This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 13, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: "The View's" Elisabeth Hasselbeck is here to go "On the Record." She's the author of a hot new book, "The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide," which will debut on the New York Times bestseller list at number two. That's pretty hot.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let's start with confessions. First of all, I didn't know what gluten was.
ELISABETH HASSELBECK, "THE G FREE DIET" AUTHOR: OK.
VAN SUSTEREN: I now know. Second, celiac disease -- I didn't know that one, either. All right, I got that off my chest. I now know, though, having read the book. All right, so what is celiac disease?
HASSELBECK: Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease, where your body attacks itself when it encounters gluten, which is a protein found in barley, oats that are contaminated, wheat and rye. So essentially, your body will fight itself. It believes it's under attack. And if it's left untreated or undiagnosed, it can lead to things like intestinal cancer, infertility, depression. Gosh, there -- I go into much more details of the path you will walk down if not properly diagnosed.
And I'm glad you mentioned that, Greta. I think a lot of people may not know what gluten is. You know, I certainly didn't know what it was. And it took me nearly 10 years to get a diagnosis.
VAN SUSTEREN: I had to read it a couple times, that part (INAUDIBLE) because it's -- like, you know, it's not particularly my area.
VAN SUSTEREN: But I mean -- but it's interesting how much I learned about it. And you know, I just had never heard of it. And you know, I had no idea, in fact, the -- I -- you know, I had no idea how much it's in all these foods.
HASSELBECK: Yes. It is -- if things were clearly labeled all the time, it would be an easy thing to navigate. I mean, right now, we have one out of 133 people with celiac disease. The problem is that 97 percent of them don't know it because they've not been diagnosed or improperly diagnosed. So when they do get the information -- what I tried to do in the book was outline hidden sources of gluten, how to navigate the grocery store, how to be at someone's house and know what you can get.
And you know, out of this -- yes, I have celiac disease, and there's a problem in terms of that diagnosis, but I'm really hoping that people understand, too, that there's that area of people who may just be having intestinal problems and may just want a different way to eat. And I have found this what I call "diet in the rough." I learned the hard way. And I'm hoping that people can share in that. I found a great way to eat, a great way to produce energy. But there's some work to be done in terms of celiac disease and its proper diagnosis.
VAN SUSTEREN: The sort of, you know, I think common thing that I read in this book is that -- I mean, you diagnosed yourself, I mean, that people who have the symptoms, it seems like they hit a number of doctors and just never -- you know, it may take, you know, years and years and may never get diagnosed correctly.
HASSELBECK: Yes. I mean, it was 1997 I began having symptoms. It took me -- I self-diagnosed in 2002 after doing some research. I actually found a mom with a child who had autism and was on a gluten-free diet. And then I realized though it's not the same thing, maybe I should try that. And all of a sudden, I started feeling better.
In 2005, I found Dr. Peter Green (ph), who is a pioneer in the field, who wrote the foreword to the book, and gave me the diagnosis that I had semi-convinced myself of, but you still want that affirmation from your doctor.
And like I said, left untreated, (INAUDIBLE) problems having kids, battle with infertility. This is something that literally changed my life. And -- but whether you have celiac disease or not, you know, physicians will say -- and Dr. Mehmet Oz and I have at loads of conversations on -- is a great way to sort of adjust your diet. But it is a lifestyle. This is not something that's a quick fix at all.
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, is it...
HASSELBECK: I'm sad (ph).
VAN SUSTEREN: ... is that -- I mean, you can use -- if you have celiac disease, gluten-free, that's great. If you don't have celiac disease, it's good to be gluten-free, right?
HASSELBECK: Sure. I can be. I think that it's -- I have found that so many -- I address them in the book, as well, a section that deals with people who just wanted a different way of energy, felt as though their focus was better.
And you know, I always say we pay a lot of attention to what our devices are giving us, how much your hard drive is delivering you, what memory's on your phone, how many texts you can send out. But when it comes to our food, when you look -- I have a "battle of the grains" section, where you see, OK, if I can eat this grain or this grain, and the second one's going to give me much more energy, protein, go for the one that is G-free.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, it's going to debut at number two. And notice I have -- it's just not just a "no" book because there's a lot hints on what you can do, as well. Those are my notes. Elisabeth...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... stand by. More with Elisabeth in two minutes. What does she think about Miss California, President Obama's Notre Dame commencement controversy and more.
Plus, if you thought the Miss California controversy ended yesterday, you were so wrong. You won't believe what just happened. A "Playboy" Playmate and reality star just became a huge part of the story. We have that report coming up.
VAN SUSTEREN: We're back with Elisabeth Hasselbeck. She has this brand-new book that we just talked about, "The G-Free Diet," and we talked during the break, but you don't get to hear that because now we're moving on to another topic. You'll have to read the book to hear what I just learned. Miss California -- what do you think about that controversy?
HASSELBECK: Well, certainly, I don't think it would've been one if there was someone else asking a question and her answer had been the same. Say, for instance, a Catholic priest had asked her the question and she had answered that way, probably no controversy, right, within the institution of Miss USA pageant.
I think that we are in a country that should respect and honor freedom of expression. I think what's happening now recently, unfortunately, is that people want to honor that as long as it's what they want to hear.
VAN SUSTEREN: Boy, she's -- I mean, she's taken the beating pretty well.
HASSELBECK: She has. Look, no one knows personally how she's been able to deal with it. It seems as though she's come out resilient and strong. I mean, I'm glad. We should be able to, whether you agree with her or not, at least respect her position. No one should be fired or precluded from having a job because you believe one thing or the next about gay marriage. That should not prevent someone from holding a position. And so I'm glad. I'm glad that even people we maybe wouldn't suspect would be on her side, where we see -- we see a large part of the liberal contingency even backing her up on this one. This is something that should not have been an issue. It should have been a non-issue.
VAN SUSTEREN: President Obama speaking at commencement at Notre Dame.
VAN SUSTEREN: You went to a Catholic university.
HASSELBECK: I did, B.C.
VAN SUSTEREN: B.C. Notre Dame -- that certainly has stirred up a lot of trouble there.
HASSELBECK: Yes, it has.
VAN SUSTEREN: Would you be protesting if you were a student?
HASSELBECK: You know, I thought about this. Look, I also was on a bus from B.C. to Notre Dame for the B.C.-Notre Dame game, so I know that those students can get together and make some noise if they want to in protest. I've seen it firsthand. You know, I thought about this, and I -- I think my gut instinct would be yes, to protest.
But then I thought again, and said, My goodness, these are students that for the past four years or more have lived there. This is the place where they have carved a spot for themselves. They have earned that seat in the stadium, or whatever number chair they're going to be in. They've worked long and hard to be there on their graduation ceremony, to be honored and celebrate their hard work. They should sit there, I believe.
I completely support their right to protest, and it's going to be a silent, meditative, prayerful protest. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. But looking back, I think they may think, Gosh, you know, I let one man move me out of the seat that I worked so many years...
VAN SUSTEREN: So you'd -- you'd go to graduation?
HASSELBECK: I would go. I would just protest there, silently, in a way that maybe would allow me to be there. I don't think any one person should take you out of that seat. They have earned that seat. They should sit there. They should walk. They should be proud of what they've done for the past four years and not let one person yank them out of that.
VAN SUSTEREN: How about a choice of having -- at a Catholic university, having President Obama as the commencement speaker? Do you have any problem with that, or do you think -- you like the sort of exchange of ideas ?
HASSELBECK: I certainly understand the basis. If the Catholic university has a foundational belief and what President Obama has represented in the past in terms of his pro-life or pro-choice decisions, I understand why the protests are there. I certainly don't agree with some of them and how they're being done, with the photos, et cetera. I think that that just -- you know, it sort of defeats the purpose.
I think that this is -- the president of the United States -- as a citizen of this country, it would be something to at least experience, but it is your right to protest. Like I said, though, I would not let one person prevent me from sitting there in that chair.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, here's a weird question. When you were in college, playing softball...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... for B.C., did it ever cross your mind that at some point down the road, you would be on a show like "The View" and it would be named -- "The View" would be one of the Time magazine top most influential shows? Did that ever cross your mind?
HASSELBECK: No. I was just trying to figure out a strategy how to get off the bench.
VAN SUSTEREN: Can you ever get off the bench in college?
HASSELBECK: I did, I think for a brief -- a brief season, I was off the bench. You know, as a pinch runner, I specialize in the bunt.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did you spend four years on the bench?
HASSELBECK: No, not...
HASSELBECK: I got to play. By junior year, I was playing. I had a great coach, Coach Finlay (ph). I was the arm-wrestling champion on the...
VAN SUSTEREN: On the softball -- all right. So how's "The View"? "The View" fun?
HASSELBECK: It is fun. It is.
VAN SUSTEREN: How long has it been?
HASSELBECK: Almost six years.
VAN SUSTEREN: Oh, it has not! Has it really?
HASSELBECK: I think so.
VAN SUSTEREN: I would have -- you know, I would have guessed two.
VAN SUSTEREN: Oh, my God. Time really does fly.
HASSELBECK: Time flies!
VAN SUSTEREN: But you have fun?
HASSELBECK: We do. And you know, it's great. As a mom, to be able to come in every day and have the conversations that we do, start the day like that and be as tapped into what is going on in the world is an honor. I think what Barbara Walters and Bill Gette (ph) did when they had this vision for the show and put it together is a gift I think not only for women, but just for that conversation to happen for us personally.
VAN SUSTEREN: And of course, child number three is going to be born this August.
VAN SUSTEREN: And you're ready?
VAN SUSTEREN: Not at all?
HASSELBECK: Not at all!
VAN SUSTEREN: Just hope for the best?
HASSELBECK: I'm trying to figure out how to tame my 18-month-old son! He doesn't understand gentle yet.
VAN SUSTEREN: Doesn't understand -- well, anyway, well, the book is "The G Free Diet." I'm going to hang -- hold it up once again, not just for those who have celiac disease but people who want to eat well, and also if you want to learn something. I learned all about gluten, which I knew nothing about, I'm ashamed to say, before. But that's what I love about my job. I learn something new all the time. Anyway, Elisabeth, awfully nice to see you.
HASSELBECK: Thank you, Greta. Good to be here.
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