Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free, Caffeine-Free... Cookbook

At first glance, Cathy Torella's Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free, Caffeine-Free... Are You Kidding Me? cookbook looks like a great deal.

A brief article, more like an adapted press release, in the Barrie Examiner, said:

The book provides dozens of recipes for people living with various food allergies and sensitivities.

Torella wrote the cookbook after she discovered in 2004 that she had a number of food sensitivities.

"I have always had a keen interest in cooking, so I found it devastating to be told my regular eating habits had to change, but I was determined to feel well again and I would try anything to get there," she said.

"I started researching options and recipe ideas right away. I quickly found there were not many recipes available to accommodate all the sensitivities I had developed and thought there must be other people like me. I started experimenting with ingredients and recorded everything because if I liked the end result I wanted to be able to make it again."

It's a self-published 84 page paperback with a list price of $10.95. Many specialty books these days are self-published so that's not in and of itself a strike against it. Why do self-published books have a bad name? Because they have not been through the filter of having an outsider, an editor or publisher, separate the good from the bad. Of course many self-published books prove to be good. Others...

I don't know for sure whether Torella's book is good or bad. It has only a single review on Amazon and that's not enough to determine my opinion. That review is so devastating, though, that I feel compelled to share it with you.

Dr. Mary Traverse "allergy solutions teacher":
Yes, unfortunately, you are kidding me. This book is not what it represents itself to be. At least half the recipes have some form of either gluten, dairy, or sugar. It is a big disappointment, poorly researched, and assumes that "evaporated cane juice" is not sugar or Goat's milk is not a dairy food. My biggest objection, as a health professional, is that it is full of misleading and incorrect information (Ezekiel bread contains no wheat, for example.) It also makes little or no distinction as to which are the gluten or non-gluten grains. Definitely not what you are looking for if you are on a gluten-free, dairy-free, and/or sugar free diet.

That some of the recipes contain ingredients that some have to avoid doesn't bother me. Many multiple allergy cookbooks are written this way, since it's unlikely that all readers would share every single one of the allergies that the book addresses.

The other complaints are far more serious. I spend much time and effort trying to teach people that supposed "healthy" sugars are in fact essentially identical to the ordinary, everyday table sugar that they hate so much. And the idiotic notion that has infested the internet that goat's milk or milk from any other animal is not the same as ordinary, everyday cow's milk is an outrage, an indictment of our entire educational system and a symptom of the way that the internet spreads stupidity faster than any other medium in human history.

If Traverse's criticisms are correct then I would certainly urge that you avoid this book.

Who is Dr. Mary Traverse, though? Her doctorate is in Chiropractic and her website promotes her worldview, one that I don't share. She houses the Austin branch of the Crossroads Institute, started by ex-rocket scientist Curtis Cripe. And what has Cripe accomplished?
Curtis can now show definitively that every person who graduates from this program has between a ten and thirty point increase in IQ!!!

Sheer woo woo.

So I have someone I don't agree with correctly pointing out errors near and dear to my mission. I'm torn, but I always side with the facts. Traverse is right, Torella is wrong. That's true no matter what else Traverse says on other topics.

The facts always win, at least in my corner of the planet. Until proven otherwise, it's thumbs down on Torella's book.

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