4 out of 4 stars
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Dr. John Douillard's Eat Wheat is a fascinating rebuttal to the gluten-free craze that is currently dominating the diet industry. In his book, Dr. Douillard makes the case for wheat (as well as the oft-maligned milk protein, casein) with historic and scientific evidence, and offers an alternative to elimination diets through Ayurveda, a holistic system of medicine from India.
Dr. Douillard postulates that wheat and dairy intolerances are the product of weak digestion, which can be caused by "stress, environmental toxins, processed foods, and a host of other factors" (p. 10). Through the Ayervedic treatments outlined in this book, people who have trouble digesting gluten or casein can heal their digestive systems and begin to enjoy foods containing these hard-to-digest proteins once again. Additionally, Dr. Douillard points out the many dangers of consuming excess sugar, and provides evidence that sugar may be the cause of multiple health issues that are currently being blamed on wheat.
The book explains Ayurveda in a simple, straightforward manner that does not require the reader to have any prior knowledge of this healing practice. Furthermore, Dr. Douillard keeps the focus on the digestive treatments, rather than providing lengthy histories or jargon-filled explanations that could bog down the reading. The result is a practical guidebook with treatments that can be used immediately by anyone who wishes to do so.
As well as providing abundant information on Ayurveda, Dr. Douillard cites many sources from conventional medicine to back up his defense of gluten and casein, and includes a sizable reference section at the end of the book. The marriage of ancient and modern medicine presented in this book was refreshing, as many books on alternative medicine tend to project a hostile or condescending view of conventional medicine. I was also impressed by Dr. Douillard's honesty regarding the treatment plan; he does not tout these methods as a cure for serious illnesses (such as Celiac Disease), as books on alternative medicine are wont to do. Rather, he makes it very clear that this treatment plan exists to help people who were once able to enjoy foods containing gluten and/or casein do so again.
My only criticism of this book is the doctor's insistence that the reader must avoid all processed and non-organic foods. He offers plenty of alternatives, and I cannot argue with the benefits of eating organic, but the fact remains that organic food can be quite expensive and may not be a realistic option for many people. However, it is also true that gluten- and casein-free products can be very costly, so perhaps individuals who have resorted to elimination diets would not see a significant change in their grocery bills.
Eat Wheat is a well-written book with an abundance of information, and I give it 4 out of 4 stars. I would recommend this book to its intended audience (those with diagnoses of wheat or dairy intolerance), as well as those with an interest in general well-being or alternative medicine.
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