If you or your child have recently been diagnosed with a corn allergy or intolerance, or you suspect one, here are ten basic steps to follow:
- Begin by eliminating ALL of the foods/products that contain corn from your home. This sounds easier than it will be, so be patient until you get the hang of it.
- Get into the habit of reading labels on all foods as you buy them and again before you eat it. Print The List and carry it with you always.
- Keep a diary of everything you eat and of every symptom (and intensity) you experience.
- Find a store to shop at, such as one that sells organic foods (and remember--organic does not mean corn-free). Fill your pantry with safe foods; don't try to keep two kinds of food in the house. That is a reaction waiting to happen!
- Brainstorm with the family and write up a list of your child’s or your favorite foods that CAN be eaten for each meal and for snacks. There are few things worse (especially for children) than being hungry all the time and not having anything to eat.
- Research the allergy more (this is just the beginning) and find a supportive community such as the Delphi Forum for Avoiding Corn. The psychological aspects of the restricted diet are far-reaching and never-ending.
- See a doctor for medication (but check the ingredients!) to help with the reactions; i.e., medicated creams for rashes, inhalers for asthma, or pain relievers for migraines.
- If you have the allergy, get a medic alert bracelet. Glucose and dextrose are found in IV solutions, and hospital personnel should be aware of your allergy in case you are not in a position to speak.
- Never let anyone prepare food for you unless you really, really trust that person (and they have The List), and even then, double and triple check. Too many (well-intentioned) people have cooked for me, and I have had more reactions and illnesses from this than I care to think about. I get sick and they feel horrible.
- Keep your sense of humor and be flexible. For sure, your lifestyle will change, so adaptations are in order. Not everyone in your extended family (mostly in-laws LOL) is going to get it and you will (trust me) be questioned about this.
Over time, you will see a pattern emerge that will help you confirm if you do have an allergy/intolerance. Also, a diary will help immensely for those times you have a reaction and need to research the cause. It will also help you document the facts to your doctor, who, if you are going on suspicion, may not quite believe you!