July 7, 2010

The Gloriously Gluten-Free Cookbook by Vanessa Maltin

The foreword of The Gloriously Gluten-Free Cookbook is written by Heidi Collins, a former CNN Newsroom anchor. She publicly spoke out and made others aware about celiac disease, which she was diagnosed with after fifteen years of suffering with what doctors called a “nervous stomach.”

Reading this foreword, I personally understood the struggle she went through. Doctors often told me they weren’t sure what was wrong, and said “nervous stomach” or the most annoying – IBS. Not knowing what it is is hard and highly annoying and stressful. I wish I had known then about celiac disease, so I could have been properly tested for it before it got so bad. I’m glad that it is being discussed more often publicly now, and more people are getting diagnosed.

The author of this cookbook, Vanessa Maltin, is also one of millions of Americans with celiac disease, is the Food & Lifestyle Editor for Delight Gluten-Free Magazine. She understands the need and desire for those with celiac disease to be able to eat things that taste great – yet still being gluten free.

For those that do not know what celiac disease is, it is an autoimmune disorder of the small bowel. As informed in the cookbook by Aline Charabaty, MD, the lining of it gets damaged after it is exposed to food containing gluten. This leads to the symptoms of malabsorption with diarrhea, cramping, bloating, weight loss, failure to thrive, and nutrient deficiencies. If it is left untreated, it can also lead to neurological disorders, skin and joint disease, osteoporosis, and infertility, and has been associated with an increased risk of certain cancers.

The only treatment is to not eat gluten. There are no pills to take or surgeries to undergo. That is why it is so important for those with this disease to not eat gluten (wheat, rye, barley) and live a gluten-free lifestyle.

The first thing most people think of when eating “gluten-free” isn’t usually so appealing. Most of the older gluten-free products did not taste good (and quite frankly, a lot still don’t). However, there are new gluten-free products available that do taste great. Vanessa Maltin explains that it is imperative to those with the disease to not eat gluten and to stick with this lifelong diet. The recipes in the cookbook are a great step in eating gluten-free for those with the disease, and those who want to just eat great, healthy food.

The Gloriously Gluten-Free Cookbook is separated into four sections: Italian, Asian, Mexican, and dessert recipes.

Italian Recipes
I was thrilled to see Italian gluten-free foods I could eat. Some of my favorite foods are Italian, such as pizza and pasta. Since having celiac disease, I’ve been unable to eat these (without experienced bad side affects, which really are not worth it).

Some of my favorites from this section include:
• Italian Breadsticks – taste fantastic and just as good (or better) than Italian restaurants!
• Grilled Chicken with Asparagus and Cheddar Risotto – even Chef Ramsay would love this, I think he’d be highly impressed if one of the competitors on Hell’s Kitchen made such a risotto.
• Garlic Shrimp with Linguine and Roasted Garlic and White Wine Sauce – amazing!
• Pizza Crust – my own personal heaven. Seriously.

Asian Recipes
I love eating Chinese food, even if it isn’t “authentic.” These recipes are highly flavorful and excite the senses.

Some of my favorites from this section include:
• Egg Drop Soup – one of my favorite soups! This took me quite a few tries to get, but well worth it!
• Shrimp Fried Rice – definitely better than those local Chinese food restaurants. Delish!
• Mango Fried Rice – I never even thought of adding mango to rice before trying this out. I’m extremely glad this was included in the cookbook, it is amazing!
• Vegetable and Shrimp Beer Batter Tempura – sounds great, but I assure you, it tastes even better!
• Chicken with Cashew Nuts – this is one of the main dishes I always get at our local Chinese restaurant. This recipe is however, even better than what they use, and probably has much less salt too.

Mexican Recipes
Mexican food is much more than just tacos and quesadillas. I love Mexican food, the spices and flavors are amazing.

Some of my favorites from this section include:
• Fried Plantains with Peach Chutney – fantastic starter, especially for family gatherings.
• Chicken Tacos – I’m a sucker for chicken tacos, it is one of my favorites!
• Mango Chicken Quesadillas – I recently discovered (and love) mangos with chicken and this dish is absolutely perfect!
• Tequila Shrimp with Garlic, Chiles, and Cilantro Rice – I’ve never cooked with Tequila before, but it is fun – especially if drinking some while cooking. Yum!

Dessert Recipes
Desserts. It is really hard to find good ones that are gluten-free. However, making your own with these recipes solves that problem!

Some of my favorites from this section include:
• Chocolate Fudge Cake – pure chocolate heaven!
• Double Chocolate Chip Cookies – soft and full of flavor. Possibly some of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had.

The Gloriously Gluten-Free Cookbook
is one of the best cookbooks I’ve used, and because the recipes are gluten-free, it is one I’ll be using the most often for a very long time. I absolutely loved it (and so did my family) and highly I recommend it for everyone with celiac disease, or those unable to eat gluten. I also recommend it for those who just want to eat healthier and cut out some of the gluten in their lives too. Fantastic cookbook.

* Thank you to the publisher of The Gloriously Gluten-Free Cookbook, Wiley, for providing me with a review copy of this book. All opinions and experiences expressed are my own.


Steph said...

So glad you found out. I didn't until I was 45 and already had recalcitrant IBS. We are on the rise as better testing has given more folks the good news that yeah they have something but to control don't eat gluten. In a way we are luckier than lots of autoimmunees.
Oddly Italy has one of the highest concentration of celieac. In Naples one of the world's best research sites.
Hey, if we were vampires I wonder if we would have to find out it our "donors" were GF??

Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust

Sheri said...

Very true Steph, and thanks for sharing with me that you have it too. :) Always glad to be able to discuss it with someone who gets it.

LOL about being vampires... I think maybe the disease would be healed (as everything else is) when being turned into one. :) If I ever become one, I'll let you know!

Anonymous said...

Who wants to eat something with the word glue in it anyways? lol :P

Jenn said...

I found you on the hop, and I'm a new follower.
I also wanted to say thanks for posting this review. While I don't have IBS or Celiac, my Dr. wants me to reduce my gluten for weight loss/fertility issues. This definitely looks like a cookbook worth getting!