Ironically, I had to travel all the way to Australia to gain real insights into what was hurting me in the United States, and when I moved to New York City, it was an Australian, Dr. Peter Green, the director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, who confirmed what I'd suspected for years. The moment he told me I had a disease—celiac disease—I enthusiastically thanked him. This reaction might seem a little bit odd, but I had been searching for a clear-cut diagnosis for almost a decade by then! I had consulted innumerable experts in the hopes of finding out what was wrong with me. For all those years I had waited in vain for an explanation that made sense. Dr. Green was the first doctor to look for the cause, not simply treat the symptoms. My gratitude to him is beyond measure.
Once Dr. Green confirmed that I had celiac disease, I became even more committed to what I called the G-free lifestyle. With Dr. Green's help, I deepened my knowledge of where gluten is found, and how I could most effectively avoid it. With the encouragement of my loved ones, I became more adept at shopping for and preparing delicious G-free alternatives to what had once been my favorite foods.
In no time at all, I found that living G-free wasn't so bad at all! In fact, I've never felt better in my life. I cannot imagine ever returning to eating gluten—even if I didn't have celiac disease. The G-free diet gives me the stamina and strength I need to manage my increasingly hectic life.
It turns out I have a lot of company! Apparently, I am not alone in benefiting from the G-free diet: According to the University of Chicago, 1 out of every 133 otherwise healthy adults in the United States has celiac disease—that's nearly 3 million of us.
But a gluten-free lifestyle can help countless others as well. People suffering from a wide range of diseases—from autism to osteoporosis, from diabetes to rheumatoid arthritis—can often benefit from this change in diet. Even people with no health issues have a great deal to gain by giving up gluten. The G-free diet can help with weight management. It can elevate your energy levels, improve your attention span, and speed up your digestion.
Whatever your motivation for going G-free—whether you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, or a basic desire to live a healthier, longer life—this book will help you achieve your goal. It's an all-inclusive, easy-to-read survival guide to living without gluten and loving it. I will define gluten in all its particulars, and teach you how to spot it in the unlikeliest places. I will also help you navigate social situations, and instruct you in the art of reading both food and beauty product labels. You will learn how to target gluten-free products, both at restaurants and your local supermarket, how to stay on your diet even in a foreign country, and even how to keep your kids G-free in the school cafeteria. By the end of this book, you will be equipped with all the information you need to get through the world without gluten. My guess is that you will only wish that you had done it sooner!