The G-Free Diet

The View co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s book The G-Free Diet purports to be about her experiences living gluten-free, but by the storm of controversy it’s generated, you might think it’s a dangerously flawed medical manual. The Executive Director of the Celiac Disease Foundation, Elaine Monarch, went so far as to warn:

…the inaccuracies in this book are potentially dangerous and detrimental to celiacs and to those yet to be diagnosed if people self diagnose and start eating GF.

Alison St. Sure of the GF blog Sure Foods Living wrote a very comprehensive review of the book that’s worth reading if you might want to purchase the book. Here’s a taste:

I really liked…

The chapter called “Throw Me a Bagel!” about living with someone who is gluten-free. Rarely have I seen tips for the person who lives with a gluten-free person (”GFG” she calls it, for Gluten-Free Gal or Guy). There is some great advice addressing such things as compassion, adaptability, preparedness, cleanliness and selflessness.

The section “Translating Ingredients” for understanding how to read cosmetics and personal care product labels. This is something that often gets overlooked by people on a gluten-free diet.

I really didn’t like…

The fact that there is a chapter named “G-Free and Slim As Can Be!” which sounds like the whole chapter is promoting the use of the gluten-free diet for weight loss. The chapter is actually not about that at all and points out that once people are on a gluten-free diet and are forced to read labels, they become aware of what they are putting into their bodies and generally become healthier eaters overall.

St. Sure also commented on the CDF letter:

I am well aware of the CDF’s warning about the book. I wrote my review before they made a statement. There is a chapter in the book about getting the proper diagnosis for celiac, including the exact blood tests. Many doctors do not even know what the blood tests are for celiac, and Elisabeth has armed the reader with this knowledge. Nowhere in the book did I feel that Elisabeth trivialized celiac or the gluten-free diet. I do feel that the media and talk show hosts like Rachael Ray are the ones trivializing the diet. The book has succeeded in raising awareness about celiac disease and I feel confident that more people are going to get tested for celiac. How is this detrimental to mission of the Celiac Disease Foundation?

Another person commented on how this book had helped his/her teen daughter:

My daughter found comfort in this book, she read a young woman also an athlete put in writing the pain and embarrassment she has had to deal with. She feels “hope” knowing that Elizabeth has gone on to have children, keep a job, get her education and move on in life without the pain keeping her down. She was happy to read about her lethargy and pain and the constant trips to the bathroom, she related to having to take different paths to the bathroom just so her classmates wouldn’t notice and make fun of her.

Three Other comments:

I love this book! I’ve had Celiac for 2 years and this is the first book I’ve read that talks about it in everyday language.

…where I really examined the G-Free Diet was in the library, along side of several other resources on celiac. For solid information – the other books were so far superior. Easier to figure out, easier to trust.

At the beginning it seemed daunting but Elisabeth had been in the same situation as many of her readers. It is most helpful to read a book by someone who has gone through it themselves.

I haven’t read the book yet myself, but it seems from preliminary reports that it’s better as a friendly, anxiety-lessening introduction than as a reference. I’m sure some of you have opinions. Please share them with the community!

2 thoughts on “The G-Free Diet”

  1. The only danger of self-diagnosis via an elimination diet is that it messes up the CDFs statistics and might cause them to get less funding.

    They obviously want every diagnosis to be official so that it can be counted in the overall numbers for “awareness.” Most people just want to feel better *now*. Imagine that?

  2. What concerns me about this book is the inaccurate ingredient info, the gluten product recommended in the resource guide (Sami’s Bakery ‘no gluten ingredients’ items made me sick twice and now they will not reply to my query about the crackers/chips recommended in the book), and the inaccurate dining card in the back.

    I’m glad the book came out for the publicity factor alone. I’m glad people will be tested (hopefully) because of it. That’s all great. But what if one person is dining out with that ridiculous g-free ding card and someone else is at the next table with the accurate Triumph card? Not only does it list beer twice – it lists MSG as well. That is NOT good for any of us, period. And what do I tell my GF Dinner Club members that tell me we can’t have Grey Goose Vodka (made from French wheat) and can only have corn, soy or potato vodkas? This is not something we can overlook as a community. This info has the ability to undo the work of many us who try and get it right – include Triumph, Clan Thompson Guide and Shelley Case and Ann Whelan (to name a few).

    It’s hard to do the right thing sometimes but in this case it’s not hard for me to be honest and call the book what it is – something to help our plight but NOT something people should use as a gluten-free diet guide.

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