Going gluten-free has gone mainstream. What was once seen as a drastic dietary measure suitable only for those with celiac disease, avoiding gluten—or in some cases, just wheat—has become increasingly common as people have begun to recognize symptoms of sensitivity or intolerance, such as abdominal bloating and discomfort. Whether or not they’ve been diagnosed with a specific disease or intolerance, many people find they simply feel better avoiding gluten-containing foods.
Unfortunately, avoiding gluten is not always an easy task. Wheat and whole grains like rye and barley have long been staples of the Western diet, and gluten can also be found lurking in everything from salad dressings to soy sauce. Rather than resigning to a life of brown rice and vegetables, Living Gluten-free for Dummies aims to help readers adopt a healthy and tasty lifestyle that is more about enjoying the foods you can eat than mourning the ones you can’t.
The bulk of the text is devoted to recipes and tips on eating out, enjoying international cuisine, and maintaining a gluten-free kitchen. Perhaps the most valuable sections are on helping kids and teenagers eat a healthy, gluten-free diet given that many food allergies, particularly dairy and peanuts, gluten and wheat intolerances appear to be on the rise among kids.
Living Gluten-free for Dummies is not for skeptics or for those looking for research-based information about the links between gluten and specific maladies. It is, however, a useful guide to understanding the underlying mechanisms of Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, and for adopting a gluten-free lifestyle, particularly for those who have children.
What we liked:
- Covers a wide range of topics related to following a gluten-free lifestyle
- Well organized and specific information is easy to find
- Emphasizes making healthy gluten-free choices and features easy-to-follow recipes
- Includes practical tips for helping kids adhere to a gluten-free diet
What we didn't like:
- The book is not referenced, so it is unclear what sources the author used to support the theories connecting gluten to health issues other than celiac disease.
- This is a very personal book and, at times, the author seems to advocate that everyone would benefit from a gluten-free diet, when in reality this restrictive diet is clearly not for everyone.
- It covers a wide range of topics, but some sections would benefit from more depth.
September 15, 2010