Dr. Alessio Fasano, founder and director of the Center for Celiac Research at Massachusetts General Hospital, is one of the world’s leading experts in celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Without his dedication and research, there’s a good chance that many of us with celiac disease would still be walking around undiagnosed and chronically ill. As I have stated before, he is one of my heroes.
I had the fortune to read Dr. Fasano’s brand new book, Gluten Freedom, as I sat at O’Hare airport earlier this week due to a flight delay. It made for one of the most fascinating flight delay experiences of my life.
Gluten Freedom explains the history of celiac disease, celiac disease awareness in the medical community, and the amazing leaps in celiac research over the past two decades. Most significant research findings related to celiac disease are discussed and summarized in an easy to read manner. Dr. Fasano shows how celiac disease can have effects on all areas of the body, not just the digestive system, and discusses new research on the neurological and psychiatric/behavioral effects of gluten. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is discussed in depth as well, and Dr. Fasano makes it clear that non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a separate diagnosis from celiac disease that occurs in up to 6% of Americans. In addition, Dr. Fasano paints us a picture of why not all of us are successful on the gluten free diet, and justifies the need for additional medical treatment options for celiac disease.
My favorite part of the book was Part 3, in which the chapters deal with living with celiac disease during specific phases of life, including pregnancy, childhood, college, and the elderly years. A lot of the questions I have had others ask about me about being gluten free during pregnancy are discussed in this book.
One of my favorite quotes was Dr. Fasano’s discussion of what happens at the time of diagnosis. He states, “As a physician, I’m very sympathetic with this complex combination of emotions. I never minimize the feelings of someone who has just realized that his or her life has been changed forever by this restriction on one of the most enjoyable activities of humankind, that is, eating.” He truly “gets it” like I wish other doctors would.
Although I’d love to be able provide a summary of the entire book for you, like I often do for journal and research articles, I cannot, as my post would end up being about 500 pages long! If possible, I urge you to read this book on your own. No matter what age you are, or where you are in your gluten-free journey, you will be helped by the information in it and will gain a better understanding of your medical condition.
Although the hardcover version of Gluten Freedom will not be available until April 29th, the Kindle version is already available on Amazon.com for $11.99. If you can swing it, it is money well spent, I promise.
And Dr. Fasano, if you (or one of your representatives) ever do read my post, thank you for all you’ve done and continue to do for all of us with gluten-related disorders. We truly appreciate it!