How to be Corn Free and Keep Your Sanity

how to be corn free

Food sensitivities are no joke. And when you’re faced with the “eliminate them or else” scenario, you do what you must. Last year I sat across from the doctor as he handed me a list. My heart dropped to the floor. 25 foods and counting. And not just any foods. Gluten, dairy, and eggs had made the top of the list. But the biggest granddaddy of them all was corn. I remember feeling completely overwhelmed. What was I supposed to eat?? Recommending that I eliminate all 25 foods from my diet (all at once), Doc gave me a pat and a halfhearted “good luck”.

So I did it. A year ago. I went dairy-free, gluten-free, corn-free, egg-free, and everything else free…all at the same time, for a long time. It wasn’t until I started implementing changes that I realized these four foods are everywhere. They’re practically the foundation for all other foods. As you can imagine, I got a little stressed had a complete meltdown.

If you’re like me, there are times you think you might go crazy. Driving by Starbucks makes me a desperate mess (thank goodness for coconut milk)! But you restrict yourself out of necessity. Because you’re tired of feeling miserable and just want your health back.

Today there are good alternatives for those restricting gluten, dairy, and even eggs. But what about corn? Eliminating corn from your diet is challenging. If you don’t see corn on the ingredient list, look again. Like playing a game of hide and seek, corn is an expert at hiding in words like dextrose, maize, sorbitol, zein, zea mays, “food starch” and “natural flavors”. It’s no surprise that corn (and wheat) are the basis of American agriculture. Visit any of the “flyover states” and you’re bound to see endless ears of…you guessed it…corn! It’s even in your toothpaste, lotions, and car tires!

But what if you’re sensitive or allergic? Can you really be corn free in a corn-saturated country and not lose your mind?

The simple answer is yes. It’s a lot of work, but it’s doable. And to get you started, my cousin and I (she with her allergy and I with my sensitivity) have put our heads together to come up with some simple corn-free alternatives! Looking for corn free recipes? Check them out here.

Meat

Beware: Many processed meats use dextrose (corn) as a binding agent. Unless noted otherwise, livestock are usually fed grain that can include corn.

Best Bet: Go for grass fed (not grain fed) meats. Applegate has a brand of deli meats that is also corn-free.

Pasta

Beware: Some pasta noodles contain corn starch. Many gluten-free pasta noodles are primarily made with corn flour. Even Quinoa noodles have corn in them.

Best bet: Go for brown rice noodles. My favorite brand is Tinkyada, which cooks perfectly without getting too mushy and is corn-free!

Snacks

Beware: Many processed snacks use corn syrup, corn starch, or corn products.

Best Bet:

Chips: Find brands of chips that contain basic ingredients like potatoes, salt, and oil like Cape Cod, Terra, or Kettle (USDA organic) brands. Try Beanitos for a corn-free tortilla chip! Snyder’s pretzels also can be found corn-free. For more ideas on chips, read my post Have Your Chips and Eat Them Too.

Crackers: Try Back to Nature’s Classic Rounds or Honey Maid Graham Crackers.

Cookies: Back to Nature has Oreos and True Goodness brand has some corn-free options.

Popcorn: can’t do popcorn? Try sorghum! It’s a whole grain that can be popped and literally looks like baby popcorn!

Soup (broth)

Beware: This is a toughy. Dextrose, corn syrup solids, or corn products usually make the list for a lot of broths.

Best Bet: Pacific Natural claims their Organic Chicken Broth is corn-free. If you are low-fodmap, Progresso actually makes an original Chicken Broth that is free of both onion and garlic!

Condiments

Beware: Most ketchups, BBQ sauces, and Mayonnaise contain corn.

Best Bet: Go for the mustard! There’s quite a variety to keep your taste buds happy. Hummus or avocado spreads are other good options – just make sure you check labels for hidden “natural flavors”. Or make your own!

Baking

Beware: sadly corn starch is generally found in baking powder and powdered sugar.

Best Bet: Try this recipe for a corn-free alternative! Want corn-free powdered sugar? Try True Goodness Organic Brand.

Fresh Produce

Best Bet: One easy way to be corn-free is to shop the produce aisle! Freely choose any vegetable or fruit that’s not corn.

 

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. Everything you read I have learned through my own hours of research. Please discuss any dietary changes or medical concerns with your physician first!

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