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Jax Is Too Lax...
on April 7, 2005
I don't know if the years that have gone by and the experiences I have had with dealing with other celiacs and the gluten free diet have changed my perspective, but I am underwhelmed with Jax Peters Lowell's new "Gluten Free Bible", which is a new revision of "Against the Grain".
When my family of four celiacs was first diagnosed, her book "Against the Grain" offered me a refreshing perspective on how to deal with this condition. At that time I thought that if I could raise my celiac children with her perspective, they would be fine. I thought that her determination and zeal in pursuing special treatment because she wasn't "ordinary" was admirable.
In the "Gluten Free Bible", Jax falls flat. She sounds too preachy, too whiny, and she deals with some things too superficially to make this book a worthwhile addition to a celiac's library. She goes beyond addressing gluten-free issues to address her concerns with the fat and sugar content of the average American diet, her concerns with pesticides and chemicals, and her preoccupation with the macrobiotic food fad. This ends up leaving the original portions of "Against the Grain" with less sparkle, panache, and flair.
In my opinion, eating the toppings off of canapes and the innards from sandwiches and trying to avoid eating the cheesecake crust are just not reasonable activities that even a starving celiac should be engaging in. A much better strategy for a celiac to use when out on the town is the boy scout mantra of "be prepared". I encountered many factual inaccuracies in the Gluten Free Bible that may be of great concern to celiacs. Products long known to be gluten free, such as Tootsie Rolls, Butterball turkeys, Starbucks coffee, and medications like Lipitor and Zoloft are described in the book as being unsafe for a celiac to consume.
Some of the basic information in her resource pages at the back of the book is just simply wrong. I found spelling errors here and there. I have to wonder about just how much of a rush the author and publishers were in to get this on bookstore shelves. I was disappointed with her treatment of celiac disease and communion, particularly Catholic communion. While she seems to be more aware of cross contamination issues in this book than in Against the Grain, she is still writing about removing the contents of a "normal" sandwich and putting it between two slices of gluten free bread and eating it -- if you are not "too sensitive".
She writes that she expects that copies of this book will be as well-worn and dog-eared and beloved to celiacs as "Against the Grain". I think not. I think my copy will end up in the round file. Newly diagnosed celiac patients who are looking for a good book about the gluten-free diet should try Shelley Case's book "The Gluten-Free Diet" or "Wheat Free, Worry Free" by Danna Korn.