The Gluten-free Cheat Sheet: Go G-free In 30 Days Or Less

Paperback | July 7, 2015

byApril Peveteaux

not yet rated|write a review
Gluten-free products are everywhere these days, but what does it take to truly go gluten-free? Whether you’re gluten intolerant, have been diagnosed with celiac disease or another condition, or are simply curious about the potential benefits of gluten-free living, this user-friendly book presents everything you need to get started and stick with it. Presented in a straightforward format and sprinkled with a helping of hard-won wisdom and experience, THE GLUTEN-FREE CHEAT SHEET provides essential information, practical tips, appealing recipes, and convenient meal plans—all from the heart, mind, and kitchen of April Peveteaux, creator of the popular blog Gluten Is My Bitch.

This punchy, practical guide includes:


   •  100 simple, delicious recipes

   •  30 days of menus and meal plans

   •  Shopping lists

   •  Tips for eating out

   •  Hard-won secrets for staying gluten-free, and loving it

Pricing and Purchase Info

$18.69 online
$19.50 list price
In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25
Prices may vary. why?
Please call ahead to confirm inventory.

From the Publisher

Gluten-free products are everywhere these days, but what does it take to truly go gluten-free? Whether you’re gluten intolerant, have been diagnosed with celiac disease or another condition, or are simply curious about the potential benefits of gluten-free living, this user-friendly book presents everything you need to get started and ...

April Peveteaux is the creator of the blog Gluten Is My Bitch, and the author of the book of the same name. She also writes frequently for CafeMom, The Stir, and Cooking With My Kid.

other books by April Peveteaux

Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 7.97 × 4.46 × 0.7 inPublished:July 7, 2015Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0399172998

ISBN - 13:9780399172991

Look for similar items by category:


Extra Content

Read from the Book

•••INTRODUCTION•Hi there. My name is April, and I would like to apologize to you for having to pick up this book. Because if you’re even thinking about going gluten-free, you’re probably pretty sad right now, and for that I offer my most sincere condolences. Because croissants. If you are here because someone has told you, or you’ve discovered on your own, that gluten should be banished from your diet, you may be wondering how to start this new life without wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. (You’re also wondering what the heck triticale is, right?) You’re probably looking for some guidance, someone to scream with (or at), and a killer recipe for gluten-free cake. My gluten-intolerant friend, you have come to the right place.In 2010, I began having incredibly unpleasant gastrointestinal “distress.” I think you get where I’m going with that. I had unexplained eczema that did not go away with traditional treatment, had joint pain that was fit for a ninety-year-old, and lost a dramatic amount of weight. It started slowly, then amped up by the end of the year, during the month I tried to be a vegetarian. Yes, I did consume a ton of pasta, and yes, that helped to really kick things into gear. After being violently ill for three months straight, I was diagnosed with celiac disease in January 2011, thanks to a super-sharp gastroenterologist who sent me for an endoscopy (the gold standard for celiac diagnosis). The diagnosis was quickly and positively confirmed, and I was in for an extreme lifestyle change, or risk even more illness. Naturally, I jumped in with both feet, because no pastry is worth ruining your life.Having never heard of gluten, celiac, or “cross-contamination,” I was in for a huge learning curve as I navigated this new, and unpleasant, state of being. As a writer and an editor, I headed right to the bookstore and online to learn as much as I possibly could about what I was being forced into. The news was not great. At the same time, I was struck by the ridiculousness of having a disease that is activated by a sandwich. I was pretty sure I wasn’t alone out there in wondering what the heck was up with gluten, and so I started my blog, Gluten Is My Bitch. After experimenting with gluten-free flours, throwing myself on the mercy of waiters and chefs all over the country, and complaining endlessly about the lack of donuts in my life, I found my groove and my audience. It turns out that a lot of you out there are just as irritated about this forced diet and are also wondering where all the good gluten-free donuts are actually hiding.I decided to dig in even more by writing my first book, Gluten Is My Bitch: Rants, Recipes, and Ridiculousness for the Gluten-Free, and voilà! Here I am today to continue educating about gluten-free living and providing you with delicious recipes to make you happy no matter how sad you are about pizza.I’ve been there (actually, I’m still there and will continue to be there for the rest of my life), and I’m here to tell you that you will get through this time of soft pretzel deprivation and come out on the other side feeling healthier, happier (that is, until you find yourself walking by a pizzeria), and more well adjusted, digestion-wise. Will there be rough times? Oh yes, there will be. (See smells of pizzeria, two sentences ago.) Will there be times when you take the word “quinoa” in vain? You bet. But there will also be many delicious meals, fun travels, and new food discoveries as you change your diet, which was probably overloaded with donuts anyway. Or perhaps that’s just me.If you’re exploring the idea of a gluten-free diet, or are being forced into going on a gluten-free diet, there are tricks and tips that will make this journey a heck of a lot easier. One might even say there are “cheats.” Hence, the title of this book. After living with, writing about, and complaining to friends and loved ones about the gluten-free diet, I’ve got some pretty great solutions to those moments of “You mean I can’t eat that either?” And I’m committed to empowering the gluten-free; which is why I can’t wait to teach everyone how to eat, live, and survive this dramatic lifestyle and/or medical change. It’s easy! Okay, it’s totally not easy, but with my tips, recipes, coaching, and regular rounds of cursing and punching the couch pillows, WE CAN DO IT.Wait, why do we want to do it?That’s an excellent question. You may have just received a celiac disease diagnosis or another autoimmune disease diagnosis that requires a gluten-free diet. Or you may have just realized that every time you eat at the Olive Garden, you find the unlimited breadsticks to be more of a problem than a bonus. Some of you just feel better when you go gluten-free even without a diagnosis of celiac disease, intolerance, sensitivity, or any medical reason—and you’re welcome here, too. Now, for those of you who were given this book by a concerned relative, or a friend who swears going gluten-free changed her life, or (more embarrassingly) a roommate/coworker/spouse who thinks you need to change your diet for, umm, odiferous reasons, I’m going to help you understand the weird world of the gluten-free diet as well. Maybe you’ll join us, or maybe you’ll ignore us and go back to your brioche-eating ways. Either way, read on! You’ll certainly have more of a handle on dining out in mixed company and perhaps some sympathy for those of us who have no choice in the matter of diet. I mean, this whole gluten-free diet fad has to be popular for some reason, right? It’s popular because people outside the celiac disease and gluten-intolerant community have found some kind of benefit to going gluten-free. Maybe that will be you.For those of us who have no choice in the matter, it’s a fact that gluten does wreak havoc on the digestive system, the immune system, and the mood. I’m not sure how something so delicious can be so problematic. I’m really not. But I’m here to tell you that no matter why you’re going gluten-free, it’s going to be okay. Guess what? It’s totally going to be okay.They say unhealthy patterns can be broken in something like 28 days. But we’re talking about gluten here: the delicious protein that helps croissants be flaky, donuts be airy, and baguettes be filled with holes and goodness. I say you need 30 days to get over the shock to your brand-new gluten-free system. Also, a 30-day plan is so much better because you can be all, “I made it a month! I can do eleven more!” Or you can say, “I did this for an entire month, and I see no reason to go on.” Really, it’s your gluten-free choice. (Again, unless you have celiac disease, in which case there’s no choice unless you consider chronic illness and potential death as a “choice” equal to skipping burrito night. Which you don’t, right?)But if you are one of the more than 20 million Americans who have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, a wheat allergy, or another autoimmune disease that requires you to get rid of gluten, you’re going to need a hand so you can stay healthy. I won’t lie: It’s going to be a dramatic shift in your day-to-day life as well as your long-term goals (can you say, finding a safe vacation spot?). But if you can replace that gluten craving with delicious food that will not kill you, well, that’s awesome, right?Which is exactly what this book will help you do. I’ve gone through the various stages of gluten grief and come out the other side with a heck of a lot of fantastic ideas and recipes to make me forget about my gluten-free woes. With my new attitude and arsenal of gluten-free helpers, I will take you on a journey for the next 30 days filled with many tears, much laughter, and SO MUCH HIGH-FIVING. I’m here; you’re here; let’s talk about how we’re going to make this gluten-free living thing happen.First, I’ll break the news gently about all those problems with gluten, and then I’ll play a violin as I start tossing the delicious gluten food out of your pantry, but then I’m going to whip up some flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth gluten-free meals to make you happier than a pig in a truffle patch. Or a foodie in a truffle patch. Take your pick.By the end of this 30-day journey, you will have 100 new gluten-free recipes in your repertoire. Easy and delicious ones, in fact.You may be wondering who I am to make such claims. Well, I was you. After my celiac disease diagnosis in 2011, I also raged against the bread machine. I did not know how Saturday mornings would ever bring me joy again until, that is, I discovered the beauty of gluten-free waffles. (The dirty little secret of the gluten-free is that pancakes and waffles are not discernible with or without gluten. WIN.) I worked my way back from avoiding bistros for fear of the smell of a baguette to marching right up to the maître d’ and having a frank conversation about steak frites. I am the girl who now knows how to make a gluten-free biscuit with gluten-free gravy and—of course—sausage. (Yes, I am also the girl who was raised in Oklahoma.) The point is, I freaked out when I was told to cut gluten out of my diet, but now I’m a functional gluten-free member of society who is still able to have a good time at any given holiday party. And you can be, too.Most important, I’m the girl who cooks every night I’m not out on the town, and have been doing so since getting my diagnosis back in 2011. My 100 recipes consist mostly of meals my family and I enjoy on a regular basis, and you and your family can adopt them as your own. Sometimes we enjoy tacos, other times we go Paleo, and we especially love vegetables, so there’s really something for everyone. What this means is that I have some foolproof recipes for you, which you can make any night of the week. I also have some fancy stuff for those times you need to impress the people who don’t think you can eat well without white flour. But let’s be honest: We mostly need to know how to make dinner after a hard day at the office—a meal that’s quick, easy, and satisfying.So let’s talk gluten and why we’re giving it up. Then let’s move on to the baked Brie and gluten-free cocktails, shall we? Salut!•ONE•The Problem with GlutenWho, What, and WhyWhen someone first talks to you about removing gluten from your diet, you’ll certainly feel a pain in the breadbasket. But once you stand up straight and take a breath, you’re going to wonder what, exactly, gluten is anyway. In fact, many people have shown via late-night television that they really don’t know what it is they’re no longer eating. I want to make sure you are not one of those people. Especially if you happen to dine out where I do because, wow, NOT COOL.There are multiple ways a body can react to gluten. The three most common medical reasons to go gluten-free include (1) celiac disease, (2) non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or (3) a wheat allergy. While all three of these conditions are very different, they all have the same solution—remove gluten from the diet. Or in the case of the wheat allergy, just remove the wheat and go crazy with triticale, rye, and barley.Meet the CeliacsCeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder, which means your body’s immune system believes it has been compromised and begins to fight off invaders. When you’re a celiac, gluten is that invader. And that invader is as brutal as Vlad the Impaler. For a celiac, like me, gluten comes into my body and my body says, “No way.” Then my body freaks out and all sorts of horrible things start happening that, if left alone to do their thing, could lead to death. Yep, it’s that serious. Even though we may look okay on the outside, those of us with celiac are completely torn up on the inside. Suddenly your body is attacking itself, ripping out those poor defenseless villi in your small intestine and making you sick as a very sick dog. A sampling of celiac symptoms includes incredibly unpleasant gastrointestinal distress, peeling skin, and joints on fire. But really, there are so many ways gluten can hurt a body.It is estimated that 1 in 100 people have the autoimmune disease of celiac, but many remain undiagnosed.* In fact, at the time of this publication, the estimate is that there are 2.5 million Americans who remain undiagnosed with celiac and are experiencing damage to their bodies by not following a gluten-free diet. According to Dr. Alessio Fasano in his book Gluten Freedom, it wasn’t until the past decade that physicians believed that celiac disease even existed in the United States. Hence, the explosion of new celiac disease diagnoses in North America and the popularity of the gluten-free diet. For many people in the United States with celiac disease, this recent discovery meant years and years of suffering before a doctor was willing and able to get to the bottom of gastrointestinal, skin, and a load of other problems. So when people ask you, “Why is everyone gluten-free all of a sudden?” you can answer, “Because no one knew what celiac disease was in America until 2003,” and put an end to the idea that those of us who don’t eat gluten are just trying to be trendy.They Simply Won’t Tolerate ItThere are even more of you out there who don’t have an “official” celiac diagnosis (and therefore are also lacking the torn-up villi, lucky dogs) but suffer greatly when you ingest gluten. You are the gluten intolerants, or you have a gluten sensitivity, depending on who’s telling the story. And there are a lot of you in this category—in fact, six times the number of those of us with a celiac disease diagnosis. There are 18 million people with a gluten sensitivity in America who don’t have the “official” celiac diagnosis but experience the same symptoms.* The only good thing about having this diagnosis vs. celiac is that your villi will remain intact, and you won’t have to worry about a lack of absorption of vitamins and minerals in your diet as a result. But it is equally unpleasant in every other way. All of you out there who have gluten sensitivity or are gluten intolerant may have a hard time being taken seriously, but your pain is similar to or worse than celiac disease sufferers depending on your symptoms.Ahhhh-Choo!The wheat allergy crew are very different from these other two, although it’s possible to have a wheat allergy and celiac (and I know from experience). But if you’re battling a wheat allergy on its own, your symptoms will be different. Wheat is one of the top eight food allergens in America, so it’s not that unusual a diagnosis either. Your wheat allergy symptoms will look more like other food allergy symptoms, which can range from itchiness and swelling to the incredibly frightening anaphylaxis, which is immediately life threatening. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may have an easier, or a much more difficult, time keeping your diet safe from a gluten invasion. If you do have a wheat allergy, you should ask your doctor for an EpiPen to carry around with you in case you do accidentally ingest gluten, and make sure you know how to use it. If you do have to engage your EpiPen, have someone take you to the emergency room immediately following the injection to receive treatment.The RandomsThose of you who have other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gluten ataxia, or Crohn’s disease, may also feel a million times better once gluten is cut out of your diet (and in the case of gluten ataxia, you must be on a gluten-free diet). And here’s a shout-out to all of you supposed IBS sufferers who have realized that maybe that IBS diagnosis was not all that, and it is, in fact, gluten that makes everything go all “IBS.”All of this is to say that gluten can be very, very, very bad for a select group of people. Or it could simply make your stomach swell up and ruin your evening. There is definitely a wide range of gluten reactions on the spectrum. This is why there are two schools of thought on whether all of us should describe our gluten condition as an allergy when we have to explain our dining restrictions to a waiter or someone else preparing our food. Since “allergy” sounds so severe and dramatic, the people preparing your meal realize that care must be taken with your food. Some people feel that is not really fair if we are not, in fact, in danger of dropping dead at the table. After all, you’re telling a stranger that your life is in her hands. But it’s also why those of us who have celiac or an intolerance use the word sometimes, so we will be taken seriously. Sometimes you have to go for comprehension over accuracy when it could mean the difference between a great meal and winding up sick in bed for weeks.One Gluten StoryWhen anyone, regardless of diagnosis, reacts negatively to gluten, it can be pretty horrible. Having a reaction to gluten messes up your life in so many disgusting, painful, annoying ways. Before my diagnosis and removal of gluten from my diet, I had the pleasure of experiencing what I thought was eczema all over my face, diarrhea multiple times a day, and joints that felt like they would break if I moved. Plus, I would pass out whenever I sat down. Just from eating gluten. I had a preschooler and a tiny baby when the problems started, and I can tell you with great authority: It’s not so easy to take care of little kids when you’re living in the bathroom and/or the bed.This is why I work so hard to avoid gluten today, because that same exact thing happens to me if someone slips me some soy sauce in a dressing, or flour in my queso (which should never happen—NEVER). My life is disrupted, my children don’t get their mother, and my work does not get done. Add to those good times that every time gluten enters my body I’m upping my chances of osteoporosis, cancer, stroke, and a host of other good-time diseases, and I’m pretty dang motivated not to eat gluten. Do I want a Krispy Kreme? Absolutely. But being knocked out for weeks at a time, and really having to soldier on due to work and life commitments, makes that sugary glaze not worth the pain.Gluten makes us very, very sick. And while you can’t always see the results standing in front of you, it’s not only there but painful. Getting gluten-ed is no joke, even though some comedians try to make it into one. I wouldn’t wish gluten intolerance, celiac, or any other food issue on my worst enemy—no matter how trendy. Having an adverse reaction to food is physical, not psychological (well, except for the depression and anxiety, which are other side effects), and not at all funny (even if I do joke about it at my own expense from time to time).So Gluten Is Horrible . . . but What Is It?So now you know that gluten can really mess up a certain percentage of the population. But what the heck is it? The scientifically accurate description of gluten is as follows: Gluten consists of the two proteins that exist in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. These two groups of proteins are called gliadins and glutenins. Sure that glutenin gang sounds the worst, but it’s much more complicated than that. The peptides in gliadins are the harmful guys. (And honestly, the glutenins peptides could be as well; we just KNOW the gliadin gang is pretty horrible.) They like to attack the small intestine, which sets off a whole set of problems. Rather than me pretending to be a scientist, let me just explain what’s shaking with gluten in the most basic terms—the terms you, as a gluten avoider, need to know, and nothing more.These proteins in gluten are what make pizza dough so pliable, and pastries so light and fluffy. You need gluten to keep dough together when you’re trying to twist it into something delicious. Gluten is a binding agent that keeps your bread products together instead of having a crumbly mess. The proteins make your dough easy to work with and are essential in baked goods. These same proteins can be found in barley and rye and the unholy marriage of rye and wheat—triticale. It is believed a similar peptide chain can be found in oats, but it’s not exactly the same thing. This is why some experts say celiacs cannot have oats, and others deem oats to be okay in small doses (as long as they are not processed with wheat flour). If you’re suffering from symptoms of celiac disease, it would be best to put down the gluten-free oats until your gut is healed, just in case. No need to anger the villi.Gluten is also a thickening agent, which is why you find “secret” gluten in marinades, flavored syrups, and salad dressings, even when there is no bread to be seen. Gravy, roux, and other sauces rely on gluten to provide that thick, smooth texture we all love. Even a thin-looking sauce could have a tiny amount of flour mixed in just to help the consistency. And just that tiny amount of flour will make the intolerant very, very sick.This is why gluten is such a popular protein found in processed foods. Creating a pleasant texture, binding your protein bars together, and keeping food shelf stable are important when you’re selling processed food. Gluten can help out in all of those areas. This is also why you have to read every single label of every single food found in a package, and sometimes you even have to call the manufacturer if you don’t recognize an ingredient on the label of a food product. Gluten hides out, and you have to learn how to find it.Some other ingredients containing gluten in processed foods include:BarleyRyeTriticaleSemolinaBranSpeltBrewer’s yeastHydrolyzed wheat proteinMalt (such as barley malt, malted milk, malted vinegar; anything unless it’s specifically corn malt)Oat flourMatzoGrahamSeitanBulgurFarroBeerFarinaEinkornBleached flour/unbleached flourFiller (unless specified as corn)GroatsWheat germSoy sauceTeriyaki saucePonzu sauceOrzoTabouliUdonIt’s the Processing and GMOs, Right?As someone who prefers to have easily identifiable food, I can see how it would be easy to make genetically modified organisms the enemy. After all, those of us with food issues want to know exactly what’s going into our bodies so we don’t get sick. Unfortunately, this issue isn’t relevant to this particular conversation, even though, yes, we would all do well to know exactly what we’re eating at all times. If it were as easy as taking GMOs out of our diet, I would have been healed a few years ago, but alas, GMO-free gluten is still gluten.There is also a lot of chatter about maybe just removing that one protein, or perhaps that one protein doesn’t exist in ancient grains, so let’s eat that way and feel all right! Again, it would be great if we could solve the gluten problem so easily, but it’s also not relevant. The fact is, if you have celiac disease, you have to avoid wheat/barley/rye, wheat/barley/rye products, and anything that touches wheat, barley, or rye. Yes, even organic, ancient wheat wearing a toga. It will mess you up, and big time. It’s all about the gluten. Period.For the Rest of the Gluten AvoidersNow a word for our athletes who go gluten-free for performance reasons. There are a lot of you out there, and you seem to be winning tournaments, pennants, and accolades. Good job! I wish the rest of us gluten-free types could do the same. While simply going gluten-free won’t transform an average athlete into a superstar, removing gluten from the athlete’s diet is similar to adopting a high-protein/low-carb diet. Unless you keep eating all of those gluten-free packaged cookies. Before you go gluten-free, you should read on, as anyone adopting this diet should have an understanding of what gluten is and how it affects the body.If you’re getting your energy from the complex carbohydrates of vegetables instead of from breads, crackers, and pasta, you’re getting fiber and nutrients that will help your body run properly and maintain your glucose levels in a healthy manner. If you’re an athlete, you’re certainly trying to make your body as healthy and strong as possible for peak performance. While some marathon runners eat a huge bowl of refined carbohydrates like pasta before a race, other athletes find that limiting their gluten (refined carbohydrates) helps their performance.I have included some high-protein recipes because I know that a high-protein diet filled with vegetables so you still get energy from complex carbohydrates would actually get us all closer to looking like Venus Williams than we currently do. It is a healthy way to eat, it will give you loads of strength and endurance, and you will kick your sugar habit, which will go a long way in helping you win a race.This is the reason I don’t balk when people who don’t have to go gluten-free do go gluten-free. Whether it’s because you’re going Paleo or living on a plant-based diet without gluten, it’s a healthy choice. Unless you’re just cutting out gluten and not eating a balanced diet, or replacing gluten-filled items with gluten-free items, such as brownies, pastas, and other carb- and sugar-loaded foods. Then your body is going to miss out on those vitamins it desperately needs, and you won’t feel like a gluten-free superstar. You’ll just be paying a lot more for groceries and wondering why you’re gaining weight. If you’re making a choice to go gluten-free as a diet or for health reasons, remember that other grains that replace gluten, such as rice flours, are not as good for your body as whole wheat. And if you don’t really understand what gluten is, what it does, and how gluten does not simply = carbs, you’re going to be disappointed with the results.Before you dismiss those who go gluten-free for nonmedical reasons, you should know that a lot of people say that a gluten-free diet does have the potential to give you more energy, make you more focused and physically stronger, and help your body function more efficiently. I say, more power to you, gluten-free enthusiasts. Welcome to the club.Why All the Hate?I’m not blaming the gluten-free by choice for 100 percent of this, but the fact is, there is a gluten-free backlash going on. This can make it difficult to explain to friends, family, and waiters why you’re not eating the unlimited bread sticks anymore. You’ll get a little bit of “That’s horrible!!!” and a lot of the “So what CAN you eat?” business for a while. It’s also possible you’ll get a lot of incredulous looks, scoffs, and guffaws from people who just don’t like what you’re up to with this gluten shunning. The next time someone gives you the side eye when you tell them you have to eat gluten-free, just rattle off all the ailments gluten is responsible for in your particular body. I’m sure that unpleasant conversation will come to a quick halt.Wait, Why Am I Giving Up Bagels Again?Unless you’ve been hurling/vacating your bowels/sleeping for days/itching and require the gluten-free diet, you may be wondering if giving up your favorite foods is a good idea after all. I’m talking to you, the folks who are dipping your toe into the gluten-free experiment without a doctor’s note. It’s okay. Come on in.Some of you have come to the gluten-free diet on your own or on the advice of a friend who has told you going gluten-free worked wonders for her body/mind/skin/social life. Others of you may have a family member who is gluten-free and you want to make it easier on that family member by going gluten-free yourself.The short answer to “Why should I give up gluten if I’m not intolerant/allergic/celiac/immune-system compromised?” is that it’s possible you shouldn’t. There are nutrients in whole grains that help your body chug along, and if you remove those nutrients without keeping a sharp eye on your health, you could become deficient in certain vitamins and minerals. This is more likely to occur if you’re not under a doctor’s care with one of the issues that would cause you to benefit from a gluten-free diet. You need fiber as well, and if you’re cutting out whole grains that contain gluten, you’ve got to replace fiber elsewhere. Unless you have an illness or a negative reaction to a food, you really shouldn’t cut it out until you’re fully educated and able to replace the nutrients you’ll lose by cutting it out of your diet.With that said, gluten is a difficult protein for everyone to digest. If you subscribe to the Paleo line of thinking, our bodies did not ingest gluten until the agriculture age, and therefore we are not evolutionarily equipped to handle it. I know that my husband, who has no gluten issues, has more difficulty digesting gluten now that we’re a mostly gluten-free household. His body got “out of practice,” and now he can feel it when he indulges in the occasional gluten-filled dinner outside our home. So yes, you may feel better by kicking gluten out of your diet. And if you do, I will not call you out as a fraud and an interloper, because I want as many gluten-free people out there requesting gluten-free options as possible. Also, who am I (who is anyone?) to say what you should and should not eat when you sit down in a restaurant and plan on paying good money for a meal? Who am I to judge what you serve at your dinner table?When someone else makes a dietary choice, be it gluten-free, vegan, Paleo, sugar-free, alcohol-free, or whatever is floating that person’s boat, it’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about the person who is eating. And unless that person is causing a scene, judging you for not eating exactly like he is, or otherwise being a jerk about it, who cares? I certainly don’t.Trying out the gluten-free diet to see if you feel better is no different from trying out a Pilates class to see if your average-ish butt will turn into a rock-hard booty. We, especially Americans, are always in search of a better way to eat, exercise, be, and live. I don’t know if it’s our pioneer background, but we just can’t seem to stop trying new things. Right now it’s the gluten-free diet, and that’s handy, since there are actually millions of undiagnosed celiacs running around out there. Perhaps some of you will come to the gluten-free diet because of the trend and discover that it’s what you need in order to live a full and healthy life. Welcome, my rice-eating friends.With that said, here is one piece of advice I hope everyone follows, gluten-free by choice or by prescription: Don’t be a jerk about it. Don’t cause a scene. Don’t judge others. Oh, and if you are gluten-free by choice, don’t get sloppy when you’re dining out and make the chef and staff think that gluten-free is just a fad. That hurts the rest of us.Myths and Truths About GlutenEver since gluten found its way into the national conversation, a heck of a lot of people have something to say about those proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t actually know what they’re talking about, or they heard it from a friend who . . . heard it from a friend who . . .No worries, my friends! I’m here to set the record straight on all things gluten. Or most things gluten, I’m still not a scientist even though I’ve read enough medical terminology about gluten peptides to make me even more confused about whether I should be using the word “peptide,” “protein,” or “gliadin” or “glutenin.” (Don’t worry—I consult experts before I go on the Internet swearing that vodka is gluten-free.) So rather than listening to a Lohan or a McCarthy on the topic, allow me to drop some truth bombs on you about gluten.MYTH: GOING GLUTEN-FREE MAKES YOU LOSE WEIGHTYou’ve heard this out of the mouths of many a celebrity who is asked to explain her sudden weight loss or stunning figure, so it totally must be true. If only you don’t eat gluten, you, too, can look like Miley Cyrus! That is, if you want to.TRUTH: GLUTEN-FREE SUBSTITUTIONS CAN MAKE YOU FATThere are a number of celebrities out there making the “I got skinny going gluten-free” claim, which is how the message gets spread so far and wide. After all, a celiac named Mimi from Nebraska who gained weight after going gluten-free does not make it onto TMZ. But let’s put this “gluten-free diet” trend into perspective. There’s been this diet that rises and falls in popularity every other decade or so called the low-carb diet, or the South Beach Diet, or the Atkins Diet, depending on the era. It is a diet that cuts out carbs and sugars, and yes, you will lose weight if you go on this diet. And yes, gluten is found in foods that are carbohydrates. But that’s where the connection ends.If you go on a gluten-free diet for weight loss, you’ll have to cut out gluten-free substitutes, too. That’s because sugar is not good for a diet, so when you’re subbing gluten-free brownies for gluten-filled brownies, you’re not doing your waistline any favors. In fact, depending on the flour that is used in your gluten-free treats, you may be adding more sugar to your diet, not less. Rice flours, tapioca flours, and other gluten-free flours have more carbs and less nutritional value than whole wheat flours (although sorghum flour is a much better gluten-free choice), and you will not lose weight, and will probably even gain weight if you’re substituting an all-purpose gluten-free flour in your recipes.So don’t listen to celebrities touting a diet du jour, and remember that they also have personal trainers and the means to overhaul their very famous bodies into any shape possible.MYTH: YOU’RE LUCKY IF YOU HAVE CELIAC OR GLUTEN INTOLERANCE—IT’S SO TRENDY!Wow, everywhere you go now has gluten-free options! And all you have to do is just not eat one thing in order to be healthy. You’re soooooo lucky you got this disease/disorder.TRUTH: CELIAC, ALLERGIES, AND GLUTEN SENSITIVITY ARE LIFELONG CONDITIONS THAT REQUIRE TREATMENTWhile a part of me hopes the gluten-free diet isn’t a short-lived trend, I know that, like most trendy diets, it will have its day and then everyone will forget about cutting out gluten except for those of us who still have to maintain this diet in order to be well. I don’t know what the future holds for the gluten-free food market, but I do hope that with the increase in diagnoses, the demand will still be great enough to keep us in gluten-free options at the grocery store and when we dine out. And yes, it is lucky that gluten-free is getting attention so that those of us who have to eat this way have more options. I feel for those who were diagnosed pre-2010, when few people knew what gluten was, and the gluten-free bread was inedible.Of course, the gluten-free diet is only part of what we have to do to keep safe and healthy. For most of us, we’re also battling vitamin and mineral deficiencies and other side effects—like bone density loss and anemia—as part of this disease. So while initially it is as “simple” as following the gluten-free diet, we also have to be mindful of our intake of other nutrients in order to keep our compromised bodies running smoothly so we don’t fall prey to another illness.MYTH: GOING GLUTEN-FREE WILL MAKE YOU A TENNIS STARLook at all of these Olympic medal winners with their gluten-free diets! And it’s a fact that Novak Djokovic credits his gluten-free diet with helping him take home all those Grand Slams and Masters titles. If that’s all it takes, I’m going to start training now and be ready to try out in two years.TRUTH: YOU HAVE TO BE A TENNIS STAR FIRST BEFORE GOING GLUTEN-FREE

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Gluten Is My Bitch:"Highly entertaining."--The New Yorker"April makes you laugh while feeding you amazing gluten-free recipes. This book could even make gluten lovers go gluten-free."--Soleil Moon Frye, mompreneur and author of Happy Chaos"Gluten Is My Bitch makes celiac disease seem manageable and gluten-free eating seem cool. A great read if you're considering giving up the G!"--Laurie Kilmartin, comedian and coauthor of Sh*tty Mom