WARNING: the foods we cook for Abby are safe for her, but not necessarily for everyone. Please confirm any ingredients are safe for you before using in your diet. Food Allergies can kill and the best policy is complete avoidance. Read this post for more info.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Corn Free Journey

We have learned a ton this year. Corn is everywhere!

!) There are a number ingredients/products posted on corn free lists on various blogs. Just because they are listed doesn't make them safe. Just because something isn't on the list doesn't mean it isn't safe. Right now, the lists are guidelines at best. Ingredients in products change frequently. What was safe last month may no longer be safe this month. You must try everything for yourself. What one reacts to may be fine for you and vice versa.

2) There are plenty of products that are free of corn, if you are willing to look for them and "try" them. Many that are allergic to corn will shop at International Markets that don't cater to the Western diet(aka corn diet). Indie/Paki, Asian(Thai, Vietnamese) carry a ton of safe, corn-free products. There is risk involved, but there is risk walking into any American market as well.

3) Learn to cook. IF you cannot find anything safe to eat, you aren't trying hard enough.

4) Anyone can grow a few safe veggies. A pot on your patio, a planter on your window sill. Every major city in America has farmers markets. Mourn the loss of your junkfood and start exploring your options- you may be surprised to find that without corn you actually get the opportunity to expand your diet.

5) Proteins- this is tough. Most farms(large and small) feed their animals grain which as a rule is loaded with corn. Some folks will react to the meat. Once the animal is ready to be butchered, they rinse the cuts in a "sanitizer" that often has corn. Then the wrapping they use on the meat can be full of corn as well. You can get around this with research. There are farms moving away from feeding their animals corn. You can find a small local butcher who will work with you to butcher and package your meat safely. However, we have found meat to be very challenging but we still find enough to get by.

6)The number of Americans suffering with Corn Allergies is growing by the day. But, very few will ever develop corn allergies to the point of anaphylaxis. The MAJORITY of corn allergy sufferers are not likely to die from a minute exposure, though many will feel bad from it. Constant exposure to allergens even without life threatening episodes is very hard on the body and can lead to other health issues.

7) Allergists, Drs., rarely understand that corn is hidden in our food. They will often simply tell a patient to avoid cornstarch, popcorn and syrup- and the patients are still reacting like mad. Find a good online resource of hidden corn ingredients- things like "citric acid" are corn saturated. MSG is corn derived and many other commonly found additives to all our western foods.

8) If you are allergic to corn, odds are you will have allergies to something else as well. A few are just allergic to corn, but that is unusual. It seems most that I have talked to with a corn allergy also are allergic to other foods as well.

9) An allergy to corn can occur at any point in your life.

10)Some are more allergic to "airborne" corn.(movie theaters,Target,Mexican restaurants with corn chips)must be avoided. Some react more to "contact" corn. This group must be careful to avoid corn in soaps,lotions, cleaners. Some are most sensitive to corn in food. And for a rare few, they are equally reactive to all types of exposure.

11) Say goodbye to eating out or packaged foods. If you only eat out, or prepackaged foods- your world is going to be turned upside down. Sounds terrible, but I promise you will be much healthier for it!

12) Corn is in your medication. Over the Counter and by prescription. Find a compound pharmacy.

13)Just like the "gluten free" craze, there are folks that are going corn free to lose weight or avoid GMO and not because they have an allergy. Unfortunately there are even some anorexics and other eating disorders that have found avoiding corn can aid their disease. For those who are avoiding corn for political or healthy reasons I am glad to have them! The more consumers who demand products without corn,soy, chemicals and preservatives the easier(and cheaper)it gets to feed Abby.

14)If you have just found out you are allergic to corn- don't panic! Despite what seems like a daunting task to find safe food, it really is widely available.

15) There are benefits to going corn free. Most "junk food" has corn in it. So, when you remove corn you radically improve your diet! Yes, corn free ingredients often cost more, but you are saving money because you no longer are buying Starbucks, gas station snacks, power drinks, booze, or going out to eat- you come out ahead really! Plus you feel better which ought to save you a few trips to the Dr.

16) Everything that you used to buy on the shelf can be made at home clean and safe. If you are complaining about nothing to eat you are not trying. We have to have food to eat and if you cannot prioritize finding food you can safely eat,you have much bigger issues then your allergies. From a burger to fries it can all be done safely, easily and corn free(and minus many other allergens)at home with very little skill.

Buy a cookbook. Buy allergy self help books. Take a cooking class. Ask your parents. Watch YouTube- there are video's on everything from peeling a carrot to making quiche. Join a support group. There are TONS of resources if you are ready to eat right for your health.

In America corn is yellow gold. Our economy and fiscal success are tied to corn. Don't expect that anyone is going to campaign to remove corn from our food supply. I am okay with that- we have found plenty to eat without corn. Honestly, when we removed corn we also removed the toxins, fats, chemicals that many Drs. are blaming for the American obesity crisis.

Challenging but you can do it, and plenty of added health bonuses to going corn free. We feel better, I have lost weight, Abby has stabilized. After a year, we don't miss corn one bit.


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