Saturday, March 02, 2013

Top 10 Foods to Plant this Spring


Photo - Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Depending on your area, your planting season may vary, but now is a good time to get started planning your spring garden. What should you grow, and when to plant will depend a bit on what area of the country you're in. So you'll want to ask local growers in your area for tips on how best to plant these and what varieties do best in your area if you're not already blessed with a big green thumb.  There are a few good foods to plant for a great corn-free feast at low cost. Some of these items are nearly impossible to find in your grocery stores fresh & corn-free, so planting can really help ease your budget and add to your diet.

  1. Greens - Lettuce, Cabbage, Spinach, Kale, etc.
  2. Peppers - Bell peppers, hot peppers.
  3. Potatoes or Sweet Potatoes
  4. Carrots
  5. Green Onions
  6. Green Beans
  7. Tomatoes
  8. Broccoli/Cauliflower
  9. Summer Squash and Cucumber
  10. Peas
Some recommendations on places to find good seeds (non-GMO, not that it really matters for a corn-free diet, but since most of us are anti-big agribusiness buying non-GMO helps):

Friday, February 22, 2013

Defining Corn-Lite, and Corn-Free, and all that wordy jazz.


The term corn-lite was coined (as far as I could research) back on 12/10/2007, not long after the invention of  corntamination (earliest record 4/27/2007 as corn-tamination, the hyphen was dropped shortly after that). And though I don't really recall inventing them it seems that I did or at least I have the first recorded use of them that I could find. I do like to invent words, especially if there is no single word for what I need. I'm ultra-efficient (lazy) like that. 

However, there seems to be lots of argument of what is actually corn-lite exactly and what does it mean? 

Here's a definition of corn-lite that I posted back in 2009: "Corn-lite would be avoiding the major corn ingredients like corn syrup, corn starch, corn meal, etc.. and trying to avoid as much citric acid and ascorbic acid as possible.  Basically eating lots of fresh veggies, meats, and homebaked goods."

At it's most basic, "Corn-Lite" means that's it's not corn-free, but also doesn't obviously contain corn.  A person can be described as corn-lite, if they primarily eat a diet that is almost, but not quite corn-free.

And this is where the confusion starts.  To truly define corn-lite, you also have to define corn-free.  Both terms are completely subjective and yet reliant on each other, and if you talk to most medical professionals, our use of corn-lite IS corn-free just to make the waters on this topic even more muddy.

Defining Corn-Free:


To us and our recommended support groups (Delphi & Facebook) and for our Corn-Free Foods List, our definition of what is corn-free is vastly different than you'll ever get from almost all medical professionals. 

To us, corn-free means that the item is not made from, contains nothing made from, is not contaminated by corn or it's derivatives (no corntamination) in it's processing or packaging, and otherwise has no relationship with corn from it's conception to it's end product.

The only exception to that definition is in regards to animal meats & products. We consider animal meats, eggs, milk, and the like to be corn-free as long as they are processed and packaged cleanly without the use of any corn-derived products.  Some people in our corn-free community do react to animal products if the animal has been fed corn; it is a rare occurrence and only among the most sensitive, so we have adopted this exception.

A truly corn-free lifestyle only contains foods and products that are as close to this definition as humanly possible.

(The use of corn in products and processing is not required to be labeled at this time, and will likely not be required to be labeled any time soon. There is also no lab testing for the presence of corn that is even close to accurate enough for those allergic to corn. The use of corn-free on labels, as far as we can tell, is completely voluntary and unregulated, and thus unreliable.)

Defining Corn-Lite:


The term corn-lite was developed with the intent to put a category on foods that aren't quite full of corn, but aren't quite safe enough for most corn allergic persons either. It is also used to describe people in the corn-free lifestyle who are able to eat slightly corny foods without noticeable ill effects. The main point of the term was to help define things for the safety of all persons within the corn-free lifestyle, much like the difference between vegetarian and vegan for example.

Corn-Lite products are any products that do not have obvious corn in the ingredients, but the product does contain trace amounts of corn. 

Since there are quite a few corn derivatives that are not "obvious corn" to the uneducated and at this point of time "trace amounts of corn" is highly subjective, we could parse this term to death and create words like "Corn-Lite-Lite" or "Extremely Corn-Lite" and so on.

If you utilize my 2009 definition of corn-lite, you'll notice that derivatives such as citric acid and ascorbic acid (two very commonly used ingredients derived from corn) are also included in things to avoid for corn-lite. So products that use either of these ingredients should not be considered corn-lite, nor are products that use synonyms for obvious corn products without using the name "corn" in title.(Of course this is true as long as these questionable ingredients are derived from corn, and most of them are, even if the company says they're not - companies sadly don't always know or the person you ask may not be correctly informed.)

Synonyms for "Obvious Corn" derivatives: starch, modified starch, glucose syrup, fructose syrup, baking powder, grits, maize, zea mays, zein. 

Corn-lite should also not include: iodized salt, dextrose, fructose, glucose. 

Persons described as "corn-lite" are people who can eat, and/or knowingly choose to eat minor corn derivatives without noticeable health issues or without any issue at all, but must avoid the major sources of corn or obvious corn.  Based on the definition of "corn-lite foods", technically a person who can eat products with unknown sourced citric acid in the ingredients listing without a problem should not be using the term corn-lite to describe themselves; however, in an effort to not invent any more words (such as Lite-corn-lite) anyone who is not eating at the corn-free level and yet must avoid foods with obvious sources of corn will be considered to be corn-lite.

In removing corn from your diet, corn-lite is generally the last stage of removal before you achieve corn-free. Those who are simply intolerant to corn may tolerate a corn-lite diet and may tolerate several corn-derivatives for years if not their entire lifetime. Most people with an actual allergy to corn do require a diet that is corn-free as defined above. Many ill-informed corn allergic persons may eat a corn-lite diet and still function in society; however these persons usually also suffer from "mysterious" symptoms and health concerns that are often relieved temporarily or kept in check by steroids, anti-inflammatory medications, or antihistamines. These persons usually find these "illnesses" or symptoms cured while on a corn-free diet.

(Just some tidbits on the use of corntamination: A web search shows that corntamination was used once in 1867 and was likely a typo. And there's a use of corntamination in 2000 as a term to mean that corn itself was contaminated. The use and definition we use was first recorded in April of 2007 on Delphi Forums. The term corn-lite as we use it is rarely used outside of the forums.)

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Best Food Allergy Diary


Keeping a diary of your food intake can be daunting. What can be worse is trying to go back through what you've entered to find answers.

For those of you highly experienced in Excel or computerized spreadsheets, this may be easier for you. For those of you who like to use pen and paper, this might be more challenging.

First, you'll want to have a small notebook that you can carry around with you 24/7. It's often hard to remember everything you ate, everywhere you went, and everything you did if you're just recording it at the end of the day.

For accurate results, you will need to be detailed.

I recommend that each new day start at the top of a new page. It may take you several pages to note everything for the day, depending on how big your notebook is and how small you write. You will want to be as detailed in your notes as possible as this is your original notes.

At the beginning of the notebook, inside the front cover (or if you have a way to mark the outside of the notebook) put the start date make sure to include the day, month, and year, and when you fill up the notebook mark on the front cover the end date of that notebook.

Each entry should start with the following:
  • The Exact Date
  • Time of waking and how many hours of sleep
  • Mood upon waking
  • Weight (try to take your weight measurement before eating or drinking anything for the day, even before water. If you go to the bathroom first, make sure you continue to do so with each weigh in.)
You may also want to include any extra notes about any of the above. Did the baby cry all night? Was there a big stressful meeting that morning? Was your sleep unusual in any way? And feel free to be as frank about your mood as you like, if you feel like roadkill, go ahead write it down.

Other things that you may also want to include are:
  • Waking Temperature - Get a basal thermometer, and keep it right next to your bed with your notebook. When you just wake up, roll over, grab your thermometer, place it under your tongue while you lay there and wake up for a couple minutes. This will also help you (if you're a woman) know when your ovulating.
  • Waking blood sugar - If you suspect any kind of blood sugar issues, head to your nearest pharmacy and buy the cheapest blood sugar testing kit - make sure the strips are also cheap as that is where most of the cost will come from. If you're doing this, you may want to also test your blood right before eating meals and 2 hours after eating. Eating allergens can affect your body's ability to utilize sugars, so I actually advise this for pretty much anyone who is suffering.)
  • Daily Pollen Count - record the pollen concerns for your area.
  • Exercise/Activity - What kind of exercise did you do and how much? Did you do something odd or unusual that you don't do every day, such as clean the toilet, mop floors, travel, etc.?
  • Places - Did you go someplace outside of your normal? Grocery stores? Did you go clothes shopping? The air sometimes at certain places can cause reactions so keeping note of these things can help.
  • Symptoms - Any symptoms that you experience, even if you don't think it's a symptom. If you notice it, write it down along with the time you noticed it. For example, if you notice that you're tapping your pencil on your desk. You may not always do it, but sometimes you do, write it down (it can be a sign of jitteriness). If you stumble into your coffee table, write it down. If you notice your mood changes, even if you think it might be due to a co-worker (unless it's real normal thing - like you're sad but you just heard your dog died. Being livid at your co-worker for pronouncing your name wrong, you should probably write that down.) At least at first, you never know what is going to be an actual symptom and what isn't. Allergic reactions do a wide range of things in the body, so something you may have attributed to something else may actually be an allergic reaction.
  • Bodily Functions: While urinating is likely not to be a big deal, you should at the very least record your bowel movements. If you have any gastronomical reactions to your allergens, then this will help give you more information. You'll also want to record information about your stools such as the Bristol Stool Scale.
  • Household Products: Did you change your laundry soap? Bath wash? Dish soap? Make sure to record those changes as well.

When recording your food, you'll want to note exactly what you ate and when. This includes brand names, ingredients, what recipe you used, etc. Anything that goes into your mouth should be recorded with a time stamp, including gum, candy, medications.

Once you've started recording this information, make an Excel document (or get a big sheet of paper, or write really small) with a row along the side for each symptom you want to monitor, mood, weight, blood sugar, reactions or no reactions, and so on. Along the top, you'll record each day. It is through this documentation that you'll see the patterns start to happen. It is also easier with this to see when the last day you experienced a particular symptom so you can go back to your food diary and compare or contrast the specifics of what went on, and start to trace it back to the cause.

Good Luck, and Happy Recording!



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Monday, June 11, 2012

Corn Free Remedies for Dental Pain

Those who are avoiding corn know how hard it is to be faced with finding safe, effective pain relief.  The challenge is only compounded during the time you need it most...when you are in pain.  Dental pain, the kind that comes with a cracked tooth, lost filling or even a cavity, is no exception.  While prevention is, of course, the best remedy, once you are in pain there's no easy way to go back.  You can only move forward and find ways to function.

Kristyreal of Delphi forums recently posted an update about her holiday weekend struggle with dental issues.  She found that while a raw garlic clove is often recommended for cavity discomfort, clove paste and tea tree oil were more effective against the debilitating pain.

Please note that pain relief techniques are NOT a substitute for appropriate dental care.  You still need to see a dentist regularly, and you'll still need to get whatever causes the dental pain taken care of in a timely fashion.  But good pain relief will help you to function until your appointment.

For pain killers, Goodies Headache Powders with caffeine are considered corn free.  Corn free acetaminophen or ibuprofen can also be compounded at your local compounding pharmacy.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Corn Free Gardeners Beware

A new, all natural soil amendment has been released.  This product, Zeba, was designed to improve the hydration of the soil.  It's used to keep the ideal amount of water present in the soil to optimize plant growth.  The problem?  It's made from all natural cornstarch; which undergoes a chemical process that adjusts it's ability to hydrate.

It's not likely that plants grown with this medium are directly a problem for uncornies; but those who are growing their own food will need to beware and avoid soil or enhancers that include Zeba.  It also seems prudent to thoroughly wash vegetables, especially root vegetables, that may have come into contact with this soil enhancer.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

A new Corn-Free Magazine

Due to difficult economic times, which has lead to a lack of time I can devote to the list. I've started an online newsletter/magazine to help pay some bills, so I can devote more of my time here. The first edition will be out on the 15th of this month.

I have great plans for this newsletter, and the more subscribers the more I will be able to do. It should be a time-saver for those of you who aren't able to spend 24/7 in the forums. And while I'm not yet setup for it, I do plan publishing in the newsletter anything I remove or add to "The List" so you won't have to scan the entire list to see what's new (in the future anyway).

I also get offers now and then, and those that subscribe will get first notice/chance at it.

Corn-Free Post signup


For only $2.99 an issue, direct to your email inbox.