Tag Archives: gluten free bakery in jacksonville

Native Sun Jacksonville

gluten free jacksonville native sunThis past month, I had the opportunity to meet with Native Sun Natural Foods Market to discuss their celiac safe bakery, gluten-free product vetting, and more. As background, Native Sun opened its first grocery store in Jacksonville over twenty years ago. Since then, it has grown to three neighborhood stores and is known around town for its all organic produce selection, health minded and organic deli, delicious juice and smoothie bar, and the best celiac friendly bakery in town. They are truly Jacksonville’s neighborhood grocer!

Gluten Free Jacksonville Native Sun

Whether you were recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease or are trying to prepare a gluten free meal for a friend or family member, I highly recommend making a trip to Native Sun. After meeting with their team, I really believe that they are the number one resource in the JAX community for products and tips on how to live a gluten-free lifestyle. Ginny Nehring, who is Native Sun’s Manager of Research and Education, is just one of the many resources available to you when shopping at Native Sun. Ever since her middle son was diagnosed with Celiac Disease twenty years ago, Ginny has been researching gluten-free products and spearheading Celiac Disease community education around Jacksonville. I admire Ginny for her dedication to our community and the 1:1 time she spends with newly diagnosed gluten-free families. One of the services she offers at Native Sun is hosting tours to those newly diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Tours can include education on Native Sun’s color coded in-store labeling, recommending some of her favorite products, and can provide much needed comfort to those who are trying to navigate a new lifestyle and diet. Ginny shared with me that people often hear, “Celiac Disease” and fear that they can never eat their favorite foods again like pizza, pasta, or cake. When she walks them through the aisles and shows them donuts, fritters, muffins, pizza crust, pasta and breads that are celiac safe, it can open a whole new world of enjoyable options!

Native Sun’s new product vetting process is also impressive. As the Manager of Research and Education, Ginny contacts every single gluten-free product manufacturer and researches their cross-contamination practices. As a result, Native Sun will not label a product gluten-free unless it has passed a rigorous process that ensures it is Celiac safe. Ginny shared that some products will be labeled by the manufacturer as “gluten-free” but after researching cross contamination practices, Native Sun will discover that they do not meet their gluten-free labeling standards.

It was Ginny’s idea to create the dedicated gluten-free bakery at Native Sun. She had perfected many of the recipes in her home for her son and wanted to share them with the community. It’s important to mention that when I say, “gluten-free bakery,” I mean 100% gluten free Celiac safe bakery—it’s dedicated gluten-free. Their bakery items include my favorite oatmeal cream pie made with purity protocol oatmeal, carrot cake, banana bread, and even a pecan pie.

In addition to what we put in our body, I had the opportunity to talk to Ginny about the cosmetics and skincare products that we often use. Ginny shared with me that we need to be concerned about the cosmetics we put on our skin and in our hair. One of her favorite products is a skincare line called Derma E—all items are gluten free. After our meeting, I tried one of the Derma-E face serums and absolutely loved it! I had to get used to the sunscreen type consistency, but it has done wonders for smoothing out my skin! Ginny assured me that not all their products share that consistency!

Gluten Free Jacksonville Native SunSome of the items Ginny shared with me that I really want to highlight are these new Udi’s bread you do not need to toast! This is a game changer!

Lastly, I compiled some of my favorite gluten-free items that are available at Native Sun! If you are looking to set up a meeting with Ginny you can contact the store by phone and request a store tour or stop by and complete a Product Knowledge Enhancement Tour form and she will contact you, usually within 24 hours to set up a time to meet with you at your convenience.

Italian night! This gluten-free pasta tastes just like the real thing and the recipe for Manicotti is already on the box! The pasta is made in Italy. I also suggest pairing the cheesy bites. You might even trick your gluten eating friends.

Gluten Free Jacksonville Native SunMexican is the easiest to eat gluten-free and you can feel safe doing it at Native Sun even this margarita mix is safe!

Have you been to Native Sun? Have you ever taken one of Ginny’s tours?

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May is Celiac Awareness Month

gluten free jacksonville may is celiac awareness monthIt is amazing how far Celiac Disease Awareness has come in the almost 10 years since I was diagnosed.  There are a few things I am happy about and a few things I would LOVE to see change as we try to raise awareness of Celiac Disease.

For those of you new to the Celiac world- according to The University of Chicago Medicine Celiac Disease Center, Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive process of the small intestine. When a person who has celiac disease consumes gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, the individual’s immune system responds by attacking the small intestine
and inhibiting the absorption of important nutrients into the body. Undiagnosed and untreated, celiac disease can lead to the development of other autoimmune disorders, as well as osteoporosis, infertility, neurological conditions and in rare cases, cancer.

Things that make me happy about where we have come with Celiac Awareness:

  1. Every grocery store has some type of gluten free offering beyond just Whole Foods and specialty stores.
    gluten free jacksonville may is celiac awareness month gluten free jacksonville may is celiac awareness month
  2. Restaurants are beginning to educate their staff better to avoid cross contamination.
  3. Friends and family care and actually want to learn what “gluten-free” means- sometimes even taking steps to avoid cross contamination and make you a meal.
  4. We are seeing more and more restaurants that are dedicated gluten-free (no worries about cross contamination!!)
  5. Sooo many recipes online!!!  I have found the joy of cooking through this diagnosis.gluten free jacksonville may is celiac awareness month
  6. Travel has gotten so much easier.  I have enjoyed trips on Cruises to the Caribbean, Ireland and Italy that were amazing and I didn’t go hungry once!gluten free jacksonville may is celiac awareness month

Things I would LOVE to see changed about Celiac Awareness:

  1. The question: is this a serious allergy when I say I am “gluten-free” and “living with Celiac Disease.”  I dream of a day when I see “gluten-free” on the menu and I don’t have to say a word afterwards.  I hate to say it but french fries fried in the same oil as breaded chicken fingers should not be labeled gluten-free.
  2.   Stop making fun of the gluten-free diet.  Yes there is a large percent of the population who use gluten-free as a diet tactic but there is an even larger group of people- approximately 3 million- that have to follow this diet to stay alive.
    gluten free jacksonville may is celiac awareness month
  3.  Incorporate a laws- similar to what these countries have done– to protect people living with Celiac Disease.
  4. Stop using gluten-free labeling as a marketing tactic.  There are laws in place but there is no one enforcing these laws.
  5. Provide better subsidies for those of us living with Celiac Disease.  Gluten-free goods are very expensive. When I went gluten-free my grocery bill per week was $50 more expensive and continues to be that way.  Thank goodness I live near a Trader Joes!
  6. Educate more primary care physicians on the signs and symptoms of Celiac Disease.  When I was diagnosed, almost 10 years ago, my physician was very skeptical when I asked to be tested for Celiac Disease.  I had done a ton of research online and that was the only thing I could find that matched my symptoms. She is one of the top doctors in our area and she thought it was a waste of time.  But she did it and was extremely supportive when the results came back.

What has your experience with Celiac Disease been?

Resources:

  1. University of Chicago Medicine – Celiac Disease Center
  2. Celiac Disease Foundation
  3. Beyond Celiac

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Gluten Free Delights

Recently, Kristy Luschen the owner of Gluten Free Delights Florida reached out to me about trying some of her gluten-free desserts.  She recently started her gluten-free dessert company and wants to get the word out to those following a gluten-free diet as well as restaurants who are looking for a gluten-free option at their restaurant.

gluten free jacksonville gluten free delights Kristy brought me a strawberry cream cake, chocolate cake with salted caramel frosting, and a cheesecake topped with dark chocolate.  They sounded (and looked) delicious! Since her desserts also have dairy (I am dairy free too) I had to rely on my go-to taste tester: my husband!

gluten free jacksonville gluten free delights Kristy went gluten-free a while back when she thought she may have had gluten-sensitivity or Celiac Disease.  During that time she experimented with different gluten-free desserts and other recipes. While her kitchen is not designated gluten-free she makes every effort to clean, make sure all gluten-containing ingredients are out of sight and avoid cross contamination.

gluten free jacksonville gluten free delights Chocolate salted caramel

My husband found this one tasty- the icing had a salty taste which really balanced out the chocolate cake.  The cake could be a little bit more moist (this is always a challenge with gluten-free cakes) or just pair with a glass of milk or add a bit more icing 🙂 He loved the flavor of the icing.

gluten free jacksonville gluten free delightsStrawberry Cream Cake
This was my husband’s favorite so far and overall.  He said it was SO GOOD. My husband stated that it reminded him of the strawberry cake that they have at French Pantry that is so delicious.  It has a nice fruity creamy strawberry taste and has real strawberry chunks.  My husband said it tasted really fresh.

Chocolate cheesecake

While my husband is not typically a cheesecake fan he said the cheesecake and graham cracker flavors tasted amazing together. I know as far as gluten-free options go it is usually quite hard to find a good graham cracker crust. It was so tasty it may not even need the chocolate part or maybe a little less.

I highly recommend that you try out Gluten Free Delights. Visit her website and place an order. It is always nice to support local people trying to do good things in our community. And no matter what diet you are on you always need to allow a splurge every now and then. For more information visit her Facebook page: Gluten Free Delights on Facebook

What are your favorite desserts? So you normally order gluten-free dessert if it is available? Who has the best gluten-free dessert?

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Gluten-Free Wedding

gluten free jacksonville weddingHave you missed me? I have missed you! Whether you noticed or not I had taken a bit of a break. We all need to get away sometimes to focus on other areas of our life and I am happy to report my little break was to plan my wedding to this man!

gluten free jacksonville wedding
On Nov 14, 2015 I married my boyfriend of nine years. It was the best day of my life and I am excited to go from Ms to Mrs! It can’t be easy to love someone with Celiac Disease but he does and he is so supportive.

We got married on the beach at the Sawgrass Country Club and had our reception at the Sawgrass Golf Country Club.  While our event was not 100% gluten-free I worked with wonderful vendors that could easily accommodate a gluten-free diet.  There can be challenges when you are planning events and need to accommodate dietary restrictions without breaking the bank. For instance, a gluten free cake for 180 people can run you close to $3,000 however if you do regular (gluten-containing) cupcakes and pair it with an 8 inch round gluten-free cake you can spend less than $500!

So here are my gluten free vendor successes:
Cake: Sweet ‘N’ Flour gluten-free and dairy-free marble cake with vanilla bean icing. Tiered cupcakes by Publix in Ponte Vedra, FL at Sawgrass Village these had gluten in them and were a huge hit without breaking the bank. We did a mixture of chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with chocolate and strawberry filling all with white icing shaped like a rose.

gluten free jacksonville wedding
Rehearsal dinner catering: Tacolu they do a great job and bring their own decor and it is always a crowd favorite! We had the Carne Asada and Banging Shrimp. Both were gluten-free and corn tortillas were available.  Paired with some Margarita’s it was such a festive night!

gluten free jacksonville catering tacolu
Bridesmaid luncheon: The Lodge in Ponte Vedra is just beautiful! They can accommodate any dietary needs and their terrace view cannot be beat!

gluten free jacksonville the lodge
Wedding reception: Sawgrass Golf Country Club we did chicken parmesan for everyone and they were able to make a special dish for those that are gluten-free or have other needs.

gluten free jacksonville wedding
We had the best team for our wedding. I seriously loved all of our vendors so much. I highly recommend a day of planner to help you enjoy your day. Other vendors I worked with:

Day of Coordinator: Rhea Harris
Hair: Gerald at True- Blue Hair Studio
Makeup: Kimtasha Pro Makeup Artist
Flowers: Publix Sawgrass Village
Videography: Siberian Pictures, John Wolfe
Photography: Emily Martin Photography
Centerpieces: Rockaway Gardens
Decor: Soulshine Rentals
Ceremony Decor and Rehearsal Dinner: Ambre Goff at Coastal Occasions
Floral: Publix Sawgrass Village Event Planning

Have you had a gluten-free wedding?  How did you do it?  Who did you work with in the Jacksonville Area?

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Good-Bye 2013, Hello Gluten-Free 2014

Thank you for a great 2013, I am so excited about 2014.  More new restaurants, more new gluten-free foods and the new gluten-free labeling standards starting in August 2014.

As we enter 2014 I thought I would share some of the greatest hits of 2014. Some are oldies some are goodies.

Sweet Theory Baking Company

Sweet Theory Baking Company

Restaurants that get it, restaurants that don't

Restaurants that get it, restaurants that don’t

 

publix gluten free section jacksonville, FL

Publix: Where Gluten-Free Shopping is a Pleasure

gluten free j william culinary

Product Review: J. William Culinary Prepared Meals

 

gluten free french fries epik burger

Epik Burger: Worth the Splurge

While it is nice to look back every once in a while, it is time to charge forward to 2014.  Here is to a year filled with healthy and nutritious foods.  What are you looking forward to in 2014?

 

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Question and Answer: Gluten-Free Near the Hyatt Downtown

Question: I happened upon your blog when looking for GF restaurants in Jacksonville, where I will be for a week the end of the month. I will be attending a conference for work at the Hyatt Regency downtown. Can you offer any suggestions close to the Hyatt as I will not have a car? But other suggestions for dinner would also be welcomed or anything else I shouldn’t pass up!

Answer: While there are not many options too close to the Hyatt there are some that are a either a long walk or quick cab ride. You may want to contact the hotel ahead of time to give them a heads up about your gluten-free needs, they are pretty good at accommodating a gluten-free diet.  The Hyatt is located in Downtown Jacksonville right on the St. Johns River.  It is conveniently located close to charming neighborhoods such as San Marco, 5 points and Riverside/Avondale all either a long walk or short cab ride away.  Here are some of my recommendations:

Downtown:
Indochine (walking distance)- thai food,  great for lunch or dinner
Cafe Nola inside MOCA (walking distance)- great for lunch or dinner, check their website they are not open every night
Koja Sushi at the Landing (walking distance)- open for lunch or dinner.  No gluten-free soy sauce but sushi is pretty good.
Chart House (cab or long walk)- good place for dinner, mostly seafood, they have a gluten-free menu
Olio Market (walking distance) – good lunch spot
Pho A Noodle Bar (long walk)-  gluten free options available, good lunch spot

gluten free roast beef sub european street jacksonville, fl

European Street Roast Beef Sandwich on Gluten-Free Bun

San Marco:
bb’s (cab or long walk)-  gluten free menu, good for lunch, dinner or brunch on weekends
European Street (cab) – gluten free bread for sandwiches from Cookie Momsters, gluten free beer and good happy hour 
Taverna (cab) – Chef has a gluten- allergy, they are very knowledgeable.  Good for dinner, somewhat fancy
Pulp (cab) – smoothie shop
Hightide Burrito (cab)-  fast food mexican locally owned and fresh

Avondale: 
Mellow Mushroom (coming soon) (cab): gluten free pizza and beer!
The Brick (cab): gluten free menu

Riverside:
Sweet Theory Bakery (cab)- they close every night at 6 but it is worth it, there is nothing like it in Jacksonville. They are gluten-free and dairy free.

Chocolate Chip Cookie sandwich with vanilla frosting in the middle sweet theory baking co

Chocolate Chip Cookie sandwich with vanilla frosting in the middle from Sweet Theory Baking Co.

5 points:
Larry’s Giant Subs (cab)-  is a local chain sandwich shop with a few locations and gluten free sub rolls from Cookie Momsters and wraps
Sushi Cafe (cab)-  pretty good sushi, no gluten-free soy sauce but delicious none-the-less
Black Sheep (cab)- best roof top in town, farm to table concept
Grassroots Natural Market (cab)- plenty of gluten-free snacks, prepared foods, smoothies, etc. Convenient to center of 5 points.

Food Trucks:
Corner Taco (location varies)- make their own corn tortillas and use cornmeal for fried foods. Blog post

tempeh and carnitas tacos from Corner Taco

Tempeh and Carnitas tacos from Corner Taco

Special events:
Riverside Arts Market– Almost every Saturday
The Cummer- Free Tuesdays and First Saturday of the Month
Art Walk- First Wednesday of the Month
Museum of Contemporary Art Free Saturday and Sunday for Bank of America Card Holders

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Sweet Theory Baking Co.

sweet theory baking company gluten free jacksonville
Today, after being told over and over to check this place out, I finally made my way to Sweet Theory Baking Company.  Sweet Theory Baking Company is a bakery near the heart of the Park and King District near Little Five Points/Riverside area. It is located between Park and Post on King not far from where you can get a gluten-free beer at Kickbacks or Beer:30.

sweet theory baking company gluten free jacksonvilleI was greeted by the cutest little store front on a chilly yet sunny day. I went during my lunch hour so I did not have time to linger long. I quickly found the items designated with a (GF) on them and was overwhelmed with the options.

sweet theory baking company gluten free jacksonvilleI asked the manager what she thought the most popular items were and she pointed me in the direction of doughnuts, cupcakes, cookie sandwiches and whoopee pies. All of these items came gluten-free except the doughnuts. I was a little sad, I have heard so much about these doughnuts but my mind was put to ease when the manager explained that the owner (and head baker) was still working on the right recipe. Good enough for me.

sweet theory baking company gluten free jacksonvilleIn addition to the cakes and cookies and such, I noticed that they had some gluten-free savory garlic and herb biscuits. I can’t tell you the last time I had a biscuit. I decided to try that and a cookie sandwich.

sweet theory baking company gluten free jacksonville
The place was a bit quiet, it was a Wednesday during lunch time.  I decided to enjoy my gluten-free garlic and herb biscuit in a cozy spot near the front windows and just chill. They had warmed the biscuit up for me and put on some soy free earth balance vegan butter.  The biscuit was so satisfying. The consistency was different than a real biscuit, but the taste was awesome. It was flaky and at times crumbly, but not dry (definitely a mess to eat if you are on the go.) This southern girl was happy (can we get a gf/df biscuits and gravy?:)).

sweet theory baking company gluten free jacksonville

So I guess I should have eaten a real lunch before my visit, because after the biscuit I was wanting more. So I dug into the chocolate chip sandwich and before I knew it had eaten almost half. Very moist, chewy and HUGE.

sweet theory baking company gluten free jacksonville

While the biscuit was not a regular on the menu, the cookie sandwich is along with numerous gluten-free cupcake flavors from peach to root beer.  In addition they had blueberry and raspberry flavored muffins as well.

As I was finishing up my biscuit and half of the cookie sandwich the manager explained that they also make ice cream (they only have vanilla for now, more flavors to come as the weather warms up) and they make a special treat called a Brooklyn Egg Cream which she described as a chocolaty and  unique cold beverage.
sweet theory baking company gluten free jacksonville
Everything at Sweet Theory Baking Company is egg, dairy, soy and peanut free. They have some items (a lot actually) that are gluten-free and made in a designated gluten-free area with designated utensils. There is absolutely no dairy in this store. Even when ordering coffee (which is local-Bold Bean), your coffee creamer options were almond or rice milk.

sweet theory baking company gluten free jacksonvilleSweet Theory Baking Company’s sweets were delicious. I like them as much as Cookie Momsters. However, Sweet Theory Baking Company offers what I have suggested to Cookie Momsters numerous times, a place to linger. Sweet Theory is a place I could meet up with friends for an afternoon coffee and have a snack. I felt at home and as if I belonged. Sometimes when I leave Cookie Momsters I feel like I am doing something in secret because I go in, order and leave (usually enjoying my treat at the next red light as I drive back to work or home).  I still love you Cookie Momsters but it is nice to have options in different parts of town.  Now my wish is for a gluten-free/dairy-free bakery at the beach…

I will be back Sweet Theory Baking Company. Thank you for a lovely dessert lunch J

Sweet Theory Baking Co. on Urbanspoon

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