Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It may sound corny,

Grocery Store AisleImage by Jeff Keen via Flickr

but you really are what you eat. I have been allergic to corn for a long time. I didn't know this for many years and still don't know if it is a "true allergy" or just a "sensitivity". I put those terms in quotes because I think it is ridiculous to differentiate. One means that upon ingestion of said substance you will die immediately and the other means you will die a slow painful death. What difference does it make what you call it if either results in death? I think people like to differentiate so they can minimize an intolerance for certain foods since death is not immediate. Why? Because someone with a limited diet is inconvenient but you can't bully someone to "just make an exception this one time" if it will kill them instantly. It does seem to be somehow socially acceptable to do so if the offending substance will only cause extreme distress.

This sounds crazy, I know. When I first realized this phenomenon I was completely flabbergasted. If you don't believe me just think about this: Haven't you ever heard someone say to a dieter at a family gathering, "Come on and have some dessert, one bite won't kill you!"? What about the current controversy over whether someone has a gluten intolerance or true celiac disease? Who cares? Call it whatever you want, the people with this condition suffer when they ingest wheat or other gluten containing grains. Do they really have to die instantly to make the condition serious?

I am pressured all the time to eat things that I can't tolerate because it will make someone else's life easier. I have a long list of things that I can't eat but the most restricting item on the list is corn. The reason it is so restricting is the same reason that it took me years to figure out I couldn't tolerate it. When I thought I was avoiding corn by reading the label, I was ignorant of some essential information. It is in almost everything in a can, box or bag in the grocery store. Corn can be listed under names like lactic acid or sodium lactate(try finding deli meat without this), citric acid (try buying a canned vegetable without this ingredient), maltodextrin, polysorbate, stearic acid, alcohol (try finding vanilla extract without corn), and iodized salt. Most people I talk to think they eat very little corn when they in fact eat corn every day at every meal.

Did you know corn is in white rice, table salt, canned tomatoes, white vinegar, sour cream, tuna, frozen vegetables, breads, and even fresh fruit or veggies that are coated with wax? Are you wondering what you could eat if you were allergic to corn? The answer is horrifying to most people. I can only safely eat fresh meat, brown rice and other grains, fresh vegetables or fruit (that are not waxed), dried legumes, sea salt and single ingredient spices. My family cooks all our meals from scratch now from staples that we drive two hours to buy or order online. There are three grocery stores in my area (40 mile radius) and one of them is a Walmart. None of the three carry any flour, pasta, canned tomatoes, beans or tuna, bread, cream or shampoo that is corn-free. I am able to buy beef and chicken from the small stores without corn added in the form of "broth" but all of the meat in Walmart contains corn now. I am trying to find the money in my budget to buy pasture-finished meat since I worry about all the corn that is forced into the conventional beef at the feed lots. (You do realize that the cows are force fed corn to fatten them up for slaughter, don't you?)

In case you are thinking that I am an oddball or freak and you don't have to worry about such nonsense, consider this: My daughter was diagnosed with asthma two years ago and used an inhaler quite often. My health was deteriorating rapidly in the last two years and in my search for answers I discovered a list of corn aliases. We were able to cut corn completely out of our diet for the first time in January 2009. Since January she has not needed her inhaler even once. It's a good thing she didn't need her inhaler since it also contains corn! Ethanol is the propellant of choice for Albuterol and low and behold, ethanol is made from corn.

Can corn be the cause of the asthma epidemic in America? I don't have the answer to that but I do have an idea how we can find out. Every kid that has been diagnosed with asthma could be put on a corn-free diet for two weeks to see if there is any improvement. As you have probably figured out by now, it wouldn't be easy but....what could it hurt?
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  1. >> Can corn be the cause of the asthma epidemic in America? <<

    It sure can't helping.

    After watching "King Corn," I've been wondering what someone's hair analysis would come back like if they stopped eating much or any corn. (Although I guess it would just come back showing the proteins they actually eat--animal meats, etc.--so there you go. No need to spend a couple hundred dollars on a test!)

  2. Can you believe I haven't watched King Corn? I was too busy trying to figure out a way to avoid it to watch the movie. Honestly, it took me almost a year to find out all the sources of corn in our lives. Every time you think you have gotten rid of all of it, more sneaks in a product that was previously safe.

  3. It'd probably just drive you crazy to watch it anyway. The guys are talking about how it's in everything, etc., and then they go eat fast food, and you just want to scream at the TV. :)

  4. No kidding! Every time we think I am completely corn free, we realize we slipped with an ingredient. It is very tricky to eliminate completely.

    I think in addition to Asthma, Eczema is caused by food allergies. The famous skin situation that comes from "nothing" as doctors will say. No reason. Yeah, right. Every time someone receives a non-diagnosis from a doctor I believe food allergies could very well be the cause.

    Thanks for providing another Corn Free resource! :-)

    ~ Sharon

  5. My favorite non-diagnosis is "stress-related". I think people tend to accept this diagnosis because it makes them feel important enough to be stressed.

    I agree about Eczema and the scary thing is there are so many babies with eczema these days. I guess it is no wonder if you read the label of some of the products made for babies and toddlers. I was always horrified at how much worse children's medicines are than average adult verstions of the same thing.