Over two years ago when we tested E for her allergies at the allergist (post blood test, this was the prick test to confirm the blood test results) he gave us three allergens to challenge at home: milk, soy, and corn. I don’t know why he decided that, looking at her paperwork I think it was because the reactions (and there were reactions) registered low enough to warrant a confirmation via what is considered the “gold standard” of tests. We bought some organic sprouted corn tortillas and gave her a bite. Fairly instant rashy cheeks were the result. Corn is hard to avoid and as it is not one of the top 8 allergens, there are no obligations for manufacturers to label with corn allergies in mind. Xanthan gum, a common thickener to mimic gluten in allergy friendly foods, often is corn derived so we had to avoid a lot of things that would otherwise be safe. So there was an incentive to see how E handled those things now that she was old enough to really communicate with us how she felt when she ate things that contained it.
We tried her with the soy free vegan cheese substitute Daiya with great success and started to debate trying the same corn tortillas. Not only did she love the tortillas, she didn’t react the way she did before. So far, so good. Now, it is hard to know what has changed or if we are in the clear on the subject of corn but other food allergy families will understand that the potential of a world of food possibilities to diversify what we eat is tantalizing. I was able to make this recipe from the Allergen Free Baker’s Handbook by Cybele Pascal (amazon affiliate link) as it required cornstarch and tapioca or arrowroot starch never quite could cut it where cornstarch was in a recipe.
The recipe turned out amazingly! It reminded me of the pudding pies we had when I was a kid. I may have served it for breakfast one morning (I was reminded of this snippet from Bill Cosby wherein he serves chocolate cake to his children for breakfast, it is about 9 minutes long but I love it). Other recipes we’ve tried and loved that aren’t corn free are:
Potato Leek Kugel (you can make it without the Daiya though, have already made it twice – yum!)
Allergy-Free Mac and Cheese (I pointed a fellow food allergy mama to this and her family loved it too!)
Allergy-Free Broccoli Cheddar Soup (My husband really enjoyed this one, we use vegetable broth of course as the base and it freezes well)
Vegan and Gluten Free Cornbread (you can substitute agave nectar for honey of course)
Here’s one I have yet to try but want to:
And here’s our very first convenience cookie purchase:
Enjoy Life Crunchy Sugar Crisp Cookies (amazon affiliate link - a great deal if you do subscribe & save) (a lot of their other cookies have grape in them so they’re not safe still but the only issue in these was xanthan gum)
I will keep using my corn free options for baking powder, powdered sugar, and even my corn free xanthan gum for baking – I don’t want to cycle too much corn into the house if we have to backtrack all of a sudden. I normally would say giving your child an allergenic food is not worth the risk but then again, if they’ve potentially grown out of it a lot can open up for them in a restricted diet. I am not a medical professional and the choices I make and that my family makes may not be what is best for your family. Also, a “mild” reaction can always possibly turn into a life-threatening one so keep carrying those Epi-Pens and be vigilant.