Food as Medicine | Health & Wellness

GEM’s plant-based nutritional supplements are reinventing the vitamin industry

Many people consume pills, powders, liquids and gummies to supplement their daily nutritional needs. Sara Cullen, founder and CEO of GEM, found herself questioning why and came up with a surprising alternative: food as medicine.

“At GEM we’re overhauling the antiquated supplement aisle and building a new category of real-food nutrition,” Cullen said.

GEM is a multivitamin alternative that is different from other daily vitamins found on the market shelves because it is made from real food. Each portion is packaged as a tiny bar called a “bite.” Bites contain a comprehensive blend of over 15 whole foods, botanicals, probiotics, vitamins and minerals.

“GEM is designed with real food that your body knows and loves, along with key vitamins and minerals that work together for optimal absorption,” Cullen said.

Cullen started GEM to address her own health concerns, which she experienced in her late twenties. She suffered from ailments like acne, digestive problems, restless nights and other issues. After taking an allergy and blood test, she found out that she was micronutrient-deficient and needed to take supplements. When she went to the shelves to find what she needed, she was disappointed with what she found. So she decided to create her own unique brand to reinvent vitamins.

“Through my own health journey I became obsessed with sustainable plant systems and how we can not only rethink the way we nourish human health, but also our planet’s,” Cullen said.

Growing up on a farm in Oregon, Cullen earned a bachelor of science in international agriculture and development studies from Cornell University. She has worked with entrepreneurs and farmers in sustainable food networks all over the world, from Morocco and Kenya to India and Vietnam. As a two-time entrepreneur in the food and beverage world and former Venture For America Fellow, Cullen is passionate about redesigning a healthier future of nourishment.

“I wanted to rethink how we supplement food for our minds, bodies and our planet under the simple philosophy that food is medicine,” she said.

Launched in late 2018, GEM is an online subscription-based company headquartered in Venice. GEM’s team consists of 15 employees, many who work virtually and in different time zones. The is dedicated to ensuring the highest quality of standards because all of their products are manufactured in the United States.

GEM’s scientific advisory board includes an impressive array of experts in their respective fields including a registered dietitian, biomolecular nutritionist, clinical herbalist and plant biologist to name a few.

“Food medicine is central to herbalism, so I love food-first remedies, which GEM is,” said Rachelle Robinett, GEM’s scientific advisor and resident herbalist. “It’s also a great way for those averse to capsules to consume nutrients.”

GEM’s plant-based vitamin bites fill in those gaps. With so many people following Keto, Vegan, or other diets, we are bound to miss some key nutrition. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “92% of Americans are micronutrient-deficient.”

“GEM provides a way to address these gaps in a real-food form,” said Erin Skinner, the registered dietitian on the Scientific Advisory Board. “GEM provides a complementary combination of real-food nutrients in a method that is easy, delicious, and safe.”

GEM’s plant-based approach also differs from traditional vitamins because key vitamins and minerals are holistically sourced from nutrient-dense whole food ingredients like herbs, algae and adaptogens. For example, K2 in GEM is derived from chickpeas, vitamin D from mushrooms, and iron from curry leaves.

Each bite also contains a variety of super-nutrient ingredients like pumpkin seeds, spirulina, and probiotics. Additionally, GEM doesn’t use isolated vitamins that are made in a lab with artificial or synthetic coloring, binders or fillers (like gummy vitamins). GEM is made from the ground up.

“We are a nutritional label with real food ingredients and so much more than a traditional vitamin,” Cullen said. “It’s a delightful bite you eat, not take.”

GEM is available in four daily essential flavors including citrus ginger, which is great for flu season because it has added zinc, probiotics and turmeric to help with immunity. Other varieties include cacao, lemon and peppermint.

To help with sleep issues, Sleep Essentials has valerian root (a natural herb alternative to melatonin) along with magnesium, l-theanine and GABA that combine to help the body fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up without grogginess. Last April, GEM added their newest bite, Calm, to the lineup. Calm is specially formulated to help with stress and mood.

It is recommended to take one GEM daily essential bite every day in the morning and a Sleep Essentials bite at night. They are meant to work together to address health, mind and body issues. There is no need to take GEM with food.

“We are reinventing vitamins—one delicious bite at a time,” Cullen said.”


Instagram: @daily_gem


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