I Ate Barley & Lived to Tell the Tale


Okay, drank barley. Thanks to a super commentor, I got a tip that many beers don’t actually contain wheat. Namely, the most awesome of all beer types, the IPA. Of course, barley is one of the things that make beers filled with gluten. And as all of us gluten-free types know — let’s all say it together – gluten is in wheat, rye, barley, and whatever the heck tricticale is. Sometimes oats. Sometimes just annoying people in line at the parking garage.

But I digress.

So here’s what I did. I had a Red Hook IPA. I know! Look at me.

Just one, and nothing seemed to happen. Does this mean I can tolerate barley? I would think the whole gluten thing would mean that I couldn’t. I mean, duh. While I drank that delicious beer and felt no ill effects, I did have a headache the next day that I attributed to a particularly stressful situation. It’s possible that nasty ass migraine could have been exacerbated by the barley I ingested the night before. Maybe. Which means, of course, that more research must be done!

While I am interested to see my reaction to barley, the fact is being able to ingest barley is not going to get me very far. After all, there are a ton of gluten-free beers on the market, some of them even passable. And I don’t need beer as part of my daily diet. You know, unlike donuts. So even if I can tolerate barley, well, I can’t see it being all that life changing. The wheat thing, yes. The barley thing, ummm, I guess then maybe I’d be able to go to a bar and order a normal non-wheat beer with abandon. But let’s be honest. I get out to barsĀ  only as often as they have Baby Love Disco parties planned. In fact, I’ve only once found myself in a bar that only served beer when I was in Austin visiting family. So.

The point is, wheat is really the end-all, be-all, gluten-filled grain that cramps my style. Rye and barley — eh. Who needs ‘em, anyway? And tricticale? As soon as I figure out what that is, perhaps I’ll miss it.

Can you have barley, rye, and the big “t”?

Image via Dag Endersson/Flickr

10 Comments

Filed under Celiac Disease, Uncategorized

10 responses to “I Ate Barley & Lived to Tell the Tale

  1. I miss rye more than barley or wheat. Rye has character; wheat is for the masses; barley is that guy with the funky BO. As far as beer goes, it is both for the masses and that guy with the funky BO; I’ll take hard liquor or a good hard cider any day, which, thankfully, are generally GF. (In actuality, Rye might have the funky BO, but it happens to be a smell I like, so don’t make me think of it that way.)

    Too be honest, I was a little relieved when I found out I didn’t have to eat bread or drink beer anymore. Go ahead and hate me if you must.

    But I digress. I’m rarely able to clearly track my symptoms to a specific glutening; I just take the doctors’ word for it that if I eat it I’ll die (if slowly). And when I was on gluten I always felt crappy (and in so many ways); now when I feel crappy I suspect it’s gluten, but I’m never quite sure, least of all whence it came. Maybe I eat too much.

    Anyway, the uncertainty is part of what frustrates me about this whole process. It reminds me too much of religion, what with the battling invisible enemies, avoiding transgressions that don’t seem to have any consequences, being paranoid, distrustful and a general pain in the ass, etc.

    You’re worrying me. Please don’t poison yourself. We need GIMB and all of your gluten-stomping sass and I’m-gonna-kick-your-ass attitude.

  2. I had a beer last weekend and have felt hungover ever since. I didn’t get “sick” but I’ve just felt totally off.

    • Yeah, I probably had a headache due to the gluten. I just like to pretend it was something else. ;) Honestly, beer is totally not worth it. Now, if you took away my cheese . . . .

  3. Don’t worry, Joel. I have zero interest in trying every beer on the market to see if it makes me sick. Or at least, in reality I have no interest. In theory, it is totally intriguing.

    And you’re totally right, the sort of weird not knowing is challenging. Not unlike religion. ;)

    • I’m a little relieved.
      As for religion: well, now that you put it that way (less cynically and in terms of mystery), I have to admit that I’m a bit of an addict and haven’t quite figured out how to shake it. Sheesh, take the wind out of my cynicism why don’t ya? ;-)

  4. Lily

    Luckily for me, I’m a whisky and vodka girl. Hard liquor for this half-Irish lass. I never did well with beer and just kept away from it. I’m also deathly allergic to agave (from what tequila is made), which I learned as a teenager. As it turns out, I’m terribly allergic to A LOT of things (octopus, corn, dairy, the list goes on and on). I have to test amaranth further because I had minor issues (joints KILLING ME and other tertiary responses) all week long but ate perfectly clean other than my amaranth faux-sotto (it was the only “new” element and I ate it M-Th). http://lilyreed.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/amaranth-faux-sotto-and-rural-living/

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  8. Anna Musso

    Hello there! First, thanks for writing about all this. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease a little over a year ago and it’s rare to feel like someone actually gets it. I just wanted to chime in with something that I think is pretty important… Just because you don’t have an outwardly visible, noticeable reaction to gluten doesn’t mean you can tolerate gluten, at all. I think it’s really important for people to understand that because we live in a largely intolerant world where people think being gluten free is trendy or that you “can have just a little” and all that. But some people with Celiac are 100% asymptomatic on the outside, even though extreme damage is happening on the inside. Anyways, just wanted to share that thought. I really appreciate all that you write about and please, keep on keeping on, sister.

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