Interview with Nicolette Dumke: 'Overweight is due to a physiological problem'

Nicolette Dumke enjoys helping people with food allergies and gluten intolerance find solutions to their health and weight problems. She began writing books to help others with multiple food allergies over 20 years ago and the process culminated in The Ultimate Food Allergy Cookbook and Survival Guide. She says, “This book contains everything I know to help with food allergies,” and it has helped many people come back from near-starvation. Her other books address issues such as how to deal with time and money pressures on special diets, keeping allergic children happy on their diets, and more. A few years ago, while listening to the struggles of an allergic friend on the Weight Watchers™ diet, she remembered her own weight struggles* many years ago and thought, “There has to be a better way.” This was the beginning of a new quest, and she is now helping those who are overweight due to inflammation (often due to unsuspected food allergies) or high-in-rice gluten-free diets, as well as those who are not food sensitive but want to lose weight permanently, healthily, and without feeling hungry and deprived. Her unique approach to weight and health presented in Food Allergy and Gluten-Free Weight Loss is based on body physiology and reveals why conventional weight-loss diets work against rather than with our bodies and therefore rarely result in permanent weight loss. * (Nickie’s weight loss story, briefly, is that in her early 20s she could not lose on a calorie-counting diet in spite of repeatedly further reducing the number of calories she ate and swimming vigorously and often. Then she found a diet based on blood sugar control, lost weight without being hungry, and still weighs what she did in her mid-20s). Nickie has had multiple food allergies for 30 years and has been cooking for special diets for family members and friends for even longer. Regardless of how complex your dietary needs are or how much or little cooking you have done, she has the books and recipes you need. Her books present the science behind multiple food allergies and weight control in an easily-understood manner. She has BS degrees in medical technology and microbiology. She and her husband live in Louisville, Colorado and have two grown sons.

You can visit Nickie’s websites at and


Food Allergy and Gluten-Free Weight Loss answers the question, “Why is it so hard to lose weight?” Because it’s hard to put a puzzle together if you’re missing some of the pieces. We’ve been missing or ignoring the most important pieces in the puzzle of how our bodies determine whether to store or burn fat. Those puzzle pieces are hormones such as insulin, cortisol, leptin, and others. In addition, we’ve been given some puzzle pieces that don’t belong or fit in the weight-control puzzle. Much of what we’ve heard about dieting and exercise is incorrect and can cause loss of muscle mass instead of fat or even result in weight gain. The idea that weight is determined solely by “calories in minus calories out” is an assumption not based in reality. Most weight-loss diets require us to endure hunger much of the time, but hunger means that our blood sugar is falling or low and our insulin level may be rising. Prolonged hunger leads to the release of adrenal hormones, and the hormonal cascade which follows results in the inability to burn our own body fat as well as causing any fat we eat to be stored rather than burned to give us energy. Another problem with most weight loss diets is that they strictly dictate food choices, lack the flexibility that those on special diets for food allergies or gluten-intolerance require, and deprive us of pleasure. Individuals with food allergies face additional weight-loss challenges such as inflammation due to allergies which can lead to our master weight control hormone, leptin, being unable to do its job of maintaining a healthy weight. Those with gluten intolerance often eat a diet too high rice. Rice is the only grain which is high on the glycemic index in its whole grain form; thus eating too much of it will raise insulin levels and cause the body to deposit fat. Although the recipes in this book were developed for those on special diets, non-sensitive people will enjoy them as well, and the weight loss principles in this book will help anyone lose weight. (A chapter of recipes made with wheat and other problematic foods is included for those on unrestricted diets). The most frustrating deficiency of conventional weight loss diets is that they don’t work long-term. Low-calorie, low-fat diets can lead to loss of muscle mass, and with less muscle to burn calories, this type of diet effectively reduces metabolic rate so we need less food. Rare is the person who loses weight by counting calories and keeps it off after they liberalize their diet! However, continual dieting for the rest of your life is not the way you need to live, and you do not have to be deprived of pleasure in order to lose weight. Overweight is not due to a lack of willpower. Rather, it is due to a chemical imbalance in our bodies. Once we begin to correct that imbalance by applying the principles in Food Allergy and Gluten-Free Weight Loss, we can lose weight without hunger or deprivation and can maintain a healthy weight permanently and easily by regaining normal self-regulating hormonal control of our weight.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Nicolette. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Food Allergy and Gluten-Free Weight Loss?

My first book, Allergy Cooking With Ease, was published in 1992, so I’ve been writing for over 20 years. I have nine books currently in print and have talked to hundreds people on special diets over the years. Before I wrote Food Allergy and Gluten-Free Weight Loss, I was contacted by an increasing number of people who had gained weight on gluten-free diets, so I knew that there was a growing need for a book about weight loss that was geared to the special challenges faced by individuals with food allergies or gluten intolerance.

Q: How did you choose your title and was it your first choice?

The title was easy to choose because it is a statement of what the book is about. I learned with a previous book, The Ultimate Food Allergy Cookbook and Survival Guide, that a catchy title that does not explain the content of the book is terrible for sales. When I re-titled that book, it became my bestseller.

The subtitle was more difficult to decide on. I originally chose Control Your Hormones, Reduce Inflammation, and Improve Your Health but was told that this would make readers think of sex hormones, which would be confusing. So we used Control Your Body Chemistry… instead.

Q: We all know that publishers can’t do all of the publicity and that some lies on the author. What has your publisher done so far to publicize the book and what have you done?

When I wrote my first book, I expected the publisher to do most of the promotion. All they did was set up two radio interviews, and the rest was up to me. I even had to do things like talk to NutriBooks, the major book distributor to health food stores, to get the book into distribution. I figured since I was going to have to do the promotion anyway, I’d self-publish and avoid the disadvantages of having a publisher.

The promotion I’ve done for Food Allergy and Gluten-Free Weight Loss so far includes a new website for this book, three IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) co-op library mailings, two press releases, a 2-month virtual online book tour with Pump Up Your Book, guest blogging, networking, and in-person promotion of the book to local stores.

Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

O.K., here we are at the “Turkey Curry” recipe. What’s happening when you make and eat this tasty main dish is that you get a good dose of several anti-inflammatory foods, including carrots and spinach, plus two potently anti-inflammatory seasonings, ginger and turmeric. These foods decrease inflammation, which allows leptin, the master hormone for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, to function optimally. In addition, the cinnamon helps stabilize blood sugar levels and decreases insulin resistance. The effect of this dish on weight-related hormones is to promote easy weight loss. For more about how to control your hormones to lose weight easily and without hunger, see this page:

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

I hope to write a sequel to Food Allergy and Gluten-Free Weight Loss which includes what I’ve learned from people who are losing weight using this book about the “real life” application of hormonal weight loss principles.

Q: What is the one thing you learned about your book AFTER it was published?

I learned that for some people a very minor change, such as adding breakfast to their daily routine, is enough to lower and stabilize their insulin level and result in weight loss. Therefore, the dietary recommendations in the sequel will be simpler.My husband is also following the eating plan and has taught me a lot about the role of pleasure in weight loss. For the first several months, he ate 100% stone ground whole wheat bread made from the recipe in Food Allergy and Gluten-Free Weight Loss. He grew up on Wonder™ bread, so he never liked whole wheat and felt mentally dissatisfied (although not physically hungry) after eating whole wheat bread. Both stone ground whole wheat and sourdough bread have a lower GI score than white bread. Therefore, I began making sourdough for him. He loves it, and now he’s satisfied mentally as well as physically with his meals. There are recipes for several types of sourdough bread, made by a bread machine or by hand, in the new third edition of Easy Breadmaking for Special Diets. This book contains white, whole wheat, allergy, and gluten-free sourdough recipes, which are made possible by a new gluten and wheat-free freeze-dried sourdough starter.

Q: What is your most favorite time of the day or night to write?

I like to write in the morning when my mind is fresh.

Q: What is usually better – the book or the movie?

For classic fiction, I think the book is better.

Q: You’re about to write your next book. What did you learn from your previous book to help you write your next book?

That weight loss is all about hormones, far beyond what I thought when I began writing Food Allergy and Gluten-Free Weight Loss. The eating plan in the sequel will be simpler, and the recipes will be designed for pleasure.

Q: Finally, what’s your best tip you can give to writers who want to be published?

My advice would be to write niche market books that meet a real need. This is a way to get published and have your books sell well even if you’re not a celebrity.

Q: Thank you for your interview, Nicolette. Do you have any final words?

Yes, I’d like to summarize the most important message in the book. It is that overweight is due to a physiological problem. It is not something that is the reader’s fault. If anything is to blame, it is ideas about weight loss which have been forced on us for so many years that many people cannot accept that they are untrue. What is needed is a weight lost plan based on accurate information about how our bodies handle food and fat, not on “calorie math.” For more about this, you can read the essential information in the book here:

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