learning more about Instagram Stories, Facebook Live, Snapchat and more! You can see the proof of my learning Snapchat above!!


Jenny Sprague is the Founder and Manager of the conference. It is a year-long mission to put on this great conference, and every year she does more amazing things.

At the Welcome Dinner, we heard from Eric and Evan Edwards, the Founders and Co-Inventors of the Auvi-Q.  They shared their personal experience of having life threatening food allergies – and the fact that their children also have them – hence it is personal for them to bring back the Auvi-Q as soon as possible. And they are planning on doing that before June 2017, at a “very low price” even for those with high deductible insurance policies. I asked them about this price, and it sounds like they are shooting for below $50!! The two met with several of us bloggers to find out more of the issues we’ve had gaining access to epinephrine autoinjectors at a low price. I came away feeling that they really are invested in helping our community, and as they said, “this feels like home” to be with the food allergy world!


Saturday was filled with presentations, not the least of which was my husband, Robert’s, and my presentation on Parenting Your Tween/Teen with Food Allergies.


We shared our experience and stories about raising our son, Morgan, and the various challenges and opportunities we had to empower him as a self-advocate through his tween years of school, campouts, overnight field trips and sleepovers. And through his teen years of homecoming, prom, dating, kissing and alcohol awareness. We had great audience participation and questions.


We were thrilled that our daughter, Michaela, was able to join us for the conference. Also, FAACT was the sponsor of our presentation. Eleanor Garrow, President & CEO of FAACT, is shown above with our family. We were definitely missing our son, Morgan, who is currently studying abroad in England.


One of the best parts of the conference is getting to meet in person bloggers and authors whom I’ve only met online. Above is Cookbook Author Cybele Pascal, on my right, and Allie Bahn, Miss Allergic Reactor, on my left. It’s so great to connect with these wonderful women!


And what would a conference be without a couple of superheroes from Allergy Superheroes? Love these two who marched around the entire conference in capes!

I was able to stay in the Denver Renaissance Hotel, for the first time, because Keith Norman was the first chef willing to take on feeding me! And believe me, that’s no easy feat with my mast cell and eosinophilic esophagitis diagnoses. I have so much appreciation for Keith’s willingness to provide safe food for all attendees.


The conference continued on through Sunday, although our family had other plans, so we had to leave early. It was an amazing weekend, and one that I’m already planning to attend next year!


The Fabulous 2015 Food Allergy Bloggers Conference

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For those of you in attendance, you know what a special weekend we had at the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference in Denver! And for those of you who weren’t there, you were certainly able to keep up with all the activities via social media. We are a talkative bunch on Twitter, Facebook, and every other social media site you can imagine!! The hashtag is #fablogcon if you’d like to catch up on everything that was tweeted.

Robyn O’Brien provided the keynote speech about our food system. She asked the question, “Are we allergic to food or what’s been done to it?” Robyn is a fellow Coloradoan, and we got back 10 years to when her youngest daughter got diagnosed. She has really taken on the food industry, and was a real highlight to my first Bloggers Conference.

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Jenny Sprague, shown here with me, is the organizer and founder of this great conference. She coordinates the entire conference from her home in Maine – and let me tell you that’s a feat in itself. It takes the better part of a year to obtain sponsors, presenters and speakers. And she has the best Expo of any food allergy conference I’ve ever been to. There are so many vendors showing off their new products that it’s easy to get lost for hours learning about new EpiPen cases and “free-from” foods. The swag bags we received were outstanding with samples from numerous vendors.

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We actually received two bags because there were so many products! With my limited diet, my son was SO happy I shared my goody bags with him…he took them back to his dorm to share with numerous friends.

And speaking of Morgan, he and I spoke about College Accommodations for food allergies, along with Jim Long, former senior attorney for the Office of Civil Rights at the Denver branch. Jim is a rock star when it comes to understanding 504 Plans, and being able to mediate a solution for a student with food allergies.



Morgan also got to meet two wonderful chefs during the conference: Cybele Pascal is a favorite cookbook author in our house! Her lettuce wraps are superb. She and Morgan had a lively conversation about how to reach college students with food allergies. Morgan is a big fan of “Tasty”, a video production of recipes. Sounds like something will be forthcoming out of this!


and Keith Norman



Keith’s ability to provide safe foods for so many different dietary needs is amazing. He came in to the Denver Renaissance Hotel and trained their entire staff about cross contact and how to safely feed patrons with food allergies and gluten intolerance. I’m sure the hotel will never be the same – and that’s such a good thing!

So, mark your calendars for next year’s Food Allergy Bloggers Conference. I can’t wait!