The G-Free Diet and Babycakes

gfree babycakes

If you have to live gluten-free, you’ve probably already heard of both of these books.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide and BabyCakes: Vegan, Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York’s Most Talked-About Bakery both came out in May. (Not really a surprise, since it was National Celiac Awareness Month.) Both were published by major publishers, or given a major campaign push reserved for non-celiac books.

And both have been excoriated by people who are gluten-free.

I’m going to step lightly in recommending these books, because I’m certain this will open up a firestorm of comments, some of them excoriating me. But that’s why I am recommending these books — because they start conversations.

For decades, those with celiac suffered in obscurity. No one talked about celiac or living gluten-free in the press. I have met dozens of people in the past three years who have been gluten-free for the past 25 years, and they all say the same thing: it was like living in the dark ages. Sorghum flour, teff, sweet rice flour, quinoa — they weren’t readily available. Heck, even in the four years I have been gluten-free (four years this week), the awareness of living gluten-free has expanded, exponentially.

We need to spread even more awareness. Of the estimated 1 out of 133 people (and some scientists say it’s actually more) with celiac disease, only 3 to 5% of us have been diagnosed.

Wouldn’t you think that two huge, mainstream books dedicated to living gluten-free, and joyfully, would receive big hurrahs from those of us who are lucky enough to have been diagnosed and eaten our way to health already?

There are loud voices shouting that Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s book is full of inaccuracies, because she called celiac a food allergy in her television interviews. But the book clearly delineates that celiac is an auto-immune disorder. I think there are two things going on here.

1. Hasselbeck calls celiac an allergy in the context of ordering in restaurants or explaining herself at parties. This I understand. Most of the time, when I am at restaurants, I’ll say allergy too. Why? Because it has an effect. Waiters have been, marginally, trained in food allergies. If I say I have an auto-immune disorder, they are going to look at me far more blankly than if I say I have a food allergy. They’re more willing to help an allergy. Not fair, but pragmatic.

2. It’s clear from reading The G-Free Diet that Hasselbeck had a writer help her with the book, perhaps even write the bulk of it. (She’s thanked in the acknowledgments but not credited.) I’ve been a ghost writer before, for a book that was never published. I did almost all the research, structuring, and heavy lifting. The other person comes in for the more personal stories. In interviews, Hasselbeck may have gotten her words wrong because she doesn’t have the depth of understanding that someone who lives this stuff would, right off the cuff.

But here’s what moved me. She suffered with celiac, like the rest of us. Famous or not, if you have undiagnosed celiac, you suffer for years. The book’s opening chapters, detailing her symptoms and the struggle to discover what ailed her, sounded deeply familiar. There are thousands of people suffering with stomach pains and joint aches and anemia and any of the hundreds of symptoms that celiac can trigger. Someone with a huge media following telling her story is going to reach thousands of people who have never read a gluten-free blog, heard of celiac support groups, or even understand what gluten is when they hear it. That’s going to potentially save the lives of a lot of people.

Let’s face it. This isn’t a literary book. It isn’t meant to be. I sat down to read it when the baby took a nap and finished it later in the afternoon. I think calling it “gfree” is a little too cute for my terms. And the chapter urging everyone to try this diet because it helps you lose weight is simply poppycock. That hasn’t worked for many of us.

But anyone who tries to go gluten-free as a trendy way of being is going to stop soon anyway. It requires too much commitment for a flippant decision.

What the book does well is lay out the important parts of living gluten-free: how to keep your kitchen; how to deal with restaurants; how to ask your partner for help; how to deal with families and holidays and social situations. Hasselbeck eats more processed food and packaged meals than I prefer to do, so her lists of products and places to eat may not appeal to me. But they will appeal to a large swath of America, particularly when they are first diagnosed.

This is clearly a book for folks who have just been diagnosed, or who are starting to wonder if they have celiac. I expected this to be a frivolous work (I mean, look at that ridiculous cover.). However, I found it to be a plainspoken, clear guide, mostly well-researched and entirely earnest. (Dr. Peter Green, one of the most respected celiac scientists in this country, wrote the forward for the book and read through it for the publishers.) Hasselbeck advocates that people advocate for themselves and do this right. Clearly, she intends for this book to help people. And it will.

I know that thousands of people will be diagnosed with celiac this summer because this book has been published. And I’m thrilled.

Now, BabyCakes.

I’m often asked why I don’t have more dairy-free recipes on my site. The answer? I can eat dairy. This site is a personal record of the food we have eaten and loved, the meals that spawned stories we’ll be telling for years. Sometimes they are dairy free. Sometimes we eat ice cream. Now that Babycakes has come along, I’m thrilled that I have a baking book I trust to recommend to those folks who wish I wouldn’t eat dairy.

I love Babycakes, the bakery. I went there in February of 2006, a joyous trip just before I met Danny for the first time. At the time, I wrote: “Babycakes is simply the best little bakery I have ever stood inside.” I still stand by that.

Here’s what part of what I wrote:

“The morning I was in Babycakes was magic. After a brittle cold winter week, we had a warm Saturday morning. Everyone who walked into the bakery began smiling. I have to say, though, I’m sure that the enveloping smell of warm chocolate cake and tart lemon cupcakes mingling in the air enticed the smiles to emerge. Everything smelled wholesome and decadent at the same time.

We ordered a chocolate chip cookie and two cupcakes. Somehow, we resisted the gooey chocolate cake resting on the top of the counter. I had to take a photograph and let that take the place of throwing my mouth down and gobbling it all up in one bite. I restrained myself. But it smelled that good.

My friends and I walked out of the store, and into the sunlight. We took photographs on the sidewalk and laughed at ourselves. We bit down into our treats and murmured about their goodness. The cookie was crisp and thin, filled with oozing chocolate. And the cupcakes? Well, since I had already been to another gluten-free bakery that morning with my friends, and I was headed for a plane that afternoon, I let Monica take them home instead of eating them on the spot.

She reported joy upon eating them.

I ate well and gluten-free in a number of places in New York during my whirlwind eating tour. But in the end, I like Babycakes best. I only wish that I lived in the neighborhood, so I could visit its warmth more often.”

Now, how could you not want a cookbook that could produce goodies that make you feel like that? Especially when it makes being gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free look so sexy and free?

Well, here’s the rub. The book is labeled gluten-free. However, about 1/3 of the recipes call for spelt flour. Spelt contains gluten. Erin McKenna, the bakery’s founder and author of the book, does not have celiac. She can eat spelt, without issue. The book is fairly clear, in the opening, about explaining the difference, and laying out (sadly) that those who have celiac simply cannot make these scones and pie crusts recipes.

For this, some gluten-free folks are calling for a boycott of the book.

Oh come on. Really?

Look, I wish that McKenna had done the work to create those recipes gluten-free. We make pie in this house all the time. It’s not hard, gluten-free. But it’s her book. And there are plenty of gluten-free delicacies in the cookbook that you will want to make, like the brownie gems.

It would have been better if the “mostly” in the sub-title had been placed in front of the gluten-free. But I can tell you this, having written a book: authors have almost no control over the subtitles of their books. (I would never have chosen mine.) That’s the marketing department. They’re the ones who pulled the switch here.

Look, this book is beautiful, luscious, and fun. And imagine if you had to be gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free? Wouldn’t you be thrilled if finally a baking book was published for you? One that makes that life seem so delicious?

We all live and eat in different ways, even all of us with celiac. None of us owns gluten-free. These books are best-sellers. Certainly, they have sold far more copies than my book has, or ever will. You’d think I’d try to dissuade you from buying them, and point out mine instead. (And I wouldn’t mind if you bought my book.) But that isn’t the point. The point is for everyone to be diagnosed, to live without the pain and suffering of celiac (or gluten intolerance) while eating gluten.

And if there are cupcakes along the way? All the better.

I’m giving away copies of both books. Let me know why you might like to read The G-Free Diet or the Babycakes book, and I’ll choose a winner at random. These books were sent to me by the publisher, and I’d like to share them with you.

208 comments on “The G-Free Diet and Babycakes

  1. The Sweazeas

    I could not agree more!
    As recently diagnosed and also having to give up dairy I would love to see what either cookbook has to offer!
    Thank you for stepping up on the soapbox, it is much appreciated!

  2. Dolores

    Well, I've been gluten-free for almost two years now. The difference in how I feel compared to before the diagnosis is incredible. However, I find I still struggle. I'm still not always sure if I'm being as safe as I should be, even if I don't have a reaction. Also, I travel a fair amount to Europe (where understanding/recognition is really spreading!)…basically, I would love to be armed with a couple of more tools of what to eat/not eat and stuff to make at home even if I'm alone or with my husband's family thousands of miles away from home.

    (and for the record, when I'm out, especially in Europe, I say I have a food allergy too–nothing like making waiters/cooks think I might have a nasty, scary reaction in their restaurant!)

  3. Miss Belle

    I would love to read the Babycakes book! I am only a few weeks into being gluten free. The difference in how I feel is amazing but there sure is a large learning curve. Thank heavens for sites like yours and the others you show links to that provide so much guidance!

  4. Ali (Whole Life Nutrition)

    Wow Shauna, that was a well thought out post. I enjoyed every word. I do already own a copy of Babycakes and was really bummed to see gluten-filled scones, cobblers, and pie crusts. These things are not difficult to create gluten-free (and vegan). But I agree, when we write books and cookbooks they are unique to us, not everyone will be able to use every recipe. It is just impossible to please everybody. Just the fact that someone has put forth so much effort to create a cookbook is worth it and should be applauded.

    Since I don't own the G-free diet, I would love to be put in the drawing for that.

    Thanks for posting this. I am sure there will be lots of discussion!

    -Ali 🙂


    I would like to be considered for the Babycakes book as my girfriend's daughter, Jessie, suffers with coeliac disease. Jess is almost 18 and it would be a lovely addition to her birthday. Like most teenagers she just wants to 'fit in with the crowd' and finds it very difficult to stick to her diet when her friends want her to eat out with them. This book could encourage her to stay well while still enjoying food.

  6. Ellemay

    I would love to read Babycakes as I also lack recipes that are dairy/sugar/gluten free.

    Even though I can eat gluten, I cater for people who can't and who also have issues with dairy so I find the concept of a cookbook entirely devoted to allergy friendly baking very interesting.

    There is also a very good chance that I can't get it here in Australia!

  7. Linda (from UK)

    Excellent post Shauna. I've read (I think) all of the gluten-free books available here in the UK, and the one I would recommend is Your Guide to Coeliac Disease by Prof Peter Howdle who is head of the Academic Medical Unit and Consultant Gastroenterologist at St.James' University Hospital, Leeds,UK. The science is very well written with excellent 'patient question and answer' inserts. The book is half science, half coping. It is endorsed by Coeliac UK and really does appear to be the definitive guide.
    There are also quite a few excellent coeliac cookbooks on the market here too, including ones by Darina Allen&Rosemary Kearney (Irish – Ireland has a higher than usual proportion of coeliacs),and by Phil Vickery, a Michelin-starred chef.
    I agree with you that anything that raises the profile of coeliac needs is helpful, but authors passing on mis-information can cause more harm than good, and non-coeliacs can think we are just faddy, or that 'a little bit' won't harm. The spelt issue is often not understood, and I would worry that people wouldn't read the opening, just go straight to the recipes. I've even seen someone, in print, say that they eat cous-cous!!!

    Still, as you say, awareness has grown tremendously in the last few years (I'm just coming up to 3yrs) and your blog (with Danny and his food of course) is a huge help.

    With best wishes. Linda
    (Of course I would like to win these books!!!)

  8. Lily

    I'd love to read Babycakes or Hasselback's GF book. I have a small (but proud) half-shelf of recipe book and GF guides. I'm 25 and got diagnosed at 14, and I'm still meeting people who want to understand more about my not being able to eat gluten, having to be careful about dairy… it's an adventure to eat, but it's not a bad one. More books to read=More ideas for me, and more things to loan to friends who want to understand more.

  9. Fiona and Andy

    Please put me in the draw for the Babycakes book. Before diagnosis I was an avid baker – always the one to make birthday cakes or taking a homemade cake into work for the team just because … Since being diagnosed as cealiac and with having a severe egg allergy I haven't made a cake that I would consider sharing with friends and I'd love to change that.

  10. Stacy

    I would love babycakes. I'm not gluten free, but I'm trying to experiment with other flours and reduce my wheat consumption.

  11. babyjenks

    i'd love to read the baking book! i bake at least once a week for my gf husband and am making more dairy free, low sugar gf treats these days for a good friend. what a good resource that would be!

    thanks for writing about this books shauna!

  12. jeanamarie

    the baby cakes book sounds great – as i am lactose intolerant and 'sugar suspicious' (whatever that means! – no – we just have a heavy dose of type 2 diabetes on both sides of the family and I am slowly trying to change our diet as a preventative measure for my girls & for me!!). Would love to have such a great resource, not only for us, but to have recipes that are safe to bring to functions and so forth where we know we have friends who need to avoid these things.

  13. Engineer Baker

    Both of these books really intrigue me – while I'm a dyed-in-the-wool carb lover, there are some times when I wonder what it would be like to go gluten free. The difficulty, even now that it's more mainstream, seems pretty apparent. Babycakes would be my pick though, mostly because of your description of the bakery itself – I want to make baked goods like that!

  14. Violetsrose

    I would love to be considered for either book – I was diagnosed two years ago and have a newly-diagnosed colleague who would also benefit from sharing a book with me.

    As for the allergy/auto-immune argument – I usually say simply "I can't eat anything with flour in it" – if pressed I use the word allergy as it implies an anaphylactic reaction which scares kitchens enough to get your order right
    It really doesn't matter what you call it – you don't question someone in a wheelchair as to whats wrong with them to put them in that situation – so it doesn't matter if people say allergy – it just matters that they speak up!

  15. KandT

    HI – Great post and thank you for reviewing these books.

    Here's the issue from a personal experience that I have with the babycakes book. A neighbor friend is making cupcakes for a party this Saturday. She bought the babycakes book and is going to make cupcakes from this book for the party.

    I don't know if she's read the whole book, including the intro, that explains that spelt is not gluten free. I'm not 100% positive of her gluten free knowledge. I really appreciate her efforts – she's bought all the alternative flours and everything! – but I still had to email her and make sure that the recipe didn't call for Spelt.

    I felt horrible having to ask that. I don't want it to be an insult. I just needed to make sure that I could still eat the cupcakes that she has put such an effort into making. If it was more clearly labeled as MOSTLY gluten free, it would be more obvious for the less experienced g/f bakers who are attempting it for someone else, at least enough for them to ask more questions.

    I completely understand your point about the author not having much to do with subtitles. I just wish there had been a better way to accurately relay the information in a more visible way.

    Thanks again —
    Tracy C

  16. Anne

    I found out I have celiac on Thursday so (never thought I'd have any reason to say this) Hasselbeck's book sounds like it could be really helpful.

  17. Stargirl

    Thank you for being open to these books. Although they are not your (wonderful) book, and not entirely your style, I think it is important to be open to others. As an interesting side note, my friend loves the View and so she bought the gfree book, she recognized herself in the pages and is now diagnosed as a celiac. She had a complete change and is now starting to feel better for the first time in ages. (She never listened to me when I suggested it, though… 🙂 ). Please enter me in the drawing for babycakes, and thanks for offering these!

  18. christy

    I would like to read the Babycakes book. I own a small cake business in a country town and have been asked for gluten free creations. This would go a long way toward understanding it better and providing delicious cakes for them to enjoy too!

  19. FlowerMomma

    Thanks for the review, I agree with your stance that any ammount of awareness raised by theses books is a great service to those with celiac. They both sound great and I would be so excited to win either one, although the G Free Diet would probably be more helpful to my family. I am a non celiac momma who is working hard to feed my celiac husband and two daughters a gluten free diet. We loved your book and love to try the recipes from your blog.

  20. Jenn Sutherland

    Well-done! I have looked at both of these books in our local book store, and felt reservations and excitement about both, but haven't purchased either, yet. Thanks for the honest reviews. I have already recommended GFree to a friend who's little son just got diagnosed – I'm with you on eating little-to-none processed foods, but for a family with GF little ones, I know those products will be a savior for them in the beginning. And you're so right about these books shedding yet more light on the GF community and creating more awareness – we need all the help we can get to eat safely!

    I'd love to be entered in the drawing for GFree!

  21. J.

    I've been GF for what feels like forever and I agree with you that there was a bit of an over reaction to the books, regardless of that I to would like to read them at some point so throw me into the draw as well.

  22. JC

    Though I don't have celiac I have multiple food sensitivities and my daughter is severely nut allergic. Packaged and processed foods are simply not an option in our house. Blogs like yours and cookbooks like Babycakes are so important to the way I feed myself and my family. I would love the opportunity to get a copy of Erin's cookbook!

  23. Erica the Ninja

    Shauna, I couldn't agree with you more. I am proud of these girls for getting out there and just doing it…cookbooks take work, a lot of love, etc. I think the would would be a better place if we all stopped bashing each other so much and started holding each other up into the light instead. I would love a copy of the babycakes book.

  24. Dawn

    Hi Shauna!
    I am very interested in the Babycakes book as I am a former pastry chef. Eating gluten-free (at home anyhow) is pretty easy, but I rarely bake anymore. Partly it's the hassle and expense of the ingredients. I buy the pizza and french bread mix you recommended eons ago. It works well for some things, but it's not as good for others (plus it now costs over $7 for 4 cups of flour–eek!!) Sometimes, a straight substitution is fine (ie brownies and choc. chip cookies). In any case, it would be helpful to have a collection of recipes that are already tested. At Easter, I made a pie crust which was edible, but not as good as my gluten-containing pie crust. Even though the Babycakes book doesn't have a gluten-free crust, it would be a good jumping-off point.

    Last, and most importantly: Glad to hear little Bean is thriving and recovering from her surgery. Happy Summer to you!

  25. StuffCooksWant

    I would love to read Babycakes. I've been gluten-free for about 6 months, not due to Celiac (I haven't been diagnosed) but due to gluten-intolerance instead. I have used "allergy" to describe my issue as well, because it's more easily understood by the masses and even that doesn't always work. I was in a Greek restaurant and the owner met me at the door and was explaining all the food he had made that day. I told him I couldn't eat wheat due to an allergy and that it would make me very sick and he replied "It's no problem, we don't use wheat here." When asked what flour they made pitas from, he answered, "Oh, that's white flour." I ordered a salad w/o dressing and have never gone back.

    Anyway, the hardest thing for me, besides cooks that have no idea what they are using to cook with, is baked goods. There is one bakery in town that sells gluten-free products, but I really prefer to make my own because often sweets are more sweet than flavorful. Have had a lot of trouble finding recipes for baked goods that taste as good as the wheat varieties.

    Thank you for your website content, it makes me feel like I'm not the only one dealing with this "food allergy"! 🙂

  26. Anonymous

    Well said! I could'nt agree more – I have not read these books yet but have heard the contraversies. I'm with you Shauna, anything that gives some hope, help, or awareness to Celia Disease is a bonus. I am 15 years Celiac – not diagnosed, and back in the day, let me tell you, there was virtually nothing out there! Hats off to you and all the other celiacs in the world working to make a difference!
    Ina, from the Westcoast

  27. Penny

    I borrowed Babycakes from the new book section of the library. I'd love to see the G-free book! My daughter is on the autism spectrum and is on the GFCF diet (plus a few more F's…)


  28. Sarah

    I agree with you, and I'm glad a well-known blogger is finally saying it! I feel like so many who are gluten free should be thankful for this widespread exposure. Rather than criticizing our people why don't we just enjoy the fact that our issues are being noticed. Kudos for you for stepping up and supporting these books/authors despite what seems to be popular in the blogging community!

  29. hello pretty city

    Thank you for writing about these books. I saw Babycakes in the bookstore, loved how luscious it looked but questioned its allure. I'd love to question it more! May I be entered to receive a copy of it?

  30. Rachel

    Last November I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease I hae never heard of before. After doing some reasearch (I am a librarian after all) I found out that the autoimmune disease I was diagnosed with has been linked with celiac disease. I am happy to report that about a week after starting a gluten free diet a lot of my symptons from the other disease disappeared even though it has been a self-diagnosis and my doctor was thrilled not to have to put me on any medication at all. I still have to go fro frequent blood tests and other unpleasant things.

    This is my first ever post to this blog, I've been a lurker. But I have to say that the whole gluten free thing would never have happened, Shauna, if I hadn't been reading a professional journal and stumbled across a review of your book. Needless to say I not only ordered one for the library I bought a copy for myself. Thanks for the book and thanks for the blog. Both have had a profound impact on my life.


  31. tallmisto

    I just absolutely love how positive you are. I wish the rest of the world could remember to think of both sides even when critiquing a book.

    I think the Baby Cakes book sounds intriguing. I'm not the biggest fan of Hassleback even though I'm sure her book is going to be useful for many people.

  32. Ash

    Thanks for such a detailed review of both books. I bought Babycakes a couple of weeks ago and haven't tried anything from it yet – so excited!! As for not being able to make some of the recipes that contain spelt, that's okay with me. While she might have been able to get rid of the gluten in these recipes, I'm sure other people will enjoy them!

    As for the G-Free Diet, I was really curious to read this book after reading about all the controversy that spread over the net. While she might not have her facts straight all the time, I think it's great that she's been able to bring Celiac awareness to the masses.

  33. Kim

    I think your review of both these books is well thought out and very reasonable – I appreciate your point of view. I think what you said about these books increasing general awareness hits the nail right on the head. Everyone's dietary needs are so unique; no one cookbook or guidebook will ever be able to fit everyone's situation. The Babycakes cookbook seems upon first glance like it would be perfect for me, but upon reading recipes that call for lots of xanthan gum or soymilk, I'd still have to adapt them to substitute those ingredients. Sure, it is frustrating, but that's not the cookbook author's fault! It is their book, after all. : ) What we can rejoice in is that he more people can become aware of celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or just making alternative dietary choices to improve their health, the better. Not only will this allow people to help unlock the secret to their own health issues, but it also makes it easier for all of us dealing with these issues everyday! Thanks again for your reviews!

  34. Jessica

    I saw the BabyCakes video link (I can't get there via the link in your post, but it's )
    and thought it was hilarious! I've wanted to order cupcakes from them for ages and ages, and now I can make my own!

  35. Anonymous

    Thanks for being open-minded about other gluten-free/special diet books. I have had endometriosis for 18 years and have found the most relief from following a wheat-free/dairy-free/low-sugar diet. I love your blog, and, even though my dietary restrictions are for different reasons, I so much enjoy and appreciate what you have to say. Thanks!!!

  36. Adrienne

    I appreciate your well-considered reviews, Shauna. We were looking for some g-f bread in an unfamiliar store the other day and were directed to the 100% spelt bread, so we did a bit of educating at that store! If I had the choice, BabyCakes would be the one I'd choose. I've no problem cooking g-f meals, but baking seems to be more hit-and-miss with less that stellar recipies, so I'd love some new ones to try.

  37. shashakoe

    Thanks for the recommendation.. I like how you are very honest on your opinions. I'd so much enjoy babycakes cookbooks. I would enjoy the babycakes cookboks, as I am pondering to go vegan.

  38. Erin

    I've been baking GF for my 5-year-old son for three years now. I'd love to get my hands on the BabyCakes book to try my hand at some new recipes – sadly, it would only be the GF recipes, but I'm still excited about the prospect of some good recipes.

  39. Angie

    I would love to have a copy of the Babycakes book, to make tasty treats for my daughter.

  40. Ellen

    i think any book that encourages people to explore their health can be good, but i do agree that promoting gluten-free living as a window to weight loss is misleading.

    i'm allergic to dairy (and eggs), however, and am dying to take a look at that babycakes cookbook it's too bad the title is misleading but the book does not promise to teach you about which grains are gluten free and which aren't.

  41. Summer

    I would love to have a Babycakes cookbook so I could navigate the United Nations type atmosphere that prevades extended family dinners where anything other than the "norm" is treated on the same level as a crime against humanity.

    I just want to scream "It's still real food!" Showing up with a smashing dessert might calm the waters.

  42. Catherine from Canada

    I have several people in my life that are celiac and I love to bake. I always am happy when I can bake things that they can also enjoy. And I am always interested in learning more about the disease. I would love either one of these two books, they sound interesting!
    Catherine from Canada

  43. SaraLe

    Although I'm not gluten-intolerant I like to eat healthy.After I watched the author of "Babycakes" on "Martha Stewart Show" I tried gluten-free-vegan goodies and they were very good.Since then I do bake vegan from time to time.Oh Yes I love to have her book…Thank you for the opportunity.

  44. Shelly!

    I can always count on you for (dare I say it) a fair and balanced look at some of the products, indlucing books, that are targeted at our audience.

    When I first received news to "boycott" Ms. Hasselback's book my first thought was, "I haven't even read it!" For me, at this point in my career as the mother of a celiac kid, I am happy to get news about Celiac and GF out there! It saves me some leg work when talking with family and friends.

    I've been highly coveting the Babycakes book, especially since our celiac son will start Kindergarten in August and I am voraciously determined to show those gluten-full cupcakes up at birthday parties and events.

    Thanks for the review, and the chance for us to weigh in and win!

  45. kateherself

    Thanks in part to your site, I have recently discovered a love for cooking. I would love to try some of the recipes in Babycakes.

  46. Laura

    Thanks for the recs! I'm excited to check out Babycakes as I am allergic to dairy, gluten, eggs, and sugar.

    I particularly like your manner of presenting the books fairly and honestly. As much as people would like to find the "one book" or the "one diet" that will answer all of their problems, it simply does not exist. We are all beautifully unique in our gifts and in our ailments.

    I'm going to Babycakes' website right now to see if they ship their goodies outside of NYC. 🙂

  47. Marlene

    I loved this post from beginning to end. I kept finding myself nodding in agreement. My son celebrated his 1st year of gluten free last week (I have to admit I used a mix to make the cake – The Really Great Food Company mix works for me). I think it is exciting for my son that celiac and gluten free are being talked about and learned about. I still have a lot to learn, but I loved your positive approach to these books. That is how I want my son to be able to approach his life and this disease. Thanks you for sharing with us.

  48. JenniferK

    Hi Shauna,
    I agree that the cookbook is a reflection of the author, but I experienced a great deal of personal disappointment because I have an egg allergy and the very recipes that use spelt are the ones I struggle to make GF and egg free. I was so looking forward to finally being able to make good scones, etc. Not to be. Just another viewpoint – it's not the dairy, it's the eggs that make baking tough for me, and that's why gfree vegan was so exciting.

  49. Ashley

    My mother grandmother and I would love to read babycakes. We are all three diagnosed celiacs- imagine the luck of that! I am the only one that follows the gluten free diet like I should though… I would love to show them there are delicious ways to go gluten free and they do not have to resort to dunkin doughnuts for a sweet fix (PLEASE DON'T).

  50. Emily

    These are wonderful, honest reviews of these books. I think that whatever can be done to raise awareness of Celiac Disease is great! Thanks!

  51. Devon

    I just loved that your used the word poppycock. That made my day.

    I haven't read G-Free, but am interested. I did go to NYC a few weeks ago and remembered to go to Babycakes. It was delicious and I appreciated that they do keep their gluten free and non-gluten free baking areas segregated. I bought the cookbook upon arriving home. I am not only gluten free, but soy, dairy, egg, sugar (refined) free. I think it is hilarious that people boycott this book because it contains spelt. As people who suffer from celiac/gluten intolerance aren't we already well practiced in modifying things and navigating a world heavily laden in gluten. I guess I understand since so many people don't know.

    Thanks for the recommendations and as always enjoyable writing 🙂

  52. Karen

    Like you, Shauna, I'm thrilled with any attention celiac disease gets in the mainstream press. I know that just because my niece has a wheat allergy, it means my mother in law was more understanding and open to my own diagnosis and need to bring my own food to her house. Any attention celiac disease gets is good.

    I would definitely read both books; Hasselbeck's because I'm intrigued with her personal story, how she suffered, got better when gluten was removed from her diet, got sick again, and connected the dots on her own. The Babycakes book is interesting to me for the dairy-free aspect; I personally react to dairy and have to limit my consumption of it.

    Plus, I LOVE to bake.


  53. ChupieandJ'smama

    Thanks for the honest review of both books. I didn't understand all the frustration, but I hadn't looked into either book enough to form an opinion either way.
    As a person who is newly GF herself (even though my son has been for 4 years now) I'll throw my hat into the ring for the Hasselback book please (even if the cover is a bit silly).

  54. Niki

    I have a friend who's baby had wheat, dairy, nut allergies. As well as a few others I'm not remembering. She doesn't hardly ever make anything for the baby that is sweet for fear of an allergic reaction. I think Babycakes would be a great book for her to be able to make some sweets for the baby without having to worry.

  55. Erin

    Thanks for the reviews, Shauna. I totally agree that the good outweighs the bad with regard to Hasselbeck's book. I have to say though, I do not recommend Babycakes. I went there a few weeks ago on a recent trip to New York and I thought the cupcakes were disgusting. I know that sounds harsh, but they were hard as rocks and not sweet at all. It was like eating a two day old fat free breakfast muffin. I will say, my friend had a spelt cupcake and said it was decent, but when she tried a gluten free one, she agreed with my reaction. I think the best thing about that place is the cute shop and the packaging. Too bad the cupcakes are awful! Luckily I live in San Francisco and have access to delicious gluten free dairy free cupcakes from Crave Bakery. Now that's a book I would buy!

  56. Julie

    Thanks for your post, Shauna. I would love to read either book. As a dietitian (and one who personally eats gluten-free), I am interested in the different books out there that I may be able to recommend to or steer clients away from. Thanks!

  57. Allison

    I'd love to get the Babycakes book – my husband and I both have chronic illnesses – not celiac – for which going gluten-free (and dairy free, and sugar free) is sometimes recommended as an "alternative treatment option." I've just started to look into this, but it's a little scary for me because I LOVE to bake, and I'm actually much better at baking than regular cooking. I've found some good gluten/dairy/sugar free recipes BUT many more iffy-looking ones. So I'd love to get a chance to look through this book!

  58. art and lemons

    Thanks for your thoughts on these books, so clear and concise. I always enjoy reading your blog…

    I often bake vegan treats, and have in the past year started baking vegan and gluten-free for my son. I would love a copy of either but especially "Babycakes."

  59. Nina

    I would love to have the Babycakes book — just knowing that it's out there makes me happy! I took my kids to NYC last summer and we visited that wonderful bakery. It was hot, hot and they had wonderful lemonade sweetened with agave, which we drank with a variety of goodies. We took a box back to have later at the hotel, but we ate most everything walking down the street! It was easy finding GF restaurants in NYC — my 11-year-old with celiac says he wants to move there for that reason (and I'll be visiting often!) Where I live I have to drive 30+ miles to find rice flour. Still, I have hope and any book that spreads the word is fine by me…

  60. Tiffani

    Thank you for the recommendations (and cautions as they are very helpful). I will be checking out Babycakes for sure. I am allergic to dairy and have a large family history of diabetes (so I try to stay away from sugar as much as possible). This is exactly the baking book I need!

  61. Sallie

    Just yesterday, I was listening to a radio program on NPR called which featured Dr. Ann Kulze. One of the callers related that his wife had just been diagnosed with Celiac's disease and they did not know much about it. She was so positive about the disease and how this could help both of them to eat better and live longer. Quite refreshing to hear a doctor build up the positives about being gluten-free. You have been a great advocate and I really appreciate your blog.

  62. Becca

    I've had to be dairy free for almost two years and jumped right into the Vegan blogging world for my source of recipes for all kinds of baked goods. I've been having a hard time switching to GF and giving up those goodies… it would be nice to have a book that lets me dip my toe a bit further into the GF/Dairy-free waters. That, and I send any friends visiting NYC to Babycakes bakery, since it's 4000km away and I won't be going there any time soon.
    Please add my name to the draw for the Babycakes book.

  63. Heather Pelczar

    thank you for the explanation of allergy versus intolerance and the reasons why we capitulate to semantics to get the point across and get the help we need. Eating out is such fun, why ruin it with definitions to a server when you can just say "allergy and get the same thing?
    As far as "babycakes" I am thrilled that there is a (mostly) gluten free collection of joy in a book of baked goods! You are preaching to the choir as far as the boycott over a wrongly worded subtitle. Thank you for, once again, alerting me to these wonderful books!

  64. Kelly

    Thanks for your reviews, Shauna! Being gluten free for just over a year now, I was curious about Elisabeth's book and bought it more out of curiosity than anything. She does make some good points about advocacy… but I appreciated your book more. You and your husband eat more like I cook, and I don't like to use lots of prepackaged concoctions. With the variety of foods from all over the world that are out there, practically begging us to partake of and enjoy, why not get creative with our cooking and feed ourselves well??!!

  65. Anonymous

    Oh please pick me for the Babycakes book, I visited there in March with my little girl and I loved it, there are no gluten free bakeries near where I live, I would love to make some more interesting recipes with my daughter. Also, I just totally miss Babycakes, I only visit NYC about every 5 years, I think I need a fix!

  66. Tessa

    I was diagnosed with celiac last September. I feel lucky after reading about others experiences, I didn't have to suffer too long before my diagnoses because: 1. I already had a couple of autoimmune disorders and had been warned about celiac, and 2. my grandmother has celiac, so I knew what to look for and to ask for the tests to be run.
    I bought the "g-free" book already and so far I'm loving it! I've gotten so much out of this book and I'm thankful for that. I've read the reviews, good and bad, and I'm sticking with this book.
    I would LOVE to check out the Babycakes book. I crave sweets all the time and so far the only thing I've found that truly tastes normal are snickers =) I realize a lot of people are ticked off because the book isn't totally gluten free, but the way I read the cover is that it's a book with a variety of recipes, gluten free included. People need to stop being so negative and be greatful that there are yummy tasting g-free recipes being shared! That being said, I'd love the Babycakes book =)

  67. Shannon

    I've seen these books advertised and wondered if they were any good. I'm not a huge Hasselbeck fan, but I, like you, would relate to her experience with celiac.

  68. Congetta


    I have your book. 🙂

    I haven't read either of the books yet, but I agree with your comments. I too communicate that I have a gluten "allergy" when I go out, though I know it is incorrect. People don't understand and they lump it with lactose intolerance. I sometimes even try to explain the difference between an allergy and intolerance, but I am sure that I don't explain it properly all the time.

    Regarding recipes and ingredients: I know that it is frustating when you read the marketing on a package or book and you find out isn't completely true or accurate. But this happens to all products not just gluten free or other allergy free products. I always read the label closely prior to my gluten intolerance diagnosis to validate what the marketing copy said, why should it be any different now? I think people forget that. Yes, it is frustrating and doesn't help with the education, but you shouldn't rely on one resource for information anyway.

    I realized how misleading labels, etc. can be when I decided to review the packaging on Sun Flour Baking Company's cookie box. The packaging says it is made without wheat and gluten. However when you go the side with the ingredients listing, it also states that it is manufactured on shared equipment with wheat & nuts and that the equipment is free of eggs, dairy, GMOs & cleaned thoroughly between flavors. Therefore, it is very likely that cross-contamination could be occurring and you can still be ingesting gluten. Good cookie. Accurate marketing. Not gluten free.

    I would love to read the Babycakes book for the recipes. By the way, I live in San Diego and Jimbo's Naturally makes the BEST gluten-free scones, so I know that it can be done. Thank you.

  69. Rachael H

    Thank you so much for expressing my same feelings. Although I have been GF for over a year now and feel as if I am very well versed on the topic I still seek out as many recipes, stories, and new ideas on the subject as possible. To me being a Celiac means adjusting and as I read these books I have the same mentality as reading other books: adjustment. I appreciate them for having added a new voice to my Celiac journey.

  70. Karla

    Reading The G-Free Diet felt like eating a slice of white bread full-o-gluten. Thank you for addressing her use of "allergy" (even by Dr. Oz on the back of the book!!!!!) I get the potential for efficiency when ordering in restaurants but it's a huge misnomer. When people tell me "you're so good that you don't cheat on your wheat allergy diet" it makes me mad. As if it's just a matter of discipline to avoid a little belly rumble after a meal. I think it minimizes the severity of celiac. Better to get the word out clearly and concisely than muddled with Hollywood glitz. I'd love to read "Babycakes" with hopes of more substance.

  71. Kim

    Thank you for bring this to my attention… I have not come across either of these books (or the GF bakery in NY which I missed on my last trip)… very honest and balanced reviews!

  72. Svenska

    About a month ago my world crumbled as I know it – I can't eat bread, cakes, cookies, fried chicken (well, fried and breaded anything!), all things I thoroughly enjoyed for my previous 30 years. Living in San Francisco, I've got some of the best restaurants in my reach, or at least they were. It is such a difficult thing, being a foodie with a gluten "issue", as I call it.

    I used to bake every Sunday, conjuring up recipes for crazy pies, cakes and cookies. So far, my kitchen theatrics have become complete disasters, as I'm just not quite opening up to flours like my old best friends, All-Purpose and Bread. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to be able to continue my ritual with a book that will actually result in amazing treats my husband will eat! Babycakes may save the day….well, at least Sunday.

    Thank you for all your stories and recipes!

  73. Spicy Sister

    thanks for the balanced review. I have been gf for four years. I would actually love to check out the gf book as I find myself accidentally getting gluten every so often and paying for it.

  74. Kathy A.

    @Karla; I know you aren't equating food allergies with "a little belly rumble", but someone could get that from what you wrote.

    Not a celiac, but I am severely allergic to all the grains with gluten in them. I was diagnosed about 25 years ago, so I can definitely say things have changed for the better, thanks in large part to celiac activism.

    Getting people past the "a little won't hurt you" or "why are you being difficult" mentality is definitely hard.

    Thank you so much Shauna for such a well-written, well-reasoned post.

  75. Meg

    Please add me to the draw for the G Free Diet book. I'm highly skeptical of this book (I was actually angry when I read the publisher's overview), but wouldn't mind being proved wrong (or right as the case may be. FWIW I am a longtime follower of this blog and happily pre-ordered your book as soon as it was available.

  76. Chris Mandeville

    Amen! I'm so happy you posted about those two books, Shauna. I appreciate and agree with your positive perspective. Thank you for sharing your down-to-earth take on these books. I hope that many people will have more open minds about them–and appreciate them for what they are–as a result.

    I would love to be entered in the drawing for the Babycakes book. Thanks!

  77. JennySchu

    I'd love a chance to read the Babycakes book! I was just diagnosed about a month and a half ago and I'm just starting to experiment with gluten free baking. I made a lemon cake and a key lime pie last night for my boyfriend's birthday – I'll find out tonight if they are edible or not! Would love to try the Babycakes recipes.

  78. EponaRae

    Shauna! Thank you again for another lucid and respectful examination of the collective process we call 'culture'. It's not always pretty. Yet if we take the time and invest the heart that it takes to truely understand each other's intent as well as the messages we offer, a great deal more joy will come into being. Yes? Yes. Deception and mal-intent are indeed possible, but they are not EVERYWHERE, ALWAYS.

    Onward. I am now celebrating my 11th year free of gluten-induced illness. (It was actually sugested to me in 1983 or so, that I should try to live w/o wheat. OK. My substitutes? Barley, rye & oat flours. Hee. Well, that didn't make me feel better, so I quit struggleing with it after a few months. Went blissfully back to baking with my enemy.) I think most of us use the "allergy" explanation in public. Like you said most people understand that, even is they don't really know what gluten is, and ultimately it is our responsibility to explain what we can and cannot eat. We need to be sensible: a general bakery will most likey not be a place to nosh safely. Hm?

    As you know, I have found my missionary/mercenary niche for liberating the people from gluten tyranny working for a family-owned, wellness-oriented Seattle area grocery which has encouraged me to take the GF banner and run with it. I have been able to help–gee, probably thousands of folks by now. We know, those of us who have been at this a while, the severity of the learning curve for what is safe and what is not. How gluten lurks seemingly everywhere. How it is disguised with strange names. How misinformation about what grains are and are not actually wheats (Triticum ssp.), on and on. Our most powerful tools are clarity and knowledge. I love being able to put clear, useful information into peoples' hands when they walk in my store shocked, devastated, and afraid. I love being able to bridge that gaping chasm between receiving this bewildering diagnosis and a life without fear of our food. The best thing about my position as greeter at the gate of GF-Land? The celebration. Being the first person to honestly and demostratively model joy and happiness. "How wonderful! Now you will be well!" This simple act totally transforms the whole concept.
    This is what Hasselbeck and all the others are really after, don't you think? Wasn't it your mission, Shauna, to reach out and grab hold of as many hands as you could reach and help them across? Yes, there is money involved–but I get paid to do what I am doing, too. It is my work. And what good work it is. Yes.
    <3, Rae

  79. Joana

    I would love to be in the draw for the babycakes book. My husband calls all my sugar and wheat-free baking "Those things you make which no one but you likes." I would like to change his mind, and I think this might help.
    I really appreciate your openness about these books!

  80. Stefan, Sarah and Lukka

    Thanks for the honest opinion on both-this is great information for people who have asked me about a GF diet to loose weight (hasn't happened for me).
    The babycakes looks great, my husband and I have recently cut meat out of our diet, and diary is slowly being weaned, too. We are reading The China Study and it's fascinating. I would love a copy of the Babycakes to be added to my-as of yet- non existant vegan cookbooks.
    Thanks again,
    Sarah M

  81. Shannon

    Hi Shauna,
    I was diagnosed almost 2 years ago. Even though I work in a book store and regularly get paged to come to the front of the store to help people looking for gluten-free books, I haven't read either of these. I'm desperately trying to lose weight, so no cupcakes for me, please. I would, however, like to read the GFree book.
    I don't think it will ever replace my staff pick book (on a display wall with a sticker with my name, saying 'read this', though – Gluten Free Girl is on of the best books for non-threatening information about celiac disease and the foods we can love that there is.

  82. Lauren Denneson

    I have to agree with you Shauna – I like anything that gets the word "gluten" in the public eye and asking questions.

  83. shauna

    As a GF person for more than six years, I couldn't agree more that so many people still don't understand Celiac's disease. I have been baking pies, pizzas, cookies, brownies, breads, hamburger buns, and whatever, and I know it can be done with totally gluten free flours. As I was recently diagnosed with soy allergies, that has altered my flour mix, but not by much. Shauna in SW MI

  84. Suzanne

    I would love to be in the draw for the G-free book! One of my good friends in the Bay Area is gluten intolerant. She's moving back home to Louisiana and to say she's a little bit concerned about eating gluten free in the south is an understatement! Anything I can do to arm her with recipes and especially prepared foods (since she's not much of a cook) would be great.

  85. Elizabeth

    I would love to read either or both of these books. I adore reading, cookbooks, and am considering some dietary changes in this household.

    Thank you so much.

  86. Theosis

    I would like to win the Babycakes book to send to my newlywed sister whose husband must eat gluten- and dairy-free. While there is much to be found online, I think it would make things a little easier for her as she tries to balance his dietary restrictions with her lack thereof.

  87. Allison the Meep

    I completely agree with you on this. While the babycakes book isn't the ideal for a person with celiac, at least there is awareness. And from what I've heard, their gluten-free stuff is simply incredible. I can't wait to finally try one of their cupcakes on my next trip to NY. But in the meantime, I'm really happy that there's a recipe book. And so what if some of the recipes have spelt? To me, the basic guidelines of the recipe are still there. I like to take gluten filled foods and switcharoo the recipes to be gluten-free anyway. It's a challenge, and it's fun.

  88. Liz Carr

    You are spot-on with your comments!Your words, my thoughts. I read them both knowing that there would be controversy. The fact that there are more and more gf books out there for all to enjoy is simply wondeful. And, I HAVE purchased your boook and it's awesome!

  89. Anonymous

    I would love to read either of these books! I agree with you that its important to get issues out in the open. When someone who in the spotlight reaches out to millions of people that we as individuals cannot possibly reach and brings attention to an important issue, we should not be so critical. Rather, we should be thankful that an issue is reaching everyday citizens! I'm not a huge Hasselbeck fan, but I commend her for bringing this issue into the spotlight.

    I had a similar situation a couple of years ago where Ann Curry did a piece on my research in Antarctica…she misspoke and used the term CO2 instead of CFCs. Many people commented to me about the mistake and how unfortunate it was. I didn't see it that way at all…all I saw was an American icon reaching out to millions of everyday citizens (something I could never imagine achievable) and bringing awareness to an important topic.

    I have been exploring my own gluten intolerance for the past few months (your blog has been very helpful) and any literature that sheds light on the topic is a great help!

  90. Theresa

    My son's best friend, as well as a very good friend of mine, both have celiac and I would love to be able to bake them yummy treats from Babycakes!

  91. Sarah

    Thank you for your wonderful analysis – I agree wholeheartedly! In the long run, any GF publicity is a good thing, even it runs the risk of making us look a little faddish.

    I would LOVE to be in the drawing for the Babycakes book. I've been lactose-intolerant twice as long as I have been GF. (This was a blessing in disguise since looking out for lactose was good training for going GF). Finding baked goods that meet both my restrictions is very hard, since lots of butter or milk makes GF baking a lot easier. It would be lovely to just dive into a cupcake without worrying if I had any lactase enzyme pills handy.

  92. Andromeda Jazmon

    I was diagnosed five years ago and have learned to enjoy being GF. I love your book Shauna! Now this past winter I had uterine cancer and had two surgeries. Since recovering from that I am feeling very good BUT have had to completely give up dairy. I just can't tollerate even a tiny bit of butter. I really really really want that Babycakes book so I can relearn to bake (again). Thanks for these even-handed, honest reviews!

  93. Sally Parrott Ashbrook

    Wow, lots of comments!

    To be perfectly honest, Elizabeth Hasselback's outspoken political views have turned me off from reading her book. I say that knowing full well that I would think it absurd if a conservative refused to read your book because you were excited about Obama being elected. But, well, I'm just being honest, and I think some of the book's reviewers, were they being honest, would admit the same thing. (As I haven't read it, I haven't pushed for or against it anywhere. But I just think, "Hmm, nah," when I consider buying it. Or winning it.)

    I would love to win the Babycakes book, though. What you've written about the subtitle actually helps me feel a lot better about the inclusion of spelt in combination with the BAD subtitling. My best friend has the cookbook (across the country from me, unfortunately), and she made the gingerbread cupcakes recently and said they are to-die-for good.

  94. Amber

    Please enter me in the drawing for the books! I have lupus and have been gf for a year now. I've been borrowing cookbooks from friends but haven't ever had one of my own. Thanks for giving us a chance to get one! gingersnapp (@) yahoo dot com

  95. Kristy

    Thanks for bringing some rationality to the hype — both of these books look like good reads, but nothing that one should take as gospel. I just found out about Babycakes and am dying to taste them — mostly because I also just discovered that I have a wheat intolerance/allergy. It's a shame it isn't totally gluten-free, but it's personally exciting that it is all wheat free. 🙂 I would love a copy of the book to get me started… I'm currently singing wheat-free blues with a bunch of Seattle cupcake shops producing such tantalizing flavors!

  96. kirsten

    a good friend of ours has Crohn's – so no gluten and no dairy, among other things! i'd love to be able to pass the Babycakes book along to he and his girlfriend…

  97. Anonymous

    I would love to be in the running for the Babycakes book. I remember seeing her cook on a talk show once – it may have even been Martha – and I was so impressed. She was so perky, and her food was so pretty.

    I am dairy free, as well as gluten free, so her cooking really amazed me. Would love to make it to her shop one day, but a book would be a close second. Thanks for the review!

  98. Pambobanker

    My husband was diagnosed with Celiac's last May – and your book was a godsend!! The way you talked about food made my mouth water, I would read him excerpts and they had the same affect on him. Once again in this post you have so eloquently captured the good and the bad without being judgemental. It now makes me want to read or muse through both books – and that's one of the reasons I so loved your book and so love your blog – they make us think and come to our own conclusions. Thanks Shauna – I love your book and your blog!!

  99. Christine

    I'd like to read Babycakes because I'm dairy-free and am always looking for new recipes. Thanks for sharing your opinions on the books, it were really interesting!

  100. dogear6

    Babycakes might also appeal to a different audience – those who are wheat intolerant but not celiac. For me, many of the gluten free flours wreak havoc on my blood sugar. I can better tolerate small amounts of wheat, especially if blended with other whole grain flours such as brown rice flour. I cannot tolerate most gluten free replacements.

  101. Andrea

    Believe it or not, I had not heard of Hasselback's book. Although I'm sure it might be useful for me, I've had Babycakes on hold at the library for ages, and would love a copy!

    Like others here, I am trying to live gluten and dairy (and egg!) free, so have not been baking much. (Although I have made your chocolate banana loaf, to much delight.)

    I'm heading for NYC this summer and a trip to Babycakes is on the agenda. Thank you for such a thoughtful and positive post.

  102. Charlotte

    who does't want to read a book that makes eating dairy,sugar, and gluten free look sexy and free? I do! I would love a copy of baby cakes book..i am eager to start baking!

  103. sweetpea

    Shauna you are so kind and generous, and I appreciate your perspective. I am in Sally's camp however when it comes to Elizabeth Hasselback. I am so at odds with anything that comes out of her mouth that I could not bear to read her book. I am sure that says volumes about me. As for Babycakes, I picked up the book in bookstore recently to look it over. It is a beautiful book. I went right to one of the scone recipes and when I read spelt, I was confused. Did I miss the memo on that one? So I looked closer and noticed the claim about spelt in the beginning of the book. I have plenty of well intended friends and family members who would make a recipe from this book, just for me, based on the gluten free claim on the cover and think nothing of it! They probably wouldn't read the opening like I would and probably would not question an ingredient. I understand the publishing issues and that some choices are out of the hands of the author, but this one is just too misleading for me.

  104. Erin V

    I would love a copy of Gfree – being recently diagnosed and having no time to cook makes life a bit tricky it sounds like there maybe some helpful hints in there

  105. kelli allard

    Thank you for writing about this. We should be grateful for these books hitting the big time even if they're not perfect.

  106. MUM#3

    I would love to have the Babycakes book! I have to eat gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free and have had a hard time finding recipes with all 3 of these requirements. This sounds like just the ticket! I have been gluten-free for 15 yrs, but had to go dairy-free and sugar-free this year due to more auto-immune diseases. It sure makes eating (even at home) a challenge.

  107. courtney

    Well I wouldn't mind reading either one, but I suppose baby cakes would be the preferred read. I have not been diagnosed, but have been for the past few months starting to think that I might have it (bowel issues, getting sick easily, and to top it all of multiple miscarriages).

    I love to bake and that is one of the many things that scare me about going GF.

  108. Sho


    Don't put me in the raffle for the books. I will read them eventually. I just wanted to say that I would make those cupcakes and desserts that do not call for spelt, especially after reading your review of that bakery. I also saw Erin on Martha Stewart, (and I am still waiting to see you on Martha Stewart!)

    I would read Elisabeth's book exactly for the reasons that you pointed out. I have been (occasionally) watching the view for awhile now, and I learned that Elisabeth had celiac when she turned down a piece of cake. I was impressed that she was not trying to be a celiac poster girl. I may not agree with her views, and I have often thought that she has put her foot in her mouth. So I can see that maybe she made a mistake or two during some of her interviews. However, I think she is becoming more polished over time. Now that her book is out maybe she will become a celiac poster girl of sorts, but like you said, we need the exposure. 97 percent of the people out there with celiac also need to know what is going on.

    Take care,


  109. pwarias

    I would love to get my hands on the babycakes book. I can't do dairy or eggs (bummer for me) and I would LOVE to try some delicious vegan, GF goodies… I'll just make sure to skip the ones with spelt in them 😉

  110. bridgette

    It's a shame the books are getting so much backlash, but at the same time, in this day and age you can't claim things that aren't true, well researched or misleading. Regardless, I hope the books help educate more people.
    I have been eagerly awaiting the release of the Babycakes cookbook and would love to get a copy.

  111. Cristy W.

    I would love to be in the drawing for the Babycakes!!! I have recently had to give up dairy as well as as the gluten I gave up last year. Motivation to start cooking would be a great thing, so far I am surviving on rice/beans and fried rice. Thanks for the offer!


  112. Lynn

    I would love to win a copy of the Babycakes book. I enjoyed the best GF corn muffin ever when I went to their bakery one beautiful afternoon after walking about NYC and being very hungry. The clerk said that they had turned out exceptionally well that day and was she ever right.

  113. mnmmom2k

    I agree that getting the word out to the public is very important. I was diagnosed two year's ago and when I explained to my brother-in-law what Celiac Disease was, he realized that his mother (who had died two year's before from Colon Cancer) had every symptom I told him. He was crushed with the knowledge that if she had been diagnosed, she might have had a more comfortable life and perhaps also not have died from Colon Cancer.

    Being that Celiac Disease is often genetic, both my husband and I try to prepare as many meals ourselves and we try to eliminate as many preservatives as possible. A cookbook that helps us eat healthier is always appreciated.

    p.s. I always tell the waiter (and friends) that I am allergic – I also find it is an easier way to explain why I CanNOT have any gluten in the meals prepared.

  114. LucindaSarina

    Thanks for a great response to the controversy. I'm new to the gluten-free world (and the blogging world) and I was surprised by the negative responses to Hasselbeck's book. It's nice to hear a different perspective. I would love to read either of those books, simpley because I'm always looking for new information and recipes!

  115. zebe912

    First of all, I can't get the link to your book to load…

    Second, I need to check out Babycakes, or would love to win it. I can generally find gluten free and or dairy free, but something sugar free that I can actually eat is tricky since I don't use splenda or aspartame.

  116. Kristen


    I am knew to all of this Celiac business, as I was diagnosed just two weeks ago by mistake. I went in for an EGD test for another reason and they biopsied some little bumps that ended up with my diagnosis.

    I have a son who will be turning three in July. Sadly, I will be talking to this pediatrician about having him tested as well. His happy little gluten world could change just as quickly as mine.

    I would like to be considered for a copy of the BabyCakes recipe book so that I can learn how to make some yummy treats for me and my baby-cakes, Konnor! 🙂

    Thanks for your honest feedback on both of these books.

  117. dangrdafne

    The one think I appreciate about The GFree Diet is that many people asked me about the book and it led to great conversations about being gluten free. Since it was written by a celebrity it seems more people noticed it.

    My concern with the Babycakes book is that people in my life will purchase the book, make the items and not even realize that I shouldn't eat the spelt. I would hope they would read the information about the spelt or ask me about it but I fear they wouldn't and it would not turn out well.

    Thank you for your "reviews," I always appreciate your take on all things gluten free.

  118. Natalie

    Hi Shauna,
    Thanks for this! I love that this is not a knee-jerk reaction based on marketing.

    I was diagnosed with celiac 5 years ago in July. And like you (actually in part thanks to you), I've noticed a huge change for the better in awareness by general public. Although I don't always like the personalities or the marketing, I love the fact that there is more and more awareness about and attention to celiac and/or the gluten-free diet. It makes my life easier.

    When I was first diagnosed with celiac, I lived in Connecticut, and Babycakes was the first place in the US (it was easier in Australia and the UK then) I was able to find any GF baked products that I could trust. It was the first place anywhere I was able to walk into and order fresh baked treats. The goodies were delicious, but what was more important to me was that a bakery making safe foods existed. Now, everytime I visit NYC, Babycakes at the top of my list of places to visit.

    I have a lot of cook books and baking books on my shelf. Few of them are specifically gluten free cooking/baking, and I usually rely on a handful of blogs for GF baking recipes. Babycakes has been so special to me, and their products are a rare treat since I now live in Chicago, so I'd love to have their book on my shelves.

    Thanks again!

  119. Anonymous

    As a newbie to gf eating, I would like to think I am open minded enough to find something of substance in either book. And your take on these two, doesn't hurt. Anything that can keep me healthy and well and eating all together with my family sounds like a step in the right direction. I am a big girl and smart enough to figure what will not apply to me! Thanks for your reviews and the chance to win one of these books. All the best, Bramble

    PS…I stood in Babycakes on a cold rainy day not too long ago and just smiled at my husband.He laughed and said "You've found your people and good god it smells
    amazing in here!" To which we left with a wonderful treat to savor later in the day!

  120. Dean Levine

    I suspect I'm dealing with an undiagnosed condition … and have been experimenting with recipes on your site and others to see if I feel better. Cutting down on the dairy is my next step, but a sad one, since I love baking for myself and my two year old … I'd appreciate a copy of Babycakes!

  121. Sarah S-D

    I've been reading your other blog for some time… little did i know that I would end up giving up wheat and oatmeal in a quest to help my baby's digestion and discover that it resolved a whole host of long term discomforts for me. severe headaches for well over a decade- regularly… and none in the month without wheat and oatmeal? WOW! i already gave up refined sugar a year and a half ago trying to battle what i perceived to be an addiction (and shortly thereafter got pregnant after YEARS of infertility). AND i love to bake… but finding recipes that are gluten free and sugar free… hard… so… I'd LOVE a copy of baby cakes. One other detail, my husband and I have eliminated all unnecessary spending due to hard financial times. So, I won't be able to buy this book any time soon. I hope that maybe I'm a good candidate!! In any case… thanks for your lovely writing, your recommendations, and your recipes.

  122. Anonymous

    Amen Sister!
    I have been dreaming of going to NY just for cupcakes and it is gluten, dairy and sugar free for me, all the way to the Big City!
    I appreciate your sympathy towards celiacs. I think it is easy for some to forget how awful they felt prior to finding freedom without gluten.
    I also appreciate how you say "why you might want to READ Babycakes". I READ cookbooks on the sofa not USE them in the kitchen. Heehee. Same with your blog! Thanks for writing for all of us and prayers for your little one tonight.
    Sleep tight.
    Angi (

  123. Anonymous

    Shauna, thank you very much for having such an open heart and recommending these books.

    I have a vast collection of gluten free books, and I've found there's something to be gleaned from each and every one of them.

    We need to welcome every new book on the subject. If even one person is diagnosed from reading any book on celiac/gluten free eating, that's one less person who is suffering.

    Keep up your inclusive, positive thinking!

  124. gfe--gluten free easily

    Shauna–Many thanks for your reviews and inspiring these discussions. I've been a part of them elsewhere, too. I have more of an issue with the spelt recipes being in the Babycakes book than I do Hasselbeck using the term allergy (I use it also for the same reasons you cited–people get that term). And, yes, I agree on the weight loss thing being misleading. Yes, some people will lose weight, but others most definitely will not. Since I haven't read either book, I can't speak very specifically. But, the spelt issue is one those of us who are gluten intolerant are constantly having to deal with. While I realize it wasn't Erin McKenna's doing, I do think the problem needs to be fixed in a reprint of the book or something similar. Not too feasible or easy I know, but I agree with what some of the others said … I hate to think of a newbie just forging ahead with the spelt recipes or a well-meaning relative making a gluten-free treat for their loved one.

    I'd like either book to share with the support group I lead. Our library is purchased by me. 😉 We are an independent, low budget group (no dues!).

    As one who suffered for many years myself, more awareness is fabulous! With 97% of those with celiac still undiagnosed (and additional folks with non-celiac gluten intolerance), anything to get people talking, considering their symptoms, getting tested, and getting diagnosed is huge!

    Thanks so much!

  125. Anonymous

    P.S. This is

    I would love to have Babycakes. I already have Gfree.

    Again, keep up your inclusive, positive thinking! There's so much room for all of us!

    Love your blog.

  126. Troy & Sally Schrock

    It is my lucky day! I just got word that my 8 year old daughter needs to go off sugar (she is Celiac and does not eat dairy) so I am thinking…what am I going to feed her?!?!? I would love to read Babycakes as I am currently reading the GFree diet. Thanks for your blog. I just found it today:)

  127. M

    Shauna, thank you for your insights and continuing to share yourself. I would love the babycakes book.

  128. Terry

    as always, you're a voice of reason, shauna.

    and i found babycakes because of you. it's now the first place i go when i get to new york, and the last, so i can bring some goodies home. it's very clear what has spelt and what doesn't, and i don't have issues with spelt in the cookbook. after five years gluten free, i'm used to skipping over the things i can't have.

    and then there's your book to help me with the things i CAN have!

  129. Leslie

    I would love to read the G-free book. I found out about a wheat allergy last year at the age of 38. I thought your comment that you say it is an allergy because people understand it was interesting because I feel like am riding on the coat tails of the Celiac movement. When I tell people I can't have wheat they almost always ask if I have Celiac Disease. I am appreciative and grateful for hard work people have done to get the word out. Thank you.

  130. Cathy Slaughter

    I am so grateful for you and your site for so many reasons. After months of stomach cramps, bloating, and sleepless nights, my Dad was finally diagnosed with Celiac about 3 years ago. It wasn’t until about a year ago though that I stumbled upon your site and became a devout reader. As a health and nutrition educator, I saw so many patients that were dealing with gastrointestinal problems that were not being treated by their doctors. I quickly became frustrated when the doctors would look at me as if I were crazy when I brought up the possibility the patients may have Celiac. I found myself with a passion for educating people on this under diagnosed condition! I was so drawn to your blog. I’ve always had a love for food, and your eloquent words left me longing for more. There was such depth and love in everything you wrote, it was easy to forget that it was a gluten free blog. Over a year ago I purchased your book, and I’ve recommended your book to every friend with a passion for food, and every patient that seemed to have a “food intolerance” so that they too could find hope in every delicious word. I had no idea how much strength and hope your words would bring me.

    On May 22nd 2009, just 12 days ago, I went in for an upper endoscopy, and after weeks of severe stomach cramps (and other unappetizing symptoms that I won’t write here) the doctor found extensive damage to my intestines. I too had Celiac. I didn’t need to hear the confirmation from the biopsy; That next day, was my first gluten free day. Like you, I had a childhood of always being sick. Muscle aches, foggy mind, endless exhaustion. I had questioned years ago whether I too could be one of the “chosen ones” and a blood test showed negative for Celiac. It’s strange how life works. For a year, I have been so drawn to your words. It felt almost as though you were speaking to me. And after a year, I feel in a way you were. As soon as the shock of the diagnosis wore off, I immediately thought of you. Your love of life and the food that loves your body; I felt empowered by your words, and knew that I was going to be ok.

    I actually looked into buying both of these books this past weekend as I stood in the “Special Diet” section of Barnes and Nobles. I flipped through them both, but walked away after looking at the prices. My first priority is going to be at investing in some GF flours and experimenting with the recipes on your site. All of that being said, it would mean the world to me if I were chosen to receive one of the books from you… a gift from a mentor I’ve had for over a year, but whose words I’ve been hanging onto for the first 12 days of my new life; My Gluten Free Life.

    BTW, My first project was your peanut butter cookies. They were better than I’d hoped!

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there for me before I even knew I needed you there.

  131. Katrina

    I would love to read The G Free Diet. I love Elizabeth Hasselbeck to begin with. People are in an uproar over her terminology, but I agree with you. The average person comprehends the word "allergy" much better than "auto immune disorder".

  132. Gloria

    First and foremost let me just say I hope this comment finds you and your family in good health and spirits.

    I will definitely take a look at both books my next trip to the book store.

    I am lactose intolerant and have food allergies, I have been on a gluten free diet for a few months now and have more to learn but I love to cook and would love to have a copy of babycakes book especially if it's going to make me feel sexy…which I could use right now considering I am dealing with menopause…

    My daughter, 23, also lactose intolerant and also has food sensitivities has been reluctant to change her eating habbits, it's her lifestyle, single, young, on the go, city life, but she has agreed to let me teach her how to cook….so on Sundays she and I will be taking the dairy, gluten free cooking journey.

    As for babycakes using spelt well can't it be substituted with something else if your sensitive to gluten???

  133. Catherine Noujaim

    I would love to read either. As a member of my church, various theater groups, various choral groups, and other assorted places, its always useful to have some recipes that I can share with the groups, or whip up quickly from stuff I have at home. I love reading gluten-free cookbooks anyway, to see how other people approach issues, so the Babycakes book would be fun for that reason. The G-Free diet would be great to keep at the shared summer house for family members to read, as a reference for keeping gluten-free shared spaces…. I can't get either through the local library, unfortunately… and I do have a blog where I review stuff like this as well….

  134. Anonymous

    I am interest in both books. I don't have celiac but I do have yeast issues so I have to make my own bread. I use a blend from the health food store from a company named Namaste. It has a blend that you use Shanna. AS bit costly.
    In regards to Babycakes and the spelt issue, anyone could substitute if they can't have spelt.

  135. Aimee Mayer

    I would also love to read either, but especially the Babycakes book. Why? Because I've had too many failures with desserts that were supposed to be gluten free, and either didn't work, or had the grainy/powdery taste. Or were hard as a rock. I can only dream of finding a delicious brownie recipe that will be gooey and gluten-free, so I can calm at least one pregnancy craving.

  136. Mackenzie

    I'd love to read the Babycakes book. Since being diagnosed my treats are the things I've missed most. I've always been a girl with a deep love of anything of the cookie, brownie, or cupcake variety, and I'd love to be able to make myself some gluten free things. If they can pass as "regular" for parties and such, so much the better.
    I have the G-Free diet book, and I've found it very useful as someone newly diagnosed. My husband and I both found it very helpful in learning what to look for, how to set up the kitchen, and about the emotional factors of dealing with watching what to eat when eating outside of the home. I'd recommend it to anyone.

  137. luckycorona

    I am new to gluten free living. I am in the process of doing all the research, to arm myself with information to take to my next Dr. appointment as well. I have a niece who has been living gluten free for 3 years, and it has changed her life. After a recent visit, I recognized so many symptoms of her pre GF life mirrored mine. I am committed to educating myself, as well as my family and friends on gluten. I would love to be in the drawing for both books. Thank you so much for sharing this information, it makes this all a little less intimidating..

    Thank you,

  138. jbeach

    Hi, thanks for the thoughtful reviews!! I have never been a fan of E. Hasselbeck and the cover of her book makes me cringe, but I appreciated your non-biased analysis.
    That said, I would LOVE to win a copy of the Babycakes book – it's my friend's absolute favorite spot in NYC and I'd be ecstatic to bake and send her gf treats now that she no longer lives on the east coast.

  139. Christina

    Hi there! I stumbled upon your blog when i was trying to decide if a gluten free and dairy free diet would benefit my 11 year old daughter who has processing disorders that fall in the autism spectrum and have been a weekly visitor since. The transition has been fairly slow.First the gluten, then the dairy. I've found your blog to be most helpful especially since I'm a foodie and gardener. I love your sweet take on life and all that you've shared with us. Babycakes is a must have for this household and we would love to win a copy. Your reviews let us know exactly what we needed to know. Well done.

  140. Andrea

    Luckily I already have your book! However, I am not a cook, or a baker, and both my girls are I have gluten and dairy sensitivities. I buy lots of the gluten free pre boxed brownie, pancake and cake mixes from my local co-op, but I am trying my hand at more recipes from scracth. That's why I looked up this blog, because after reading your book, I knew I could find more recipes to try. Sometime though, I feel like an island of one. I don't have celiac, but I can't touch gluten or dairy with a ten foot pole. I find something that says Gluten free, and it has dairy, or the reverse. I would love to see the recipes in Babycakes and give some a try.

  141. JennC

    I would like to read G-free because it's another chance for me to read someone's story of learning gluten free and it might give me resources that I can consider. I'm glad to hear your take on it because although I too have heard the rumblings of people who said Ms. Hassleback doesn't give out accurate information, I'd still like to hear her story.

    I already own Babycakes and was disappointed about the Spelt recipes. But I just paperclipped those pages together and make the other tasty treats instead! And I'm glad I bought it.

    Thanks for the give-a-way, Shauna. Oh, and I already bought your book too – and LOVED IT!

  142. Laurel

    I would love to have the Babycakes book. I don't have celiac myself, but two of my co-workers are gluten intolerant, and I would love to be able to make baked goods they can eat and/or give them the book. One of them can actually eat spelt, so those recipes would work for her as well. The other though, is also allergic to eggs, so baked goods have to be gluten-free and vegan for her. Thanks for a balanced review of these books, too. The outrage that some expressed seems misplaced, at least to me.

  143. lisaz

    Shauna – I tend to agree with you here, as my feeling is the more people "get the word out" about celiac/gluten intolerance, the more options we will have in the stores. i've already seen major changes in the past two years that I've been gf. My only fear with some of these cutsie titles (or misleading) is that being gf will be seen as a trend and eventually trends die – I will always have to eat gf – even when it's no longer fashionable. At the moment though – I'm tending toward the opinion that there's no such thing as bad press. Thanks for your insight – i'd be interested in either of the books as I am curious about both (I must not be on the net enough – I didn't know about national celiac awareness month!) and hadn't heard of either!

  144. Hrönnsa

    I can´t wait to get my hands on the babycakes book as I have to live both gluten and sugar free. The book sounds like something I´d like to dig a little into.

  145. jlp_seattle

    I would love either of these books. I've been cutting out the "g" for about a month and there's a night and day difference in the way I feel. I've got about five books on the topic already (including yours, Shauna) and can't get enough research on it!

    Thank you so much for the blog – I love reading it!

  146. bugbutt

    These books look wonderful! My mother stopped eating gluten a few months ago b/c she felt so awful every time she did, and she's practically become a new person! She's got tons of energy, she's happier, she's even been able to quit taking antidepressants for the first time in years! It's so encouraging, I've started cutting it out of my diet and I feel better after just a couple of weeks! I would love to snag a copy of one of these books to help sweeten up our cooking time together!
    P.S. I lurrrve your blog.

  147. Kat

    Thank you so much for the insightful and well-balanced commentary on these two books. I've been looking at both of these books, as I've been trying to live sugar and gluten free. (Finding that, shocker, I feel a lot better without those things in my diet!) I've been most interested in the Babycakes book, because I love baking, so it's good to know more about it.

    Thanks for your lovely blog!

  148. Jennifer

    Owning either of these books would be awesome as I am still saving up money to buy yours. Thank you for taking the time to spread awareness.

  149. Momat32

    Your blog, with its spirit of abundance rather than deprivation, has been a lifeline for me since I began my gluten free life in February 09. I enjoyed reading your book and eagerly await your next one. In the meantime, I would love to read either of the two you review here.
    Special thanks for mentioning gluten intolerance at the end of your post–that is my diagnosis. It dismays me that some people with celiac do not give credence to those of us with gluten intolerance since the reality is that regardless of one's diagnosis, we all must the same gluten free life, with all its challenges. Uniting for better understanding of the need for people to eat gluten free should be our common goal.

  150. Shayla

    I've enjoyed your book recommendations (and of course I've enjoyed your book). I ended up ordering a copy of the Flavor Bible and am having a blast going through it. These look good too, especially Babycakes as I can't do sugar either.

  151. Nicole McLaughlin

    I'm learning that my youngest son may need to go gluten free. I'd love a good cookbook.

  152. Micco

    Although I can handle wheat
    gluten-free I prefer to eat.
    My life would be sweeter
    licking the beater
    of a Babycakes recipe.

  153. Jennifer

    My older brother has celiac (and can't eat dairy) so it would be nice to have a gluten-free (mostly) cookbook for baking since we mostly see him and his wife at the holidays. It would be a treat to have a gluten-free, dairy free recipe!

  154. Christine

    I'd love to read both! First, the two recipes I've made from Babycakes (culled from the Web and the author's visit on Martha Stewart) were good, but tweaked could be much better. I'm interested to see what else she can do.

    The G-diet book I'd like to read mostly because I want to see how 'wrong' she is…I hear lots of people raging about 'celebrity pseudoscience", and would like to know what Dr. Greene missed while proofing the book. 🙂

  155. Amy

    My boyfriend and I do not eat gluten free but he i a diabetic so we try and at as sugar free as possible, a new cookbook full of ideas is just the thing for summer. Both of these books sound like great ways for the general public to become just a little bit more informed about what they are putting in their bodies and how it effects them. I will be sure to check both of these out of the library as soon as I can. Thanks for reviewing them.

  156. Tammy

    I would like to win Elisabeth's book. My mom has yet to get tested for Celiac, and since she is a fan of The View I think this book is one we could share and discuss and hopefully lead to her getting checked out.

  157. Donna S

    I've recently found that I have a gluten intolerance and eating gf has helped with my joint pain issues and unexplained headaches and weird vision issues.
    I read most of Elizabeth's book and (not having celiac or being an expert by any means) thought it was a great book for someone who is just learning about the disease. It's sad how quickly people want to past judgment on another person and their work. It's unfortunate that her book has been so unappreciated because for someone like myself this book opened up my eyes to the disease and she is doing a great job or opening up the dialog about celiac.

    Her book was helpful to me and we should all be grateful for books like this and not so judgmental.

    I would love Babycakes!! I love to bake and I'm hoping I can find new ways to enjoy this hobby!! Eating some yummy treats couldn't hurt either!

  158. Meagan Bryant

    I'd love to read baby cakes. I am 6 years gluten free this year and finally after 2 years of struggles, pregnant. Looking forward to raising a gluten free little one with my husbands full blessings, can't wait to make gluten free cupcakes and cakes and breakfasts for the years to come 🙂

  159. Beth G.P.

    I would love to try out some recipes from the Babycakes cookbook. More sweets, yes!

    My husband has been gluten-free for 6.5 years and I couldn't agree with you more how dramatically the landscape has changed. Six years ago I spent a week driving all over Seattle to collect tapioca flour, brown rice flour, sweet rice flour. Now, just one stop at our neighborhood PCC pretty much has it all!

  160. Leif Parker @ ryerson

    I would love love love to read babycakes! It looks lovely and two thirds of an amazing book is better than nothing!

  161. Sarah

    I would love to try out the Babycakes book as I have many a friend that can't eat gluten or dairy and would love to cook for them some sugary delights. Thanks for the post and giveaway, Shauna!

  162. radmama

    Thank you for the thoughtful reviews.

    My own Babycakes is 11-months-old and seems to need gluten-free food and gluten-free breastmilk to be happy. My 13-year-old and 10-year-old are dairy-free and wheat-free, but can eat spelt.

    Day-to-day food I have a handle on, but my treat portfolio needs a boost. Big kids are beginning to chafe against being dairy free everywhere, mainly because they don't want to inconvenience friends' parents. They're bored with my spelt cupcakes and I haven't learned to bake gluten-free desserts yet.

    Baby Cakes is just what I need right now and the inclusion of spelt recipes is bonus, not a flaw for me.

    radmama at gmail dot com

  163. Mrs. L

    When I first heard about the books I thought "yippee". I have a friend who must eat gluten free. It would be so nice to cook for her when she comes to visit instead of always going to restaurants (though I did find a great vodka drink I now serve her!). Then I heard and read all these negative comments and I thought "oh, the recipes must taste bad". Thanks for your reviews. I'll end up buying both books. Will I make sure the recipes are okay for her? (like ask if the ingredients in the cupcakes work for her)…absolutely. But it's a start. And cooking for my friend will make both of us smile, I'm sure.

  164. Anonymous

    June 5
    I'm still discovering what is wrong with me. I believe I have a lectin intolerance. I've been diagnosed with major food allergies but felt better almost immediately by avoiding all grains and legumes. During this long journey, each book or blog that I have read has given me some insight into the problem. Babycakes sounds interesting to me – for when I heal enough to add some sort of grain back in. Pretty pictures always are fun to drool over.
    Kathy in Canbyland

  165. glenn

    I'd love to win a copy of babycakes – I have a friend with a son with so many allergies and she's tried SO hard to make the perfect cupcake for birthday parties with no success. I'd love to give this to her! Thank you for the reviews…jennmckim at hotmail dot com

  166. alison - surefoodsliving

    I totally agree that there has been far too much negative criticism of both books by the gluten-free community! It has really frustrated me actually (especially The Celiac Disease Foundation's letter they sent out about Elisabeth's book).

    The more publicity, the more awareness, the better!

  167. SusieQ

    I'd love to get a copy of either book, but especially Babycakes. I'm a single, older (grandma!) student, and working to create some gluten-free recipes for baked goods for one or two, as opposed to making a big batch. I'm also very interested in creating some of these recipes sugar free. FYI — I'm not planning to write a cookbook or anything — just want to have small amounts of goodies around once in a while.

    Thanks, Shauna, for sharing all your great stories and information!

  168. Nicole Crawford

    Thanks for the reviews. I would love to add Babycakes to my collection. With three celiacs, one lactose intolerant and one vegetarian in my extended family this would make "baking something for everyone" even easier.

  169. Heather @CeliacFamily

    Finally, someone said what I was thinking. I couldn't have said it better. Thank you. I have a G-Free book on the way, but would love a copy of Babycakes.

  170. Brenda Finkle

    Sitting in the plains of Oklahoma, diagnosed with what they 'think' is a gluten allergy, I sit in my kitchen, a cup of steaming, glorious white tea at my side and read everything I can about gluten and gluten free products. I feel great comfort in the words, experiences and experiments of others out there seeking to live without gluten. I remain connected to others with this diagnosis through the internet and feel a kinship. Thank you for the shared moments – they enlighten the lives of so many.

    I am pleased that Elizabeth has been so outspoken about her experiences. I haven't heard her speak in person or read her book but feel her bravado has heightened the awareness of this disease. How many, for years, have suffered through unending pain, horrible itching and unexplained symptoms due to the medical establishments lack of knowledge or awareness? If her book can shine the light on this disease and the varied symptoms -Bravo! If it makes one person think, "that sounds like what I'm experiencing," see it's been a success.

    I hope that we all – diagnosed or not – can move beyond our own prejudices of others and unite together, in a single voice, to let others know what we need, what we hope for, and how they can assist in that quest. I don't know about you – but I'm tired of going to restaurants, hoping for a brilliant meal only to settle for another bowl of salad and chopped chicken. (Remember, I'm in Oklahoma).

    I've had to help my physician know what to order to assist with the diagnosis. In frustration -I eventually just quit eating wheat. Miraculously within 24 hours my symptoms began to subside. Within 48 hours they were gone. I canceled my thyroid surgery – didn't need it anymore. I'm sold.
    Who cares about the testing at this point. Seems clear it was wheat.

    All that said – lets support each other, embrace our differences and move forward with grace.

    Thank you Shauna for your honesty and transparency. You've led the way.

  171. Jill

    Thank you for your very fair and honest thoughts. I was especially relieved to hear that you use the word allergy when ordering at restaurants! I feel like a traitor when I explain my situation in terms of an allergy but find that most of the servers in restaurants are young and not experienced with actual food preparation. Using a common word that is easily understood gets me great service. My husband even goes so far as to tell the wait staff that I would die within minutes if served something with wheat, rye or barley in the ingredients! Talk about panicked looks! I sooth the anxiety by explaining that my death is inevitable but it won't happen right there and then.

    Oh – and yes, I would love to own Elizabeth Hasselback's book. I think I'm probably like most other people with celiac disease – I just want to know someone who can relate, even if knowing that person comes from the pages of a book. After all, that's how I know you!

  172. Anonymous

    I would love to win the Hasselback book. I already have the babycakes. I have three children + myself who eat gluten free and we would looooooove some new recipes. Thanks, Tessa

  173. Angela

    Thank you for your honest evaluation of both books. I am just 8 months into being Gluten Free after a 47 years of wondering what the heck was wrong with me! I would lover to read either book. I almost bought Elizabeth Hasselback's book but had read some of the mixed reviews so decided to hold off a bit.

    The Babycakes book sounds devine and I am constantly looking for recipes that not only can I eat (being dairy free too) but that my family will enjoy along with me.

  174. hjad

    Refreshing to hear a level headed review of the books. I haven't quite managed to go completely gluten free, it's a struggle, it's the social side that i have a problem with (alright, that and i really enjoy all those carb loaded foods at restaurants). maybe i'll find some strength to commit through these books.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on them.

  175. Anonymous

    Great comments about the "G-Free Diet" book. I'm newly diagnosed, read the book, and felt the same things you described. Thanks for putting it so eloquently. I haven't seen the Babycakes book, but would love to be in the drawing for it! I was a huge baker before diagnosis, and a struggling one now….


  176. Kristi

    I'd love to read either book! I don't have Celiac (as un-diagnosed by a biopsy) but I have gone gluten free and felt sooooo much better (no headaches, stomach aches, joint pain, better skin and hair!) and then "fell off the wagon" and am currently feeling crappy. I think I have a sensitivity, and am going gluten free again TOMORROW. 🙂 Thanks for the awesome blog!

  177. Anonymous

    I work in restaurants full time, and then part time while I am studying at uni, and I know first hand that it is very important if you do have celiacs to refer to as an allergy. Most chefs do not have a complete understanding of what you can or cannot eat and, it is never enough to say 'I can't eat flour', because then in go the sauce/cheeses etc that all have gluten in them.

    Calling it an 'allergy' may not be technically correct, but is certainly the safest way to eat out without eating trace amounts of gluten, and the only way for the waiter/waitress to take it seriously.

    And honestly if you do not call the restaurant ahead of time and let them know your situation, then it is very likely that gluten could end up in your meal, due to a lack of preparation or knowledge that it is actually hidden in many foods.

  178. Janna W

    Your informative stance brings perspective and credibility to the discussion. Even better, is that your review is more than fair. I haven't read either book, yet I nonetheless appreciate a journalistic approach and integrity. Writers like Rebekah Denn come to mind, too.

  179. Jill

    Thank you for the balanced reviews of both books. I just saw a reference to Babycakes somewhere so it caught my eye to see your review. Giving up cakes/cookies/etc. is the hardest thing for me — I'm still looking for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe to replace my old favorite. I'd love to win either book, and thanks for offering them!

  180. Francheska

    I would love either or both books. My husband left me a few months ago with 4 kids and I don't have much money to spend. My 18 yr old daughter and I both have done the elimination diet and can tell gluten was our problem. I can't have dairy either. Thanks! This is a new lifestyle for us.

  181. nicole

    I have Babycakes, and although it has lovely intentions, I have found myself disappointed. My disappointment does not come from the variety of spelt recipes, (I don't mind skipping/modifying those), but rather from the failures of the other recipes. I've encountered overflowing loaf pans, tremendously long baking times, runny frostings, and icky flavors. I googled around looking for other bakers who encountered the same problems, and it appears I'm not alone. I'm left wondering if the delicious bakery recipes did not translate correctly for a home kitchen. I have, however, found many reviews of the book, some glowing and others hypercritical, but sadly very few of those reviewers had actually baked anything from the book. Considering it is a cookbook, I think that is important in order to give an authoritative review. Have you made any of the recipes from the book? I eagerly look forward to hearing about your baking results.

    🙂 Nicole

  182. Stephanie G

    I am one for whom Babycakes is PERFECT. I'm wheat-free, and can eat spelt. I'm also a mommy who tries to cook yummy, semihealthy treats for and with my children. I love love LOVE the gluten-free blogging world, but am not always sure how to adapt and adjust the foods to use some gluten free flours and some spelt.

    And if it's the G-Free Diet, I'll read it on the train and learn something, too!

  183. Rita J. Webb

    I discovered you blog over a year ago, not having been diagnosed with celiac disease. I thought, "oh, I don't have that problem, but I love the pictures and how she describes food."

    Surprise, surprise, within 6 months, I found out I had a gluten problem. As I started down the road to gluten free, I devoured your blog. I cried when you talked about how you could now taste and enjoy your food because I was experiencing the same thing.

    A year later, my oldest daughter wasn't gaining weight. At almost 7 years old, she weighed 38 pounds. I told my husband, "Let's take her off gluten and see what happens." Sure enough she gained 5 pounds in a month. I feel like crying now, in relief, because we were so worried about her. Now the whole family is gluten free.

    I would be interested in the G-Free book because of the tips that you say the author mentions, like eating out and dealing with family. My mother-in-law rolls her eyes when we talk about gluten and our needs, and I can no longer trust her with the kids, knowing she will go behind my back and give them food that will make them sick.

  184. Leah

    Can you please settle all disputes from now on? So wonderful. You. always. I love you.

    (and I'm always up for more books =)


  185. Anonymous

    Hi Shauna,

    I would love to read BabyCake's book. I'm an amateur baker and would love to provide gluten-free treats for my significant other's work. I bake from time to time and this would be something new and different to add to the mix!


  186. mrfuga0

    I'd love to have a chance to look at these books. I'm recently diagnosed gluten-intolerant and still learning so much about it. I love to bake and haven't yet learned all the realities of the situation.

  187. Tiffany

    Thank you for this thoughtful post Shauna. I am glad this book came out due to the publicity it shines on our plight as we have not been able to do in many years what this book has done in one month. But I do have issues with the inaccurate ingredient information. Aside from that which is too much to go into here, one product mentioned in the back of the book will not confirm their product is gluten free and both their pizza crusts and bread made me incredibly sick (throwing up for hours). After the fact I found out company did not tout the products as gluten-free, due to the wheat flour flying around the bakery where they're made. This is Sami's Bakery in FL and they make some 'no gluten ingredients' that in the past (Nov. 2008) had a warning on the bag about traces of gluten being in them. I had the bakeries cookies which are made in a closed off space and they are gluten-free and marked so, unlike the product recommendation in this book. That concerns me – a 'newbie' would not know to question this type of product.

    You bring up an important point – no one in their right mind is going to start and stick to our diet unless they have health issues that improve on it. And my hopes are the same you have – that many people will be tested and diagnosed with celiac due to this book. And that is a very good thing indeed.

    About Babycakes – I must have gone on an off day because I almost cried because the muffins and carrot cake we had were dry and not good at all. My husband was so annoyed that we spent a good two hours of our vacation to get to this bakery and arrived to find food that is not as good as what we make at home with mixes. I will have to try some recipes from the book becuase no one would rave about this place if they had what we had. Something must have been off when we went.

  188. Cindy Jensen

    I would love either of these books. I have pretty much felt like crap my whole life and am just 8 days into being gluten free and finally, finally feeling like I can have hope to having a happy pain free gut. Any help I can get to figuring out the gluten free like would be amazing. PS your blog has been so helpful. Thanks

  189. heather

    Hello there! I have been a reader of your blog for quite some time (after you met the Chef but before the wedding!) Your 'yes' story inspired me to try many new things and even to get on a plane for the first time! My 21 year old daughter was just told she can no longer have wheat. She is also allergic to eggs. I have been an avid cook and baker her whole life and we are both stunned and saddened by this news. I have to relearn everything I have ever done in my kitchen to make foods she can eat and enjoy. Either of the books will be of help to our family. Thanks for shedding light on celiac disease for me all of these years.

  190. LSpel

    Hi Shauna,

    I would absolutely LOVE the Babycakes cookbook. I eat gluten-free, low-glycemic, and in the past couple months my lactose intolerance has resurfaced with a vengeance. I just graduated from college, and believe this cookbook would be filled with great ways to christen my post-grad kitchen. I mean hey, what better thing to come home to than a book of cheerful, delicious recipes I don't have to modify? Thanks so much for your wonderful recommendations, and as always, for being my go-to source for all things gluten-free.

  191. twinsmommy

    Hi Shauna! I would like to read G-Free diet. I was diagnosed with Celiac 2 months ago, and recently heard Elisabeth talking about her new book on The View. I'm hoping the book contains some info/tips that I will find helpful. Thanks!

  192. Anonymous

    Hello, Shauna-
    If you haven't already done the drawing, count me in! (But, I read your book long ago & loved it! I know an in-law who'd love your book, too & isn't even celiac.)

    I have a LOT of reasons why I would like to have the books (esp. Babycakes!–I'd just cross out the spelt & experiment w/substitutes).

    In a word: because of FAMILY. I discovered 'gluten-free' (& dairy-free) when I finally researched dietary interventions for our son with Asperger's syndrome (8yrs old 4 yrs ago). I was stunned at the results. I was pregnant w/a boy (supposedly at higher risk for autism spectrum–child #4– & decided to go off those ingredients myself until I weaned that upcoming baby. 4 yrs later, I know our other 2 middle children are gluten intolerant !(including our 'neuro-typical' child, who I believe actually has Celiac disease, but had a negative blood screen…which I had to argue w/pediatrician x 15 minutes to get!) I realized last summer (still eating gf) I am likely also gluten intolerant! That horrified me, but of course I hid it from the kids. But blogs like yours have made our dietary lifestyle so easy compared to the beginning! Husband is SO likely to be intolerant/celiac, but won't read up/face it. [Without going into his not-so-pleasant symptoms, I have 'accidently' stumbled repeatedly on relatives of his w/these food intolerances related to anxiety/depression & outright Celiac or strong aspie traits (my side, too, on that one).] I could sure use these books to share w: 1st-husband, 2nd- extended family members…and make lots of those recipes for us!
    THANK YOU for blogging/photographing/sharing all you do!!!
    amyj(zero)(zero)(@)sbcglobal (dot) net

  193. Melissa Hunter

    Thank you for the well-thought out reviews. I have been eating gluten-free, dairy-free for the last two years and now need to go sugar-free. I haven't had much success with baking sugar-free, so I'm interested in trying BabyCakes. I can't eat spelt either, so I appreciate the disclaimer.

  194. Anonymous

    I would love to read baby cakes. I just found out a few years ago that I am gluten sensitive. I've always loved baking. I hope it will also help my family.

    This is my first time viewing your site. Keep up the good work!

  195. JoAnn

    Thank you so much for all your input. My son, 32, is celiac and I am always baking goodies for him. I continue to try recipes for the perfect brownie, cookie, muffin etc. These cookbooks look like they would really help.
    I think a lot of people have celiac and dont know it. Thank you for continuing to spread the word. JoAnn

  196. Anonymous

    my SIL has celiac my husband's cousin has celiac my MIL has gluten intollerence the whole family is affected and at first i found it complicated to cook/bake everything in doubles if we had a family get together first gluten free stuff put it away then i'd start all over again with the gluten containing food. I ran out of ideas of things to make, when we get together and that is once a month. I also decided to convert my family to GF diet so far none of them noticed the change.. it's been a month.

  197. pauline

    Thanks for starting this blog and for writing about your insight to finding out that you were gluten free and how you kept your passion for life. Your book was an inspiration to my mom who is the best cook I know. Not to mention that you mention Julia Child! My mom lives by her! (And was fortunate to meet her)

  198. Shanny

    (I know this is late, I only just recently stopped eating gluten, and just found your blog) But I would like to say, that I am pretty opened minded but will probably never read Hasselbacks book! She has done and said too many things in the past to make me want to support her (pocketbook)!
    The other book I would be interested in, I loooooove to bake and cook, I just find myself lacking in creativity!

    Thanks for being so honest! My son (2) and I (who have not been "diagnosed" with celiac, but have intolerance) appreciate what you're doing!

  199. Samantha Richardson

    At the book store last week I had to choose between Gluten Free Girl and Baby Cakes. Im so thankful that I found this book however I am dying to get Baby Cakes and be able to bake my heart out and do some cake decorating. The diagnosis came 2 days before christmas and thankfully I have an incredible fiance and my family is really starting to get it and source great items for me. The new challenge is really to start enjoy cooking for myself the collection of books has really inspired me.

    Thank you to everyone but my doctor who has been of no help at all.

    Ottawa, Canada

  200. The Best Family

    i'd like to win either of the books. my oldest daughter's best friend has recently been diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis and is on an extremely limited diet (no wheat, dairy, eggs, potato, or corn), and i'd love to be able to make some fun treats for when she comes over to play, something that seems "normal" to both her and my daughter yet is safe for her to eat. thanks for the honest reviews of the books!

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