Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Living With A Severe Food Allergy

I thought it would be appropriate to touch on living with a severe food allergy since it was a year ago this January I had several ER visits due to anaphlaxis to my corn allergy. I also was just recently in the ER due to severe migraines and couldn't receive a SINGLE medication (including saline) due to every medication including corn. Hopefully this post helps someone who's googling "living with severe food allergy".

It's been a whole year that my diet became WAY more simplified then I ever wanted it to be.
It's been a whole year that I've been battling with something that would typically isolate people, when we live a VERY social life.
It's been a whole year I've been having to explain to people, "It's not you, I just can't risk eating what you made. You understand, my throat could close. I can't risk that."
It's been a whole year and I have successfully eaten at 3 restaurants.

The list of corn ingredients are as follows:

  • Acetic acid
  • Alcohol 
  • Alpha tocopherol
  • Artificial flavorings 
  • Artificial sweeteners 
  • Ascorbates 
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Aspartame (Artificial sweetener)
  • Astaxanthin 
  • Baking powder 
  • Barley malt* (generally OK, but can be contaminated)
  • Bleached flour* 
  • Blended sugar (sugaridextrose) 
  • Brown sugar* (generally OK if no caramel color)
  • Calcium citrate 
  • Calcium fumarate 
  • Calcium gluconate 
  • Calcium lactate
  • Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA)
  • Calcium stearate 
  • Calcium stearoyl lactylate 
  • Caramel and caramel color 
  • Carbonmethylcellulose sodium 
  • Cellulose microcrystalline
  • Cellulose, methyl
  • Cellulose, powdered
  • Cetearyl glucoside 
  • Choline chloride
  • Citric acid*
  • Citrus cloud emulsion (CCS) 
  • Coco glycerides (cocoglycerides) 
  • Confectioners sugar 
  • Corn alcohol, corn gluten 
  • Corn extract 
  • Corn flour 
  • Corn oil, corn oil margarine 
  • Corn starch 
  • Corn sweetener, corn sugar
  • Corn syrup, corn syrup solids
  • Corn, popcorn, cornmeal 
  • Cornstarch, cornflour 
  • Crosscarmellose sodium
  • Crystalline dextrose 
  • Crystalline fructose 
  • Cyclodextrin 
  • DATUM (a dough conditioner)
  • Decyl glucoside
  • Decyl polyglucose 
  • Dextrin 
  • Dextrose (also found in IV solutions) 
  • Dextrose anything (such as monohydrate or anhydrous) 
  • d-Gluconic acid 
  • Distilled white vinegar 
  • Drying agent
  • Erythorbic acid 
  • Erythritol 
  • Ethanol
  • Ethocel 20
  • Ethylcellulose 
  • Ethylene 
  • Ethyl acetate
  • Ethyl alcohol 
  • Ethyl lactate 
  • Ethyl maltol
  • Fibersol-2 
  • Flavorings* 
  • Food starch
  • Fructose* 
  • Fruit juice concentrate* 
  • Fumaric acid 
  • Germ/germ meal 
  • Gluconate 
  • Gluconic acid 
  • Glucono delta-lactone 
  • Gluconolactone 
  • Glucosamine 
  • Glucose* 
  • Glucose syrup* (also found in IV solutions) 
  • Glutamate 
  • Gluten 
  • Gluten feed/meal 
  • Glycerides 
  • Glycerin*
  • Glycerol
  • Golden syrup 
  • Grits
  • High fructose corn syrup 
  • Hominy 
  • Honey* 
  • Hydrolyzed corn 
  • Hydrolyzed corn protein 
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose 
  • Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose pthalate (HPMCP)
  • Inositol 
  • Invert syrup or sugar 
  • Iodized salt 
  • Lactate 
  • Lactic acid* 
  • Lauryl glucoside 
  • Lecithin 
  • Linoleic acid
  • Lysine
  • Magnesium citrate 
  • Magnesium fumarate 
  • Magnesium stearate 
  • Maize 
  • Malic acid 
  • Malonic acid
  • Malt syrup from corn 
  • Malt, malt extract 
  • Maltitol
  • Maltodextrin 
  • Maltol 
  • Maltose 
  • Mannitol 
  • Methyl gluceth
  • Methyl glucose
  • Methyl glucoside
  • Methylcellulose 
  • Microcrystaline cellulose 
  • Modified cellulose gum
  • Modified corn starch 
  • Modified food starch 
  • Molasses* (corn syrup may be present; know your product) 
  • Mono- and di- glycerides 
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • MSG 
  • Natural flavorings* 
  • Olestra/Olean 
  • Polenta 
  • Polydextrose
  • Polylactic acid (PLA) 
  • Polysorbates* (e.g. Polysorbate 80)
  • Polyvinyl acetate
  • Potassium citrate 
  • Potassium fumarate 
  • Potassium gluconate 
  • Powdered sugar 
  • Pregelatinized starch 
  • Propionic acid 
  • Propylene glycol* 
  • Propylene glycol monostearate* 
  • Saccharin
  • Salt (iodized salt)
  • Semolina (unless from wheat) 
  • Simethicone 
  • Sodium carboxymethylcellulose
  • Sodium citrate 
  • Sodium erythorbate 
  • Sodium fumarate
  • Sodium lactate 
  • Sodium starch glycolate
  • Sodium stearoyl fumarate 
  • Sorbate 
  • Sorbic acid 
  • Sorbitan* (anything)
  • Sorbitol 
  • Sorghum* (not all is bad; the syrup and/or grain CAN be mixed with corn) 
  • Splenda (Artificial sweetener)
  • Starch (any kind that's not specified) 
  • Stearic acid
  • Stearoyls 
  • Sucralose (Artificial sweetener)
  • Sucrose 
  • Sugar* (not identified as cane or beet)
  • Threonine 
  • Tocopherol (vitamin E)
  • Treacle (aka golden syrup) 
  • Triethyl citrate
  • Unmodified starch 
  • Vanilla, natural flavoring
  • Vanilla, pure or extract 
  • Vanillin 
  • Vegetable anything that's not specific*
  • Vinegar, distilled white
  • Vinyl acetate
  • Vitamin C* and Vitamin E* 
  • Vitamins*
  • Xanthan gum 
  • Xylitol 
  • Yeast*
  • Zea mays 
  • Zein
I got this list from this source and it's what I live by now when I want to try something outside of rice, potatoes, fruits, vegetables, and my few dairy items I can eat.

source - more information also

I don't think people realize how hard it is to have a corn allergy. I see some people who can't do gluten or can't do dairy and I sometimes wish I could trade with them! There are so many gluten free and dairy free options now a days! But there's very, VERY limited corn-free options. The other issue is that most people have no idea what  consists of having a corn allergy...

I challenge you for one day to not eat a single ingredient on this list. You'll find yourself eating a banana with your coffee (watch out for that creamer!). A salad (forget the dressing, processed meat, pre-shredded cheese which is laded with corn starch or cellulose) and bread (... looks like you have to make your own loaf... or eat Ezekiel Bread). Dinner? Potatoes? Rice? Meat? And what will you drink? Not any sodas or teas from any fountain beverage machines. Not even that organic coconut water that had "added vitamin C" to it's list of ingredients. Forget about most juices since they have citric acid or absorb acid... the list goes on and on.


My point here isn't to complain. When the Lord allowed this allergy to get to the extreemity (is that a word??!) it did, He clearly told me it was to "simpfliy" my life and to put away "distractions". This didn't make sense to me at the time since all I could think about at first was...

Okay, after church, if someone asks us out to eat, where can I pick up food for myself?
They asked us to their house... okay... do I walk them through every ingredient or do I bring my own food.
Oh there's a party/event?!? I better bring a salty and a sweet snack I can eat.
Going out of town for a weekend? I better find every health food store, every Chipotle, and make sure we at least have a fridge and microwave accessible...

That doesn't seem to simplify ANYTHING! I still don't fully get it, but I am starting to.

I don't wrestle over indulging in foods that I know aren't "good" for me, because I simply can't.
I don't rely on other people to provide for me, because they usually  don't know how to.
I used to agonize over what to buy for groceries and how to provide good quality food while not breaking the bank, now we can only eat produce, meats, and simple, pure foods.

I've learned how to make this EXTREMELY restricting diet NOT burdensome on other people, but somehow (at least I hope) a blessing since I am always brining food to events to share.

I have to admit though, being pregnant, I have literately shed tears over bags of Dill Pickle Chips while standing in the grocery isle. I have gotten so frustrated when nurses and doctors come in with loads of medicine and have the needle inches from my arm as I am explaining to them until my face is blue that I CANNOT receive anything they're planning on giving me. I've dreaded being asked out to eat, and I've cried over not being asked. I've wanted that toasted bagel with cream cheese SO BADLY that I've taken a bite and paid the consequences. I've trusted a friend who says, "this is corn free" without double checking (didn't want to be rude), and used a $300 Epipen as well as a $2,000 Emergency Room visit...

But, my encouragement is that life is not over. I try to keep my eyes on the good things about this:

(1) My chances of cancer are probably lowering since I don't eat hardly anything  that's processed at all.

(2) I love healthy eating and living, and now I get to do that without the option of not

(3) I've become so much more aware of what ingredients are in what food and how horrible out food system has become

(4) I am much more knowledgeable in many things of the medical field since I need to really research every vitamin, pain killer, supplement, or solution I receive in my body

(5) My children's diet has changed tremendously since they were born and I was younger in this journey

(6) I am able to help my sister (who recently has been reacting to corn products) as well as many others who have less severe food intolerances/allergies

(7) I get to share Jesus and my relationship with Him to people I wouldn't normally meet 

All in all, I would LOVE for God to heal me so i can have that Blue Cheese Hamburger and Cajun Tater Tots I've been craving for a year, but I am thankful that God's in control and He knows what is best for me. I trust Him and I'm walking through this, hopefully in a way that fully honors and reflects Him and His goodness :)

I hope this encourages you. I am going to look back on this post to be encouraged myself what I really want McDonalds Breakfast All Day... ;)

1 comment:

  1. Gloria Dios for His great love He has for us His Kiddos. it's been 3 1/2 yrs since i had to go Strict Gluten Free ending up in the ER and not being able to turn my head for 3days. at first it agonizing, i literally mourned PIZZA-any pizza/BURGERS-Mickey D's/& BBQ CHIPS. it took me a few months till i simply surrendered it to Christ and asked Him to plan my daily menu and as i got ''use to it'' it became so simple, i simply had to say NO to so many invites. after a while people stopped asking, and i got over myself and thanked the Lord for showing me what i had to do. Today i not only have lot a ton of weight that i know i never would have, and my joints feel so much better, my gut too. when i first heard of Corn Allergy i was like on man i thought gluten was bad no corn is worse, i was like what do people eat :) now getting to know Ali-Saa i understand one can never be too careful and i tell people if you invite her over to eat please do your homework and please don't get her sick, people have gone out of their way to get educated, to learn how to cook for her and ask her for her help as they really want to learn. Praying for y'all Familia and the food allergies. Thank you for not only educating your readers but encouraging them to keep their eyes on Jesus Christ and seek Him for guidance.