Reviews: Allergy, Gluten-Free Resource Books

in Resources, Reviews
Published: December 4, 2013

Published in 2014

MAYO CLINIC Going Gluten Free - JacketMayo Clinic Going Gluten Free
By Joseph A. Murray, MD
Time Home Entertainment, Inc., $25.95

You’ve just been diagnosed with celiac disease and are flummoxed by all the conflicting information about the gluten-free diet. Heavily promoted books scream that gluten, the protein in wheat, rye and barley, is bad, bad, bad for everybody! Meantime, headlines cast doubt on the very existence of gluten disorders.
But don’t despair. To help guide you and separate facts from fiction, the Mayo Clinic has published Going Gluten-Free, a definitive layperson’s guide to celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and emerging issues like FODMAP disorders. Think of it as ‘Celiac A to Z,’ with the underlying theme that your illness does not define you.

Written by Mayo gastroenterologist Dr. Joseph Murray, it covers the gamut from medical explanations, to detailing what gluten is, when it is a problem, and onward to recipes and what to watch for when grocery shopping. (See our Q&A with Dr. Murray at

Those with celiac disease will learn about vitamins and supplements, how to speak to members of your family, and beliefs about celiac disease that have persisted over time. For those who want to  learn this will be welcome resources for years to come. – Lisa Fitterman


Preschool handbook CoverPreschool Food Allergy Handbook
By Gina Mennett Lee and Laurel J. Francoeur
Self-published, $34.95

Sending a food-allergic child off to preschool can be daunting. But experts Gina Mennett Lee, an educator-consultant, and Laurel Francoeur, a lawyer with expertise in disability law, show you step-by-step how to do it safely. Their thorough little handbook reviews the food allergy basics, then the authors dive into all you need to know to craft a strong food allergy management plan.

Important issues for both parents and providers include risk reduction at snack/lunch time, spillable allergens, arts and crafts, hand-washing protocols, and how birthdays will be celebrated. There are sections on legal rights, posters, and most helpfully, sample accommodation plans you can borrow from.

The emphasis here is on inclusion, and helping to ensure the child with food allergies has a safe, happy  preschool experience, just like the other children. – Gwen Smith


Jennifer's Way CookbooksJennifer’s Way
By Jennifer Esposito
Da Capo Press, $25.99 hardcover

This is a candid, personal story, but don’t believe tabloid reviews: Jennifer’s Way is not a beans-spiller. OK, there is a passage that may allude to her ex, fellow actor Bradley Cooper. And Esposito does tell her version of the rather infamous parting of the ways with CBS and the TV series Blue Bloods.

But if there’s a tell-all aspect to this book, it’s about the failure of the medical establishment to help a woman, who at times is literally crying for help to identify what is wrong with her. In 2009, she finally learns that it is celiac disease, but along the way, she endures stomach symptoms, sinus infections, migraines, and black holes of depression. Then Esposito encounters hair loss, walking difficulty, and panic attacks. She’s desperate for answers. Yet again and again, she’s told it’s anxiety or stress.

Esposito performs a difficult balancing act of finding acting success while attempting to cope with symptoms. This book is frank, it’s raw, compelling, and ultimately uplifting. I just hope the tabloid coverage will lead to many book sales. Jennifer’s Way is a page-turner of medical self-discovery that will give many people a new appreciation of celiac disease. –Gwen Smith


Gluten Freedom
Gluten Freedom - Alessio Fasano1By Dr. Alessio Fasano, MD with Susie Flaherty 
Wiley General Trade, $24.95

Penned by one of the world’s top celiac disease experts, Gluten Freedom  contains a wealth of knowledge for anyone interested in celiac disease and,  gluten-related disorders. Readers get a front-row seat into the exciting breakthroughs in celiac research, plus helpful insights on living a healthy life with  the autoimmune condition.

Essential topics in this book, to be released in April, include explaining the  mechanisms behind a ‘leaky gut’, the difference between celiac disease and  non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten’s effect on the brain and its association  with psychological disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, and more.

An entire chapter devoted to celiac disease and pregnancy offers answers for  expecting, expecting-to-be-expecting or nursing mothers with celiac. Fasano  even includes gluten-free recipes, adapted from his own mother’s traditional  Italian cooking (there’s a lot more to it than bread and pasta!).

This is the ultimate celiac handbook. Not only does it contain authoritative, up-to-date information on where celiac research stands today, where it came from, and where it’s headed, but it also comes with excellent advice and tips  for living a full, healthy life without gluten. –Patrick Bennett

Next: Flying with Food Allergies, A Little Bit Can Hurt and more resource titles.