The Corn Allergy Life. At first glance, you might not think much of a restricted allergy lifestyle. Someone might have to avoid peanuts or soy, maybe some milk, no big deal right? All those are familiar, but when it comes to a corn allergy? The lifestyle entailed by those with a corn allergy are unbelievably misunderstood. The understanding behind our foods and pharmaceutical industries is all but bleak and completely misinformed on a broad scale. Socially and medically. Everything changes for you when you are diagnosed with an adult-onset corn allergy and whether you want to see these industries as a monster or not or if you even cared beforehand or not, it will suddenly become blatantly obvious when you have to start taking the necessary steps to clean your diet and medications up to get better due to a corn allergy.
I’ve expressed the difficulty mentally in dealing with this allergy onset – but I haven’t been able to fully elaborate it in a way that would really help the non-allergic person understand or even care enough to take action to help us out. Those of us with a corn allergy, we’re far, few and with several if not millions of miles of distance in between us who suffer – we are limited in our ability to make some real commotion in our communities muchless the food, pharmaceutical, and manufacturing industries.
As of lately, my life has taken a dive as I discovered through the stresses, trials and, tribulations of COVID19 and all the restrictions accompanying the societal response to this pandemic virus – my allergy has gotten more sensitive. I mean, I knew that in December of 2019 but didn’t want to accept it. Why is it getting more sensitive? I can’t explain why because I don’t know why. I could play the guessing game all day long. I could probably go spend $1,000’s in tests at a doctors office not really goal oriented in actually fixing my issue but further making money off of keeping me coming back in on this ever revolving cycle of tests and medications that lead you back to square one under the facade of potential progress. Instead I turn to research and support from and in the several different corn allergy support groups. There are plenty and especially the one that has been longest standing and most reliable for finding products that are relatively safe to trial – what I’m gathering from others like me it could be because of the bucket theory maybe. Cross-contamination in processed and packaged foods is pretty impossible to dodge with this allergy. I’m not anaphylactic, so what’s the big deal some might ask me?
The big deal is that your stomach health is really important for every aspect of your life. Gut health and mental health are directly connected, believe it or not, you can do the research to find all the little dots that connect for yourself. I’ve personally found this to be very true. The more ‘off’ my gut is, the more ‘off’ I am all the way around. It’s natural for you to be moody and negatively charged when you don’t feel your best.
I’ve been looking at allergy sensitivity levels as I am trying to readjust my diet again to find my center again – I don’t think I ever actually found it though after learning what I have in the past few months. My stomach has been getting upset a lot worse than its average since mid-2019 and I can only chalk it up to be that my safe packaged foods got mixed up with new ingredients that weren’t reflected on the labels at the time due to processing times and demands to get food out to people. The longer-standing corn allergy group has allergy sensitivity levels described in what I describe as very vague levels of corn allergy sensitivity – Lite, Moderate and severe. Corn Lite folks are supposedly able to eat packaged and processed foods that have minimal corn ingredients, they may react to some but not all corn byproducts. Corn Moderates are less fortunate in eating any packaged or pre-prepped meals, they can maybe get away with store-bought produce. Severe? Good luck, you have to make everything from scratch yourself, compound every single medication, find safe water, basically homestead your life if it’s possible for you to do so. It’s hard to put a fine line between the three areas because no two people react the same way with corn allergy symptoms, many might have similar but no two people have the exact same allergy responses and dynamics.
In my situation, I have come to discover that I have subtle but noticeable reactions to the chemicals used to clean and preserve meats processed and packaged for store sales. Over time these reactions are adding up to be something of a nightmare for me to manage. FDA regulations and guidelines are rather lax on what butchers are required to label for as what they used and many of the chemicals used to make sure bacteria and other issues that can arise with packaged meats and seafood, are corny. From my experiences in dealing with this I’ve found that no butcher will sidestep these cleaning guidelines for health reasons and legality purposes, leaving me to wonder where will I get my meat protein in? Just focusing on the logical side of this debacle, all emotions aside, this is tough enough to realize that I might just have to hunt or fish for my food on top of everything else I do to even make food for me to eat that is more than just plain jane nutrition gain.
Over the years in dealing with my allergy and its reactions, I tend to get a lot of food poisoning and upset stomach in response to corn derivatives and contamination in my foods. I’ll feel flush, foggy, nauseous, and in turn, frequently moody because I don’t feel that great. While I’ve figured out what to eat that doesn’t cause me nausea and throwing up or muscle seizures (which actually just takes a lot of corny food mixed with alcohol to get this reaction), I have yet to find balance in my diet that keeps me from having IBS like symptoms. Frequent straining and diarrhea lead to hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids lead to prolapsed hemorrhoids after so long and after many issues getting doctors to work with me on not corning me in the process of trying to diagnose things – I had an unknown peak issue developing to a head in the middle of 2020 with all the excess corn intake. Some of it was my own fault for wanting to support small local family owned businesses and giving them a chance to serve me using my allergy list – they failed of course, but I felt it was a worthy trade-off for the economical crisis at hand – and my hunger in need of satiation.
When first discovering this allergy in 2014, I was seeing GI doctors and a proctologist in order to help me diagnose my gut issues. At one point during the cancer scare doctors sent me through, I had noticed a growth in my anal which at the time got misdiagnosed as a skin tag. What was it really, though? A prolapsed hemorrhoid that would continue to get bigger, because the tissue doesn’t shrink back into place back there, and eventually this prolapsed hemorrhoid would be big enough to get pinched and rip a tear when I walked. I was working 10 hour days in grocery, stocking shelves, running my ass off, and eating crap in the middle of a pandemic. I had no idea it was about to take me off my feet altogether.
Looking back at 2014, I’d avoided doing recommended colonoscopy procedures because the doctors could not find a way to work with me around my allergy. The preparation for a colonoscopy is corn-contaminated to the highest peaks in heaven, all the way down to the lowest depths of hell. I have tried getting them to be okay with me just fasting and clearing my system – but they would not compromise so I would not go through with the procedure. I know for a fact that I’d be throwing up, drained by the end of preparing, and on top of it all – I would most definitely get sick and have mobility issues within a week afterward. It always hits my immune system extremely hard when I have a lot of corn derivatives. I spent the first quarter of 2020 battling COVID without even knowing it, trying to get my immune system up. It was a miracle I kept going the way I did through that. It took me 3 months just about to completely kick that upper respiratory illness.
My go-go-go was on, pandemic had me in high gear trying to help my grocery store job in every way possible. We needed to keep the shelves stocked for people in the community, but by the end of October however, that go-go-go came to an abrupt and painful halt. I’d overloaded my system in such a way that maybe I wasn’t getting nauseous or throwing up – but my other end had had enough. An anal fissure and level 4 prolapsed hemorrhoid had taken over my life in a matter of days after trialing a corn-laden supplement a day after eating some local Mexican food, the supplement was meant to help me get EBV under control. I wasn’t going to get sniffles or cough with the amount of herbal antiviral and antibacterial teas and whatnot that I was consuming, however, my stomach wasn’t able to process all the less offensive derivatives and chemicals – its flora declined quickly. I suddenly, in a matter of hours, was having explosive reactions in the same day of taking the supplements meant to help – they were even labeled as hypoallergenic. Only 2 ingredients on it that were corn-derived, and I’d tolerated them somewhat well years ago. The supplement was the nail in the coffin for me because I’d already been eating a high protein and minimal fiber diet. I’m not big into fruits and vegetables unless they’re prepared a certain way and the way 2020 was going – I didn’t have time! I wasn’t making the time, that’s for sure. I regret it even now as I type this up, I wished I’d done my due diligence to stay on top of my diet in 2020 knowing at the end of 2019 that I was too sensitive to eat out anymore. I didn’t want to let it go…It was one of the last things my husband and I could enjoy – together. We don’t exactly play well in the kitchen or have the same cooking styles and taste.
The regret would unfold when Mid-November rolled around and I couldn’t walk 3 feet without ending up on the ground writhing and convulsing in excruciating pain. Level 4 prolapsed hemorrhoid sitting on top of an anal fissure that wasn’t healing and getting infected – I ended up going to the hospital at one point. Due to the Pandemic, they deemed it as a non-life-threatening situation and sent me on my way with medications that cost too much for me to compound at the time. I had to deal with the pain with NOTHING. I smoked a LOT of weed and consumed a lot of high TCH concentrates to help take the edge off. It still didn’t help. Surgery was found to be necessary in the midst of all this in order for me to get both relief and an opportunity to heal the fissure so I could get back to normal. The prolapsed hemorrhoid was pinching the fissure open with every step I took or anything I picked up. You can use your imagination as to what every stool pass was like – all I can say is that I was literally ready to die. Like, literally, put a gun to my head, pull the trigger, I want to be done. That’s how bad it was.
This entire situation caused a plethora of issues in my marital life – my husband does try a lot for me. When we got married, I was still able to tolerate dining out at a few key restaurants on a few key menu items. We got married in August of 2019, by December of 2019 I’d gotten so sensitive that eating out was deemed no longer a wise option, not even a once a month thing. Once this situation with the hemorrhoid that was previously misdiagnosed as a skin tag and deemed cosmetic to remove, not covered by insurance, actually reared its ugly head as a problem that needed surgical removal…a lot changed even more on the forefront of my corn allergy lifestyle battleground.
I was an expensive exotic pet of a wife with too many special needs eating up all his hard earned money.
That emotionally is still bothersome for me – I don’t make a lot of money working part-time at a grocery store. I could not work from the middle of November all the way through the end of January just about. I had no income to offer except the help from friends and coworkers. It was hell just getting a doctor to both see and treat me during this time between my allergy complications and the pandemic. I actually dealt with one doctor turning me away very rudely. I’ll share that another time in its entirety, but for now I’m trying to get this article’s point across – this allergy lifestyle is most difficult to maneuver and afford. Financially physically and emotionally.
During all of this, I couldn’t really move around much. What little I did consume was all liquified. I was restricted to a few positions for some relief which was more like just taking a level 20 pain down to a level 10 on a scale that was gauged between 1 and 10. It was off the charts. I didn’t want to pass stool so I didn’t eat for a week almost in the middle of the worst parts while battling to get scheduled for surgery. I had no income, my husband was working as much as he could while also trying to help me around and make sure that I did eat enough to sustain life. I got really suicidal for a moment there in the middle of all this. Enough to require me to go back for mental health help again.
Luckily my naturopath is a guardian angel of a woman with miraculous acupuncture skills – she helped me manage my pain and went out of her way to treat me so that I could make it through to the surgery. Pain is physical but our response to it is very mental on various levels. Pain is very subjective from person to person. What I find painful, someone else may not even bat an eye at. For me, this pain was like none other. I’ve been hit by cars, men, had my ribs cracked before, and my liver has almost shut down on me at one point in my life. I’ll take the cracked ribs any day and shutting down the liver over a level 4 hemorrhoid and anal fissure any day. All hands down. No lies.
A few days before Christmas I had the surgery – I did not escape getting corned through surgery either but it was so minimal that the benefits to the procedure outweighed the reaction. I didn’t eat for a day or two after the surgery and I was pleasantly out of pain for the first 24-48 hours thanks to the localized anesthetic. Luckily, no adverse reactions to that other than brain fog and cramped muscles for a couple of weeks after the surgery. The cramped muscles were also partly due to my lack of mobility during this time too – I’d developed muscle atrophy and lost 20 lbs from November 18th to December 18th. I had surgery on the 21st of December and didn’t start really trying to eat again until the day after Christmas. Moving around was slow and painful between muscle atrophy and the kind of physically restrictive reactions I get to some corn byproducts.
Here we are in March now of 2021 and I’m back to work – slowly. I’m barely working 20 hours right now. I’m not 100% healed and my diet is finicky in finding what will work for me so I’m eating lightly and sparingly. Weight gain is not going to come back easily for me. I’ve become more vegetarian than I care to be. Through this entire ordeal – when I was talking to my naturopath we discovered I needed to stop eating meat for a moment and intake some serious fiber and start eating more fish. What I found through elimination and re-introduction is that the store-bought meat causes me a major IBS reaction. I’d stopped eating meat for well over 2 weeks and had eaten nothing but squash, bananas, fruits, hummus, carrots, and prune juice. As I started adding things back in such as beef, my ‘safe’ chips, and other things, we noticed both a mood reaction for me and a gut reaction. A few days into eating the store-bought beef or even the special ordered beef from a local butcher – even though it’s grass-fed/finished, I was still getting an upset stomach almost right away after eating. The churning, twists, and pings of pain all indicated something wasn’t right for me. The stool consistency and frequency also pointed to something that is simply not sitting right for me.
So what do you do when something isn’t working and you don’t have any doctors who can actually help you? You research for yourself and find the information. That’s what. I dove into both the corn allergy support groups and began reading through some of the FDA regulations and quickly realized through the mountain of information that there is no sidestepping the chemical washes on meats – not even fish and shrimp! I came to a cold hard realization that I’d be better off raising my own meat or hunting it. I don’t have the knowledge to live a ranch lifestyle, I don’t have any clue how to keep livestock either. My Naturopath and doctor are telling me that I need to eat more fish to better my health regardless of my love and desire to eat beef.
This is where I get to the point of my post here: I can’t get past any corn contamination stresses without really having to challenge my anxiety, depression and, lacking social skills with people who aren’t going to understand me from the get-go and aren’t going to have even a remotely mildly educated answer to my questions regarding corn contamination. I can’t even legitimately trust family or friends to help me out. I was already a bit slow with some things and had a hard time managing a lot of stress.
This allergy onset was the biggest stress challenge ever. Now I’ve come to find that for me, it’s easier to figure out a way to do things myself even if it’s a little more difficult than having asked for help. I don’t know why I’m like this but I am. I find the best answers in the support groups – not from health professionals. As far as my nutritional guidance goes – I can talk to my doctor about what I should eat to get what vitamins and nutrients, but the reality is that I can’t eat or take the supplements they’ll most commonly suggest. I have to research and find alternatives. Natural ways to get Vitamin D, Vitamin B, etc. All that good stuff we need to be our best healthiest selves.
For a lot of immune systems boosting, I turn to herbs at home. I try to grow my own, harvest, dry, and process it all myself. For snacks and travel, I try my best to stay on top of chopping, squeezing, slicing, dicing, dehydrating, packaging, and more. It’s time-consuming. Research required for a lot of it because I didn’t grow up canning food with grandma. I might’ve helped her snap beans from the garden harvest or helped her pick blueberries – that was it. I am having to research and hopefully retain all this information on top of trying to work enough hours to make enough money to help my husband with bills and keeping a roof over my head.
Romantically? I’m not available because I’m so distracted between all the research, food prep, and other responsibilities I have to manage. I’ve been told I need to be sweeter, more available, etc. That’s one dynamic to living with this allergy for me that I battle with and that’s a matter of the heart. We all know this area can be very difficult to deal with!
I went from being your average American female with a full-time job, lots of spirit, and motivation to someone who feels like they are constantly at odds against the world around them. Nobody can understand, nobody gets it. Suddenly isolated and unable to participate in anything social without risk of consequences, either physically or emotionally.
Recently at work, I was told that I wasn’t doing so well with my job, which is unusual for me. I tend to be very thorough, I don’t slack, so for me to be missing things says a lot is on my mind and plate. And it has been. Realizing that even some of the produce at the store is starting to bother me too is a grave realization as to what it encompasses for both my time management and my knowledge/skill wheelhouse. I’m overwhelmed, to say the least. Stress doesn’t help hemorrhoids either if you didn’t know a thing or two about those – now you do. Allergy reactions that affect your gut can and will also contribute to them heavily.
The debacle of this situation between November of 2020 to now has uncovered a new level of depression for me and a new level of understanding as to my personal responsibility in managing my time to gather, catch and prepare food, manage, track and log health notes and food intake. It’s all been very eye-opening and life-changing, it has been the thing to kick me into gear on actually really opening up here on this platform too.
I’m a stubborn person and I am not made of money so I will not spend all my efforts, time and, hard money earned going to fruitless doctor appointments only to get medications thrown at me that I can’t afford to compound or take, taking multitudes of tests that if you research hard enough, aren’t even that reliable as much as trial and error methods are and taking the time and efforts in understanding your own body.
I had to dump out everything that was on my mind from managing myself for personal hygiene to managing my pets, wife duties, cleaning, and what did I find? Corn allergy trigger dodging has literally taken over my life. The requirements to get clean food involves so many activities that any average American trying to live the modern American dream of work, eat sleep and die paying taxes, ain’t got time for.
I wrote it out and figured after dealing with all this crap I have to find a way to balance and execute the following:
Food Preparation Research/Maintaining
- Preservation methods
- Constant kitchen cleaning and destruction
- Stocking and planning for daily snacks/meals ahead of time
- Time to go catch/hunt
- Time to clean/prepare
- Time to cook/preserve/store
- Equipment maintenance
- Tackle and gear stock
- Gardening – Research/Maintain
- Planting seeds
- Flowers to draw the pollinators in
- Harvest schedules
- Watering schedules
- Dirt/nutrients that aren’t corny and cause airborne reactions
- Combatting nature
- Other unpredictable elements
- Researching nutrition & trying to retain information
I am trying to manage All of the listed above on top of trying to work at least 24-30 hours a week (all graveyard shifts), maintain a pet family of 2 dogs, 2 cats, a fish tank of critters, a skink. I am the housewife as well, I manage the bills, the laundry, the scheduling, the coordination, the taxes, the cleaning, the trash, the plant upkeep, this blog, crochet commissions. I have yet to learn how to actually hunt and clean nor do I really want to go shoot a deer or kill anything. I have started fishing for my food. It takes time, gear, money and patience. It’s a trip learning all of this. I’m so sick and tired of getting let down by those I paid to help me in the past that I’ve gotten to a point where I feel like I have to manhandle all of this on my shoulders.
If I get sick, I will not call the doctor unless I can’t kick it with my own herbal remedies and what I’ve found to help. I try to just eat clean as possible and avoid getting sick in the first place by doing my due diligence in keeping my herbal intake high enough to help with that. Eating all the cleanest foods possible helps immensely. I’m trying to get things up and going again for my garden. I haven’t had a chance since we bought a house in the middle of the Pandemic either – all of our plants are dead right now and I’m in the process of trying to get the help needed to assemble homemade planter pots so we can lay out a greenhouse that would work for me year round for growing food and herbs.
Anyway, I’ve gotten my point across on this now. It’s not easy, it’s not simple and there are a plethora of different potential issues that can arise from having constant exposure to something your body cannot or will not tolerate. There is no one size fits all fix it all pill or shot for an allergy. Y
This allergy is a real pain in the ass. Literally. For me, anyway. For anyone I know who has this allergy and legitimately has to dodge all the derivatives even in medications, it’s not easy to live with at all. I don’t care who you are. I’d like to see a challenge that goes trendy for Corn allergy support: Can you live a corn free lifestyle for 30 days. Let us add the reality check that if you’re working part time on minimum wage income, you’re really limited.
Until the next share, be happy, stay healthy, be safe! Don’t forget to do your own research and remember – if you’re dealing with this allergy, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!! We are stronger together so do not go running off out of desolate depression and self isolation, come join the Corn Allergy groups and grab the graphics and start sharing away. We need to make our lives easier by getting this massively inconvenient lifestyle understood. It’s plain out ridiculous that many of us out here with this allergy can’t even find clean and safe water to drink! I’m sick of it! I want to see something change. I’m sick of living like this myself and I don’t even have to have an Epi-pen.
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