Friday, July 6, 2012

The G Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide

Not at all a fan of her political views, I be-grudgingly read, The G Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide by Elisabeth Hasselbeck.  My personal/political feelings aside, I have to give Hasslebeck credit for writing a comprehensive and informative book.
She devotes an entire chapter to understanding Celiac Disease, it's symptoms, possible long term health complications, and getting an accurate diagnosis.  Another chapter briefly explores conditions associated with CD.  The figures that always alarm me the most when reading about CD are the numbers referring to cancer.  The figures always differ somewhat from publication to publication.  Hasselbecks book, written in 2009 states that people with CD are 9-34 times more likely to develop a malignancy than the general population.  Strictly adhering to a g-free diet significantly drops these percentages.  However, it's still frightening.  Cancer is the biggest motivating factor for me, in ensuring to the best of my ability that we carefully avoid all sources of gluten..
Our pediatric gastroenterologist recommends simple blood testing once a year to monitor IgA levels.  When our son was initially diagnosed his IgA level was 164!!!! That number is supposed to be between 0-19!!! After six months of being on a g-free diet, that number was down to a 5!!! Phew!  
A chapter devoted to Gluten provides a lot of helpful information regarding foods, additives and preservatives that may contain gluten.  Vitamins, supplements and medicines are also explored as possible hidden sources of gluten.
If you are a life partner, a spouse or a parent of a child with CD, I highly recommend The G Free Diet.  I think it's critical for those of us who love someone with CD to educate ourselves and to try to understand the challenges they face living g-free so that we can support them as much as possible.

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