May 18, 2009
The G-Free Diet – Book Review
By now most of you have heard of and read reviews of The G-Free Diet by Elisabeth Hasselbeck, which means my review will be somewhat repetitive. For what it’s worth, however, here are some of my thoughts on the book.
What I liked:
The book is easy to read and has lots of good, practical advice. It will be especially helpful for those just starting out on the gluten-free diet, but I found some useful tips in it also. Elisabeth Hasselbeck has a positive attitude toward the diet and focuses on replacing rather than removing food. She also puts things in perspective and says to those with celiac disease,
“As you begin making adjustments, you might understandably overlook the silver lining here, which is that you have the unique ability to make yourself feel 100 percent better.”
I like the personal nature of the book. Mrs. Hasselbeck begins with her story, gives personal examples of right and wrong responses, and shares what living a gluten-free life looks like for her. She even includes a few family recipes.
While the author herself has celiac disease, and that is the focus of the book, I’m glad she includes the idea that some people can have a gluten intolerance without having celiac disease. I also think the chapter entitled “The Autism Connection” was a nice addition to the book.
The book is divided into three sections:
Part I: I’m Allergic to What?
Part II: Going G-Free
Part III: More Great Reasons to Give up Gluten
The “Points to Remember” at the end of most chapters are useful summaries and do draw attention to important points.
What I didn’t like:
The use of the word “allergy” really bothered me, and here’s why. Although she clearly states in chapter 2 that celiac disease is not an allergy, she does not explain why she uses the term allergy a number of times throughout the book. I understand that there are times when using the word allergy is more simple and effective for a particular situation, but she doesn’t explain that. For someone new to the diet, it could be confusing, and for someone reading only part of the book, it could be misleading.
Sadly, Mrs. Hasselbeck still avoids foods that have moved from the unsafe to the safe list. She has not stayed up to date on research or simply doesn’t trust it. Many people reading her book will follow suit.
The idea of using the gluten-free diet for weight loss baffles me. I won’t take the time to go into that.
At the end of the book, Mrs. Hasselbeck says, “My primary goal, in writing this book, is to promote the awareness of celiac disease.” I think she did that to some degree. However, many people do not read a book from cover to cover. They pick it up and read parts that sound interesting. Many parts of The G-Free Diet, taken out of context, could be misleading, and could result in people adopting the gluten-free diet without getting tested for celiac disease.
This book could be a big help to someone who is newly diagnosed and starting out on the gluten-free diet. It is not a perfect book, however, and should not be anyone’s sole resource for celiac disease or the gluten-free diet.
I like the idea of spreading the word about celiac disease into the mainstream. I do not like the idea of spreading inaccurate information into it either, though...
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