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My Best Investment

In order to survive my corn-free and wheat-free journey I feel it is necessary to have a chest freezer. This is the one purchase I am thrilled I made a short while back.

By buying in bulk and freezing things I can save a ton of money. The unit is not the smallest one, but close. It was fairly inexpensive and the cost to run the freezer only increased my bill by about $2.50 to $3.00 a month. The cost of buying things individually can cost way more than that.

My aStore through Amazon also offers free shipping on most of the items in bulk. The best thing about this type of shopping is that you can shop in your pajamas. The next best thing is that you can find all the items that you need in one place.

One of the problems with finding food when you are corn and wheat free is that many processed items, including frozen veggies and fruits, can be processed with the items we are trying to avoid (citric acid is a common item used to preserve the color of things and it is most often made from corn here in the US). However, if you have a freezer you can buy fresh produce, or pick your own and freeze it.

Many foods are easy to freeze. Berries are especially easy to freeze by simply putting them on a cookie sheet, making sure they are a, and putting the whole thing in the freezer. Then just put them in an airtight bag.

I just made chili from tomatoes which were frozen as described above. My mother taught me the trick. You just leave the skins on them and put them on the cookie sheet. Very easy to do and very little time. Tomatoes are another item we corn-free folks have a hard time finding processed because of the citric acid used in the canning process.

Plus one other thing that makes the freezer helpful is that I make big batches of foods and then freeze it in smaller portions. It makes it easy to come up with a meal in a snap.

You do need to make sure to label everything and date them too. Another thing my mother used to do when she had a great big chest freezer was to make a list of items in the freezer, put the tick marks next to it, and mark a line across the tick mark when she took an item out. These days the computer can even sort the list by date and then in alpha order. If you are really organized you can even have things in specific quadrants of the freezer in individual larger containers. No matter how you do it, it is really important to label what is in each package because once it is frozen it looks a lot like many other things.

Then there are the meats which can be bought in bulk and individually packaged. Or the really good deals, like the buy one get one free deals that Kroger’s has occasionally. I have saved hundreds of dollars just on meats alone. That more than pays for the freezer.

Anyone who has a food intollerance knows how expensive the foods we must buy can cost. This simple investment has saved me oodles of money so far. It is without a doubt the best investment I have made.

Eat well, save money, and stay healthy!

Cornfreegirl

Packaging With Corn

I have read several times that certain packaging materials may be made with corn. I searched: “corn used in packaging materials” and came up with a website: http://www.ncga.com/  which is the National Corn Growers Association. The page I went to right off was: http://lepton.marz.com/ncga/comm_dev_center/product_detail.asp?product=Packaging+materials#top  This page gives a long list of items which are being produced as “green” materials for the environment.

My most recent bit of information I stumbled upon was that cornstarch may be used in waxed paper. Cornstarch is used to keep things seperated, but why in the world would you need to keep a waxed item seperated? Isn’t that what the wax is for? This is what made me decide to research packaging materials.

Many of the biodegradable packaging foams are made of cornstarch now. Beware of the cups, plates, plasticware, individual wrap which is on a sandwich or other food item, the foam under any individually wrapped item, the hinged type container for individual servings (especially if you can microwave it), the wrapper on that individual piece of candy may be suspect too. It is my bet that many school cafeteria items will be using these items because they are very cost effective and save the environment.

Many bags are biodegradable because they are made with corn, so if you have a corn allergy the cloth grocery bags may be a good thing to buy.

Paper bags may be a good option, but I am concerned about the “dextrin adhesives for the paper converting industry” and will have to investigate this a bit more. You can reuse paper bags numerous times and they are biodegradable. After they are spent you can use them in your garden under mulch to stop weeds and they will attract beneficial worms to the area.

A new successful corn-free recipe

I wanted to have a barbecue sauce recipe and tweaked something from an on-line search. It turned out really good. In fact, I had rave reviews from the two other people who tried it. The recipe will be listed under the recipe tab, but I will give it to you here as well:

BBQ  Sauce by Cornfreegirl

 Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 cup Nature’s Hollow ketchup or tomato puree (Without citric acid)
  • 1 tablespoon Bragg’s cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree or tomato paste (Without citric acid)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons hot chili powder
  • 1/2 cup sautéed onions in 1 tablespoon butter
  • 6 drops Vital Heat raw hot pepper sauce
  • Pinch black pepper
  • Pinch red pepper seeds

Chop onion and sauté it in the butter. Mix all other ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add the onion mixture, reduce heat, cover, and simmer on low for an hour. Stir occasionally. Cool and store in canning jar or other air tight container for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

© Lyn Watson

Xylitol from Emerald Forest is NOT Corn Derived

I am sure that there are many folks watching their sugar intake and those of us who are sensitive to corn – or allergic to corn – will be happy to know that Emerald Forest makes their Xylitol from birch trees. This sweetner is made here in the USA too.

The sweetner is good, but make sure to check the ingredients in the candy!

The Exhausting List of Corn Products

Below is a very comprehensive list of items created with, or possibly created with, corn and I would like to thank Sharon Rosen for listing them! Remember that you can get some of these items (By the same name) which are derived from different substances (Such as citric acid, which is usually derived from sugar beets in England).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ingredients Derived From Corn – What to Avoid

By Sharon Rosen

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When you first learn of having a Corn Allergy, it doesn’t seem like it will be that difficult to manage. You know to avoid corn, corn syrup, and popcorn. It seems pretty simple actually.

As it turns out, there are a few hundred ingredients that fall under the classification is, or can be, derived from corn. This information is not to scare you, but to help you be an informed consumer, and hopefully help you avoid those pesky corn based ingredients.

Let’s review the usual suspects:

  • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
  • Baking Powder (corn starch)
  • Brown Sugar – look for use of Caramel color. Domino’s Brown sugar no longer uses Caramel color
  • Calcium Citrate – the calcium salt of citric acid. See Citrate below for details.
  • Caramel – coloring used in soft drinks, derived from corn “or cane sugar.” The “or” in Coca-Cola’s explanation refers to a temporary change to make the ingredients Kosher for Passover. The rest of the year, it is from corn.
  • Cellulose, Vegetable, Powered, etc.
  • Citrate – can refer either to the conjugate base of citric acid, or to the esters of citric acid. An example of the former, a salt is trisodium citrate; an ester is triethyl citrate. Forms of Citrate include: Calcium Citrate, Magnesium Citrate, Potassium Citrate, Sodium Citrate, and more.
  • Citric Acid – the source sugar is corn steep liquor along with hydrolyzed corn starch
  • Corn
  • Corn Meal – items baked sitting on Corn Meal such as Bagels, Breads or Pizza, may not list Corn Meal as an ingredient
  • Corn Starch – in most over the counter medicines that come in a dry pill form. Yes, this includes Benedryl too. Watch for Corn Syrup in the liquid forms.
  • Corn Syrup
  • Decyl Glucoside – used in personal care products such as shampoo. It is produced by the reaction of glucose from corn starch with the fatty alcohol decanol which is derived from coconut.
  • Dextrin, Maltodextrin – thickening agents found in sauces (check those frozen veggies!) salad dressings, and ice cream
  • Dextrose (glucose) – corn sugar, found in cookies, ice cream, and paired with glucose in hospital IVs unless specified not to! Can also be used as a carrier with anesthetic shots such as Lidocaine and Novocaine! Dextrose is also injected into meat, lunch meats and deli cuts. Be weary of “honey baked” items, the sweet flavor may not be from honey.
  • Ethanol – made by fermenting sugars produced from corn starch.
  • Ferrous Gluconate – i.e. as found in canned olives, and comes from corn or potato acid.
  • Flavoring – Artificial or “Natural Flavors” – as defined by the FDA regulations of labeling of spices, flavorings, and colorings.
  • Golden Syrup – Sometimes recommended as an alternate to Corn Syrup, but it may contain Corn Syrup as well.
  • Honey – May contain corn syrup, as HFCS is sometimes fed to bees, resulting in corn in the honey produced.
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
  • Iodized SaltMorton’s FAQ explains why they add Dextrose (corn) to their salt.
  • Lactic Acid – Commercially, lactic acid can be made synthetically from chemicals or organically as a byproduct of corn fermentation.
  • Lauryl Glucoside – is a surfactant used in cosmetics. It is a glycoside produced from glucose and lauryl alcohol.
  • Magnesium Citrate – Magnesium salt of citric acid.
  • Magnesium Stearate
  • Malic Acid
  • Malt
  • Malt Flavoring
  • Maltitol – (also known as Maltisorb and Maltisweet) Commercially, maltitol is a disaccharide produced by Corn Products Specialty Ingredients (formerly SPI Polyols), Cargill, Roquette, and Towa, among other companies. Maltitol is made by hydrogenation of maltose obtained from starch.
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltose
  • Mannitol – A naturally occurring alcohol that is often combined with corn derived sugars. Here is the link on USDA’s website explaining this practice.
  • Methyl Gluceth – an emollient used in cosmetics manufactured from corn sugar and corn starch.
  • Modified Food Starch
  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) – The MSGMyth site explains MSG is made from corn.
  • Polydextrose – is synthesized from dextrose, and contains sorbitol and citric acid. It is a food ingredient classified as soluble fiber and is frequently used to increase the non-dietary fiber content of food, replace sugar, reduce calories and reduce fat content.  Note: Dextrose, Sorbitol, and Citric Acid are all on this list of ingredients derived from corn.
  • Polylactic Acid (PLA)Plastic made from corn starch (U.S.) or sugarcane.
  • Polysorbates (i.e. Polysorbate 80) – Polysorbates are oily liquids derived from PEG-ylated sorbitan (a derivative of sorbitol) esterified with fatty acids.
  • Potassium Citrate – See Citrate above for details.
  • Powdered Sugar – contains corn starch
  • Saccharin – in powder form IS Sweet’N Low and therefore contains Dextrose.
  • Sodium Citrate – See Citrate above for details.
  • Sodium Erythorbate – is produced from sugars derived from sources such as beets, sugar cane and corn. It is a food additive used predominantly in meats, poultry, and soft drinks.
  • Sodium Starch Glycolate – is the sodium salt of a carboxymethyl ether of starch. It can be derived from any starch source (rice, corn, potatoes, etc).
  • Sorbitan – is a mixture of chemical compounds derived from the dehydration of sorbitol.
  • Sorbitan Monostearate – an ester of sorbitol and stearic acid. You will see this ingredient used in Yeast (and possibly other places as well).
  • Sorbitol – You will find Sorbitol in Sugar Free items such as candy, chewing gum, cosmetics, mouth wash, and toothpaste
  • Starch – often this is corn starch unless it specifies something else, like potato starch
  • Sucralose – Sucralose by itself may be corn free, though it is likely one best to avoid. Repackaged as the brand Splenda, it will contain dextrose and/or maltodextrin.
  • Sweet’N Low – contains Dextrose, and according to Sweet’N Low, ALL sugar substitutes in powder form contain Dextrose.
  • Tocopherol (Vitamin E)
  • Vanilla Extract – most brands will have corn syrup, though you can find organic brands that do not, though the alcohol may be corn-derived.
  • Vinegar, Distilled White – can be made from any sugar, but the most common method is to use corn that has been converted from starch into sugar.
  • Vitamins – Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) and Vitamin E (Tocopherols). Use caution with products that are “enriched” with added vitamins. The vitamins may be corn-derived, or corn-derivatives may be used in the binding (if solid) or suspension (if liquid) of the vitamin compound.
  • Xanthan Gum – a food additive that is used as a thickening agent. It is found in sauces, spices, and commonly in Gluten Free foods. Xanthan Gum is most often grown on corn, or corn sugars. If an item includes Xanthan Gum and states it is corn-free, call the manufacturing company and inquire as to the source of Xanthan Gum to be sure.
  • Xylitol – You will find Xylitol in Sugar Free items such as candy, chewing gum, cosmetics, mouth wash, and toothpaste
  • Zein – used in time-release medications, derived from Maize

This list is not all inclusive of ingredients to avoid. Tip offs can be the generic use of ingredients without specifying their nature, for example: “natural” flavor, vegetable (which vegetable?), starch (which starch?), syrup, and so on.

Update 6/16/10: This page now has it’s own “Tiny URL” so you can easily pass it along, or remember how to find it. Here is the shortcut URL: http://go.livecornfree.com/list

Sources: Jenny Connors’ Corn Allergen List, Ephraim Vishniac’s list of Corn-derived ingredients to avoid, and Wikipedia

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