Free From Festival – London

Free From Comes To London

Have seen quite a lot about these festivals from fellow bloggers, so when one was coming to London I decided to pop along and have a look. The ethos of the event was ” The UK’s first Gluten, Dairy and Refined Sugar – free Christmas Food Festival” I had been to a few other gluten free events, and although the range of food on offer was vast, it was all very carb heavy. Keeping an open mind I went along to see what was on offer here. I was not disappointed, had a great afternoon and as you will see by the pictures, this is big business in the coming years I think.

Why Are Free From Foods All The Rage?

It is a question which is quite easy to answer really. Most people who avoid certain food types do so because of a medical need. There are many theories as to why these intolerance’s are on the increase, and you certainly can’t argue with the numbers. I found a good article explaining some of the theories  ➡ Here

Coeliacs are not able to eat gluten, and if they do they become quite ill as a result. As I already have one auto immune condition, I like to keep up to speed on the others which could one day be coming my way! A good friend of mine has Type 1 and Coeliacs disease, I have seen first hand how difficult this can be when eating out etc.

People who are lactose intolerant cannot eat dairy products. This is another medical condition which can make life very difficult. It is not as simple as not having milk in your tea, the effects are much further reaching than that for sufferers.

If you go by main stream media then diabetics mustn’t eat refined sugar, although not strictly true, it is a regarded rule of thumb. 

It’s A Growing Market

There is also a huge market in the Free From arena for people who choose to eat a certain way. Many vegans avoid the food groups which are on ”Free From” sale here today. All in all this way of eating is an emerging market, one which I can see growing in the coming years.

As a Type 1 Diabetic I was hoping, in vain, that there would be a good selection of carb free, or at least low carb alternatives on show here. 

Have a look at the links below for some more reading on Coeliacs disease and Lactose Intolerance.

➡ Coeliac UK

➡ Dairy Intolerance – Allergy UK

The Venue

This event was held at Oval Space in London. A great venue with many interesting events throughout the year.

The area where the Free From event was taking place was a large room set out with stalls all around the perimeter and in the middle. There was a stage at the far end with various artists playing live music, people give talks and demonstrations of products taking place.

➡ Oval Space

The Exhibitors

There were over 15 different companies here all showing their wares. We walked around a few times and took the opportunity to speak with the stall holders and learn about the products on offer. 

Lots and lots of gluten free products are available at these events. It really is a far cry from the NHS loaves of bread you can get on prescription. I did note however that these foods are considerably more expensive than the foods we all take for granted from the supermarkets. 

Many tasters were on offer, and as a Type 1 Diabetic it really didn’t do my blood sugars any good at all. Walking about grazing on 10g carbs here, 15g there soon took its toll on me!

Do check out some of the exhibitors websites, they are small companies trying to get a great product out there, go ahead and give them some support

 ➡ Free From Festival Exhibitors

Refined Sugar Free

Now although this may sound great for a diabetic, it really isn’t that good. The foods on offer were still very high in carbs and as such would have an impact on my blood sugar levels. Obviously cutting refined sugar from anyone’s diet can only be a good thing, so these products do have a place in the market in my opinion.

I did come across one stall doing some low carb breads and flatbreads. The tasters on offer were very good, the bread as moist and fresh as you would get from a bakers. The bread rolls containing just 4g carbs each, a huge improvement on white bread rolls of a similar size, they are up to 45g carbs each roll.

Now I am no baker but even I was convinced to buy a packet mix for the bread rolls and another one for the flatbreads! Will let you know how they turn out when I get round to making them!

➡ Treat Website

A Little Something For Pudding

Even although I have type one diabetes, I still love a dessert. That’s what insulin is made for right?

The array of treats on offer was amazing, and judging by the tasters, Free From doesn’t have to mean tasteless!

Free
Mmmmm Cakes

A great stall here was offering tasters of a chocolate pudding and a rice pudding. These were amazing. They used a coconut base so were lower in carbs than the taste would suggest. They are dairy, soya and gluten free. If you come across them do try them out they are delicious.

➡ The Coconut Collaborative

 

All in all we had a great afternoon at this event. I will be keeping my eyes peeled for more of these events in 2017.

I really hope that moving forward some low carb events start to pop up, these would be very popular with the diabetic community.

For now

Take care, allergies are out there!!

Type1Bri

 

 

One thought on “Free From Festival – London

  • […] It only seems like five minutes ago that I was at the last Free From Festival in London. That was a great event and was packed to the rafters last year. As soon as I heard the festival was back in London I made sure to save the date. Please take a moment to have a look back at my review from last year’s festival, in there I explain all about these events and the ever-growing popularity of this way of eating.  ➡ 2016 Free From Festival […]

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