What is Xanthan Gum?

Girl Meets Nourishment recently tackled the popular ingredient and guess what she discovered?  It’s made from corn.  Imagine that.

I know you guys know this.  Most of the individuals subscribed to the blog react to Xanthan Gum…even though we’ve been told multiple times, by multiple companies: “no corn proteins” remains in the final product.  Our bodies obviously didn’t get the memo on the “protein” allergy food rule.

Check out the article.

Check out my previous article about Xanthan Gum.

Update: Ninja Corn in Seed Starter Trays and Company Response

Gardener’s Supply just totally made my day (in fairness, Yipi made my day with her adaption of the “Happy Feet” dance earlier today).  I just received a response from the company, they were so nice, responded within 24 hours and they are going to accommodate our corny issue.  We will be doing a replacement, substituting the APS 24 kits for the corny Fast Start Seedstarter.

They look really similar to me, so I think this will definitely work!

APS 24 Kit

Fast Start Seedstarter

Finding hidden corn is definitely a headache, but finding a company that is willing to work with you is a blessing.  Thank you so much, Gardener’s Supply!

Why here?

I started the day with these thoughts:  “I would like one instance to not think about corn and corn derivatives.  I would like to be able to shop for one thing and not have to think about the possibility of the usage of corn.  I honestly feel like the world is telling me (world meaning United States) that I am asking for too much.”  Why these negative thoughts?

It is time to start thinking about gardening.  I want three large gardens this year to have a prayer of having food in the winter.  I am thankful for our farm but it is NOT enough food for three people, just one and that one is the Yipiyuk.  So, in my plan to have multiple large gardens (that have a prayer of producing food), the hubby and I thought it a good idea to start seeds.  We need a place that is compact and that can be blocked off and protected from the hands of an inquisitive and destructive (she likes to take things apart to see how they work…and she likes to try to put them back together) Yipiyuk and a very skittish and subsequently clumsy Doodle.

Aluminum Grow stand

We found these beautiful, powdered aluminum grow stands that might fit the bill and we were very excited about them, until I dug a little deeper to understand how the system worked and which of their many seed-starters would house the seeds.  Enter the Fast Start Seed-starter.  It sounds great!

  • Fast germination and robust seedling growth in a convenient self-watering growing system
  • Earth-friendly planting tray is made from a biodegradable cornstarch-based material
  • Heavy-duty reservoir is dishwasher-safe; reusable capillary mat is machine-washable

Fast germination and robust seedling growth?  Definitely need that!  Self-watering?  Score, I won’t kill them (like the last seedlings)!    Dishwasher safe is ok…but we don’t have a dishwasher.  Sounds great! Right?  ….Did you guys catch the middle bullet?

Earth-friendly planting tray is made from a biodegradable cornstarch-based material. 

Why is corn here?  Why today?  Ever feel like something is trying to steal your buzz?  I was feeling pretty good last night.  The best I’ve felt in almost two years and this was almost enough to make me start on the spiral of hating the corny dependence in which our nation has managed to place itself, which is enough to make me swell from stress.  My thoughts were getting negative, more negative than what I wrote at the beginning of the post…but I’m good now.  I have to stop the madness that likes to take over my thoughts.  I decided to email the company directly to see if they would be willing to work with us in substituting the corny products with something else or possibly just leaving them out and giving us a discount, hopefully they will be willing to work with us.  I am sure there is a reasonable way around this.  That’s what I’m telling myself at least.

So, I guess this post is just to remind you all to always dig a little deeper before you purchase something, but don’t let the discovery of corn derivatives drag you down.  Unfortunately corn is everywhere in this country, we just need to stay vigilant so that we do not inadvertently make ourselves ill.

Hello, Happy Holidays and a Few New Marvelous Uses for Corn

Hi all!  Happy Holidays!  I hope you all had relaxing, fun/family/friend filled holiday gatherings with limited or no allergic reactions!  I have been in hiding again.  This time I was frantically trying to make Christmas presents….that I have yet to send.  I will get them sent out today (ok tomorrow)!  The hubby is going to work on it for me, due to my avoidance of cardboard.  I did a lot of crocheting and sewing this Christmas and I’m very pleased with the results.  I’ll share pictures next time.  My computer died and I have no idea how to access the pictures from this tablet thing.

During this latest disappearance from Blog Land, I took an assessment of our food.  My hope was to get to the bottom of what might still be causing issues for Yipi and me.  After the reflection I decided that we are going to give GAPS a chance.  It will be a modified GAPS.  …basically we’re already doing GAPS, we just need to remove a few culprits (Sweet-a potatoes) and attempt to add in some things (goat butter and fermented goat milk products).  I have no intention of adding the FIRTITPY foods back into our diet before the Texas trip (still haven’t gone…Spaceship is still not ready).  It would be nice to have some relief over this latest bought of GI distress, dark circles, insomnia, swelling, joint pain, severe mood swings, and candida issues.  It’s been a week for me and a few days for Yipi and we’re already noticing some minor improvements (minus the disaster of today).  So GAPS here we go!  I’ve ordered the book, stalking the GAPSkids Facebook group, have bookmarked many websites and removed the one illegal food we were eating.

Now to corny goodness.  These sites were shared a while ago on Delphi and I saved them to share with you all after I returned to Blog land.

Maize-based nut substitute targets allergen-free market

Limagrain Céréales Ingrédients (LCI) has introduced a maize-based nut substitute ingredient to add a nutty taste and texture to food products without introducing nut allergens to food facilities.

http://www.foodnavigator.com/Financial-Industry/Maize-based-nut-substitute-targets-allergen-free-market

Joy of joys.  It still does not cease to a-maize me how corn is considered safe for everyone in the “allergen free market.”  The optimistic Erica keeps assuring me that corn will one day be recognized as an allergen…but the Realist Erica quickly shuts her up by reminding her of the big money involved in subsidizing corn.  Be on the lookout for this gem, guys!  Who knows when and how it will show up.  Read labels.  Call companies.  Hang up and call right back.  Heck send an email while you’re at it…you’re bound to get two or three different answers depending on who you speak with.

Corn fiber gum: A potential gum arabic replacer for beverage flavor emulsification

http://naldc.nal.usda.gov/download/2923/PDF

Wow.  Beverages are already loaded with corn from the corn syrup, the dubious “sugar,” the natural flavors, the citric acid, the ascorbic acid, the vitamin C, the vitamins with their corn oil carriers (not to mention all the chemicals)…. but that was not enough.  Oh no.  We needed another corn derivative in the mix.  Enter corn fiber gum.  At some point, someone will just blend down an ear of corn, add corn syrup, natural flavors (whatever those are), food coloring and aspartame and give it to school children at lunch time.  Yes, I’m being ridiculous but I have to laugh to avoid sobbing uncontrollably.

MGP launches eco-friendly resin that can take the heat

MGP has unveiled a biodegradable resin that it claims has better heat tolerance than current market offerings.

http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Packaging/MGP-launches-eco-friendly-resin-that-can-take-the-heat

If you are very sensitive to corn and worry about contamination on the production line please make sure to inquire about the packaging material for your food and other products you will use on your person.  A biodegradable package can turned a very safe food into a landmine for Yipi and me.  I have to constantly stay on my new farmer to not use the biodegradable bags from the grocer to package our food.  For whatever reason this is not sticking in their heads….tomorrow I’m sending a package full of gallon ziplocs to them.  Hopefully that will serve as a reminder.  This also goes for the packing peanuts used to cushion your purchases via mail order.  Very often this little peanuts are made from corn.  If you do not have someone to open packages for you, I would encourage you to wear gloves and a mask or attach a note at the end of your order asking for a packing alternative to the biodegradable peanuts.

That’s all, folks!  I hope everyone is doing well.  I’m presently swollen and achey.  Hoping for a better tomorrow.

The Search for Corn Free Paint

I’ve been researching paint and paint companies for well over a year now.  While I don’t have a specific paint that I can recommend to others (haven’t taken the painting plunge as of yet), I am beginning to feel as though one company may potentially be safer than the other “environmentally friendly,” no-VOC, no odor companies that are out there.  My goal is to find:

  1. a no-VOC
  2. No-odor
  3. Chemical-emitting-off-gassing free
  4. Corn derivative free
  5. Soy derivate free
  6. Latex free … paint for my home.

♫  To dream the impossible dream… ♫

We are in no hurry to paint, that is a task for after diagnoses and treatment; but I would like to be as prepared as possible when the times comes.

Here are some nagging similarities I noticed between the commercial paint companies:

  1. Most of the companies had a desire to capitalize on the “green” marketing, so they decided to have a “green” product.  Unfortunately, after reading the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), it seems that the “green” products are just as toxic as the non-green counterpoint. These companies usually labeled their paint as “low-VOC.”
  2. Most of the “no-VOC” or “no odor” companies still list either formaldehyde, acetone, ammonia, “ethyl” something or some masking agent on their MSDS.  Masking agents are just another unnecessary chemical that hides nauseous fumes that will off gas from the paint.  No VOC does not mean no toxic ingredients.  These paints can have toxic ingredients exempt from government regulations.  Go here to read more
  3. It took an act of GOD to get a response from these people (I’m still waiting to hear from a few companies).  I am so thankful for Google and the ability to search for the MSDS for popular paint manufacturers.
  4. So many companies use latex based paints…”The majority of emissions from latex paints occurs after the coating has dried.”  (see The ABCs about VOCs)

After months of researching the more commercially available paints from Lowe’s, Home Depot, and the like, I finally came across Mythic and AFM Safecoat paints.  Thank you, Google.  I read all of the MSDS and contacted the companies.  Both companies have fantastic customer service and answered all of my question (well…not all) promptly.  Please keep in mind, the correspondence occurred May 2012.  Manufacturing processing can change very quickly in the avoiding corn/soy/chemicals world.  You will need to contact the companies yourself to ensure that the manufacturing processes have not changed.

Corn derivatives are like ninjas when it comes to finding their way into paint.  Polyols, organic acids, modified starch, unmodified starch, cellulose, thickening agents, additives are all ways in which corn derivatives can be used in paint.  Soy can also be used in the same way as corn.  We have to avoid both.  …sigh.  Here are a few links listing corn derivatives as ingredients in paint manufacturing:

Here are a few links concerning the use of soybean oil and paint:

The following are the questions I used for contacting Mythic paint and AFM Safecoat concerning chemicals, corn and soy.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  I am currently awaiting the reply from AFM Safecoat concerning their acrylic copolymer.  I want to ensure that it is not derived from soy.

TO AFM SAFECOAT AND MYTHIC PAINT:

Most household paint uses some kind of modified and/or unmodified starch in their manufacturing process and the starch is typically derived from corn.

  • I was told your paint is created with MCS sufferers in mind. Does this still hold true? (I removed this question when I emailed Mythic Paint)
  • Do you know if any modified and/or unmodified starches are used in the production of your paint as a thickening agent, additive or something else?
  • If so, can you research and see if the starch is derived from corn?
  • If not, what are the thickening agents and/or additives derived from that your company uses?
  • Do you all use any organic acids?
  • If so can you research to see if the organic acids are derived from corn or soy?
  • Do you all use any polyols in your manufacturing processes?
  • If so, can you please research and let us know if they are derived from corn?

We react to many things that are deemed safe by the FDA and even our allergist. My line of questioning comes from purchasing things and attempting to use them with sometimes disastrous results. I understand that some of your ingredients maybe proprietary, but if you can at least tell me if the product would be safe for us based on the aforementioned questions, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you for any help you can provide.

AFM SAFECOAT TO ME:

1. “Most household paint uses some kind of modified and/or unmodified starch in their manufacturing process and the starch is typically derived from corn. Do you know if any modified and/or unmodified starches are used in the production of your paint as a thickening agent, additive or something else? If so, is the starch is derived from corn?”

  • There is no starch used in the manufacturing process.

2. “If not from corn, what are the thickening agents and/or additives derived from?”

  • Cellulose (derived from wood and cotton).

3. “Do you use any organic acids? If so, are they derived from corn or soy?”

  • None used.

4. “Do you use any polyols in your manufacturing processes? If so, are they derived from corn?”

  • None used.

MYTHIC PAINT TO ME:

Thank you for your interest in Mythic paint products. I have discussed your questions with one of our chemists and have been informed that there is a possibility that our raw materials are manufactured alongside other materials containing corn and/or soy. For this reason, we cannot recommend using our products. We wish you the best in your search.

I would not recommend mythic paint to a corn and/or soy avoider.  I would also be hesistant to recommend it to an individual suffering from multiple chemical sensitivity.  Their MSDS lists latex, additives, and fillers.   “The majority of emissions from latex paints occurs after the coating has dried.”  (see The ABCs about VOCs)  I appreciate the company’s honestly in telling me to avoid their product due to potential cross contamination issues, but I would have appreciated more specific answers to my questions.  If you are a consumer not interesting in avoiding corn and/or soy derivatives, latex and additives/fillers, then Mythic Paint might be good for you.  If that fits your description then check out this review.  If that doesn’t describe you, check out the comments section on the aforementioned link.  These people did not fare well at all with Mythic Paint.

AFM Safecoat might be a possibility for my household.  Their MSDS lists water, acrylic copolymer, titanium dioxide, limestone, and calcined kaolin clay on the ingredients list.  I am awaiting their reply concerning the the acrylic copolymer and the possibility of soy derivatives.  I will update the post when I receive their reply.  You can visit this site to see more products offered by AFM Safecoat and to also download other MSDS sheets for those products.

As an aside:  Someone on another site mentioned FreshAire Choice paint.  I’ve been to the website on Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox and I cannot get the MSDS sheet to download.  I searched Google (I love you, Google) and found this information:

  • Sodium aluminosilicate
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Calcined kaolin clay
  • Water
  • Vinyl acetate / Acrylic copolymer
  • All in a latex base

You can contact that particular company for more information concerning the source for the suspect ingredients and any hidden ingredients.

A Brief Recapitulate for Hidden Corn

I wanted to quickly re-post a few older blogs for anyone new to corn allergy or new to CornFreeLifestyle blog.  Please make a note of these links, save the documents as PDFs on your computers, or copy and paste any and all information that may be relevant to you.  These documents will help you when dealing with companies concerning any potential hidden corn and knowing which questions to ask in order to have more accurate answers.

If you’re new to corn allergy, I encourage you to read my New to Corn Allergy page.  There is a wealth of information there that has proven to be invaluable to me and my daughter.

Document from the Illinois Corn Association concerning the usage of corn in products

List of “allowed ingredients” in organic food processing

Corn usage poster from Center for Crops Utilization Research from Iowa State University

Corn usage poster from Casco, the Canadian business unit of Corn Products International, Inc.

Xanthan gum and corn allergy

Vaccines and potential corn derivatives

Chemurgy and products made from corn

The difference between natural and organic and how corn can still hide in organic products

New Products Made from Corn

Karen from Avoiding Allergens recently emailed her updated list of products made from corn.  Please make a note of these items and avoid them if you are sensitive and especially topically sensitive to corn.  My topical reactions range from swelling at the contact site and surrounding area, within 24 hours swelling of my abdomen, hives, blisters, brain fog, extreme exhaustion and headache to migraine depending on the exposure.

Nursing pads made from corn (oh…this would be so painful…)

http://www.simply-eco.co.uk/nature-babycare-eco-nursing-pads-30-pads-p-133.html

Toner cartridges made from corn

http://www.westpointproducts.com/agritonemain.aspx

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Craft paper made from corn

http://www.fineartstore.com/Catalog/tabid/365/List/1/CategoryID/20865/Level/a/Default.aspx?SortField=unitcost%2Cunitcost

Printer ink made from corn

http://www.mutoh.be/bio-printer/page.aspx/4347

Tongue depressor made from corn (this would be extremely painful also)

http://www.favoredhealth.com/

De-icer liquid made from corn

http://www.icenator.com/

Body bag made from corn

http://www.yonghope.com/product.asp?anclassid=54&nclassid=100

Product Alert: Wipes Made from Corn

Good Monday morning all!  Here are new products to avoid if you are topically allergic to corn.  The products include automotive wipes, kitchen wipes, baby wipes, elders wipes, man wipes (I LOLed at this one), ladies wipes, pet wipes and leather wipes.

Biodegradable Wipes made from Corn

Corn Wet wipe
Corn Wet wipe – 100% Compostable – Made from a renewable source – corn ! Our Corn Wet wipe are the first choice for replacing plastic. Fully compostable in a commercial composting environment, these Corn Wet wipes are your good choice for Clean Service.

Once again, green usually equates to some use of corn.  As an aside, I often wonder if the “better for the environment” corn products are made using GMO corn.  I suppose we have to do something with all the surplus corn that is in this country.  Be safe out there!

Using Grain in Industry from MarylandGrain

MarylandGrain gives vastly incomplete but accurate details as to how corn is used in industry.  Vegetable (corn and soy) based inks are used to make the baby footprints at the hospital,  camera film, cleaners, container packaging, food packaging, printers ink, packing peanuts, lubricants, paper, photo and ID cards, the ink on snack packs, but there are many more applications of corn in industry.  I, unfortunately, react to most products made utilizing corn and soy derivatives.  My reactions usually include hives, severe itching, headache, “brain fog,” dizziness, and sinus pain; I have loss consciousness when exposed to too much corrugated cardboard.  It is difficult to avoid an allergen that is used so pervasively in our society.  I encourage you to do the best you can and try to learn and memorize the potential pitfalls that are lurking like a ninja around every corner.

http://www.marylandgrain.com/Uses%20in%20industry.htm

USING GRAIN IN INDUSTRY

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Baby Prints

In 1995 the first ever baby footprints were recorded in a hospital with ink made from grain. Nurses report that the ink worked very well, and was easier to clean than petroleum-based ink. Normally, nurses have to scrub under the baby’s toenails, but this ink cleans up using just soap and water.

Camera Film

Photographic films are made from the starch portion of corn.

– 

Cleaners

Safer “new uses” cleaning products made from corn and soybeans have been developed and are being used worldwide. Multipurpose industrial strength solvent and glass and surface cleaners are cost competitive and do not create hazardous waste or water pollution. Waterless hand cleaners are healthier for the skin, do not crack the hands or smell. In electric applications where material failure and death occur, the hand cleaners have passed industry specifications and standards tests conducted by utilities, high voltage rubber glove makers and government laboratories.

Container packaging

Cornstarch is used in the production of paper packaging materials such as corrugated cardboard. Low cost, environmentally-friendly, pre-formed packaging for electronic equipment, egg cartons, and as a substitute for corrugated containers has also been developed. These new packaging products made from popcorn will replace those made largely from petroleum.

– 

Food packaging

Popcorn is bringing an alternative in food service packaging, with the functional characteristics of molded polystyrene for use in plates, cups, and serving packages such as hamburger clamshells. Made from a vegetable-product, this packaging offers a safer product for consumers and the environment.

Ink

Corn- and soy-based inks are now replacing printer’s ink that was made from 100% petroleum products. Being vegetable-based makes it safe for placemats and packaging where ink may come in contact with our food. The colors are brighter and more easily recycled, revolutionizing the newspaper industry. Printing machines run smoother, are easier to clean, and safer for employees.

Lubricants

International Lubricants, Inc. synthesizes specialty lubricant additives from agricultural oils and formulates them into environmentally benign lubricants for consumer, industry and automotive uses. High-performance lubricants refined from renewable crop oils rather than imported petroleum cost more short-term – and much less long- term. The immediate payoff is that these new oils offer smoother running systems. Long-term benefits include such environmental payoffs as cleaner air, purer water and less depletion of our fossil fuels. These oils are required in applications such as hydraulic fluids for use in earth-moving equipment operating around dams and other locations where surface or ground water could be contaminated.

– 

Packing peanuts

“Packing Peanuts” made of nearly 100% corn and wheat are now available. Made from a renewable resource, biodegradable packaging peanuts do not add to our problems of waste disposal. Products made from styrofoam take up valuable landfill space, and styrofoam can take up to 20 years to decompose. They contain no harmful products that will endanger the environment. Environmentally safe starch peanuts may be put in a compost pile or allowed to disappear naturally in water.

– 

Paper

Nearly every single sheet of printing paper uses cornstarch to improve printability. Each ton of paper produced uses 28 pounds of cornstarch. Uncoated kenaf papers are tree-free, chlorine-free and acid-free. Exceptional print quality and functionality have been achieved in four-color process printing on sheet-fed and cold and heat-set web presses.

  –

Phone & ID Cards

Sheet products made from corn polymers are used in the printable plastics industry – specifically phone cards, I.D. cards and similar value-added items other than the financial card industry.

 – 

Snack packs

Oat flour contains antioxidants that retard rancidity in fat-containing foods; it is a preservative inner coating for paper bags used to package salted nuts, coffee, and potato chips. Vegetable-based inks are used for safer packaging where ink may come in contact with our food.

Quick Post: Is there ANYTHING corn can’t do?!?!??!?

Really quick post.  I found myself angry at inanimate objects again today.  It’s not corn’s fault.  Corn didn’t ask to be turned into the wonderful “vegetable.”  It didn’t ask to be mutated and used for everything under the sun.  Yes, that was a rant but only a small one and I kept most of my country-twang in check.

Exhibit A:  Easter Eggs made from corn starch.  I suppose this is great for those who don’t experience allergic reactions by handling corn.  Biodegradable?  Yay!  Parents of corn allergic children please be aware of the “plastic” being used for your children’s Easter egg hunts.

Exhibit B:  Teether made from corn starch.  Oh….YAY! Is there ANYTHING corn can’t do?!?!??!?!

Imagine if this had been a present and I gave it to Yipi under the medical guidance that:

  1. You/she can’t be allergic to corn.
  2. You can only react to protein, not starch or sugar (we’ve proven this theory wrong time and time again)
  3. We are unsure of the cause of her reaction, let’s medicate the symptoms until they go away or are under control.  There may be some corn in the medication but it won’t hurt her, there’s no protein remaining in the product.


I’m not sure what would have become of my happy, vibrant, precocious child.  The ranting is over.

Additional products made from corn

More Non-food items made from corn