Jennifer’s Way: My Journey with Celiac Disease – What Doctors Don’t Tell You and How You can Learn to Live Again (Book Review & Giveaway)

Jennifer Esposito

Jennifer Esposito

Many people are familiar with Jennifer Esposito from her work as an actress on TV shows such as Spin City, Samantha Who and Blue Bloods, and in the award-winning film “Crash”, among others. Those of us in the celiac/gluten-free community are aware that in addition to being an actress, Jennifer is author of the Jennifer’s Way blog and is an advocate for the celiac community, spreading awareness whenever and wherever she has the opportunity. Jennifer has lived this disease since childhood, and has documented her experiences in a soon-to-be released book, co-written with Eve Adamson, titled: Jennifer’s Way, My Journey with Celiac Disease – What Doctors Don’t Tell You and How You can Learn to Live Again, published by Da Capo Press – (see Giveaway below)

When the advanced copy arrived to my home, I was excited to start reading, but family and work commitments prevented me from doing so right away, so the book sat on my bedside table for about a week. Every night before going to bed, I would see Jennifer’s beautiful face on the cover (yes she is radiant!), but from what I’d read on her blog, I knew she had suffered from symptoms resulting from undiagnosed celiac, for a very long time. Once I started to read the book, I couldn’t put it down. Jennifer not only shares her celiac story … she bares her soul.

Jennifer writes with such raw honesty about her life, from a childhood riddled with health issues and family turmoil, to her teenage years trying to fit in, yet having different goals and aspirations from her peers. Her health issues were relentless, from a “nervous” stomach to chronic ear and sinus infections in childhood, to fatigue, joint pain, inflamed liver, thinning hair, panic attacks, brain fog and depression (to name a few) throughout adulthood. Jennifer visited so many doctors prescribing this antibiotic and that pain reliever, but none ever connected the dots to find the root cause of all her symptoms. As her sadness and frustrations were mounting due to continued ill health and being disregarded by doctors, she describes a chilling story of being nearly committed to a psych ward (can you imagine?). As someone with a delayed diagnosis myself, I felt saddened by what she had to endure.

She writes “Maybe it was all in my head, after all. Deep down in my heart, I didn’t believe it. My symptoms were too tangible”. When depression was getting the best of Jennifer, and on the border of accepting that she would never receive the diagnosis she was searching for … the illusive one that she hoped would be the answer to all her health issues … a freak incident occurred which she believed to be a “sign” not to give up advocating for her health. So she continued her quest, met with more health & wellness experts, until finally receiving the answer to why she had been plagued by symptoms since childhood – a diagnosis of Celiac Disease. A tad overdue, I’d say. Jennifer writes that her health has improved greatly since eliminating gluten, but because she remained undiagnosed since childhood, her road to recovery continues.

In the book, Jennifer enthusiastically shares her love affair with food and baking, which started when she was a child. When she became gluten-free and had to give up her favorite Italian desserts and comfort foods, she enrolled in a gluten-free baking class and experimented with gluten-free baking. She reflected on how she felt when she made her first gluten-free cake, an adaptation of her aunt’s carrot cake. “I screamed and danced around my kitchen with the pups, like an idiot. I was so happy in that moment that I found some little bit of normalcy. I wanted some cake, so I baked one. I baked a cake! And it wasn’t just normalcy. It was control- a tiny piece of control over this absolute, uncontrollable disease that was still kicking my ass.” I think anyone newly diagnosed with CD or Gluten-Sensitivity will relate to Jennifer’s joy!

Jennifer’s Way is an inspirational book and Jennifer Esposito is an inspirational woman. Many lessons can be learned from her book. Not only does she remind us of the importance of advocating for one’s own health and wellness, but also about accomplishing goals, becoming self-reliant, and the fulfillment of dreams. Jennifer has already accomplished many things in her life, (including opening a 100% gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, corn-free, peanut-free … refined sugar-free, organic & vegan too) *Bakery in her beloved New York City, despite her ill health, which is certainly a testament to her inner strength. She is a survivor and if you are suffering from Celiac/Gluten-Sensitivity, or any chronic illness, she wants you to be one too!

The book’s, Part Two is titled “Your Journey” and contains helpful resources for the newly diagnosed as well as the “seasoned”. Jennifer shares what she has learned throughout her CD journey in: What Exactly is Celiac Disease, After Diagnosis: What Next?, Relearning How to Eat, The Invisible Disease and Finding your Way. She also includes a few recipes and even more resources. Thanks Jennifer!

*More good news regarding Jennifer’s gluten-free, allergen-friendly, products … she has just opened a new 17,000 sq facility that is a completely safe zone to create her yum, healthy, gluten-free goods which will be available for shipping & in stores soon!


Follow Jennifer:    Blog    Facebook   Instagram   Twitter


Pre-order your copy of Jennifer’s Way, My Journey with Celiac Disease – What Doctors Don’t Tell You and How You can Learn to Live Again from our Amazon bookstore here.


Enter Giveaway Below!

(Please note any book quotes noted above may or may not be in the final book due out in May.)

 GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED – THANK YOU ALL FOR ENTERING (winner to be announced soon)!

Courtesy of Da Capo Press, one lucky CeliacCorner winner will receive a copy of Jennifer Esposito’s new book (when released to the public, est. May 2014):
Jennifer’s Way: My Journey with Celiac Disease – What Doctors Don’t Tell You and How You Can Learn to Live Again
Giveaway begins Monday, March 24, 2014 at 8:00 pm (est) &
ends Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 at 8:00 pm (est)
Jennifer Esposito

Jennifer Esposito

To be eligible to win, please follow the below Giveaway rules:

1. Tell us below why you would like to read Jennifer Esposito’s book (be sure to enter CAPTCHA Code, before hitting the Submit button) – If you leave a comment below you will automatically be entered to win, but please do 2-4 below, thanks.

2. Like CeliacCorner on Facebook and leave a comment that you have entered the giveaway.

3. Like Jennifer’s Way on Facebook

4. Please share with others, via Twitter and Facebook

One name will be chosen and forwarded to the publishing company. Once book is released in May it will be mailed directly to the winner.

Must be 18 and older to enter … US residents only

Winner will  be contacted via email and will have up to 3 days to respond, otherwise a new winner will be chosen.

Thank You and good luck!

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On March 24th, 2014, posted in: CeliacCorner Blogs by
17 Responses to Jennifer’s Way: My Journey with Celiac Disease – What Doctors Don’t Tell You and How You can Learn to Live Again (Book Review & Giveaway)
  1. Jamie VanCampen
    March 31, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Comment *i can’t tell you how wonderful it was to find a resource to help with celiac disease! Sure there is info out there but it is very overwhelming. So many of my symptoms overlapped with my type one diabetes but didn’t in a lot of ways fit. Lots of people have an opinion and so many people think it is as easy as just don’t eat bread! I wish! I can’t wait to get a copy of the book as I plan to read it very carefully and many times!

  2. Comment * I love Jennifer, because she is a fighter for people with food allergies in a world where it seems no one cares or people with food allergies are treated as “picky” or “liars” I am still in process to get tested for Celiac but I KNOW I have an adverion/allergy/sesitvity whatever anyone wants to call it, to wheat/gluten. Ironically a sinus infection led me to discover this, on my one, via google – i had suffered from depression, anxiety, chronic digestive issues, I was never overweight but was always bloated and my joints shed. Basically I never believed i would live past 40, and without help. Finding out about celiac/gluten sensitivity and Jennifer Espositio literally changed my life. I cut eating that horrible wheat and got better. I healed. and like anyone wants to believe they don’t have anything wrong with them, I ate something with wheat on the 4th of July 2010 and wow did I have a reaction. I felt like dying, I felt so ill and cried. I knew it wasn’t in my head. Jennifer became the person who would tell me/us that we aren’t crazy, its REAL, and I have so much respect for her for leaving hollywood, for being a advocate for us and slamming the people who tell us we are crazy.

    i want her book because it would be like having a conversation with someone who has it, i don’t know anyone who has what i do, some people i know go “gluten free” but then eat it in my face, they do it for the so called “weight or health benefits” but it isn’t that. it hurts us.. it took finding out about celiac and getting so ill that my mother finally realized this was beyond normal, this disease/food allergy is ver much real and unlike other books we can find, i know Jennifer wrote her book to help us, and be the voice we need

  3. Comment *I love Jennifer and all that she is doing. I came across her blog and learned a lot from her.. I’ve had symptoms for more than 20 years. Always knew I had some problems with food, but could never figure out what my problem was. I’m still trying to get a diagnosis. Blood test come up negative. Trying to find a G.I. Dr who will take me serious. I went gluten free but still had problems.

  4. Comment I was diagnosed last year….although I have some better days am still struggling….I would love to read Jennifer`s book for encouragement to continue the “good“ fight….Thank you …

  5. I would love to win Jennifer’s book because i have celiac disease as well, for years I was misdiagnosed, and told nothing was wrong, i think she is a great advocate and I would love to read in her words what it was like for her going through it and to relate. Also because like her I have a passion for baking and I hope one day I can open up my very own gluten free bakery.

  6. Lindsay Forness
    March 25, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    I can’t wait to read Jennifer’s book, but I’m actually even more excited about the new 17,000 sq. ft. Facility and what that means for consumers! Our daughter suffered from an undiagnosed neurological and back pain for a year and a half in high school before we discovered that gluten was the culprit. Since then our cooking,baking and bread eating has changed dramatically. (Can’t even tell you how many brands of gf pasta we have tried.) of course, learning about this in our family has also caused us to learn about others. As a Mom with a background in food and hospitality, I am reading and baking bread and reading some more… Can’t wait for the book!

  7. Comment *
    When my husband died suddenly 10 years ago, my childhood stomach symptoms changed drastically. I lost four dress sizes, could not come out of the bathroom and was so fatigued that I didn’t want to leave my house. All the doctors told me I was depressed and tried to medicate me. One doctor even told me that my metabolism changed from the shock and that I probably would never gain weight again. I kept eating everything I would get in my mouth because I was starving to death (literary). After six years and and getting to the point that I was losing a pound a day, I finally got the diagnosis of CD. I had never heard of this disease and thought I’d never be able to eat again. It will soon be four years and I feel comfortable now with my eating limitations. However, when eating out, I still get have to educate servers and chefs.
    Thank you so much Jennifer, for all you do to make celiac disease awareness a top priority.

  8. Comment *
    Hi, I’m a mom of a celiac…she turns 3 on Saturday, March 29th 2014… that will make us exactly 14 months into her diagosis of celiac disease. They tell me she couldn’t have been a Celiac since birth, but I knew – shorly after I fed her the very first time, something wasn’t right, and from there, from infancy, it got worse. After countless trips to the pedi, several GI specialists, and medicine that didn’t work, we ended up in a hospital; we left with the wrong diagnosis. They sent us home and she got worse. Then, we went to another GI – another wrong diagnosis. Then to a children’s hospital. When I was sitting in the ED of the children’s hospital with her, my then 22-month-old was in failure to thrive and 16 pounds. I remember, vividly, sitting on my pedi’s exam-table w her, the day prior to being sent back to a hospital. My hand was on her back, and I was begging my dr. to do something bc her spine and ribcage were poking-out against my palm. About a week into the second hospital stay, and the endoscopy/colonoscopy, we found out about CD. My first thought – as ridiculous as this sounds…. oh my God, what is she going to do in college when she can’t drink beer like all the other kids. Or eat cake at birthday parties. Or pizza, etc. etc. etc. I spiraled a little for a while, then steadied myself bc the reality is – she will look at this how her mother looks at this. SO – here we go, right?? I’ve spent the last few months trying to saturate myself in the literature… I joined Twitter bc I knew Jennifer E. had Celiac. I followed her, then some things she followed…and pretty quickly got some great tips and found a little celiac community. I’m getting there. As far as I can tell, my little one – the 1 out of 100, the now thriving spitfire, is super special… and the more I know, the better her life will be. My Olivia is why I want to read this book!!! #qualityoflife

  9. Michelle Schubert
    March 25, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Comment *Hi, Jen 🙂 A couple months ago I came across your bakery website which led me to read your “about” page… I cried! It’s so unfair what we, in this day and age, have to go through to get an accurate diagnosis, not just food allergies, anything… but especially food allergies. I went undiagnosed for 10 years. At my wits end, I had asked my GP if there was a test to see if anything was off, and he asked me, “What sort of tests would you like me to run?” My last straw was when at a visit to a 2nd endocrinologist (sure it was hormonal as I was 45 at the time), she walked into the examining room to go over my test results, and, ignoring my husband, walked directly to me, put her hand on my chin and shaking it side-to-side, said condescendingly, “There’s nothing wrong with you.”! I swore off MDs after that and contacted an ND (naturopathic doctor). One finger prick was all it took. I had been suffering with severe inflammation in my digestive track, joint inflammation, muscle cramps/spasms, and headaches, to name a few, for 10 years! I would SOOO love to read your book and especially thank you in advance for taking a stand and getting this message out there to us… there’s so much more the public needs to know about the food we eat and how it affects our bodies as well as our minds & eventually our spirit! I will be sure to let all my friends know about your book! PS – I’ve had GF baked goods from many places… yours are sincerely the best I’ve ever had! So right on.. thank you so much! XO

    • Michelle … you are the lucky winner of Jennifer Esposito’s new book, to be released to the public in May! You will be contacted via email very soon .. please respond within 3 days, thank you and congrats!

  10. Elizabeth Stecher
    March 25, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    A friend’s daughter, now a young college student, was wasting away, not able to eat and keep down anything. At 80-some pounds an allergist finally figured out what many other doctors had missed. She is doing better, but would benefit from your story to know that others have gone through this journey and that she is not alone. I would give her your book should I win this giveaway.
    Thank you for sharing your story.

  11. I would love to win this book because I love how Jennifer is a strong advocate for us Celiacs and I love to read books on diseases that either me or my kids have. It is a way I learn to handle all I need to handle. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in June 2013 because I asked my doctor to test me due to my youngest’s GI doctor thinking he could have it. His blood tests were negative, but I think he has Gluten Sensitivity. He has a lot of the symptoms. He also has the DH rash like I do, but his pediatrician (one of them) thought it was poison ivy. Oh yea, right! Poison ivy for over 8 months. I know in my heart it is not poison ivy. When I asked him about DH, he dismissed it. He screams when he has a BM and he has this rash. He has other symptoms, too. He sees the pediatrician today for his 5 year check up and I think it is not that one.

  12. Claudia Martinez
    March 24, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    A year ago I struggled with deciding whether or not to get tested for Celiac. Instead, I went gluten-free and thought everything would instantly get better. It did for a while, then I hit a wall of uncertainty. I didn’t know what to do, what to eat, how to heal myself. I became depressed, got awful acne, went back on gluten, got terribly sick, went back off gluten, lost a lot of weight. Now I am building myself back up but my gut is still unhealthy. I know that if I keep going the right way my body can fully heal, I just need some assistance. Jennifer’s book would be a wonderful source for looking into how to properly adjust, and I would love to read more about her story. I would return to it when I need to remind myself gluten can kiss mine!

    Ps. I recently went to Jennifer’s Way Bakery while in New York for a sponsored trip with my art history student organization and I was so pleased. I had a delicious poppy seed bunt cake, my favorite treat! Realizing what gluten does to your body breaks the reality of how other foods affect you.

  13. Comment *Sometimes I get so frustrated with Celiac, already being a Type 1 diabetic it rocked my world when I was diagnosed with Another disease! I’d love to read Jennifer’s story to be reminded that hope is there and we can live healed happy lives

  14. melinda herald
    March 24, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Comment * It would be nice to have a copy of the book because I’ve recently been having big issues with inflammation so maybe it would shed light on something I’m doing wrong. Being a celiac sufferer I’ve met Jennifer a few times and she’s so spunky, full of life and has done so much for the celiac community. Long live celiac warrior Jen!

  15. Comment *I spent 30+ years trying to find out why I was always feeling sick & I am only 3 yrs into my diagnoses so at 49 yrs old I had to relearn what I thought about food & nutrition . I find Jennifer inspirational and a champion for celiacs & gluten intolerance and I want to learn more and spread the Truth

  16. Comment *What a wonderful resource for those of us with Gluten sensitivity.

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