So most of you know by now, since I’ve (Denise) complained mightily, the whole corn allergy thing sucks. And some of you might have wondered why we haven’t added a corn-free tag to the recipes we’ve posted since the corn thing went down. The short answer is, it’s just too hard, and there’s too much cross-contamination for those who are super sensitive, and I can’t be responsible for that. The longer answer is a bit more complicated than that.
Since I got the positive scratch test, I’ve been researching how to deal with a corn allergy. And I’ve been in overdrive since I failed the corn challenge. Here’s the thing, corn is in everything and it’s not required to be labeled at all, and some people have reactions just to the cross contamination of other ingredients being processed in the same factory or mill, what it’s waxed or gassed or sprayed or washed with, or any other number of things. Here’s the list of corn derivatives. Check out this page Where’s the Corn in Foods? from the Corn Allergy Girl, where corn can be hiding in daily life in New to Corn Allergy from Corn Free Lifestyle, and a post about how corn gets into meat during processing and otherwise, Corn-tamination Series: Avoiding Corn in Meat again from the Corn Allergy Girl. I’m not even going to get into the medications, household products, personal care products or cleaning products issues. Furthermore, the cross contamination issues are huge for super sensitives and many people can’t handle products that I am still using at this point. Like fresh vegetables from the grocery store, because they’re waxed with a corn derived wax, or sprayed with ethylene gas. Also, many people have difficulty finding safe flours and oils even if there is no corn contained in the product, like sorghum flour or olive oil because of cross contamination in processing. And everyone seems to have a different level of sensitivity, with some people falling on the corn-lite side of the spectrum meaning they can tolerate more than most, and the super sensitives who may have only a few safe foods they can eat. If you’ve got a corn allergy, you might want to check out the Corn Allergy and Intolerance group on Facebook and/or Delphi Avoiding Corn forums to get advice about products and what others have had reactions to.
At this point, I’m simply not comfortable labeling a recipe corn-free unless it really is truly corn-free, and honestly, in our food supply at this current time, that’s damn near impossible. So basically that’s why you aren’t going to see a corn-free tag on our blog. My (Denise’s) recipes will not have any obvious corn ingredients, but since I can’t guarantee that the ingredients I’m using are safe for everyone with a corn allergy, we’re not going to tag recipes as corn-free. Also, since Mary Kate can eat corn, and her diet is limited enough, her recipes may still contain corn. So I guess what I’m saying is, do what’s right for you, and use safe ingredients you can tolerate. Be careful out there.
Awww. Thanks for the shout-out even though it was in the context of “OMG It’s everywhere!”
I know the feeling of being overwhelmed as you realize how pervasive it is. Eventually it’s second nature and you don’t want to hide under the bed quite so much.
I will say that those of us that are eating just a handful of foods usually have a bit more going on than just a corn allergy, either many multiple food allergies or living in an area where fresh local produce isn’t available year round, or both. Buying veggies from local farms instead of the grocery store isn’t so hard, at least where I live. Where it gets complicated is that I’m allergic to most of the vegetables that grow between October and May. Now *that* really limits my options!
Something that might work for you as far as being able to still share recipes that could be corn free is to not mention brands? The first recipe I clicked on mentioned Earth Balance but you could just mention the product instead of the brand. Those of us with multiple allergies or super sensitive corn allergies are accustomed to subbing and the disclaimer of “use safe for you ingredients” is usually good enough.
Thanks for the feedback!
So far, I think we primarily mention brands when there is a chance for great variance in results with changes in ingredients. For me (not corn allergic), Earth Balance (soy-free or the coconut oil base) is the only commercially-available margarine I can use. I try to specify which I use, too, as they are very different in consistency.
We are also (mostly Denise) working on entirely home-made versions of more ingredients and condiments. The learning curve. It is steep!
Ah, that makes sense. I’ve been doing limited ingredient/weird diet recipes for so long that I don’t even know what “texture” means anymore, heheh.
If you figure out a recipe for dairy/corn/soy/coconut/nut free margarine that isn’t disgusting, you will be a hero and should start a corporation just to market it. I got stuck on corn/gluten/soy free ketchup that didn’t taste too sweet way back when and haven’t progressed much beyond that. 😀
I’ve tried one margarine recipe that I tinkered with to remove the coconut oil and it was awful, but I’m going to tweak it some more and see if I can’t get something that works. But it may be beyond my capabilities 🙂 Ketchup is on my list of things I have to do, having made some relish, a bunch of hot sauces, mustard, and other pickles, while I work up the nerve to use my pressure canner. I’ve been sticking to water bath canning so far, because I’m a big chicken apparently, and because I’ve been waiting to muddle through my last couple of food challenges, in hopes of maybe getting a couple things back for ingredients. Thanks for all the work you’ve done to put stuff together on your blog, it’s really been helpful, despite all my moaning and wailing! 🙂