You won’t find many non-cookbook book reviews here on Creative Cooking Gluten free, however when a good book comes along I am more than happy to write about it and share with all of you.
Jennifer’s Way is written by none other than Jennifer Esposito, acclaimed actress (who just so happens to have celiac disease) turned celiac/gluten-free advocate and bakery owner! Jennifer,like many of us, myself included, went years being misdiagnosed, a huge problem for those with celiac disease. With celiac disease having over 300 symptoms it can be difficult for doctors to know to test for this, especially if the individual is showing signs and symptoms that are less well known.Celiac disease is not a pretty disease, especially if you are misdiagnosed for many years.
Jennifer’s Way is a brutally honest summary of her journey to being diagnosed with celiac disease and her path to health and wellness in all areas of her life. Additionally in her book she shares some of her delicious recipes and you can find even more on her website. Once I cracked the cover on this book, I couldn’t put it down. So many parts of this story, I myself could have written. I would take some quick pictures with my cell phone and send them to Bryan of different sections and just say “this was me!!” and he would agree. Like Jennifer, I am also Italian (although not fully, I have more characteristics and qualities of that side of my family), I was always in love with food…it represents so much to me, and amongst other things I was diagnosed later (age 26) with many years and visits to the doctors, only to be told that it was only in my head or my favorite one…”she is just looking for attention”. Let me just say, IF I was looking for attention, going to a doctor’s office would probably be my last choice!
I was constantly sick growing up, I am short in stature (many of my family is as well, but my dad is 6’1″, I’m 4’11!!), my weight was always low,and every time I had blood work, my doctor would say that he sees something (which he called a virus), but couldn’t quite figure it out. Granted when I was younger, celiac disease was not on anyone’s radar like it is today. I actually had to bring it to my doctor’s attention to test me for it because I was so sick of being sick.
I laughed and cried while reading Jennifer’s Way. It was refreshing and heartbreaking to read the words penned by Jennifer, knowing that I and millions of others are not alone in this struggle, because it was a struggle,and some days it sill is. It is also frustrating to constantly have to defend this disease…trust me I did not ask for this, I mean who would want a DISEASE? This is not a fad for those who truly need it. The only treatment (note: not cure!) for celiac disease is a 100% gluten-free diet. There are no cheat days, yes, there is the occasional sadness of “I miss Italian bread” or “I miss tiramisu” but you learn to adapt and be creative when reformulating your favorite recipes.
Jennifer, thank you so very much for writing and sharing your beautifully honest journey with all of us, I can imagine it was not easy to do. I am so appreciative of your determination to get answers, stand up for yourself, and find the health and happiness that you so deserve, and fighting for awareness for others in similar situations. You are amazing, talented, and I can’t wait to move to NYC next month and finally visit your bakery! My mouth waters every time I see a picture you post.
(images of an article in Simply Gluten Free Magazine July/August Issue)
Watch Jennifer’s interview with John Stewart of The Daily Show: http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/h8l3h4/jennifer-esposito