Book Review: “Coeliac Disease: What You Need To Know” by Alex Gazzola

The internet is truly a wonderful thing. Let’s face it, you wouldn’t be reading this blog right now without it! You can wonder about any question in life, profound or otherwise, and within seconds an answer can be sought by searching on the internet. The trouble is sometimes the answers are factually incorrect, the authenticity of the writer may be unknown and the amount of information can be so varied it’s often necessary to visit several sites before finding the answer you were looking for.

Sometimes only a good reference book will do.

I’ve had a copy of Alex Gazzola’s “Coeliac Disease: What You Need To Know” for some time now. In fact it’s been on holiday with me twice to Italy in that time (a fact that I hope will allow Alex to forgive me for my tardiness in writing this review!). During this time I have regularly dipped in and out of the book and learnt something new on each occasion. Did you know, for example, that people with Coeliac disease are not recruited into the Armed Forces? Or what the difference is between a label stating “gluten free” and “no gluten containing ingredients”? Or how about which flours are naturally gluten free and some suggested uses?

This concise reference book covers topics from tests and diagnosis through health and practical issues to research and future therapies. It doesn’t include any recipes but I’m glad about this. I have shelves full of gluten free recipe books and suspect I don’t need any more (or at least that’s what I tell Mr D).

What I like about the way this book is written is that it doesn’t just explain what to say, but more importantly, how to say it. For example, very clear guidance is given in the eating out section on how to explain to wait staff and chefs about gluten free ingredients and food preparation. As Alex rightly states in the book, eating out is one of life’s great pleasures and no one need deny themselves. However, preparation and clear communication really are key and this book will equip the reader with the knowledge to live a positive and confident gluten free life.

I recommend this book to anyone who is newly diagnosed with Coeliac to deal with the transition to a gluten free life as well as those who’ve been living with Coeliac disease for some time and would like a refresher. I found the section on the new gluten free labelling which will come into effect in January 2012 particularly interesting as well as exploring thoughts raised by issues presented in the “Emotional well-being” chapter.

A reader of this blog recently contacted me looking for some advice on eating gluten free in Italy. Her mother was taking her young Coeliac son on holiday without her. It struck me that we often think of the person directly affected by Coeliac disease when in fact it touches so many more people’s lives. I think this is particularly the case when a child is diagnosed since they may not be able to fully articulate their food safety needs. I think the mother should provide a copy of this helpful guide to make sure granny looks after her grandson when the mother isn’t around. A prime example of when a good reference book beats the internet hands down.

Alex Gazzola is a dedicated health journalist with a particular interest in food sensitivities and allergies. He has written for over one hundred publications in twenty counties. “Coeliac Disease: What you need to know” is Alex’s fourth book. You can find his website here. If you are on Twitter, Alex has chaired several lively gluten free “Tweetups” using the hashtag #gftweetup.

To order your copy in the UK via Amazon click here

If you are in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Germany, South Africa or the US please click here to find out where to order your copy



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  1. October 10, 2011 / 1:26 pm

    Thanks very much, Sian, for taking the time to read and review my book, and to post a review. Glad you found it so useful. I’ve started to get another trickle of positive feedback from readers again – and that’s always good to hear too.

    All the best, Alex.

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