Corn-Tamination Alert Graphics, Life Journey Lessons & Corn Allergy Life

CornTamination Series – Slide 03/04 – Food Continued – Grocery Shopping – Adapting to the Life

http://corn-freefoods.blogspot.com/2017/11/corn-allergen-list-corn-derivatives.html

We’ve briefly discussed medications and their inactive ingredients in my blogs so far. I’ve probably mentioned hygiene products too. Getting a doctor to listen to you about compounding medications is pertinent and the first alert from me for anyone just finding out about their allergy. I say this because I wished I had known that from day 1. I hope to help you avoid wasting the 100’s and 1000’s of dollars in medications and foods you clearly shouldn’t have if your doctor or you knew what you were doing to avoid corn derivatives. Medical fields appear and hopefully will continue to grasp this reality we Corn Allergy folks are experiencing. Until they get educated though, it is always our responsibility to take care of ourselves. Medical professionals are meant to be guides, not fix it alls. This reality is getting really twisted in our modern day social climates and that responsibility is really getting cloudy which is sad because we as a people should be very self sufficient and able. The lack of knowledge is why we are so codependent on these corporations and medical affiliations and it is a very toxic dynamic when you step back and look at these trends. I’m not here to elaborate on that though, but to point you in a direction to shop with some sense to avoid things that will hurt you if you have a corn allergy. This will include everything from food to externally used products.

I will again explicitly express to you that I AM NOT A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL. These are my journey experiences, opinions, and what I have come to find that works for me. I am sharing my story and what I do in an effort to give ideas and help others in a similar situation. Everyone is different and I fully encourage you to do your own research in correlation to your own personal situation. I am not responsible for what you choose to do with the information provided here but will encourage you to be smart and do your own research, don’t blame others, ever, for your lack of footwork in this allergy. It is a very popular but toxic belief system to think others are responsible for what we put into our bodies. Very disempowering lie to tell yourself as well. Take your power back, learn what you need to learn, and go from there. 

Today I want to further elaborate on shopping with and for someone with a corn allergy. I’ll share some of my personal experiences and struggles to insure you if you’re having similar fits, that you’re not alone. This allergy is hard to navigate around and what’s even harder is that 2 people with a similar allergy level can tolerate the exact same product – differently. One may react and the other doesn’t. I’ve never fully understood the terms used within the allergy groups as far as “Corn Lite” and, “Corn Moderate” goes. Moderate is more sensitive and can’t do store-bought this, that or the other, definitely no packaged meals or processed foods. Lite might be able to get away with those things as well as packaged meals and processed foods. I am still uncertain where I fall on this spectrum as my reactions vary so drastically. 

I’m touching base on the “Corn Lite” and “Corn Moderate” terms so that you’ll know what they mean when you go to post in the groups on a product or for a question in the group and can better describe yourself as to where you land on the spectrum by their definition. Corn lites can typically handle some processed and packaged foods, sodas and other things. Corn Moderates are not so fortunate and have to do a lot more food preparations. The way I describe myself is somewhere on the more sensitive end of Corn Lite and lighter end of Corn Moderate. Why? I can get away with some packaged foods, some of the time. Not all the time. I can tolerate store-bought bananas, some of the time, not all the time. 

You’re probably wondering how Bananas can be contaminated with corn? The answer is they get sprayed with chemicals to help preserve the shelf life and help get the bananas to the grocery store without spoiling. This spray can soak through the skin and into the meat of the fruit. I’ve had several experiences with reactions from foods that should be ‘Corn-free’ so to speak. Apples are another one and so are many store bought produces and veggies.

Just because it’s not got an ingredient label doesn’t mean it’s not contaminated – be very careful!

Let’s get ready to shop, enough of the talk about me, and let’s say you’re just starting out with this allergy and you want to figure out where to start? Everything is overwhelming and you’re wondering what on God’s green earth, can you eat? You’ve got to go through your cabinets, you’ve got to find food to eat. Well…here’s what I wished I’d have known and done from day one of learning about this allergy of mine:

Step 1 – Download the list, print it out, carry it in your purse, wallet, whatever, get somewhat familiar with the trigger list. I’m not going to say memorize it but just get a familiar eye of chemicals and derivatives to look out for. Understand the list is not all-inclusive but you still need to GET THE LIST…Let me stress this again: GET THE LIST! Live by this list. Smear it in your friends’ and families’ faces, make it known this is your lifeline rule book of things to AVOID at all times as much as humanly possible. Especially any and all items that do not have an asterisk next to them. Stand your ground for your health and do not let anyone make you feel bad for having to change up your lifestyle. I had to drop a lot of so-called friends over the years due to straight disrespect to me and the shift. Prepare your mental tenacity to deal with this shift, it is hard. I was stubborn for the first year or so and wasted a lot of money and time with products that were clearly not safe if I were doing any level of safeguarding and list checking.

You’ll want to have a list printed out or on your device so that you can look at it. Do not forget this. EVER. You’ll need to prepare yourself emotionally as well. Do not get food without double-checking this list to the ingredients label. Save yourself the stress, hassle, and money of buying to try it because it looks good from the label. Everyone needs to understand that the labeling and looks of a package do not reflect the quality of the food inside the package. Companies spend more on designers and manipulative marketing tactics than they ever do quality ingredients in food these days.

Grocery shopping can be a hassle for corn allergy folks – just trying to read through the labels is going to be a mental taxation for you. Chin up, research glasses on my dears! 🙂 Happy ventures!

Be very wary when you’re picking up something marketed as “Organic, Healthy” or otherwise themed. Organic or gluten free does not mean corn free! READ THE LABELS AND COMPARE TO THE TRIGGER LIST!!! EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Trust me. You won’t regret doing this even if it is a headache and leads to a meltdown in the middle of the grocery store where your husband tells you to go sit in the car and he sits and does this for the next hour and inherently coming out with a sack of potatoes, rice, beans, greens and some fajita beef to do a stir fry with. That was me several years ago. I can now go into a store without a meltdown. It was very hard though first starting out – I already had PTSD from other things so dealing with this wasn’t easy. Matter of fact, it was a whole different level of trauma for me. I couldn’t help but feel like the world was out to murder me. Not the case but, ya know, just want you to know if you get to feeling like this – you’re NOT ALONE!!! 🙂

Did I tell you to go download, print out, and save this list yet? If you haven’t done this yet, you should hop on it! 

Step 2 – Before you even bother going shopping, you need to start in your own kitchen and assess what you have and what you’ve been eating. You’re going to need to do a purge. You also need to start doing a food journal as best you can. This is a difficult struggle because it requires a level of self-discipline that might not be there for you at first. Purging and getting to know the list is extremely frustrating when you sit down and go through your pantry to discover about 95% of what you have up there AND in your fridge or freezer, will likely become donated food items you cannot eat. This will be viewed as wasted money in your eyes probably and that in itself will be an emotional taxation. Be prepared and learn breathing exercises to alleviate and manage stress. Find a coping mechanism because you’re going to have some very stressful moments ahead of you. 

When I purged my cabinets I had absolutely nothing left. I used to eat Minute Rice, that’s a no go for me anymore. Tropicana Orange Juice also a no-go for me anymore. Apple sauces I had, not safe, the Stouffers meals, not safe. Lean cuisine, not safe. Canned fruits and vegetables – not safe. Crest toothpaste, not safe. Colgate, not safe. Listerine, not safe. Suave, not safe. Chef Boyardee, not safe. Kraft Mac n Cheese, Not safe. Cheese, not safe. Regular Vitamin D laced Milk, not safe. Supplements and prescription medications, including birth control, not safe. Hell, the fruit trays you’ll find not safe. Packaged nuts, not safe. Spices and seasonings, watch out! Get McCormick’s the hell out of your kitchen and stay away, even their basil can be corn contaminated! Most packaged and processed foods are laden with corny things that aren’t on the label. FDA requirements allow for certain percentages do not even have to be mentioned to consumers. Store-bought meats, not safe. Packaged anything…just good luck and be aware that the corn monster is everywhere for us. 

FDA regulations require certain acid washes and processes of meat that are corn contaminated 100% of the time and if you’re more sensitive than even I am – you’re probably going to end up being somewhat vegan for a bit. It will get better as you find your safe stuff. Just have patience and diligence, don’t give up, and don’t give in to frustrations that lead to giving up. You need to find what works for you diet-wise so that you can maintain your health and necessary nutrients to be your best and healthiest self. I have found I can tolerate meat that is purely grass-fed, grass-finished. AZ Grass-fed seems to do okay for me, for now. I’m still on this adventure to this day discovering that some things are still causing me issues. It is a never-ending cycle for some of us. 

You’ll find that some things have corn-contamination that aren’t obvious and aren’t going to fall in line with your label reading rule. Trial carefully and look in the groups by searching product names. This can help you cut down your footwork required in reaching out to manufacturers for their processing, others may have already done this and the answer is already there for you. I didn’t know how to look for this before, that is why I’m mentioning it here in this step. You’ll need to pull out a microscope and really look at what you have. If you’re in a financial bind like me, this will be extremely hard for you. Emotionally. Mentally. Physically. STAY STRONG. You are not alone! 

So here I am in my journey notes elaborating the things that unfolded over the course of time between 2014 and 2016 for me. I’m condensing it all down for you here to see what I’ve gone through to get to where I am today. At this point in time in phase 2 for me – I was realizing just how much corn was in everything NOT labeled. I’ve had several breakdowns over the years emotionally and mentally. 

I am going to strongly suggest you find a close friend and get a support network around you to catch you when you start slipping from stress. I was fortunate enough to have a guy who was head over heels for me, wanted to do anything to help me, step up and be there for me. Today that man is my husband and best friend, as well as my worst enemy. LOL – it is very important to have someone in your corner that gets you, supports you, helps you when you cannot help yourself. You will always need to be independent and self guarded with this allergy but this doesn’t mean you cannot have help. Accept the help, even if it isn’t what you wanted. This allergy isn’t anything any of us who have developed it, has wanted. At all. The corn allergy-friendly group is amazing for support and venting for difficult situations. There are people there to remind you that you’re not alone. Utilize this platform and ask for help when you need it. 

Step 3 – So you’ve got the corn allergy list, a purged and clean open kitchen ready to be stocked. You may find that you need equipment to do food processing. Now the next and final step really is a 2 part process and the second part is never-ending in finding and staying with what helps you stay healthy. This is where I stop telling you what you should do and tell you to dive into research for yourself and explore for yourself. I can share with you what I have done but you need to do for you what I had to do for myself. You’re going to want to get innovative for your tastebuds but your main focus and goal is to eat for nutrition, not pleasure. Step 3 takes time and is going to be a whole debacle for many who don’t have a lot of money – like me – you’ll gather tools and foods over time. Your health decline will seem difficult at times. Do not get discouraged, don’t give up, and don’t get stupid or suicidal. All difficult moments will pass and no temporary issue is worth a permanent solution. You will find what works for you in due time.

I highly recommend getting a ninja food processor, blender, breadmaker, a coffee grinder, a dehydrator, crockpot, instapot, deep fryer, and a recipe book to log your findings in.  I hope you didn’t forget to purge and search through your spice rack too. You might also want to consider getting a green thumb and learning a thing or two about gardening. I’ve begun growing my own vegetables, fruits, herbs, and seasoning spices.  Get the McCormicks out of your cabinet! Get ready to look at cooking videos galore and prepare yourself for some homestead style cooking. You’re gonna have to get innovative with substituting corn elements out of recipes and replacing them with safe for you ingredients. You can make a recipe work for you that isn’t safe but you just have to substitute those items with something else. 

If you’re where I was at back then, looking at this journal of mine, you’re going to be in need of figuring out what you can eat that isn’t going to make you throw up and have food poisoning, right? Here’s what I started with: the BRAT diet. Bananas, Rice, Apples, and Toast. I quickly found that bananas were not for me. I couldn’t do those daily. I had to get the super green ones to avoid getting nauseous and sick but ultimately ended up veering away from bananas.
Rice – I found that Jasmine White or Brown rice from the Asian market worked for me. All other rice was touch and go. Apples, peeled, I could do. The coating on the outside of an apple can be extremely corny and can cause quite the bellyache for me. I’ve found making apple sauce from peeled apples works best for my belly. Applesauce is really easy to make too! Just boil, season and wah-lah! As for Toast – breads were eventually a no go for me all together. I am sensitive to gluten and wheat all the way around. While it doesn’t cause me anything like a corn reaction, it does cause bloating and fatigue for me. I just avoid bread for the most part. However, for you in your place and journey, you may find that making your own bread will prove to be very beneficial. 

So the BRAT diet is where I started. For over a week that is what I was eating. I slowly eliminated down to just rice, apple sauce and, toast as I had found Dave’s Killer Bread at the time, their white bread, was not causing me issues. I then began adding things back into my diet. I started by exploring and trying to find packaged meals that would work for my fast-paced schedule. I worked 10 hour days, sometimes 6 days a week. With 24 hours in a day, 10 of those slaving away for Uncle Sam, 7 hours or so for sleeping, that left me with 7 hours to figure out how to be a master chef. And it’s not like you get those 7 hours in one sitting or setting. There’s also the reality of everything else in between – caretaking dogs, kids, etc. You’re ultimately left with maybe 2-3 hours to do meal preps if you’re lucky, on a daily basis. This is a lot to manage, juggle, and quite a dynamic shift in your lifestyle. 

My doctor at the time had advised me to explore the Allergy Trigger list I had stumbled upon and to start figuring out what would cause me reactions and what wouldn’t. The list I had found was much more in-depth than what she had provided me. Her advice was to do the BRAT Diet, then go down that list and add in packaged foods that had one or two of those in it. Trial it and see what happened. This was really rough. This was where I said goodbye to my favorite quick pizzas, microwave meals, and more. It would take me a year to discover that even some of the lesser offensive corn byproducts such as magnesium stearate, were causing me GI bleeding and ulcers in my intestinal tract. They never caused a hive reaction nor any noticeable or immediate gut reactions such as nausea or explosive diarrhea, just regular diarrhea. It was this discovery that led me to have a conversation that resulted in my doctor getting fired from guiding me any longer. In 2016 I officially started dropping every single supplement and medication I ever was prescribed or taking to try and help with nutrient deficiencies. 

I came across a doctor I wished I’d have kept in contact with but lost all information on who had really given me some insight on what my body was doing. For whatever reason, my body would still take and break down food elements that it couldn’t necessarily fully process. It would then use those elements to go out to my muscles, organs, etc for whatever processes your body does to keep you moving and alive. My body would then initiate an autoimmune response to these very building blocks within my muscles, nerves, joints, etc…and I’d be down like I had the flu or MS. Tests would always come back negative for MS and Lupus or other similar disorders. When I finally eliminated everything on that corn derivative list and began eating nothing but fresh produce and meats – making nothing but stir fry style meals – that’s when I started getting better. 

In 2019 I would still be finding myself dealing with neurological responses. Every month when I got to the white pill week on my birth control – I’d have major bad days. I was still having a minor issue with my gut that I couldn’t seem to figure out so I started suspecting the birth control and upon deeper research in the groups, low and behold, corn is there and you can’t compound the pill for liability reasons. I got lucky though, in 2019 my boyfriend and best friend, finally decided it was time to marry me. He’d been with me since 2014 and had settled on this lifestyle with me. I could go off my birth control finally – according to my moral compass. Within the very first month of being off it, my stomach started improving even more and my mood swings all but disappeared. I had a level of clarity that I had never ever had before. Brain fog didn’t hit me for a week during my period when it came. I am now officially off of all medications and supplements. 

Today I have a garden with peppers, tomatoes, and major spices/herbs such as basil, sage, thyme, amongst others. I’ve had to quit my 40+ hour a week desk job because I couldn’t balance that and maintain my responsibilities with that stress in my life. My job before this allergy was very high in demand anyway. There would be days I’d get home from a slow day and have to turn around for an emergency project that came in and work till 2 am. The work-life balance did not exist and was extremely difficult to manage without having a mental meltdown every other few weeks.  In 2019 my husband encouraged me to leave that job and find something part-time or better suited to respecting my allergy. I ended up applying for grocery store jobs and snagged a part-time opportunity as a scan coordinator for Fry’s Food Stores. This job has been a major lifesaver on so many levels – I get to talk to my local grocery manager and their distributors about my allergy. I’ve been able to influence the very store I live next to, to have more products available for me. They saw my struggle within the first few months of me working there and to my surprise – were extremely supportive. There was no mockery or popcorn being popped to spite me or make jokes about this unfortunate dilemma of a lifestyle I had to live. 2019 was the year I realized choices are all on the table and you can make them or dismiss them under a litany of excuses we give ourselves and society will inherently encourage that style of thinking. 

2020 was the year I realized it’s extremely important to never veer off my diet. The chronic diarrhea had led to needing surgical removal of a prolapsed hemorrhoid that had occurred from the chronic mismanagement of my own diet What would end up happening is an anal fissure with that hemorrhoid and an infection. It was originally mistaken as a skin tag and nothing had been done about it when it was first noticed in 2015 as I never had any pain associated with it, it was just a weird growth to me. Doctors dismissed it as a cosmetic only issue. It just so happened to develop further the more I mismanaged my diet in a very bad spot on a very sensitive nerve that would cause me a crippling inability to walk, move, lay down or pass stool. I ended up not eating for almost 3 weeks because the pain was so severe. From Oct to the End of December 2020 was my worst medical nightmare yet with this allergy and the consequences associated with the damages it had been causing over time. I’d been dealing with major reactions from playing hero by buying and eating food from our local small family owned restaurants who were suffering loss from COVID. Had I known that the skin tag wasn’t a tag and that it was a hemorrhoid that would continue to get larger and interfere with my ability to walk and cause me pain like none other imaginable…I’d have started with all of what I’m saying here and stuck to it from day one. You may be lucky enough not to get the ‘shits’ like I do. Your reactions may very well be completely different. Again, this has been my experience.

I’ve not always been as strict as I am today about what I eat, after all, I wasn’t born with this allergy and I’ve never have needed an EpiPen, so, it is a very easy thing for me to fall back into my conditioning from my life before corn and just “Have a little, it won’t hurt!” mentality, go out to eat and get pizza or sushi. Get food poisoning and be down for a few days. It’s not so bad, right? Wrong! It is not worth the damage that is done to the body over the course of time. Even a little bit at a time does a lot of damage over the course of a long time causing ailments that won’t necessarily be identified with the actual cause. Medical professionals today don’t do like what you see on the show House – they don’t come to your house to find out what’s causing your problem. So…remember… this is my opinion but very important advice I got from that doctor that unveiled the reality of what my body is doing with corn – Even if you don’t need an EpiPen, you need to act like you do because you don’t know what is happening in your body that this intolerance will do to you in the long run. It is very important to take care of yourself and respect the reality of your own situation, even if you disagree with it. 

In summary, there are 3 steps to shopping and living with a corn allergy

1 – get the list, live by it, make your purchases by it, do the research on things that appear safe. Live by that list as best you can afford to do so. You will slowly but surely make progress. I hope this helps you minimize the time and pain I endured trying to figure this out myself. Label reading and comparing to this list is mandatory. Research is also mandatory for even the things that appear safe according to the list – trial it, but if you find you’re having a reaction – look into it deeper. Like I found with Tropicana Orange Juice – not everything that is labeled “100% Juice” is actually “100% Juice” it has less than 1% of something else in there and that little bit over the course of a period of time is enough to cause me an ulcer or other issues such as pins and needles in my feet an inability to walk right. Like I said, they kept wanting to diagnose me with MS – it’s not MS, it’s corn seizing up my joints and nerves because my body is attacking the things it used the byproducts to build it with. 

2 – Purge and shop for a base of foods to start with and start getting the tools you need to become self-sufficient. For me starting out was the BRAT diet and going from there to find out what the reactions are to what elements. Avoid what causes your reactions. You’re still going to do massive amounts of research and ask lots of questions. Always ask questions and do research. Pay attention to your body. It doesn’t speak English but it will tell you what it wants/needs, you just have to learn how to listen. 

3 – Get your rhythm and your lifestyle in par to best suit your health and thrivability. Start shopping, trialing foods, and finding what works for you. Get the things you need to be self-sufficient. Make a journal of foods you can have, recipes you find that you enjoy. Count your wins and not your losses. You will need to make the necessary lifestyle adjustments to thrive as well. This part is the most difficult for many of us as our identities tend to be wrapped up in our day to day lives. When you develop something that completely removes you and derails you from being able to do those things without consequences, this can quickly become a mental health debacle. Have your support network. Lean on the corn allergy groups. Don’t die from depression! 

I’d heavily recommend finding a nutritionist or dietician to help guide you in balancing your nutrition and getting an idea of what to eat if you’re drawing a blank like how I did. You do need to have a variety of foods in your diet. Not just 3 things you’re always eating. You can do all the research in the world and still be wrong about what your body needs to thrive. Get help and guidance where it’s due but remember if you’re paying them, they need to be listening to what you have to say and what you’re dealing with – if they’re not willing, then they need to be fired. Nutrients is important so do not forget to be balanced in your diet.

As always I hope to help more than I ever harm and want to again heavily encourage you to understand that I am not a health care professional and this is not medical advice, but a shared experience and what I’ve done and what I would tell myself in 2014 if I could. I welcome feedback and conversations and look for criticism on all levels as I cannot improve without it, both the positive and the negative

Please share this article if you think it’ll help someone else with an adult-onset corn allergy development in their life. If you are someone in a corn allergy person’s life, try your best not to make the ‘funny’ comments like “you need your own bubble” or “how do you live with that?”, these can seem harmless but can weigh in on them in ways you cannot imagine. Be an uplifter, not a downer for them. They will need all the love, support, and understanding available to manage this transition.   

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If you’ve enjoyed this and would like to help me maintain my site and continue offering these graphics and this website, please make a yearly donation to help provide some consistent income for this hobby of mine. I don’t do this for money, I do this to help. Money is a consequence of doing what you love passionately and is also required from society for me to use these platforms and services, so any bit will help me maintain and continue my mission to be a helper to those in need as well as taking care of my own health and situation with this corn allergy.

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