Going Against the Grain

By Nuccia Ardagna Going Against the Grain - Italian Style!: A Gluten-Free Life Guide and Recipe Book for Staying Healt [Paperback] - Nuccia Ardagna

"Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine.  It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide.  Two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications.

When people with celiac disease eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley), their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage on the villi, small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body.

Celiac disease is hereditary, meaning that it runs in families. People with a first-degree relative with celiac disease (parent, child, sibling) have a 1 in 10 risk of developing celiac disease."

Wow! I can not imagine life with Celiac Disease, but I guess it is like with any other illness, you cope and adapt. I do not have the disease but I do know a few people that do suffer from gluten issues. I love to cook and bake so if I had someone in the family with this disease, I would be all over the internet and cookbooks to find recipes to make. That said, Going Against the Grain - Italian Style by Nuccia Ardagna is one of the cookbooks I would refer to. Not only is the author knowledgable about Celiac Disease, but she suffers from it. 

This book is interesting in the fact that not only does the author know what she is talking about, but she has done extensive research into the why's and wherefore's of the disease, but also experimenting and coming up with delicious recipes and she shares them with the reader.  Celiac Disease is not an allergic reaction to a particular food but an actual illness. In the first few pages of the book the reader learns about the symptoms, which are extensive, other diseases that can be triggered by this disease. I learned that the disease can be hereditary and it is difficult to diagnose.

Did you know that there is gluten in non food items?? I did not know that either, cosmetics, hair care products, medications, vitamins and some supplements have gluten in them. A person who is gluten intolerant has to be very careful, in their own home, eating out and what groceries to purchase. Cross contamination can cause problems also, bakeware, utensils, cutting boards, plates and even rolling pins can cause issues for the sufferer.  So sticking to recipes and foods that are gluten free is a must, lots of fruits and vegetables along with lean meats, fish, dairy and gluten free grains should be in the sufferers diet. 

On to the recipe section. Like I said before, I do not suffer from gluten intolerance but I did bookmark some of the recipes in this cookbook. I love to make soups so I spotted the Hearty Sicilian Broccoli Soup in Tomato Broth and it will be made in my kitchen soon. Fresh Tomatos and Pesto Rotini and Risotto with Mixed Mushrooms look delicious also. There are fish recipes, vegetable recipes and even a section on sweets all looking really really good!

Important in any cookbook are the pages of resources. Nuccia has listed, in the back of the book, websites to go to about Celiac Disease, medication website, travel resources, books to read, what food and snacks you can eat and even restaurant and bakery websites. I really liked this book and even though none of us suffer from this illness, I will be making some recipes as I try to make our meals as healthy as I can. I am on a diet and it is important to eat the right things. Going Against the Grain - Italian Style is an invaluable resource for the cook to have in the kitchen. I highly recommend it!