View of Berat, Albania from Berat Castle hill.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Berat, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? South towards Greece.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Gluten Free Beer

The words "Free Beer" go really well together, but the words "Gluten Free Beer" don't do so well!

In fact, we haven't found any decent gluten free beer yet. That is, until we found out that a lot of beer is gluten free anyhow!

When I decided to go "gluten free", one of the things that I was worried about was the fact that I like beer. Sure, I know that I can do without, but I really didn't want to. So, I do what I always do...I researched the gluten content of various popular beers.

I had to do a lot of digging. The beer companies, even if they know their beer is low in gluten, don't want to advertise the fact. I expect it has something to do with the fact that they sell a product containing alcohol and they probably have enough lawsuits simply dealing with that! They really don't need another headache.

Beer is made with barley, and barley contains gluten. Lots of it! But it seems that something to do with the brewing process of lager beers removes most of the gluten.

This is the same with soy sauce. Did you know that there are two types of soy sauce? One is naturally brewed, and one is chemically brewed. If you don't read labels, you could have the wrong one in your fridge! Go check...just to see. Anyhow, the naturally brewed soy sauce is gluten free.

World standards for gluten content generally say that if a product is less than 20 ppm (parts per million) that it is considered to be gluten free. It turns out that you can now buy gluten test strips so that the average person can satisfy themselves whether or not a certain product passes the test. But they're pretty expensive, at between $10-$13 per test.

I found a guy online who does these tests and publishes the results. He found that the majority of lager beers test under the "official" limit. And most Mexican lager beers (Corona being the most popular) test on the lower part of the range because a lot of them are made with 20% corn as well as barley.

But ales are a different story. And ales, or darker beers test much higher. So it's something in the brewing process between a lager beer and an ale that breaks down the gluten protein.

Of course people have different levels of gluten sensitivity and just because something tests under the standard limit doesn't mean that it won't affect you. Obviously if something gives you a problem, you shouldn't drink it no matter what the test strip shows!

Our own experience (especially Ruth's) is that gluten is responsible for a variety of health problems. There's a new book out that looks like it's really good and I'd like to read it. Written by the founder of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Celiac Research.

Gluten Freedom: The Nation's Leading Expert Offers the Essential Guide to a Healthy, Gluten-Free Lifestyle


  1. Interesting information, my sister is celiac. But does not drink beer anyway, maybe she would be interested in the book.

    1. We definitely want to check out this book too. There is so much information and misinformation out there that you really need to do your homework to separate the two, hopefully this book can sort some of it out.

  2. It's amazing how many things can be affected by gluten if you have Celiac disease.
    What's really unfortunate, is when it affects young children, and nobody can figure out why they're so sick all the time. Until they go off gluten of course. I know many people who have Celiac disease. I wonder if it was something in the past that was attributed to other "ailments"?

    1. We wonder about that too, Bob. We think that there still are many misdiagnoses done even today but that is just our opinion.

  3. I tried Gluten Free for a month and didn't notice any difference in anything. Did you have to be gluten free longer to notice the difference. What symptoms were relieved by it? I actually don't like beer so none of it would be a problem for me but it was an interesting read.

    1. Perhaps you don't have a gluten problem. I noticed a difference within about two weeks to a month, I think Kevin may have been longer but everyone is different, it could take up to two or three months. I had diarrhea quite bad and that cleared up very quickly, I also had stomach cramps, bloating, headaches and dizziness occasionally and they all pretty much disappeared. I still get headaches sometimes but I think most people get headaches at some point or another. I also had a rash on my legs for several years but couldn't figure out how I got it or why it wouldn't disappear. It never bothered me, it just didn't look nice. I think about six months after going gluten free I noticed that rash had disappeared, I didn't notice the exact time it went away, I just notice it was no longer there. After doing more research I found that some people can get different kinds of skin rashes as a result to having gluten in their diet.

      I don't like beer either so it makes no difference to me that you can drink certain beers and have no issue with them but I know that Kevin is a happy camper because of this!

  4. Another sneaky culprit is an allergy or sensitivity to genetically modified soy. 1 in 3 women is said to be affected. Symptoms could include fatigue, brain fog, skin problems, thinning hair, joint pain or stiffness, gastrointestinal issues and congestion.

    1. Thanks Elaine, that is another thing that we already avoid. We hardly ever buy any prepared foods so it isn't difficult to do. Mind you I had a hard time trying to find a salad dressing that didn't have either soybean oil or canola oil in it but I did finally find one, the other option was to make my own which I have done in the past and probably will still do in the future.


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