Shop Native Sun for Gluten-Free Products
People who have special dietary needs due to celiac disease are challenged every day to eat well while still eating safely. Whether it’s a meal at a restaurant, a friend’s house, or at home, they must stay vigilant to avoid all traces of gluten in their food.
To make it easier for Native Sun customers to find gluten-free products, we have a product tagging system throughout our stores that makes gluten-free choices clear at a glance. We also ask all of our manufacturers for information on their products’ sourcing, production, and cross-contamination before labeling them with our gluten-free tag.
We also offer free educational tours at all of our locations that are especially helpful to customers who are new to gluten-free eating. We’ll help you locate products, go over our allergen tagging system with you, and more. Contact us to schedule your tour.
Celiac Awareness Month
Each year, May is designated as National Celiac Awareness Month. It’s a time to educate everyone on how celiac disease affects the lives of those who have it, learn about the latest research, and highlight the work of organizations that advocate for and support the health of those affected. Here’s a quick Q&A, including resources for learning more.
Q: What is celiac disease?
A: Celiac disease is an autoimmune reaction to consuming the protein gluten that causes damage to intestinal villi over time. Both children and adults may have celiac disease, and onset can occur at any age.
Q: How is celiac disease diagnosed?
A: There are blood tests that can identify certain antibody proteins and antigens that can help your physician diagnose celiac disease. Following these tests, your doctor may also order a procedure to biopsy the small intestine.
Q: What foods have gluten in them?
A: Grains such as wheat, barley, and rye are the most well-known sources of gluten. Derivatives and varieties of wheat also have gluten, such as semolina, farina, farro, spelt and wheat berries. It’s easy to identify bread, pasta, baked goods and cereals as sources, but gluten may also be present in foods that don’t come so quickly to mind. These include some salad dressings, meat substitutes, candy, energy bars, processed lunch meats and more. Ingredients such as dextrose, glucose, modified starch, natural flavors, vinegar and more may contain hidden sources of gluten.
Oats are naturally gluten-free, but not all oats are safe due to the possibility of contamination where oats are grown. Uncontaminated oats are grown on dedicated fields where no other gluten-containing grains are grown. These uncontaminated oats are also sorted by hand, harvested on dedicated equipment, processed in a dedicated mill, tested to be less than 10 ppm gluten, then packaged on dedicated certified gluten-free lines. This is referred to as a “Purity Protocol” and is the gold standard for assuring oats are free of gluten. Keep in mind that some companies that put a “gluten-free” claim on their packaging may use mechanically or optically sorted and tested oats rather than follow the protocol.
You can learn more about foods that contain gluten at Celiac.org.
Cross-contact is also a factor in determining the gluten content of food. Gluten can be transferred during the food preparation process, such as when cutting boards are used to prepare a food that contains gluten but isn’t properly cleaned before it’s used for a gluten-free food. At Native Sun, we have Jacksonville’s only dedicated celiac-safe bakery at our Baymeadows location. Our specially trained staff makes sure that there’s no cross-contamination—directly or airborne—in our dedicated facility. Utensils, equipment, gloves, and other items used in our bakery are kept completely separate and contained.
Q: Is gluten found only in food?
A: Unfortunately not. People with celiac disease also have to read labels or check with manufacturers on the ingredients in nutritional supplements, vitamins, medications, and even lipstick.
Q: What happens when someone with celiac disease consumes gluten?
A: Because the immune response triggered by celiac disease damages the lining of the small intestine, the absorption of nutrients is compromised, so continual ingestion of gluten may lead to many other health issues. Accidental ingestion may result in vomiting, diarrhea, joint pain, general malaise, or skin rashes/blistering if you are susceptible to dermatitis herpetiformis (the skin manifestation of celiac disease). Read more about celiac disease symptoms on MayoClinic.org.
Q: How can celiac disease be managed?
A: There is currently no cure for celiac disease, so lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet is the only way to manage it. People with celiac disease also need to focus on maintaining a nutritious diet. This can be a challenge, but a dietitian can help with developing a healthy, gluten-free eating plan.
We’re here to help.
Stop by our Baymeadows celiac-safe bakery for details about the gluten-free baked goods we prepare for our customers.