Friday, November 9, 2012

FOOD! Don't talk to me about FOOD!

If you think Corn and Dairy are Gods gift to humans, you might want to skip reading this post.

Food is difficult for me.  Not just because I love rich foods (I do), but because I often feel deprived.

I have been reading food labels since before they got very useful, since my mother has been on a very low sodium diet for over 35 years, and my sister and I used to go grocery shopping for us.  The reading of labels got more critical when I discovered that I am allergic to dairy, and things stepped up a notch when my wife figured out that she is allergic to Citric Acid.  We already were avoiding Sunflower for her, and now I have to avoid Corn.  And try to keep my sodium down.

Currently I'm thinking Potatoes may be the other culprit I am looking for that is causing me digestive grief.  But I wanted to say that many people do not understand how much of our food supply contains corn, dairy or citric acid.  Or, in my view, is "contaminated by" corn, dairy, sunflower, and/or citric acid.

Taken one at a time, each of the above actually brings a relatively long list of ingredients we need to avoid.  Some because we know they are what we are allergic to, others because they are too vague to take the risk.  Oh, Diana is also allergic to sunflower.  I'll cover that, too.  Note that these lists are not complete or authoritative, just what I know.

I'll start with Dairy.  Specifically, I am allergic to more than one protein in dairy.  For sure I am allergic to casein, and there is also something in whey protein that I am allergic to.  This means I have to avoid:


Cheese (all varieties, including vegetable cheeses that add casein)
Cottage Cheese/Farmers Cheese
Milk Solids
Butter Solids
Buttermilk Solids
Nonfat Dry Milk
Sweetened Condensed Milk
Evaporated Milk
Casein (the protein that makes cheese melt, I am told)
Sodium Caseinate
Whey Protein
Whey Protein Isolate
Milk Protein

I seem to be fine with Milkfat, Butterfat, and Ghee/Clarified Butter, but I usually avoid them in case they aren't pure enough.


Corn (including Popcorn)
Corn Meal (and Polenta)
Grits (Hominy and otherwise)
Corn Syrup
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Corn Oil
Vegetable Oil
Vegetable Shortening (unless it specifies a different source)
Corn Starch
Food Starch
Modified Food Starch
Dextrose (Corn Sugar)
Fructose (may be from corn unless another source is stated)
Caramel Coloring (usually made from Corn Syrup)
Brown Sugar (because some brands add Caramel Coloring made from Corn Syrup)

If you didn't know, that eliminates 98% of the candy made in America.  My local store even sells "honey" straws that are corn syrup flavored with a little honey.  I buy a different brand elsewhere that is 100% honey.  It also eliminates almost all breakfast cereals, cookies, muffins, donuts, many breads, and other snacks.  I can have unsalted nuts and expensive chocolate and a couple brands of cookies.


Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower Oil
Jerusalem Artichoke (sunflower roots)
7-grain, 9-grain, and 12-grain breads (even if they don't claim sunflower)

That seems pretty tame, until you realize that most products that use vegetable oil have this "and/or" issue, like "canola, sunflower, and/or safflower oil".  Also, the healthier a product is trying to seem, the more likely they will have substituted sunflower oil for whatever they used to use.  The comment about the high grain breads is from experience.  Once a bakery starts adding large amounts of grains and seeds into the bread, it seems that intentional or not, enough sunflower seeds get into the dough that Diana reacts to it.


Sometimes I feel like I am researching a doctoral thesis for this one:

Lemon Juice
Lemon Peel
Lemon Zest
Lime (including Juice, Peel, and Zest)
Orange (including Juice, Peel, and Zest)
Berries (except Blueberries)
Most other fruits (except Apples, Pears, and Bananas)
Citric Acid
Sourdough Bread
Sourdough "Culture" or "Mother"
Canned and Dry Beans (Navy, Pinto, Kidney, Black-Eyed Peas, etc.) (Green Beans are OK)

And a Surprising item:

Triple-Washed ANYTHING (Spinach, Lettuce, Mesclin, etc.) - One of the three washes is Citric Acid, and since they are living plants, they will pull the citric acid in from the root end and possibly absorb it in through the leaves.


I haven't researched Potatoes yet, but Potato Starch, Food Starch, and Modified Food Starch would be issues as well as potatoes themselves.

So, what can we eat together?  Meat, Rice, Pasta, most green veggies.  Apples, pears, and bananas.  Carrots, cauliflower, some breads.  In the supermarket, we look for ingredient lists that are 5 or fewer items when we can, as simpler foods are probably healthier and a heck of a lot easier to read the list.  When I see one of those ingredient lists that is 2 inches long or more, I assume that it probably has something in it that we can't have.  If I am bored enough or motivated enough to read it, I usually find out that I am right.  About the only exception to that rule is Clif Bars, which I can have.  Which is good, as I obviously don't do well at potlucks or pizza lunches!

Diana can have dairy, I can have tomato sauces and citrus fruits, but we can't share.  Heck, if I drink Orange Juice I have to drink some water or rinse my lips off before I can kiss her!

Of course, there are worse things in life than having to eat right. 

I'm really feeling for the folks in the Northeast who are still dealing with Sandy, the NorEaster, and related damage, outages, shortages, and displacement.  I haven't donated much , but we have given what we can afford at this time.

1 comment:

Diana Troldahl said...

Ans sweetheart that he is, he still makes me gingerbread with whipped cream for my birthday most years:-}