This book is truly a must-read for all coeliacs. If you haven’t read it, buy it today. You won’t regret it.
This is a new edition to the first book of the same name, published by Sheldon Press back in 2011. I reviewed a copy way back then when I didn’t know that much about coeliac disease and found it so useful in helping me understand the condition. You can read my detailed review of the First Edition of Coeliac Disease – what you need to know here.
You’ll notice that when I read the first edition of this book I was struggling with my own issues with gluten or wheat, I wasn’t quite sure at the time. Since then I have been diagnosed with a wheat allergy. My symptoms are very similar to many of the things coeliacs experience including constipation, bloating, flatulence, chronic stomach cramps, joint pain, I could go on. I always thought I just had IBS but over the years have been able to tolerate less and less wheat in my diet. Whilst I’m not diagnosed a coeliac, living with a wheat allergy has many of the same constraints as coeliac disease (CD), except I can tolerate rye and barley where someone with CD could not.
I also learnt a new word, Freekeh, which as someone with a wheat allergy I should have been aware of already. Freekeh (sometimes spelled frikeh) or farik is a cereal food made from green wheat that goes through a roasting process. Avoid it if you have a wheat allergy!
The chapter structure of the new edition is the same, as you would expect, but loads of new information has been added and sections expanded.
One section that really leapt out at me include early in the book where Alex details how coeliac disease was first discovered and treatments approved. It makes for very interesting and difficult reading. What I found most fascinating was that the term ‘coeliac’ was first coined by Greek physician Aretaeus of Cappadocia back in the first century AD. The word coeliac meant simply ‘suffering in the bowels’. His observations were remarkable for the time but sadly very little useful progress was made throughout history until the 1900’s.
For those with coeliac disease today it’s a sobering thought. How many infants died from ‘failure to thrive’ when in fact they had undiagnosed coeliac disease? Even today it is notoriously difficult for coeliacs to get a definitive diagnosis.
If you have coeliac disease, are newly diagnosed or have a family member or friend with the condition, get hold of a copy of this book. It’s really easy to read, well referenced to facilitate dipping in and out, which also makes it a great reference point as well as a very informative and interesting read.
There is also more information about Non Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity which is still not fully understood and has similar symptoms to CD but where both a wheat allergy and CD have been ruled out. Patients with NCGS improve with a gluten free diet and relapse when gluten is reintroduced but more research is needed.
FODMAPS also gets more attention in this edition and rightly so. It is a complex group of foods
The final chapter entitled ‘The Outlook’ details possible future treatments for CD with some interesting advancements. There is one case of a child who has been cured of CD using stem cell therapy but long term success will need to monitored and revisited. Vaccine, enzyme, drug and probiotic therapy could also provide promise but more research is needed. Also some wacky solutions like helminthic therapy, which whilst scientifically unproven, could give hope to those with CD today.
Well done Alex on the rewrite of a very useful little book. I just need to get mine signed now please for when you’re rich and famous