A new book by Mass General's Alessio Fasano, MD, comprehensively discusses celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and the gluten-free diet and lifestyle.

MGHFC“As soon as I started reading ‘Gluten Freedom,’ I couldn’t put it down.” You might expect those words from the reviewer of a romance novel or a suspense thriller. But they come from an Amazon reader after finishing “Gluten Freedom,” the latest book by Alessio Fasano, MD, director of the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at MassGeneral Hospital for Children. Published by Wiley in late spring, 2014, it features a comprehensive and scientifically based discussion about celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and the gluten-free diet and lifestyle.

“Gluten Freedom” received strong praise from some of Dr. Fasano’s fellow scientists before its release.

“Gluten Freedom” is a rich resource for anyone with questions about who should eat gluten or get tested for celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. It also offers tips about sticking to a gluten-free diet. As the nation’s leading expert in the clinical treatment and research of celiac disease, Dr. Fasano provides an easy-to-read explanation of scientific topics including how gluten “works” and how autoimmunity develops. Patient stories and recipes are scattered throughout the book, which includes an authentic gluten-free Italian dinner, from appetizer through dessert, from Dr. Fasano.

“Gluten Freedom” received strong praise from some of Dr. Fasano’s fellow scientists before its release. They include Allan Walker, MD, Conrad Taff Professor of Nutrition and Pediatrics and director of the Division of Nutrition at Harvard Medical School. “Evidence-based information is sorely needed for both the public and the practicing physician to appropriately decide when gluten should be removed from the diet,” he said. “This book, “Gluten Freedom,” by one of the world’s experts on gluten and celiac disease, provides the appropriate objective evidence to make that decision.”

In his new book, “Gluten Freedom,” Dr. Fasano offers a road map to a healthy, gluten-free lifestyle | Celiac Disease
In his new book, “Gluten Freedom,” Dr. Fasano offers a road map to a healthy, gluten-free lifestyle.

Getting the Real Story on Gluten

The book opens with the story of wheat and the rise of celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders. Dr. Fasano describes the spectrum of gluten-related disorders, explains what “leaky gut” is all about and how to get an accurate diagnosis. He discusses the latest research into gluten and the brain, including the controversial topic of gluten’s role in autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia. The final chapters delve into alternative treatments and—Dr. Fasano’s ultimate goal—prevention of celiac disease.

The middle section of the book focuses on living with a gluten-related disorder and the gluten-free diet and lifestyle. Dr. Fasano gathered a team of “patient-experts” to share their experiences as parents, patients, consumers and advocates across the gluten-free lifespan.

The Center’s dietitian, Pam Cureton, RD, LDN, presents the basics of the gluten-free diet. Jules Dowler Shepard, gluten-free cookbook author and advocate for gluten-free labeling laws, helps consumers set up a gluten-free kitchen. Andrea Levario, executive director of the American Celiac Disease Alliance, another long-time advocate for labeling laws, advises parents on navigating the journey for safe eating in school.

Celiac Disease and Pregnancy

Former National Football League Most Valuable Player Rich Gannon provides the reader with a dramatic family story about the celiac disease diagnosis of his youngest daughter, Danielle. His wife, Shelley, and Danielle, now a teenager, also describe what family life is like for people with gluten-related disorders and share their favorite recipes, including Super Bowl chili and a gluten-free chocolate soufflé.

Diagnosed with celiac disease in his 60’s, Tom Hopper tells the story of how doctors at Mass General finally figured out what was making him so sick.

An expert on the developing brain, Mary McKenna, PhD, along with her son, John Mink, provides practical information on thriving at college while on the gluten-free diet. “Banana baby” Barbara Hudson shares her story of being diagnosed in the 1930s and surviving on bananas and Belgian buttermilk. Diagnosed with celiac disease in his 60’s, Tom Hopper tells the story of how doctors at Mass General finally figured out what was making him so sick.

At the other end of the life spectrum, Anna Quigg, PhD, gives expectant mothers some advice on how to survive pregnancy while successfully treating celiac disease. Bob Levy of Bob & Ruth’s Dining and Gluten-Free Travel Club, talks about the pitfalls of traveling while maintaining the highest standard for eating nutritious and delicious gluten-free food. Providing recipes and working with the author and contributors, the Center’s director of communications Susie Flaherty was pivotal to the development and writing of “Gluten Freedom.”

Proceeds Support Center’s Research

No writers or contributors to “Gluten Freedom” receive royalties for their work; the funds from book sales support the Center’s research. “Once again, the Center is extremely grateful to our many supporters, especially the people who contributed to ‘Gluten Freedom’ without any expectation of financial gain,” says Dr. Fasano. A German edition was released on April 20, 2015; Polish and Czech editions are in progress, with additional countries to follow.

“It has been very gratifying to see such a tremendous response to ‘Gluten Freedom’—not just from the celiac community, but from general readers who are looking for factual information to clear up the current confusion around who should eat gluten and the gluten-free diet,” says Dr. Fasano. The early Amazon reviewer seems to agree, as she concludes, “I have learned more things from this book than any physician, book and article that I have encountered.”