Friday, November 8, 2013

FAB Bloggers Convention

I had the enormous pleasure of being able to attend the first annual Food Allergy Bloggers Conference in Las Vegas earlier this week.

It was invigorating, inspiring, and exhausting all at the same time!  Being surrounded by the positive energy of a community that understands the challenges of living with dietary restrictions and is driven to support anyone who is also facing that challenge is uplifting.  The conference was full of people that had to develop a new way of thinking about food because of the way their body reacts to it, and took that challenge into the world with a determination to make sure the road is easier for others to navigate.
I can't describe how inspiring it is to be able to call them my community, this room full of people that are striving to make the world a better and safer place for everyone to live and eat.

The exhausting part? A twofold challenge of trying to push my body to adapt to the time zone difference (Three hours later, THEN toss in daylight savings time for fun. Bedtime is when?!) and trying to push past my normal tendency toward being a shy introvert and remain engaged in and open to the interactions around me.

I love that the community I am part of is so welcoming.  There were no assumptions made about the validity of the dietary restrictions each person had, just a desire to help boost fellow advocates to success.  A desire to help leverage the strengths in the room  to advance awareness and acceptance for anyone who needs to eat in a way outside the socially accepted norms.

Sanofi came through in a big way, sponsoring Chef Keith Norman's culinary ability to deliver allergy friendly fare that was by far the tastiest I have ever had an an allergy function.  Southpoint Hotel is lucky to have someone who recognizes that it is possible to cook safe food that is still flavorful!  So many safe choices at each meal, but not one bland dish in sight!  Many thanks to Sanofi for sponsoring meals, and thanks to Chef Norman for delivering such high quality.

The swag bags (yes- that was plural!) were ridiculously generous.  I think I need another post to talk about the full size samples and products contained within.  I am elated to have increased the allergy friendly library of books and products that I can show to my coaching clients before they decide to buy!  Nothing beats a hands on review to determine if a product suits your needs.

The material covered within the sessions ranged from basic to high level advanced knowledge, all of it flowing to include every level of learner.  Speakers shared facts, ideas, and inspiration to fuel our desire to engage the world around us and pull them along on our allergy aware journey.

I would love to share with you the highlights of the conference information, but there is not a better way to capture it than to search #FABlogcon on twitter, where many of us were live tweeting the information as it came out.  Good stuff.

Here's a glimpse at information covered in just the sessions that I attended:

  • How to build the brand that is YOU.
  • The way your child's age impacts the challenges of managing dietary restrictions.
  • How to create your OWN recipe, free from foods that you can not eat.
  • The fine art of taking pictures that showcase the foods you create.
  • Deciding if self publishing or traditional publishing is right for the book living inside of you.
  • How to craft a professional and attractive blog that lets readers focus on the message rather than the look.
  • Tips for pushing through adversity with your sanity and your smile intact.
  • Mind blowing coverage of research advances with the potential to change the way we handle allergies.
  • How to advocate effectively at any level: personally, locally, or larger.

For detailed breakdown of lessons learned, search the #FABlogcon tag on twitter.  Lots of information nuggets there from those of us live tweeting as we learned.  If you don't do twitter, there's a compilation of blog summaries you can cruise through to learn about the conference from other attendees as well.

I look forward to sharing more with you in the near future!

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