Have you been confronted with a medical diagnosis that has altered your otherwise comfortable and peaceful life?
Twenty-five years ago, Margaret Weiss, RD , CDCES was happily raising her family in central New Jersey when she was diagnosed with celiac disease. With little support for what was then a relatively unknown condition, she was forced to face her reactions and behaviors as she navigated many, often unpleasant, life changes to accommodate this disease.
•Are you experiencing a range of emotions and behaviors related to your own condition that you’d like to understand better?
•Are you interested in behavioral theories that might help explain and guide your actions as you navigate significant change?
•Are you looking for a way to transform your mindset about your diagnosis with constructive and reliable best practices that are forward-looking and healing?
Drawing on her experience as both a person with celiac disease and as a practicing dietitian, Margaret wrote Eat Your Rice Cakes to explore this journey of change. With humor and pragmatism, she speaks to both patients and providers of healthcare with a combination of personal and professional experiences that illustrate our responses to significant upheaval. Told with humor and insight through her eyes, the book offers an inspirational way for all readers to process life-altering change across a wide range of medical disorders with an ultimate vision of empowerment and compassion.
BlueInk Review - Eat Your Rice Cakes: Discovering Empowerment After a Life-Changing Diagnosis Margaret Weiss, RD, CDCES Wishbone Media,184 pages, (paperback) $12.95, 978-0-578-79629-1 (Reviewed: April 2021)
Margaret Weiss’s inspiring book, Eat Your Rice Cakes— aimed and both patients and healthcare providers—focuses on the emotional fallout that occurs when a new diagnosis requires major dietary changes.
From the book’s first line, readers are thrust headfirst into the desperation felt by those grappling with difficult food-related conditions. “There I was with the door locked, cocooned in the tiny space of my main floor powder room, on full alert for unwanted observers,” writes the dietician and diabetes care specialist diagnosed with celiac disease 25 years ago. “I had grabbed an entire unopened sleeve of Oreo cookies from our family snack closet and was systematically chewing and then spitting each cookie into the toilet …”
As the author explains, Rice Cakes isn’t a textbook but a tool to help process the emotions surrounding the life-altering change that comes with losing one’s long-held eating habits. The title comes from an insensitive gastroenterologist who jokingly told Weiss, “You’ll be fine. Just shut up and eat your rice cakes!”
The book’s first part is largely devoted to information regarding celiac disease. The narrative then broadens to include other diagnoses. Each chapter begins with an anecdote—a defiant 10- year-old angry about his condition, two elderly brothers with diabetes and a shared penchant for daily trips to buffet eateries—followed by a mix of medical, emotional and behavioral information related to dietary challenges. Each ends with “Essential Highlights,” a page of bullet-point notes and short recaps.
This is a warm, immersive book that comforts and clarifies with relatable descriptions of, for example, what it feels like to give up the “moist and spongy consistencies of breads.” Weiss seamlessly shifts between her two intended audiences—patients and healthcare providers— while inadvertently appealing to a third: those trying to understand their suffering loved ones.
Overall, the author easily achieves her goal of shedding light on the emotional side of working toward a new normal, offering patients plenty of useful information.