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Celiac and the Beast: A love story between a gluten-free girl, her genes, and a broken digestive tract

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This is a real-life, no-holds-barred account of being diagnosed and living life with celiac disease.

This story is told through a humorous perspective from an average gluten-free girl who hates to cook and has an obsession with baking chocolate chip cookies to combat stress. The book details the struggle through misdiagnosis after misdiagnosis, search for answers to what “gluten free” really means, additional medical issues along with celiac disease, and a connection between her past life of disordered eating to her new medically restricted diet.

However, this book isn’t all Debbie Downer-esque stories. This book showcases the triumphs of living a gluten-free life – from meeting new friends, to living life with a purpose, and meeting the wheat-free man of her dreams.

188 pages, Paperback

First published October 14, 2013

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Erica Dermer

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5 stars
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4 stars
24 (27%)
3 stars
15 (17%)
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Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 reviews
Profile Image for Erica.
3 reviews
October 23, 2013
I wrote this. And I love this. Because I wrote it. Sooooo yay! Enjoy it guys!
Profile Image for Mary Wiley.
1 review2 followers
October 23, 2013
Ok, so to be fair, she mentioned me in the book. (Page 99 I believe). But it is an incredibly honest and frank book about living with Celiac disease (and as she mentions throughout the book, most of her lessons can be applied to non-Celiac gluten sensitivity or wheat allergies).

If you or a friend have any sort of medical reason for being gluten free, you need to read this book, and buy them a copy. Erica manages to laugh at some of the crazier moments in her journey (and suggests some hilarious gluten-free themed halloween costumes at one point) and dish out good, usable real-life advice.

If you ever felt crazy when you ordered gluten-free on a date, or like you were inconveniencing your family when you wanted to bring your own holiday meal, you need to read this book.

If you are new to living gluten-free and you are looking to find your way, you need to read this book.

If you have been gluten-free for years (I have been for 8!), you need to read this book. You will see bits of yourself in the book.

High fives, two thumbs up and as many stars as I can give it. Truly one of the first health books I liked.
Profile Image for Devin.
17 reviews1 follower
January 31, 2014
I've had a longstanding love for Erica's blogging. It's not the most fun when your autoimmune issues start creeping up when you're just a highschooler, let alone in a world where gluten is often confused with sugar, carbs, or anything else people will blame for being fat. Finding CatB made my life so much better, even daily with one Instagram post at a time.

She is our gleaming hope of sunny sarcasm in a world of poison and fad dieters. I don't want to sound like a crazy fangirl, but really nobody else can be informative with research news and product reviews, and still not have rainbows coming out of her orifices! As she willingly admits, a good portion of the book is personal experience and butt jokes. What good would a good about GI problems be without fart jokes though? For each chapter about her very crooked path to diagnosis (as more often than not the rest of us will relate to), there is also a chapter on the 'ideal' scenario, with sources to boot. Reading this book expected a lot of solidarity and familiar crazy experiences, but I learned so much.

If anything at all relevant brought you here to this page- I'd bet this book is for you. If you've ever been ostracized from college friends in the holy name of beer and pizza, if your in-laws are exponentially worse than the average because you spend all family events avoiding being poisoned, if you've ever proudly said that you gained weight after going GF (since you finally weren't malnourished)- read this book. If you're a seasoned veteren and don't think you need any more advice, read it anyway. If you're a noob, still scheduling tests for your Dx, or end up NCGS, or if you are a chef or restaurant manager and want to learn to do things the right way, or if your child or significant other or best friend is living with a war against a world chock full of gluten- we need your support too I promise and there is plenty information for you here too.
Profile Image for Laura.
186 reviews
March 15, 2020
3.5 stars. I appreciate her dedication to the subject and being an advocate, but some of it felt a lot more intense than I personally have experienced with my own Celiacs...

I appreciate all her suggestions though. I think this would have been a great book to have when I first got diagnosed.
November 21, 2013
Once I opened the cover page I literally could not put it down! I had a pile of laundry sitting in front of me calling my name and I kept saying to myself, "Just one more page". Before I knew it I was on page 60 and had already had some belly laughs and some, "Yes! She get's me!!" moments. This book is an amazing read for anyone living gluten-free whether by celiac or NCGS diagnosis or by choice. Erica brings humor to this life many must live while respecting the trials so many face and truly giving them a giant hug through the book. Reading this book felt like visiting with a friend who truly understood what I have gone through on my journey. We laughed, we cried and we cursed this disease together. Erica's writing is exquisite and very well done. Seriously, this is an amazing book!! If only I could get her to write a vampire novel now, I would be set... ;)
1 review1 follower
January 6, 2014
I have been diagnosed and gluten free for just over five years but I still don't know many people in the same boat as I am or who have been through the same health struggles I have. Reading Erica's book was like chatting to an old friend as her story could be my story. From the same issues getting a diagnosis, to getting "glutened" in restaurants, to trouble finding love, the similarities were spooky! This book made me laugh, made me cry and made me feel a whole lot less alone. Highly recommend for those living with coeliac disease or with a loved one who is.
Profile Image for Laura.
43 reviews1 follower
June 25, 2016
Erica's book is accessible, educational and hilarious. I highly recommend to anyone diagnosed with celiac disease (like me) or NCGS, as well as family and friends of those with celiac/NCGS. Some of the topics covered I have not seen in other books on celiac disease, including dating, disordered eating and food bullying.
Profile Image for Laura N..
129 reviews
March 25, 2022

I think this book is helpful for the most part, but I had to skip parts/whole chapters because I simply couldn't relate. I'm glad she talked about from her own experience and didn't try to make it universal as if we all suffer it the same way.
I'm just starting this gluten-free journey (I don't have a dx yet, but I hope to get it someday). We come from different backgrounds, and though I know it must be hard to be gluten-free in the U.S., it is even harder in South America. Can you even imagine that?? It is a total nightmare! My head hurts just thinking about it (funny that headaches are one of my symptoms).
As a side note, I think she was a little dramatic overall, but I guess everyone reacts different to these kinds of things.
Profile Image for Patty.
162 reviews
December 31, 2021
A quick, informative, funny, and relatable read. Erica uses humor to take you through the highs and lows of celiac disease. I laughed out loud several times (“that sassy bitch soy sauce strikes again” 😂) and learned a few tips, especially related to cross-contamination.

Since this was published in 2013, a lot has changed. Luckily we’re in an even better place with more awareness and products. I also think it would have been more helpful if I read it right when I was diagnosed instead of almost a year later. I already knew most of the information shared.

I love to see books like this and wish there were more! It shows the importance of advocating for yourself and others.
Profile Image for Heelqueen.
69 reviews29 followers
October 10, 2017
as a recently diagnosed cealiac I had to buy this book for the title alone (brilliant name)and this book did not let me down.i found myself relating to almost all of it from symptoms pre diagnosis to struggles when eating out .
humourous yet knowlenable .
life without gluten can be hard but after reading this book I have to say I'm very positive
Profile Image for Sherrill.
263 reviews1 follower
April 10, 2014
OK the girl does have some issues with potty language but don't let that deter you from reading an absolutely delightful book on the subject of celiac. I was recently diagnosed with gluten intolerance and I must say even with the inconvenience of not being able to eat like everyone else and being a bit annoying to the general populous, I agree with Erica that it is the best thing that ever happened to me because it gave me a game plan and answered the question of what was happening to me. I seriously thought I had some mental problem that made me get sick every time I went on a trip and I did not associate it with junk food, Balboa bars and donuts. She goes through the problems of traveling to unfamiliar places, trying to date and find a person who really cares about your problem and also the terrible problem of homeless people who have the disease and are treated pretty much like beggars can't be choosers at homeless shelters. My grandson is dating a girl he will probably marry who has celiac. I mean she has to cart around her own toaster and worry every time she goes anywhere. I hope like Erica that this disease will be better understood especially by restaurants who I have experienced still confuse gluten with fat laden. People who are just trying to live gluten free for the fun of it need to give it a rest.
Profile Image for Cassadi.
62 reviews2 followers
March 13, 2023
Some of the stuff is a little out of date but I don’t count that against this book since that’s how the medical field and science works.

I recommend this for people newly diagnosed because it’s wonderful to read and feel seen.

However, I don’t recommend making waitstaff cry. That kind of attitude just doesn’t sit well with me.
Profile Image for Susan.
3 reviews5 followers
June 4, 2014
This is a must read for anyone living the gluten free life! Mostly for those with celiac but can be appreciated for anyone with an illness. You know especially those illnesses that take years to diagnose and those with odd or hard to pin down symptoms.

Pretty much full of hilarity built around a very serious issue.......Erica makes you feel like you aren't alone, and really, isn't that what we all want?

So if you are living with celiac or just living, I suggest giving this book a look. I thought it would be something that I'd read a bit and put down for a while and read a little more. Um, NOPE! Put aside some time for this because you will keep turning the pages and laughing most of the way. A few of them might make ya cry through the tears.

"She gets it!" Was the most prevalent thought as I read it. So will you after you finish. The only thing better than reading this book? Knowing Erica in "real life" and knowing that she is out there giving great talks and advocating for us in her tireless way!
Profile Image for Melanie Grabow de Almeida.
77 reviews1 follower
February 9, 2014
Sooo informational! Couldn't put it down! Erica's informality and sarcasm had me cracking up as I read and thought about similar experiences. I discovered so much that I wish I had known when I was diagnosed and switched to gf three years ago. Do not switch to gluten free without reading this book! I missed so many important steps. Had an anxiety experience tonight of not knowing what to eat when I opened my cabinets and fridge. Food and I don't have a great relationship. Erica's tips should help a lot and some changes need to be made in my life. Also will help in travels! Read this book if you are a celiac, love someone who is, own or work in a restaurant, or are thinking of going gf or may be a celiac.
1 review
February 20, 2014
Celiac And The Beast is an engaging quick read that shares Erica's challenging journey (or roller coaster ride) of diagnosis and living in a world laden with gluten. Celiac and the Beast offers valuable tips, resources, and practices for those directly impacted by gluten and is at the same time an educational tool for friends and families of those living with Celiac. Erica's descriptions of the repercussions of eating gluten and the effort she puts into ensuring the safety of her food-at home and when dining out will build a heightened awareness of what is at stake. Erica interweaves the seriousness of Celiac Disease with several humorous tales that will have you laughing out loud. If you have Celiac Disease or know someone who does definitely check out Celiac And The Beast.
Profile Image for Loren.
1 review
October 12, 2014
I loved this book. I wish I had it when I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease, but even after all these years it was still really helpful.
I would even recommend this book for family and friends of someone with Celiac Disease. If you eat with a Celiac, it helps to understand what they are going through.
Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 reviews

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