Off to School


Recently, Blythe decided that she was a Big Girl and was ready to start Preschool. 

The thought of sending my (last) baby off to school was both exciting and heartbreaking.  We found her a small preschool that was set up to meet her special needs (in addition to severe corn allergy, she also has Sensory Processing Disorder) and got all of her paperwork in order.

And then.  I had to write the instructions on what to do if she has a reaction at school.  It’s absolutely necessary, but putting the words down on paper made the situation incredibly real.  I was about to send my little girl off into the corn-centric world, without me. 

Give me a stiff drink.  I need one.

This is what I wrote for her file:

Blythe is allergic to corn and all corn derivatives.  Corn is present in many household items and foods that you wouldn’t normally associate with corn.

I’ve supplied a list of ingredients known to contain corn.  Please refer to this list prior to giving any food item to Blythe.  Almost all non-organic “prepared” foods contain corn, and most non-organic, store-bought produce is sprayed with a corn-based preservative.  Blythe can have such produce if it is properly washed and/or the skin is removed, as applicable.  Disposable plastic cups are also often made with corn, and should not be given to Blythe – Sysco and Solo brands, specifically, have caused severe reactions in the past.

To help you learn which items Blythe can/can’t have, you might put a marking system into place.  In our pantry, I use a black sharpie to mark items with “Y” for yes and “N” for no, so that our whole family can feed her with confidence.

One of the greatest risks to Blythe is transference, where corn proteins are unknowingly deposited on surfaces by other people after they eat and/or handle food.  If other children have consumed foods that contain corn, please have them wash their hands and wipe their mouths before handling toys and/or items Blythe may also handle.  Always use fresh utensils with Blythe’s food, also, to avoid transference.

How will you know if Blythe has been exposed to corn?

This depends on the point of exposure as well as the type of corn protein.  On her skin, it will first appear red and then begin to swell and hives may begin to appear.  If she has put an item in her mouth or it has touched her lips, her lips and tongue will begin to swell, and she may complain that her mouth “feels funny” or “itches”, and her speech may begin to slur.  You may also begin to see a drastic change in Blythe’s disposition, personality, and behavior.

It is vitally important that Blythe be given a ½ teaspoon of Zyrtec at the first signs of exposure. 

Blythe has what is termed, “Corn induced Autism”.  If the corn exposure goes unnoticed, or the Zyrtec is given “too late”, she may begin to display many of the behaviors you would expect from an Autistic child: inability to communicate or maintain eye contact, strong negative reactions to physical touch, screaming, throwing things, and banging parts of her body into walls/floors/furniture.  She will probably smack herself in the face, neck, chest and abdomen as her body reacts to the corn in her system.  She may complain of it “hurting” or “burning”.

If this behavior doesn’t lessen within 2o minutes of administration of Zyrtec, OR if Blythe is having difficulty breathing, she will need to be given a dose of Epinephrine, via her Epi-Pen Junior.  This will stop her reaction and calm her immediately.  She will need to be put in a safe, restful place until I can get there to take her to her doctor.  The Epi-Pen Junior lasts for up to 4 hours, so rushing to the hospital is not necessary, but epinephrine needs to be followed by doctor-administered Solumedrol in order to prevent another reaction when it wears off.

This type of strong reaction is rare with Blythe – it occurs only when she directly ingests something with corn, or if she is exposed to corn syrup/high fructose corn syrup, to which she is most allergic.


So far, Blythe has spent a total of one hour at Preschool.  And, you know what?  That is absolutely fine with me.  Baby steps, y’all.

The Avoidance List


You should see the look on people’s faces when they see Blythe’s Avoidance List for the first time.  It almost always renders them speechless, and then, incredulous, they ask me how on Earth I feed her.

Here’s how: We don’t go anywhere without the list.  Whenever I learn about another ingredient that might either contain corn or be manufactured with corn, I pull up my little Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and I add it, print it, and send the updated version to everyone who needs it: grandparents, teachers, doctors, pharmacists, and then I put the new copy in my purse, where it quickly becomes tattered from constant use.

If you are corn allergic, or think you might be, start with this list.  It is by no means complete – manufacturers are constantly changing the way they make things.  But it’s a good place to start, and it’s a lifesaver for us.

acetic acid distilled white vinegar
alcohol drying agent
alpha tocopherol erythorbic acid
artificial flavorings erythritol
artificial sweeteners ethanol
ascorbates ethocel 20
ascorbic acid ethylcellulose
astaxanthin ethylene
baking powder ethyl acetate
barley malt *  MAY be contaminated ethyl alcohol
bleached flour * MAY be contaminated ethyl lactate
blended sugar ethyl maltol
brown sugar * IF caramel color is used fiberson-2
calcium citrate flavorings * UNLESS specified
calcium fumarate food starch
calcium gluconate fructose * MAY be contaminated
calcium lactate fruit juice concentrate * UNLESS specified
calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) fumaric acid
calcium searate germ/germ meal
calcium stearoyl lactylate gluconate
caramel and caramel color gluconic acid
carbonmethylcellulose sodium glucono delta-lactone
cellulose microcrystalline gluconolactone
cellulose, methyl glucosamine
cellulose, powdered glucose * MAY be contaminated
cetearyl glucoside glucose syrup
choline chloride glutamate
citric acid * MAY be contaminated gluten
citrus cloud emulsion (CCS) gluten feed/meal
coco glycerides glycerides
confectioners sugar glycerol
corn alcohol, corn gluten glycerine * MAY be contaminated
corn extract golden syrup
corn flour grits
corn oil or margarine high fructose corn syrup
corn starch hominy
corn sweetener, corn sugar honey * MAY be contaminated
corn syrup or solids hydrolized corn
corn, popcorn, cornmeal hydrolized corn protein
cornstarch, corn flour hydrolized vegetable protein (HVP) 
crosscarmellose sodium hydroxypropyl methylcellulose
crystalline dextrose hydroxypropyl methylcellulose pthalate
crystalline fructose inositol
cyclodextrin inverty syrup or sugar
DATUM iodized salt (table salt)
decyl clocoside lactate
decyl polyglucose lactic acid
dextrin lauryl glocoside
dextrose ANYTHING lecithin 
d-gluconic acid linoleic acid
diglyceride lysine
magnesium fumarate sorbitan monooleate
maize sorbitan tri-oleate
malic acid sorbitol
malonic acid sorghum * MAY be mixed with corn
malt syrup from corn starch * UNLESS specified
malt, malt extract stearic acid
maltitol stearoyls
maltodextrin sucrose
maltol sugar * IF not identified as cane or beet
maltose threonine
mannitol tocopherol (vitamin E)
methyl gluceth treacle (aka golden syrup)
methyl glucose triethyl citrate
methyl clucoside unmodified starch
methylcellulose vanilla, natural flavoring
microcrystaline cellulose vanilla, pure or extract
modified cellulose gum vanillin
modified corn starch vegetable – (anything not specified)
moddified food starch vinegar, distilled white
mono and di glycerides  vinyl acetate
monosodium glutamate (MSG)  vitamin C * MAY be contaminated
MSG vitamin E * MAY be contaminated
natural flavorings * UNLESS specified vitamins * MAY be contaminated
olestra/olean xantham gum
polenta xylitol
polydextrose yeast * MAY be contaminated
polylactic acid (PLA) yuba
polysorbates zea mays
polyvinyl acetate zein
potassium citrate  
potassium fumarate  
potassium gluconate  
powdered sugar  
pregelatinaized starch  
propionic acid  
propylene glycol  
propylene glycol monostearate  
salt (iodized salt)  
semolina (unless from wheat)  
sodium carboxymethylcellulose  
sodium citrate  
sodium erythorbate  
sodium fumarate  
sodium lactate  
sodium starch glycolate  
sodium stearoyl fumarate  
sorbic acid  

Corn and the devil


Believe it or not, corn is toxic to the body. 

Don’t believe us??

Eat a corn on the cob and see what your stools look like tomorrow…go ahead. We’ll wait.  

Did the kernels come out whole?  Did your body digest it to mushy normal brown, smelly stuff?  Or did it look like you pooped out a corn on the cob?  I’m a betting person – I bet it comes out looking like mushy brown stuff decorated with corn kernels – in all their yellow, tooth-shaped glory.  

Now imagine what your body does when you get corn-based chips, corn-based sugars, corn-based powders, corn-based cereals.  What about non-consumable products, like cosmetics, chemicals, plastics…do you think your body digests these any better than corn-on-the-cob?  Think about it…