Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Valentines and chocolate simply go hand in hand, at least once you hit somewhere between teenage and twenty-something. Men bring candy to their beloved on this sacred Hallmark holiday. It's written in stone. If they don't...well; then there must be something wrong.

And for many of us, there is. It's called...allergies. There are sites advertising Nut free chocolate. Vegan chocolate. Gluten free chocolate. But corn? What would those cream-colored kernels be doing dipped in chocolate?

A lot, actually. If you know anything about corn allergies, you already know that it masquerades under a myriad of names. It sneaks into packaging, as a "processing agent" and falls through the labeling cracks as an ingredient of an ingredient.'s valentines, and we want chocolate!

There is hope. Most of those beautiful red foil-wrapped heart-shaped boxes are off limits. Sorry, but an evening of cramps and nausea, or a migraine, or even a slow to develop itchy rash are not nearly as ubiquitous with "romance" as creamy, cocoay, chocolate. And if you love a corn-allergic person; handing them poison is just plain mean. Which means, you're not going to get away with last minute V-day shopping.

First; there's a matter of research. If you already have a safe brand...well; you're home free. If you're open to experimentation look into: Rapunzel chocolate drops (the milk chocolate bar has reported reactions); Dagoba (only bars without vanilla listed); Lindt dark (read labels, as usual, and it isn't gluten free); Equal Exchange (correspondence with the company indicates it should be safe, but as labels and proceed with caution) and Theo Brand Chocolate (again, the company indicated it's ingredients should be safe, but sometimes things fall through the cracks.)

Enjoy Life chocolate chips are also corn free; and go great in little heart shaped cookies or muffin tops. :-)

If you're Valentines shopping for someone else, you might also consider thinking outside the (heart shaped) box.
A lovely rose, or small bouquet of flowers will make the non-pollen allergy woman smile (Try some handmade origami blossoms for the woman with seasonal allergies).
Adopt a wild animal. Both National Wildlife Federation and Defenders of Wildlife offer unique adoption packages sure to please your Valentine. (and the money goes to a good cause, too.)
Music. Who doesn't love music? A special mix of "your" songs, or an ipod playlist of meaningful music shows that you care enough to put some effort into it. (Just make sure you do put some effort into it.)
A book. If you know you're beloved's taste in literature, all the better. Chick lit fans may love Nicholas Sparks, Fantasy followers will faun over Twilight; and classic connoisseurs will delight in rediscovering Bronte or Jane Austen.
A movie. Hold the popcorn, please. Nothing says "I love you" like snuggling up with a good movie and good company. Need inspiration? Just ask Amazon!
As far as lingerie goes...just make sure that you're buying 100% cotton or bamboo; and that the fabric isn't one of those great new eco-friendly CORN contrived fabrics.

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