Posts tagged ‘corn’

February 8, 2016

Corn is Everywhere!

If you have an allergy to, or intolerance for, corn, trying to avoid it can seem like wandering through a maze – there’s corn all around and it’s hard to find a good path through it because corn is everywhere!
corn
I’m experiencing an allergic reaction. I have huge red spots on my face, an itchy rash on my neck and my lips are burning like the worst chapped lips you’ve ever had. Benadryl is making me sleepy. I know that the quickest way to feel better is to avoid the allergen.
allergy
The problem is that I don’t know what triggered my reaction. That means I’m eliminating any possible culprit from my diet and one of those possibilities is corn. In order to eliminate corn, I’m making a list of the things I need to avoid. Some of those are obvious like corn, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn oil, corn meal, corn chips, corn bread, corn dogs, Corn Flakes, Corn Chex, tortilla chips, corn tortillas, corn flour, popcorn, and cornstarch.

Other things containing corn may not be as obvious. Cheetos, Cheerios, Frosted Flakes, Tums, baking powder and confectioner’s sugar fall into that category. Many gluten-free pastas contain corn. Hominy, grits, and polenta are all made from corn. Most of these list corn on the label, but then there’s the ever present food starch. It may contain corn and be listed on a label as food starch, modified food starch, or pre-gelatinized starch. The word corn is never mentioned.

To make things even more confusing, familiar products contain a multitude of ingredients that may or may not contain corn and labeling requirements do not require that corn be listed on the label as an allergen. For instance, natural flavorings, xylitol, xanthan gum, citric acid, distilled white vinegar, maltodextrin, ethyl alcohol, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, and even IV dextrose may contain corn. It’s a fairly steep learning curve when I’m not even sure corn is the culprit.

Luckily, I have lots of practice reading labels and researching ingredients that will come in handy while I try to isolate the allergen that’s bothering me. I don’t plan to eat any processed food or at restaurants until I get this under control. Cooking is an easy way to know what I’m ingesting and with my lists at hand, I can leave out any questionable ingredients. I’m not the only one who follows this approach. To quote UAMS Registered Dietitian, Meghan Dixon, “These skills, cooking skills, are really life-changing. These are the skills that develop lasting lifestyle changes for people,…If you learn how to cook, you’re not outsourcing your health.” (1)

While the itching isn’t fun and I don’t love looking like I just got out of the boxing ring…as a loser…using those skills, I feel confident that I can make progress quickly.

If you have experience with corn allergies, let us know what triggers your symptoms. If you are struggling with a corn allergy or intolerance, you may want to peruse the more comprehensive lists available on these sites:

http://www.cornallergens.com/list/corn-allergen-list.php

http://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/corn-allergy-symptoms

1) Storey, Celia. “Food and Medicine Meet for Dinner.” Arkansas Democrat Gazette [Little Rock] 08 Feb. 2016, Style sec.: n. pag 1. Print.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

December 20, 2012

Holiday Indulgence–Is It Worth It?

For those of you who are tempted to fudge a little here and there, I recently asked myself this question–Was a recent holiday indulgence worth it?

After 9 months of strict adherence to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, Thanksgiving arrived.  I cooked sweet potato pie, corn casserole, cornbread dressing (stuffing if you prefer), an amazing sweet potato and squash soup, and gluten-free macaroni and cheese for my extended family.  While I cooked, I tasted.  At the dinner table, I tasted.  For a couple of days afterward, there were leftovers in the fridge that…I tasted.  Now mind you, a taste isn’t a serving.  It’s just a couple of spoons full, and I never tasted anything containing harmful gluten.

Then came the cold December afternoon when I returned to my office ready for an afternoon snack.  No, not just ready…I felt like I was starving.  While I was out of the office, the most beautiful, red holiday basket had arrived.  Sporting a huge bow and from the most exclusive flower shop in town, it was filled with chocolate chip, key lime, and iced spice cookies, party mix, candy, and one gluten-free item – a tin full of dark chocolate hazelnut toffee.  Not more than 5 seconds after I finished reading the label, I ripped off the plastic seal and popped open that tin.

After all, I was starving and there were huge hazelnuts embedded in the toffee.  I broke the toffee away from a nut and popped it in my mouth.  After all nuts are allowed on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.  Still hungry, I continued.  The third nut I peeled had a tiny bit of candy still attached. Chocolate, caramel tasting sugar – YUM!  I didn’t try nearly as hard to remove all the candy from the fourth nut…or the 5th, 6th, or 7th.  After all, it was only sugar (not gluten) AND I had been strictly following the SCD, perhaps I was ready to reintroduce some items into my diet.  This justification worked so well for me that I used it again the next day when I pulled the lid off the tin.

Then came Christmas lunch.  May as well try the scalloped potatoes, and then finish off the toffee.

Four days later I have two New Year’s parties to attend and I am doubled over in pain or I would be if I weren’t talking to the repairman who’s here to fix the alarm.  I can’t believe I used to work like this all the time.  It feels like someone detonated a bomb below and to the right of my belly button.  I’m contemplating the minimum amount of time I can spend at each party because I’m afraid I may need to stick close to a bathroom.  I plan to take a second dose of activated charcoal and hope for the best.

In the midst of this pain and anxiety, I hear the question nagging at the back of my brain: Was straying off the SCD worth it?  Hmmm.  The toffee was delectable, and the potatoes satisfied my longing for filling carbohydrates, but now I’m on track for what may be a lengthy healing process.  Hmmmmmmmmmmm.  Was it worth it?

YES.  Yes, the transgression was worth it.

Ahhh yes, the transgression was worth it, but not in the hedonistic way you may think.  It was worth it because the discomfort I am experienced reminded me in a very concrete way WHY I choose each moment of every day to adhere to an eating plan which allows my body to heal. Such discomfort also serves as a reminder of how difficult it used to be to focus and function before I went gluten-free. I feel amazed and proud of my progress.

And I feel proud of you for wanting to feel your best and for being willing to make choices that will keep you on the path of healing.  To be tempted is to be human.  Give yourself a break if you weren’t perfect last week, but don’t use yesterday’s mistake as an excuse to give up on yourself or to stop making good choices.  Just use it as a reminder of WHY you choose to consume only foods that contribute to your optimum health.

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Cheri