Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Healthier Without Wheat

Book Review

Healthier Without Wheat by Dr. Stephen Wangen

My husband picked this up at the library and was thumbing through it. Then he handed it to me.

At first glance, it looked like it might have some useful information, so I checked it out and brought it home.

And there it sat. Week after week.

Finally, I had nothing else to read, so I picked up. I was sure there was something I could learn from this book, even if it had waited for so long.

Healthier Without Wheat

And learn I did. I also got annoyed.

This book has useful information about the various gluten and wheat antibodies, how testing is done, and which results determine which condition is present. There is a nice discussion of the different conditions involved, namely celiac disease, gluten intolerance, gluten allergy, and wheat allergy. These conditions most certainly are not the same, nor do they require the same testing.

It is unfortunate that the author indicates that many lab tests are not reliable due to mishandling of the samples and then declares that accurate diagnoses are dependent on accurate lab results, but without telling the reader how to find good labs to use.

Non-fiction author sometimes take to talking directly to the readers. Sometimes this is okay. Sometimes not. Here, not only does the author talk to the reader, he also tells me what to do. I don't like authors to think for me and then tell me what to do.

What do I mean? Well, I don't want the author to determine whether I'm getting bored with their material. And then proceed to tell me that if I am getting bored, I can skip that part.

Um... if I'm bored with the material, I can make up my own mind about whether to skip a part or not. And what does it say about the author's writing if the author himself is suggesting that I might be getting bored?

Worse yet is when this author insults my intelligence with something like, "... but that is too complicated and we won't get into that." No doubt the information is complicated, but there are certainly better ways to state this. Or "... if this is confusing, just skip it." Again, what does this say about the author's writing? If it is confusing, then it is the author's job to make it clear, not instruct me to skip it.

I also don't like it when the author keeps dropping previews of what is coming later in the book. "... as we will see in Chapter 12..." or "... but we will get to that in the next section..." or "... those will be covered in the following chapter..."

This book is riddled with these statements. A few I can handle. After that, the author is just duplicating the information in the Table of Contents. And it interrupts the flow of the information being presented. Irritating.

It is also unfortunate that the author advertises and promotes his web site where certain vitamins and probiotics can be purchased. This might be helpful, but it would be better to offer a list of resources, not just his own.

In spite of all the frustrations of reading this book, it does contain a lot of good information about testing for gluten intolerances.

I am not sure how mainstream all the author's ideas are, though, since he indicates several things that might be contrary to the advice widely available, some of which I have heard myself. I guess we need to be careful and think about our own situations, given as much information as possible.

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