The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide is an easy-to-read, upbeat guide to understanding and adopting a gluten-free diet. Anyone who has ever thought they had celiac disease will be enlightened about this disorder and about how to eat healthfully while avoiding gluten (a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, spelt, and rye).
The G-Free Diet is similar to most gluten-free diets , which eliminate all grains containing gluten. While this may sound simple, the tricky part is that small amounts of gluten-containing grains find their way into a huge number of foods. The G-Free Diet highlights just how extensively gluten is found in prepared foods, from thickening agents to fillers in foods ranging from ketchup to ice cream.
It's essential to carefully read food labels or ask questions to make sure the foods you eat don't contain any hint of gluten.
To that end, the book includes many practical tips on gluten-free shopping, gluten-free cooking (but few recipes ), entertaining, and eating out.
For example, Hasselbeck says she secretly brings along gluten-free snacks when attending parties. At dinner parties, she sits next to her husband, eats what she can, and then swaps plates when no one is looking.
The G-Free Diet also includes helpful hints for those who prepare both gluten-containing and gluten-free foods for different family members. It has advice for raising gluten-free kids, and even has a section aimed at people who live with someone following a gluten-free diet.
To make dining out easier, a tear-out card at the back of the book lists a variety of ingredients to be avoided when ordering meals at restaurants.
"Alternative health practitioners, personal trainers, and celebrities are jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon like it is a trend and recommending it for all the wrong reasons," says Case, author of Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide.
Eliminating gluten from the diet is the only form of medical therapy available to correct celiac disease, Sandquist notes. "It is not a trend, fad, or weight loss diet but the essential diet for life and the only treatment available for individuals with gluten intolerance," she says.
Case points out that a gluten-free diet is not ideal for weight loss because many processed gluten-free foods contain more sugar, fat, carbs, and calories than their gluten-containing counterparts. She also notes what she calls errors in the book regarding foods, ingredients, and its reference to celiac disease as an allergy.
"The inaccuracies in the book can be dangerous," she says. "For example, anyone who starts a gluten-free diet can actually prevent or delay an accurate diagnosis because gluten must be present to confirm the diagnosis."
Also inaccurate is the book's advice to avoid topical beauty and hygiene products containing gluten; gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin.
The G-Free Diet has some useful information for those with celiac disease who must follow a gluten-free diet. But when it comes to following all of the book's advice, tread carefully. Hasselbeck is a media personality, not a registered dietitian or medical practitioner.
If you suspect you are gluten intolerant, see a medical professional before trying a gluten-free diet.