As I travel nationwide promoting the Gluten Free Calendar slogan, Unity in the Gluten Free Community™ I soon realized that it was something that must be even more solid in my own community first. It has been a pleasure getting to know each of the wonderful gluten free and health bloggers, medical experts and talented chefs and entrepreneurs in Arizona. I thought it would be great to gather a group of us together to discuss what we can do to increase the unity in our community. I was excited that Nourish 123 and the owner Kirstin Carey, were so generous in offering their restaurant as our dinner host for the evening. Dinner, dessert and great company were all a part of the evening. The food was absolutely fantastic!! My favorite thing was the cherry chicken but the raw lemon bars and dairy free truffles were absolutely to die for as well! I loved the added cayenne in the truffles for an extra kick. Those who attended really care about our local and nationwide gluten free community so it was a fantastic evening full of great ideas and valuable information. Ken Scheer of Rock a Healthy Lifestyle, Alysa Bajenaru of Inspired RD, Valerie Demetros of Gluten Free in AZ, Kirsten Carey of Nourish 123, Juli LaPorte of Can I Eat Here, Erica Dermer of Celiac and the Beast, and Shayna Coburn M.A. and Doctoral Candidate in Clinical Psychology from Arizona State University as well as a contributor at Delight Gluten Free and most recently, here at Gluten Free Frenzy were the amazing guests for the evening. Each of these people has done so much for the celiac and gluten free communities! I am impressed on a daily basis with their knowledge and passion. One wonderful individual that we missed at our dinner, who was unfortunately not able to attend was the lovely Rhonda Peters of Rhondascooking.com. I wanted to give her honorary mention though she couldn’t attend because she has been a crucial voice in the gluten free social media world, in her community and nationwide. Ken is always putting together one of his famous Gluten Free Foodie Tours which bring our community together over a wonderful meal and help us better understand topics that are so crucial to our different diagnosis’ Alysa is the expert in all things that fall under the category of nutritious living. She truly does “inspire” everyone who knows her or reads her blog. Valerie is always full of wonderful insight and has a zen quality about her that makes you feel calm and peaceful, something each of us could use a little more of. Kirsten is the queen of dreaming up the best raw, gluten free, dairy free and so many other allergen friendly dishes. Her restaurant is a safe haven for our community and we are ever grateful for her willingness to work so hard each day on our behalf. Juli is full of life, energy and zest. She is so excited to help those who need it, find safe places to dine out. Erica is one of the most real people you will ever meet. She is so genuinely concerned about each and everyone of her readers and her compassion is felt even through a computer screen or mobile device. Shayna is so incredibly passionate and one of the most driven people I have met to help others truly understand the emotional side of celiac diagnosis. I am so excited for all she has to bring to our community.
I feel so blessed to be surrounded by these inspiring individuals. They make me want to be better and do more in and for my celiac community. I look forward to this annual dinner with them and others as the community grows each year!