Five Go Gluten Free: A review
Did you receive it or buy it?
Anyone who’s unlucky enough to have had IBS, celiac (coeliac) disease or a persistent bloaty belly and has decided to no longer eat wheat, will have received this book ‘Enid Blyton Five Go Gluten Free’. They’ll get it for Christmas or Hanukkah, and in the summer those who celebrate Eid will doubtlessly be unwrapping it. By your birthday, you’ll have multiple copies.
Bruno Vincent’s spoof on the Famous Five as adults giving up gluten – the protein found in wheat, barley and rye – is mightily entertaining as the grown up Enid Blyton characters and their dog, Timmy, get to grips with a new adventure of eating an allegedly healthy diet and embracing the ubiquitous food fad.
As Anne tries to wean them off of alcohol, quiche and spaghetti, the five heroes gulp her kelp and spinach smoothies and spiralised courgette with indifference in the rolling coastal backdrop of Dorset. OK, Hardy it isn’t, but it does bring to life the dreariness of the gluten free diet. Why would anyone would choose Quinoa (pronounced keen–wa not kwin-o-a) or the dust-mixed-with-tears crumbliness of gluten free bread over a delicious croissant or baguette voluntarily?
Bubble waiting to burst
I’ve had to be gluten free since June 2013 when I discovered that coeliac disease had wrecked my small intestine and bones. I was suffering fatigue like a 120 year old and breaking fingers for no reason. Anemia meant I had less lead in my blood than a bookie’s pencil. It was a horrible time, and going on the only known cure for coeliacs, The Gluten Free Diet, changed my life. I now have more energy than a whirlwind on speed. I’m lighter, brighter and happier – except for the fact that if I have to eat pap.
However, a Gluten Free diet isn’t always healthy. My GP – who is also coeliac – told me that for a few weeks I would be eating tonnes of fresh veg and then gradually I’d discover the processed delights of the gluten free food industry, which is worth billions. Chocolate brownies, crackers, pretzels, beer, ciabatta’s, tiger loaves – all of them gluten free. Quiche, pigs in blankets, crisps, all without gluten. These foods are widely available. Restaurants cater for us thanks to organisations like Coeliacs UK that teach chefs how to feed us, to avoid cross contamination and how a stray crumb can make us sick. Companies only do this because around 30% of people are going gluten free, when around 10% of us need to.
But us non-gluten eaters know that it won’t last forever. A book like Five Go Gluten Free speeds up its demise. The self-satisfied healthy eater is a pain in the butt with their cauliflower rice and kale smoothies, but they’re making my life and the lives of loads of other people who rely on gluten free food easier. Hopefully, few people will read Five Go Gluten Free, which is a shame as it’s a laugh, and only us non-wheat eaters will continue to stockpile copies as for us, it is one thing. The perfect gift.