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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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More Gluten-Free Coming to Jacksonville Beach

Lots of exciting things happening and coming soon in the Gluten-Free World in Jax Beach!!!!

Native Sun is Coming September 4th!
native sun coming september 4,. 2015 gluten free jacksonville

Whole Foods is coming in Early 2021 to Pablo Plaza, 1822 S. Third St.

Do you  know of any other gluten-free openings soon?  I for one am happy that I can get my gluten-free/Dairy-free oatmeal cream pie from Native Sun very soon!

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Maintaining a Gluten-Free Home

My boyfriend and I recently moved into a house at the beach.  We had a discussion about how we would handle food in our house.  I have Celiac disease and am dairy free, gluten-free and shellfish-free.  He likes pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs in addition to pretty much anything I cook.  I wasn’t completely stressed about the conversation, however in my mind I was thinking: how would we wash the dishes together?  Would we have to separate out items in the dish washer, would we have separate dish sponges, or would we have to use separate utensils or plates?  Then the thought of friends coming over began to really stress me out.  Having to be strict and educate friends on what to use and what not to touch did not sound fun for me or for them.

We decided to maintain a 100% gluten-free household. My boyfriend was fine with getting his pizza, hot dog or hamburger fix for lunch, when we go out to eat or when we eat separately.  That was music to my ears. The expense of cooking gluten-free for an entire household can be quite costly. However, it is worth it to feel safe in my own home and cooking at home still costs less (most of the time) than dining out.  It really isn’t that hard to make gluten-free meals at home that taste yummy. Most people don’t even realize what I make is gluten-free.  I enjoy finding new recipes and using fresh ingredients.  Cooking is fun for me. And being healthy is important. So far I have had no complaints…

How do you maintain a safe kitchen? Is your kitchen 100% gluten-free? Do you take steps to keep gluten-containing foods and utensils separate from the gluten-free foods and utensils?

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My Life. My Health. My Gluten Free Native Sun.

Today I ventured to Native Sun (Baymeadows Store) to cash in on all of the deals they have on gluten-free products in honor of Celiac Awareness Month.  I was also told by a few of my friends about their gluten-free bakery.  I know sweets aren’t great for you and a lot of gluten-free baked goods are not low-fat, but I miss out on a lot of cakes and cookies around the office and at nephew’s birthday parties now and a girl has to fulfill her baked goods sweet tooth.  As I walked around and found things like gluten-free risotto, gluten-free spaghetti sauce, gluten-free chips, gluten-free beer, I looked around and was expecting to see an actual physical bakery counter.  However, just as I rounded the corner near the deli and their prepared foods, next to the chilled gluten-free beer, I found these delightful gluten-free treats.  There were about 6-7 individually wrapped gluten-free cakes, pies and cookies.  I was tempted to buy one of each, however I knew there was no way I could eat that much dessert so I opted for the gluten-free Oatmeal Cream Pie and the gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cake.  Next time I think I am going to try the gluten-free carrot cake and gluten-free apple pie.  All had short expiration dates so to me that made me think not many preservatives and they are going to taste fresh.  Sure, there are plenty of gluten-free cookies and mixes out there but this was the first time I had organic gluten-free baked goods that I didn’t make myself or didn’t come in a tray and plastic wrap.  After check-out one of the always friendly cashiers asked if I would like to sign up for the My Life. My Health. My Store customer discount card.  She also told me that it would qualify me for additional discounts.  Ooo, I could sign up for free and feel special?  Wanting to feel special I filled out a card right away.  I then asked if it was possible to apply my new card to what I had just purchased so I could receive the discounts.  Although this was against policy and getting late in the night, a woman who I think was the manager decided to review my entire purchase list and lucky me, I had already received the discounts.  As soon as I arrived home I had to dive into my treats, even deciding to forgo dinner and just have dessert.  The oatmeal creme pie did not last long in this house.  All in all it was a great trip to Native Sun.  What they have done to recognize the hunger pangs of those of us with Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance or children with autism is really special and something to be recognized.  I look forward to my next trip.

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