Being diagnosed with a corn allergy is just the beginning of a new, and often troublesome life. This is because corn or any of its derivatives can be found in so many places in our everyday life. One of the most important though is in the foods you eat on a daily basis.
When you first hear about the corn allergy, most people do not get very anxious – at least, not yet. Most people’s first impression is well, I really liked corn on the cob or cornbread but I can do without. There’s plenty of other stuff to eat. But then someone hands you a list of all the places you can find corn and you will become instantly dismayed.
Common Items You Need To Avoid
Cooking can be a minefield when it comes to corn. Thickening gravy, casseroles and soups and stews uses cornstarch, HFCS (or high fructose corn syrup) is just processed corn. Candies, cookies, cakes and pies are some of the most obvious. But what about ketchup, chili sauce, salad dressings, steak sauce, pasta and meat entrees (from the freezer case), or the same type of food products from a box. Deli meats, ground sausage, bologna, ground beef or ground ham may have HFCS in as a shelf stabilizer and food preservative. There is so many more selections off limits when you start reading ingredient labels while you are in the grocery store.
Some of the not so obvious names also on the ingredients labels can also contain corn without you realizing it. Anytime you see any of the following, that item must be checked with the manufacturer as one of the hidden ingredients may be corn.
Always look out for:
- artificial flavors or artificial colors
- artificial sweeteners
- baking powder
- frozen blueberries (often use corn to prevent clumping)
- caramel color or caramel flavor
- fresh chickens (chicken feed is often corn)
- iodized salt
- many types of pickled products
This is just a very short list of some of the troubled areas you may find you must learn to avoid. So to best learn to keep safe, start training yourself of the many places each day you may be running into corn without you even realizing it.
Reading the ingredient label on foods sounds so easy and normal but from now on you must also check the contents of some of the strangest things. Postage stamps and envelopes (the glue label often uses corn-based glues and sealants.) Many room aerosol sprays, garden hoses and garden chemicals, some vitamin supplements and medications plus plastic containers, paper cups and paper plates often have corn as a base ingredient. This is a short-list of “beware” everyday household products.
What Is Safe With A Corn Allergy
Learning how to prepare everything in your own kitchen is your best defense against corn allergy. Cooking from scratch means you are aware of every item that goes into your meal. As long as you have control of the ingredients, you can control your allergen also.
So learning to cook the corn-free way includes using many of the following:
- potato flour or potato starch
- rice flour or rice milks
- some of the alternative grains not from a wheat source (cross contamination concerns)
- 100% fruit juices or fruit syrups
- whole fruits and vegetables, preferably organic (avoid many frozen varieties because of cross contamination issues)
- pasture-fed meats (verify corn was not part of their food source)
- sugar cane or sugar beet on the label means it is OK
So although reading the ingredient label may be your first line of defense, this plus is only common in relation to food products. Also, because a corn allergy is not considered one of the major allergens, many of the sourced products on a label (such as citric acid or caramel flavoring/caramel color) may contain corn and you do not even know it. There also is no way you can tell it from reading that label.