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”.
Also a great book if you have a wheat allergy
I am not a coeliac, but I do have a wheat allergy so many of the things in this book help me too. Do you know what coeliac disease is? It’s not like a food allergy and is not immediately life threatening but can cause serious long lasting health implications. Left untreated coeliac disease can cause death and used to in infants before the disease was identified.
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.
Easy to read, compelling and interesting
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.
The emotional toll of living with coeliac disease
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.
What did I learn from the book?
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.
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.
Coeliac Disease – a must read book for coeliacs
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.
Future treatments – there is hope for coeliacs
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.
You can read another review of Alex’s book on the free-from gluten blog.
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!
Alex G says
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.
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…
Alex G says
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…