Corns of a Dilemma

Photo of cornI’m at one of those junctures where I’m just going to have to make a choice and go with it.

After my GI appointment Monday, Dr. Eos put me back in touch with the allergist I saw about two years ago. I want to know whether or not food derivatives—particularly corn and soy—will need to go as part of my upcoming elimination diet.

If you haven’t looked lately, corn and soy are in pretty much everything. They are in the obvious suspects: things like soy lecithin, cornstarch and corn syrup, corn and soybean oils. But they are also hidden all over the place under sneaky names such as citric acid, fructose, hydrolyzed protein, and the ubiquitous “natural flavors.”

According to the allergist, the highly processed derivatives (natural flavors, citric acid, etc.) are refined to the point of no longer containing proteins or allergens. But if you read around just a little, there are plenty of stories of people who have traced allergic reactions to these products. One example is Jenny Connors, over at the Corn Allergens site, who reacts to practically every corn product ever manufactured. That may be unusual, and it may be extreme, but I do believe her.

So, I’m taking the allergist’s statements to mean that these products do not generally contain measurable allergens, and that they do not typically cause reactions. I hear the allergist; I also believe that each body is different, and can react in unpredictable ways.

What to do?

1. Don’t worry, be happy

I could assume the derivative products are safe and just not worry about it. This would make things a ton easier and would move me toward the goal of possibly identifying a diet I could actually live with. Also, since I’ll be tapering the budesonide in methocel suspension over the course of the diet, it will be impossible to entirely eliminate corn/soy derivatives through much of the diet period.

2. Robespierre, l’incoruptible

But it also seems like if I’m going to all of the trouble to do this, then why not do it right? Once a perfectionist, always a perfectionist.

I could cut out everything that I can possibly think of and then reintroduce individual ingredients with their own trials. That’s kind of ridiculous, though. For the EG/EoE, each reintroduction requires a scope. Scopes are just not that much fun.

3. Doin’ the best I can

What I’m leaning toward is trying as much as possible to eliminate as much as I reasonably can, including derivatives when I can identify them. Irrespective of the eos, I’m curious to know if cleaning up my diet will have any effect on my overall health. But I’m going to have to keep in mind that goal of “long-term viability” and the merciful reality that I don’t have disabling reactions that I’m trying to track down.

Then, rather than introducing specific food components, I’ll just go ahead and reintroduce each food + derivative family during a single trial period. So, corn and its derivatives would come back all at once. Either corn is not a problem, and I’ll tolerate it. Or I’ll have to rule it back out and move on to the next food. If I really get ambitious at some future time, I can back up and test the individual components.

Truth to tell, I’m placing my money on either an unsuccessful diet, or wheat as the culprit. So, it may be a moot point. But it’s really got me thinking about how messed up our food production system has become, and also how mysterious each of our bodies remains.

Do you have experience with reactions to these products? Please leave a comment.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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About eosgirl

Trying to stop worrying and love my eosinophilic gastrointestinal disease.
This entry was posted in Allergies, Case of EosGirl, Eosinophils and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Corns of a Dilemma

  1. AtopicGirl says:

    I don’t have personal experience with corn or soy allergies, but you’re right, they’re in everything and often hidden. However, in some cases, once the original form of the allergen is changed, it may not be an issue. Some examples are baked egg, baked milk and clarified butter. For some people with dairy and egg allergies, these products are safe. However, for some people, they still cause an allergic reaction.
    It sounds like you have a good handle on your approach though. It doesn’t sound easy, but it’s rational and well thought out.
    In case you’re looking for some potentially helpful tools to work through your diet, I like this product safety worksheet from Anaphylaxis Canada. http://www.anaphylaxis.ca/files/ProductSafety.pdf It is geared more to cross-contamination issues, but I think it’s a pretty good starting point for getting any kind of information about allergens. The next link deals with the many places soy shows up. It doesn’t deal with corn though. http://www.anaphylaxis.ca/en/anaphylaxis101/allergens.html
    Hope something in there is useful. You’re right again on the “body is a mystery” thing. I live in it, but I don’t understand it.

  2. eosgirl says:

    Yes, that’s where I am with egg. Can eat in baked goods, but uncooked or lightly cooked makes me really sick! The corn/soy think is crazy, though! Thank you so much for your comments. I think I’m coming down on “doing the best I can without making myself crazy.”

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