Expert Guest Article by Chef Becky Ross
Corn is everywhere in the American diet, from soft drinks to baked goods to sauces and dressings. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS), corn starch and MSG are some of worst.
My personal experience with eliminating corn began after I had become gluten and dairy free for over 7 months. My 13 month old daughter and 3 year old son began having ear infections. Both of them had had three ear infections within a month and a half, and went through two rounds of antibiotics (which this was the first time my daughter had ever been on antibiotics). The ear infections would subside until a day or two after the antibiotic doses were done. I decided to throw in the towel, once again, on the traditional medical advice and went to see our wonderful naturopathic doctor, Deena Beneda, she almost instantly said “well it’s obviously a food allergy” (she also gave tons of helpful advice, made a solution for the ear pain, and gave us garlic-mullein oil ear drops). And I thought “duh!” I should’ve known from my past experience with the health difference we had seen after eliminating gluten and dairy.
That day, I decided to eliminate corn from our diet since I had a suspicious feeling for the previous couple months that corn was doing our bodies a great disservice. Getting corn out of our everyday eating was like starting all over again…..clean out the pantry, educate myself on what all has corn in it or is made of corn and spent time at the grocery store reading labels. Now, after about one month, it’s fairly easy, just like being gluten and dairy free is. We feel great, plenty of energy (without hyperactivity), I have lost weight, no more tummy aches and best of all no more ear infections! Whoot!
Corn, A Grain Disguised as a Veggie
Just like wheat, corn is a grain, not a vegetable like many consider it to be. Just like wheat, corn is in the majority of processed foods and is the cornerstone of fast-food. Now, here’s the part where corn out-does wheat in one area…corn is mainly a genetically modified organism (GMO). And although they will be making wheat a GMO soon too, corn wins the award of “biggest wanna-be food” for now!
High Fructose Corn Syrup
HCFS is one of the most toxic substances you can consume. TheKitchn.com reported a study on the subject:
The Princeton researchers had been studying not only side effects of high fructose corn syrup, but how your body reacts when it’s ingested. They discovered that rats which had access to high fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to basic table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.
This evidence of an increase in triglyceride levels and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels is just the latest among countless findings pointing to the dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). Part of what makes HFCS such an unhealthy product is that it is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar, and, because most fructose is consumed in liquid form, its negative metabolic effects are significantly magnified.
Would you believe that corn consumption has even been linked to oppositional defiance disorder in children? Unreal!
Cornstarch is another toxic corn by-product that you find in countless food items. Natural News discusses the toxic chemicals used to produce cornstarch (the same as the ones to make HFCS),
Beyond the link to detrimental health effects, another danger from this ubiquitous ingredient comes from the toxic chemicals that are used to turn corn into corn starch and then finally into HFCS. One of these chemicals, glutaraldehyde, is a toxic chemical used in industrial water treatment systems and to sterilize medical equipment by killing living cells. It’s also a well-known embalming chemical. It is toxic to the human body and causes eye, nose, throat and lung irritation (asthma, sneezing, wheezing, burning eyes, etc.). It can also cause drowsiness, dizziness and headaches.
Cornstarch is used as a stabilizer or thickener for sauces and baked goods. It is also used as an additive to many seasoning mixes so they don’t clump and French fries are coated with it to prevent them from sticking together while adding a crunchy texture. The key is….READING LABELS, the ingredients will begin to jump out at you. Unfortunately, corn is not an ingredient that is legally required to be disclosed, so we just have to know what to look for. So be sure to check out the long list of substances that either contain corn or are made of corn.
Alternatives to Corn
Feeling like corn is almost impossible to avoid, right? Well, the good news is that there are great alternatives available!
- Raw, local honey or raw coconut nectar instead of corn syrup.
- Birchwood Xylitol in place of corn-based xylitol.
- Arrowroot + Stevia instead of powdered sugar.
- Arrowroot, Tapioca starch or Potato starch in place of corn starch.
- Safflower or any other mild oil other than Corn oil.
- Guar gum instead of Xanthan gum.
- One tsp. of baking powder equals 1/4 tsp. of baking soda and 5/8 tsp. of cream of tartar.
- Sea salt, not iodized salt.
- And I drink wine, not alcohol, although many corn-distilled alcohols have such a small trace of corn it may not cause a reaction, I, personally, only cook with it, in which case I cook the alcohol off anyway.
- One of the hardest things for me to cut-out was ~~ soft drinks! The worst one! This did accomplish a double-duty though, since the metal can lining contains BPA, a known toxin (that can cause neurological damage among many other nasty side effects) commonly found in certain plastics. Visit The Soft Landing, my most trusted source for all non-toxic feeding info 🙂
Chef Becky is part of our Expert Team
Becky, one of The Soft Landing Sisters, was born to cook and is a mad scientist in the kitchen. She worked her way to the top of the restaurant industry as a chef, and now uses her amazing skills as The Freedom Chef to create allergen-free specialty foods that are gluten/dairy/corn-free, low sugar, and high in protein and fiber. She and Joanie are the foodies of the family – planning our family gatherings and meals, and concocting simple, healthy recipes that even the worst cooks (like Laura and Alicia) can handle.