Book review – Coeliac disease: What you need to know!

I was flattered and very pleased to be asked to review Alex Gazzola’s new book, “Coeliac disease: what you need to know.”

Alex is a health journalist with several books under his belt already, all about allergies and intolerances, including: “Living with food allergies” and “Living with food intolerances”.

I am not a coeliac, but I do benefit from cutting out processed wheat and baked goods from my diet, and with the advent of another Coeliac Week (16-22 May 2011), I have decided that for the duration of my reading of this book I will eat gluten free. I actually feel much better for it; could I have more of a problem with gluten than I’ve been admitting? That’s another conversation altogether.

I’ve been enjoying fruit, gluten free (Genius bread) toast and nairns oat gluten free porridge. Quinoa stir fry, jacket potatoes and salads; a very healthy diet in fact.

But back to the subject in hand. I’m generally not very good at reading factual books. I love reading but usually I can be found buried behind a good novel so I wasn’t sure if I’d make it to the end.

I have however, been completely sucked in. I’ve learnt so much about what Coeliac disease really is, how complex diagnosis is, how challenging a GF diet can be, the emotional effects, which of all the chapters in the book, really struck a chord with me.

Having suffered with eczema and allergies all my life the emotional toll, depression and psychological effects are often not considered. You feel very alone, often in pain and very frustrated. Despite the fact Coeliac disease and allergies are on the increase, I often look at my friends who smoke, take drugs, eat whatever processed foods they like, but look much better than me. No red sore itchy skin for them. It seems unfair, and life avoiding certain foods is NOT easy. This chapter has been very well written, considered and understood; no mean feat from the author, who I know has no allergies and is not in fact a Coeliac himself. Well done Alex on this chapter. Often an area missed out and not discussed in other books I’ve read on this subject.

This book really has taught me a great deal and I count myself as somewhat of an expert in all things to do with allergies and gluten free. I even suspect, from going gluten free for just a few weeks, that I might well have a problem with gluten that I’ve been avoiding. Gluten or wheat denial. I usually follow this process with every new allergy I acquire. When you have a list of allergies as long as your arm, denial for new ones can be a big problem.

The only section I would have liked a bit more information was in Chapter 5, Food Sense: diet and nutrition. Where moderate and low GI diets are discussed “a few fruits” (moderate GI diet) and “many fruits” (low GI diet) were mentioned. I’d have loved to have been told which fruits! I’m being very critical here, but when reading it I just thought: what a shame we don’t find out which fruits. I’m sure it’s not hard to discover, and I intend to do my own research to discover just which fruits we’re talking about here.

If you have Coeliac disease, or even suspect that you might have a sensitivity to wheat and gluten, this is a must read, bible of a book, packed full of everything you’ll ever need to know. It’s well written, concise and very informative. I will be keeping my copy and referring to it regularly (Alex it will not be going on ebay – even with your signature inside, honest!). Some chapters, such as the one about Testing and Diagnosis, are very complex and will need re-reading I think. There is a huge amount of information packed into this slim little volume.

The chapter on future treatments and therapies was also very interesting, especially with the recent news that scientists in Australia are working on a vaccine for coeliac disease. If you’re interested you can read
Coeliac Disease Vaccine in Trial Stage on the Third Age website.

You can read another review of Alex’s book on the free-from gluten blog.

And finally, if you’re interested you should read what Alex set out to achieve on the Foods Matter website which also has links to buy online on Amazon, or cheaper direct from Foods Matter.

Have you read it? Are you tempted? I have really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone with Coeliac disease, wheat or gluten intolerance or food sensitivities. It’s a very good read. Well done Alex!

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About Ruth

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. http://www.whatallergy.com was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She also won the Foods You Can People's choice Best FreeFrom blogger award 2014.

Comments

  1. Big, big thanks, Ruth, for reading and reviewing my book, and writing such a long piece on it. Glad you liked it so much.

    Also pleased you gave some critical feedback – as that’s the most valuable! I smiled when I read about the GI / fruits – because the memory of writing that particular section came flooding back. I did have more detail on the fruits, but the book needed to be cut, and that was one of the areas I chose to trim. I’ve probably got details in my notes, and will try to dig them out at a later date.

    Incidentally, although the book is available on Amazon, Michelle at FoodsMatter.com is offering it slightly cheaper (with p&p taken into consideration) here: http://bit.ly/iTHhLL

    Thanks again, Ruth!

    • Hey Alex thank you for the book and for asking me to review it! It was a lovely suprise receiving it in the post and to get it signed by the author himself was an honour indeed 🙂 Seriously though I loved the book and glad you enjoyed the review. Must be a frustrating part of the process of book writing – deciding which gems to cull in the editing process. I’m trying to write a book myself so I have huge respect and suspect mine might be a life long work I never actually finish. I’ll add Michelle’s link above too as I’d rather she sold them then Amazon…

  2. Funnily enough the editing is actually my favourite bit of the writing process. The real sweat is getting it onto the page in the first place!

    If you’re writing your own, then you may be interested in my other blog, which I write with my other ‘hat’, and specifically this post: http://mistakeswritersmake.blogspot.com/2010/05/mistake-no-14-unfinished-business.html

    There’s also an article on writing non-fiction books you can find through the pages along the top.

    Hope they help!

    • Hey Alex this is great! I never knew you had so many hats. Thanks for the link. I am trying to write my own book, well I have ideas for many which I never have the time to dedicate to so I will definitely check out your ‘writing’ blog. Thanks again…

Trackbacks

  1. […] you want to find out more read Alex Gazzola’s brilliant new book, “Coeliac Disease: What you need to know” or visit the brilliant Coeliac Disease website at http://www.coeliac.org.uk which is packed with […]

  2. […] can also read my review of the book here. Did you like this? Share […]

  3. […] found it so useful in helping me understand the condition. You can read my detailed review of the First Edition of Coeliac Disease – what you need to know […]

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