Customer Reviews: The Gluten-Free Bible: The Thoroughly Indispensable Guide to Negotiating Life without Wheat
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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.
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on July 4, 2006
There are serious inaccuracies in this book that can cause a great deal of stress for a celiac. The section on medications with gluten is especially troubling as it causes someone who thought they were safe to worry for no reason. Most troubling is her treatment of the risks of cancer. Her treatment is both superficial, incaccurate and unrealistic. First she says that the risk is the same whether you maintain a gluten free diet or not. Then she says that the only thing you can do about it is to not worry about it. Her discussion of picking food out of a sandwiches is poor advice. In one section she understands the problems of cross contamination, yet doesn't seem to understand that picking apart food is more of a risk than using a toaster. Finally, her flip advice about how to avoid answering questions is ridiculous. Why not be honest instead of avoiding the questions. It's up to the person as to how many details they want to give. But avoiding the issue is not the answer.
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on May 2, 2005
Although Jax presents the gluten free lifestyle with a great attitude, anyone serious about the diet knows that it isn't this easy. The hard info that Jax gives in this book is outright wrong and could be very dangerous to some one new to the diet. She needs to loose the casual approach and get real about being truly gluten free.
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on May 1, 2005
Whether this book is worth reading depends on what you are looking for.

Jax Lowell is clearly a talented and enthusiastic writer who can make you feel upbeat about a gluten-free diet. If you want a "feel-good" experience or a mood-booster, this book could be the one.

This update of her earlier book, however, still recommends practices that are dangerous for celiacs, such as removing sandwich fillings from between gluten bread and putting it between your own gluten-free bread. To the general public, this may sound a reasonable survival strategy, but research studies are consistently showing that even minute amounts of cross-contamination can keep the autoimmune response of celiac active and damaging the intestines. Even an amount of gluten so small as 1mg/day has caused continuing damage, according to one study.

Instead of purchasing the "Gluten Free Bible", money would be better spent on: Danna Korn's "Wheat-Free, Worry-Free: The Art of Happy, Healthy Gluten-Free Living" or Shelly Case's "Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide". If you are looking for gluten-free recipes, check out any of Bette Hagman's cookbooks or Roben Ryberg's "The Gluten-Free Kitchen".
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on April 4, 2006
If you have a mild to moderate gluten intolerance, you can MAYBE follow this book's advice and be safe. If you have full on Celiac Disease, you will find yourself sick in a single digestive cycle!

Jax's information is lacking, out of date, and incorrect. I obsessively research foods, medicines, ingredients, and restraunts so as to be able to join my friends and family in their dinners, and my research shows Jax to be woefully incorrect. I'm encouraging my local booksellers to not carry this any more, and I encourage the discerning readers amoung you to take great care. If you want the feel good stories, read the feel good stores. Don't take the feel bad advice.
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on August 17, 2005
What in the world was Jax Peters Lowell thinking when she wrote Chapter 17, "Rx for Health"? I cannot begin to express the fear and anxiety I felt when I saw Celebrex named as a drug that contains gluten. I stopped taking it immediately and began searching for a gluten-free alternative. I was so upset that all of my efforts as a celiac to live gluten-free were being undermined by my Celebrex. I had thought it was gluten-free! I found the website that Lowell mentions on page 394, Glutenfree, hoping to find a gluten-free alternative pain medication. Imagine my relief at seeing Celebrex on the list. I contacted gluten! I Googled gluten and Celebrex.....NO Gluten! There are many responsible guides for celiacs. Lowell's book is certainly not one of them!
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on September 13, 2005
Although this book had good information, it had to be ferreted out. It did not give enough day to day living details. I seldom go to cocktail parties, eat caviar or have business lunchs. The restaurants we patronize do not have reservations, most of the time do not have chefs.

The author came across as a spoiled socialite with a 6 figure income and no children. She had a snit because the hostess did not cater to her every whim. She demonstrated rude behavior that I would not have tolerated.

I would have prefered she give me good information on common occurances on living the 'real' life.
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on May 4, 2005
I found areas of this book that contained information that would make individuals needing to lead a gluten free life style ill. There were several poor suggestions in this book and also poor information regarding some of the products mentioned as NOT being gluten free that are!

There are great books out there to help Celiacs! This is certainly *not* one of them.
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on December 10, 2009
I find it strange that some of these negative or one star reviewers stated the supposed facts they understood from the book. Did they even read it or skim along, get into an angry frenzy and decide to write a review? Their reviews couldn't be more inaccurate. Over and over again, Jax lets you know that it's not okay to be subjected to just eating the topping of something without the crust or the insides of a sandwich. She writes to be prepared, but to also express your feelings when others expect you to be ok eating contaminated food, or eating around the dangerous parts of their dishes. Although I find some of her dialogue or self-back patting to rub against my grains, I still very much enjoyed her book and will not only suggest others should read it, but hold onto it for future reference. I guess read it and research anything you find questionable since it was published in 2005, things change, facts change. Otherwise, enjoy.
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on May 31, 2005
While there is much good information and insightful stories in this book, there is also some information that is just inaccurate and/or very disputed within the celiac community. If you are a newly diagnosed celiac, please read this book with caution and refer to other sources. Danna Korn's books (Wheat-free, Worry-free and Kids with Celiac) are very factual and well researched. Tania Pineo
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