Dr. Stephen Wangen recently sent me a copy of his new book, “Healthier Without Wheat”. It took me a couple of weeks to read it as I wanted to really digest what he was saying and took one to two chapters at a time, trying to retain as much of the information as possible. I had the privelege of meeting Dr. Wangen several months ago after being invited to do a gluten free cooking demonstration in his office with his gluten free patients. Dr. Wangen is known as the Gluten Free Doctor and he is the co-founder of the IBS Treatment Center in Seattle, WA.
This book is a perfect resource for those who are newly diagnosed to Celiac Disease, think they may have Celiac Disease, as well as those who have a diagnosis of non-celiac gluten intolerance or think they might be gluten intolerant. Dr. Wangen goes into great detail the differences between Celiac Disease-Gluten Intolerance,and Non-Celiac Disease Gluten Intolerance. He also explains the hundreds of health problems related to wheat and gluten reactions. Whether it is Celiac or Gluten Intolerance, the cure is still the same…a strict gluten free diet.
I really appreciated that he clearly defined these differences and made a firm point that just because your testing says you are not Celiac, does not mean you are not gluten intolerant. I have talked to several people over the years that have initially received the diagnosis of Celiac Disease and then when they did further testing they did not have the Villous Atrophy or Positive Gene Test and subsequently have quit the gluten free diet after further testing, yet are still feeling miserable. Dr. Wangen points out all the symptoms of Non-Celiac Gluten intolerance, some of which are identical to the symptoms of Celiac Disease. Some of the symptoms he lists are diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, abdominal pain, headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain, hypoglycemia, eczema, acne, mental fogginess, anemia frequent illness, ithcy skin, and low bone density.
Dr. Wangen also describes in full detail the different testing options for Celiac Disease and Non-Celiac Disease Gluten Intolerance. Not only does he describe the tests, he explains them in a way the common man can understand them. I really appreciated the clear explanations. I have experienced unresolved testing with my daughter and could really relate to some of his points. Lexie’s initial blood tests, the Gliadin Antibody test, showed positive. In fact, it was off the charts and she was only 17 months old.
I immediately hooked up with our local Naturopath, Dr. Katie Carter, and we put Lexie on a strict gluten free diet. She improved significantly however, was not 100% yet. I really felt the need of a confirmed diagnosis, because Lexie’s medical doctor still did not believe she had Celiac Disease because he thought it was really rare. I knew she was getting better and had this intense need to know for sure, so that I could best care for my baby.
We headed to Spokane Children’s to do the biopsy of the small intestine. I had heard that you need to be on a wheat/gluten diet when doing this test, however, the gastroenterologist felt that due to her history of being so violently ill with it that she could forego that step. In addition to that Lexie tested positive for IGG soy allergies. The anesthesiologist said that IGG was not a real allergy and gave her a medication that was soy based. The effects of the soy in her system caused Lexie to code on the table and they almost lost her. They did get pictures and a biopsy and it was negative. The doctor took no responsibility over the fact that our baby almost died and when on to say she indeed does not have Celiac Disease.
So Lexie’s dad and I thought well maybe it isn’t gluten and we started giving her normal food again and immediately became extremely sick again. So since then we have kept her on a strict gluten free diet regardless of the biopsy results.
I tell you this to point out that Dr. Wangen explains in his book the importance of being on a gluten diet for a period of time before doing these tests or they will prove negative. Dr. Wangen also describes in full detail each test and what they mean. He also explains that a negative Celiac test does not mean you are not Gluten Intolerant.
We may never know if Lexie has “true” Celiac. In fact, after almost losing her we have no desire to do further testing. What we do know is that she is a healthy, thriving four year old little girl because of being gluten free. We also know that when accidentally exposed to gluten she reacts immediately. I do appreciate Dr. Wangens explanations of the tests, and they do give me peace of mind that we are on the right track.
Overall, I think this book is a must read for any Celiac, Gluten Intolerant, or anyone who wants a better understanding of how to live without wheat. It is also perfect for those suffering from IBS, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Abdominal Pain, Headaches, Muscle Aches, Arthritus and much more who are seeking answers. I only had two points that I did not agree with Dr. Wangen. One of which, at the beginning mentioned that we as humans were not designed to eat wheat. My religious beliefs contradict that point, because God is clear in the Bible the foods that He gave us are good. I feel that because we live in an imperfect world some of us just can’t eat it, but it doesn’t mean that Wheat as whole is bad for everyone. Again this is my religious beliefs and this is not the first time my religious beliefs have disagreed with a scientific claim. So overall, this disagreement is minimal.
The Second point was more an oversight than anything, but in the list of companies that sell strict gluten free products, Gluten Free Mama was not listed. After all, Gluten Free Mama offers the best tasting Gluten Free Flour Blends and Mixes! LOL….
So if you buy this book, which I think you should, scroll back to page 205 and write in Gluten Free Mama, www.glutenfreemama.com.
I give this book 5 stars. I will use it as a resource indefinitely. You can purchase Dr. Wangens book at www.HealthierWithoutWheat.com