Elisabeth Hasselbeck, well known host on “The View” and a 2001 “Survivor’ contestant, has been diagnosed with celiac disease. She maintains a gluten free diet and is the author of the book “The G-Free Diet”. Her book contains discussions about gluten and gluten intolerance, recipes, how to dine out and ensure you have gluten free food and keeping a gluten free diet at home or when with friends. She actively supports “The G-Free Diet” as a means to losing weight and even for the condition known as autism.
She is certainly no stranger to controversy. In 2009, she was sued for copyright infringement of work contained in another author’s book with similar dietary content. The action was later withdrawn. Additionally, the inside back cover of Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s book contained a gluten free dining card which listed foods to avoid if maintaining a gluten free diet. Diners were meant to hand the card to the waiter so that any food served to them in the restaurant was guaranteed to be gluten free. Unfortunately, restaurant owners in Atlanta complained that the information about foods containing on the card was partially incorrect. Not all items on the list contained gluten and it was confusing to diners and restaurant staff alike.
Since 1997, Elisabeth Hasselbeck suffered from a variety of symptoms for years without being able to identify the cause of her sickness, despite seeing doctors and later, nutritionists. Her symptoms included general discomfort, stomach pains, tiredness and even considered having stomach surgery at one point. Living on a starvation diet for over five weeks in the outback of Australia during the television series “Survivor”, she realized that her previously experienced symptoms were no longer affecting her health. After she had returned to the US, her symptoms returned. She had a variety of tests to identify that she suffered from celiac disease through gluten intolerance. She then started a gluten free diet and has not been troubled with her symptoms since. In fact, she gained weight through improved digestion and found that she was generally more active, both mentally and physically.
As an advocate of a gluten free diet, Elisabeth uses every opportunity to promote a healthy live through her diet. She has cooked several of her gluten free recipes for Barbara Waters and Whoopi Goldberg on segments of her television show, “The View”.
Her book is generally liked by sufferers and some readers’ views indicate that they think it is both practical and backed up by personal accounts of the author’s experiences with celiac disease. They felt it was written in easy to read terms which are not full of medical jargon and her positive attitude to living with celiac disease encourages them to maintain a gluten free diet and to do the same. Some readers didn’t agree with her chapter on suggesting that a gluten free diet can keep you slim. Others thought the book contained references to foods containing gluten which in fact didn’t. They also picked up references to health food stores which were really just web links which didn’t exist any more.
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