Tag Archives: being happy

Fresh Jax: Gluten Free Goodness

gluten free jacksonville fresh jaxI was recently contacted by Jason at FreshJax to stop by and see their almost one year old store. I have known about FreshJax for a few years now through their strong presence at the Riverside Arts Market and just hadn’t had the time to make it to their store. Prior to opening their store they invited me to a wonderful gluten-free dairy free meal that was delicious.  Fresh Jax is the brain child of one of the sweetest couples you will meet, Jason and Hilary.

As I walked in I was kindly greeted by one of 2 staff working at the counter. I asked for Jason and was asked if I would like a tour while I waited.

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jaxAs I approached the cafe counter I could quickly see chili, broccoli soup, donuts, kale wraps, yoga bars, a TON of amazing spices and a nice menu of fresh to order food options. The thing that is so hard to believe is that their entire menu is clean and the ENTIRE STORE IS GMO-FREE, GLUTEN-FREE AND DAIRY-FREE. No joke! Staff are not even allowed to come in with gluten-containing foods.gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

How do they do it?? They use a ton of locally sources fruits and vegetables and use a variety of replacement options such as organic coconut milk and organic maple syrup.  They also have a vast array of spices that they create in house.  A sample of their amazing spices include:

  • Bold Bayou perfect for pasta, potatoes, corn on the cob or as a marinade. It is made from Ancho Peppers so it is not too spicy but has a nice flavor.gluten free jacksonville fresh jax
  • Grill Master: one of their most popular seasonings this time of year as people start firing up their grills. Great on burgers!gluten free jacksonville fresh jax
  • Their signature coconut bacon that tastes just like bacon.  Great to add to on saladsgluten free jacksonville fresh jax
  • Thai Coconut Curry includes real coconut and thai spices
  • Himalayan Sea Saltgluten free jacksonville fresh jax
  • Italian Herb Blendgluten free jacksonville fresh jax
  • A tofu scramble spice that makes tofu taste just like scrambled eggsgluten free jacksonville fresh jax

They also have an entire case full of Kambucha and turmeric drinks. Turmeric is all the rage right now for its ability to decrease inflammation in the body which is very helpful for those of us living with Celiac Disease and other gluten-related illnesses.

They support a ton of local products such as 5 Points Candle Co. – they are organic soybean food grade essential oil with wood wick and a 60 hour burn. They are colorless so you are not breathing artificial coloring as they burn.

I tried their sushi bowl which is made of home made pickled veggies, carrots, ginger, seasoned rice with wasabi and cashew cream, black sesame seeds and guacamole. The flavors of the pickled veggies and the cream and guacamole make you forget that there isn’t ahi tuna in it. It was delicious and so fresh!gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

In addition to the cafe, spices and local products they also have a yoga studio attached. They have thought of everything! They offer 40 classes a month and they pride themselves on providing restorative yoga for every body! It is a beautiful space and you can purchase a class pass or a regular membership. They also host cooking classes and movie nights.gluten free jacksonville fresh jaxgluten free jacksonville fresh jax

They recently started catering office lunches to provide a healthy option during work meetings.  They are now offering boxed lunches for $15 per person that includes a kale wrap, yoga bar, cashew cheese and healthy chips, clean pickle and a pass for a free yoga class!  Here is an example of the yoga wrap they use for their wraps.

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

I love this place! Not only is it a really nice environment, it is nice to support a business that is owned by passionate people who love what they do and believe and live out the mission of their organization. As I left I tried the chocolate donut with blueberry jelly.

gluten free jacksonville fresh jaxOMG! I was just thinking about how much I miss Dunkin Donuts chocolate donuts and this hit the spot and tasted just like it and yes it is organic, gluten-free and dairy free (I seriously asked 3 or 4 times because I couldn’t believe it).gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

If you are in the area- they are near 2-95 and Gate Parkway- I suggest you stop by.  Not only is it delicious but you are supporting this great couple who are truly following their dream.  gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

Update: As of June 30th Fresh Jax has announced that they will be closing their store. However, you can still find all of their delicious spices and food at the Riverside Arts Market each Saturday.

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What is Love?

Behind everyone that has celiac disease is someone that loves them and wants them to be happy and healthy.  I am lucky that I have a great support system.  However, my boyfriend J Ry goes above and beyond sometimes sacrificing his own taste buds for my benefit.

What does he do you ask?

– Brings me gluten-free/dairy-free Sweet Pete’s caramels
– Buys me awesome treats during holidays from Cookie Momsters
– Asks the server not to put bread on the table at the beginning of a meal
– Asks the server if there is a gluten-free menu if I am late to dinner or while I have stepped away
– Makes me gluten-free/dairy-free pizza (yes even including the soy cheese on top) and eating it with me
– Shares gluten-free/dairy-free pizza with me from Mellow Mushroom
– Understands what “gluten” is and what “casein” is- sometimes even calling me from the grocery store to under stand what I can and can’t have
– Never complains that he has to hear my story over and over again when we are in new company and people ask me about celiac disease or when I have to give my usual statement about what I can and can’t have to restaurants
– Explains my needs to his family in Chicago when I go to visit- to the extent that they have cooked an entire meal gluten-free just because of me

Love is when people do things for you without you having to ask them.  I have never asked him to do any of these things, but he does them anyway.  I love you J Ry!

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What I am Thankful For

As we begin the holiday season, I find I must reflect on what I am thankful for as a person living with Celiac Disease.  Thanksgiving marks my 2 year anniversary of being diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  I have learned so much and have so much to be thankful for.  Jacksonville, FL has been making enormous strides during this time.  Restaurants are becoming more aware and making accommodations and new restaurants and bakeries are popping up all over the scene.  As with any list I post, this is not all-inclusive and is based on my own opinions.  I would love to know what you are most thankful for as a gluten-free diner.

1.  Cookie Momsters: This comes first only because their Chocolate Silk Pie is waiting to be devoured after the turkey this afternoon.  This is my favorite gluten-free bakery.  They are gluten-free and casein-free.  When I need to splurge (and what girl doesn’t) this is my favorite place to retreat for a Twinkie, cookie sandwich, red-velvet cupcake or a cinnamon bun.


2. Veggie Bin: For $25 I receive locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables delivered to my house every other Thursday. I LOVE IT!  So far I have been challenged with vegetables I have never cooked with before such as Kale, Bok Choy, and Eggplant to name a few.  I feel so good because this is forcing me to get creative with my cooking and is probably safer for me than many store-bought pre-made meals.  My crock pot has never been so busy.

3. People that give: A few months ago I sent out a request for donations for a basket I was putting together for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and had a great response!  Special thanks to the generosity of PF Changs, Sweet Pete’s, Native Sun, The Veggie Bin, and My Mom.

4. Local restaurants who are doing it right: Bistro Aix, Chew, Orsay, Tacolu, Royal Palm Village Wine and Tapas

 

5. Chain restaurants who are doing it right: Bonefish Grill, PF Changs and Mellow Mushroom

 

6. Jason’s Deli– GLUTEN FREE BREAD, need I say more.

7.  My Mom: She has done research online, saved me a spot on her grill, made me special side dishes and cared more than one person could care.  She cares to the point she feels bad if she eats something decadent in front of me.   She makes Thanksgiving special for me and always makes sure I am well fed and not glutenated.

8. YOU: I would not be where I am today without the things I have learned along the way.  Your comments, your support (on this blog and on our Facebook page) have been tremendous.  I have learned so much and hope to continue to learn.  I am no expert, I just play one on the internet. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! What are you thankful for?

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5 things I have learned in 5 months

1.  I am happier! My celiac disease is now somewhat under control.  My moodiness has decreased tremendously; I am happier and able to juggle a lot more work.  Today my boss made a comment that something has changed for the better with me and I know it is because I have my celiac disease somewhat under control.  I feel like I am more loving to my boyfriend, family and friends.  Jennifer the grouch isn’t around as much anymore and the small bouts of depression are gone.

2.  I no longer need a nap after exercising.  I love to exercise, play sports and be outside; since I have adjusted my eating I have more energy.  For the first time in 3 years, I feel great, physically, about running in the Gate River Run this weekend.  I can’t wait.  I no longer have to take naps after exercising for 30 minutes or longer and when I play volleyball I feel so much stronger and more powerful.

3.  I cannot eat out as much as I used to.  Through a process of suffering, I am slowly illiminating where I can eat out in Jacksonville.  Even when I talk to a waiter or chef there is still no guarantee that the food will be gluten free.  Cross contamination is everywhere and not everyone is educated about the disease and the ingredients that are harmful.

4.  My shopping bill has doubled.  There is no way to sugar coat it, gluten free products are more expensive.  I also feel that like “all natural” or “organic”, “gluten free” is becoming the new HIP term in shopping that makes foods more expensive.  As much as I love Glutino products and feel so safe with them, their products cost almost 3 times as much as the gluten- containing comparison brands and I feel like I get half the amount of food. 

5.  There is so much I CAN eat. Amen for: olives, cheese, steak, milk, okra, rice noodles, potatoes, corn on the cob, sausage, tomatoes, avocados, black beans, pickles, vodka, wine, peanuts, broccoli, spinach, apples, pears, mushrooms, eggs, yogurt, chicken, snickers bars, diet coke, sprite, port, grapes, corn chex, green beans as well as all of the gluten free options!

Wow, keeping this to 5 was hard.  Can’t wait for 6 things I have learned in 6 months

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