Who Is Corn Allergy Girl?

By day I am a thirtysomething technology professional. By night I am many things: swords & sorcery nerd, tabletop gamer, metalhead, conservationist, smart-ass.

My main “hobby” these days is survival: I have a severe and sensitive allergy to corn, which is not only a food, but is used in food additives, preservatives, disinfectants, lotions, cosmetics, dyes, building materials, and more. I also have a host of other sensitivities, all of which can cause anaphylaxis in the right amounts.

To stay safe, I’ve had to attempt self-education in many areas that I’ve never even had an interest in previously: food science, textiles, polymer science, microbiology, and chemistry, to name just a few.

While I have many interests that have nothing to do with my health, the corn allergy is mostly what I write about, at least in public forums. Close behind would be chronic illness, invisible disabilities, and chemical sensitivity.

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The Corn Allergy Girl

“Hey there, this is B. We talked the other day about the source of the citric acid in your products? I wanted to ask you about your–“

“–Oh, the corn allergy girl. Yes, I remember you.”

It’s not that I really WANT the title. I just get it anyway. Might as well embrace it. And I’m most certainly not the only corn allergy girl. In fact, if you have a corn allergy, and likely to be called a “girl” rather than a  “dude,” a “lady,” or perhaps something less polite, then you probably already share the title.

An Amateur Scientist

Unlike more well-known allergens such as peanuts and shellfish, corn is not a “top 8” allergen in the United States, and therefore is not required to be labeled in food or personal care products as a source for an ingredient or if the facilities or equipment may be contaminated with traces.  To further complicate things, corn is not only a food, but is used in food additives, preservatives, disinfectants, lotions, cosmetics, dyes, building materials, and more. Since corn is cheap, if a product can be made out of any vegetable, it is usually made out of corn.

Most products you can buy from the store, including whole foods like grass-fed meat and organic vegetables, have enough traces of corn to cause a reaction in me, and the only way to find out whether trying a product is safe is to either guinea pig it and hope for the best (not ideal since allergic reactions can be life-threatening) or to contact the supplier/manufacturer ahead of time and ask them detailed questions they aren’t accustomed to answering and don’t  always know the answer to.

Given the complex nature of food and supplement manufacturing these days, asking, “Is there any corn in this?” rarely gets a useful or correct answer. People think you are asking if there are whole kernels of corn, or corn starch, and for a very sensitive allergy, that just isn’t a deep enough treatment of the subject.

In order to even know what questions to ask to judge potential safety of a product, I’ve had to attempt self-education in many areas that I’ve never even had an interest in previously: food science, textiles, meat processing, commercial fishing, polymer science, microbiology, and chemistry, to name just a few. Given my total lack of background and limited time to devote to research, my understanding in these areas is imperfect, yet still more in-depth than many. I try to share what I’ve learned and welcome correction when I’ve got it wrong.

Look, Then Leap

Even when I do the due diligence, there is just no way to know for sure whether an item will be safe for me or others. I could have been given an incorrect answer by a customer service rep. I could have failed to ask a crucial question that would elicit some important detail about a manufacturing process that could introduce corn or another contaminant I’m sensitive to. Or I could have an undiscovered sensitivity to the item itself.

So even though I have asked the questions, there are unfortunately no guarantees. At a certain point you have to just cross your fingers, get your your epipen, and give the item a very careful try.

An Unwilling Hippie (Party Like It’s 1899)

Because so many common practices in the food and manufacturing industry introduce contaminants for me, the only foods that are truly safe for me are the ones that I can control everything they come into contact with. I end up having to make by hand things that no one even considers making themselves.  For example:

  • If I wanted cooking oil, for the longest time I had to render fat from my safe meat to use for that, or just braise everything. (Now I have a safe premade butter thank goodness, although I may lose it someday.)
  • If I want to use spices on my food, I need to either grow them myself and or buy them fresh from a farm and either use them right away, or dehydrate or freeze them to use later. I buy literally 100 lbs or more of spray-free peppers annually from the farmers market and dehydrate and grind them into homemade paprika. I smoke some of them first.
  • If I want to eat applesauce, I’d better go get some safe apples (while they are in season) and cook them down. Similar with dried fruit- I have to find them spray free, get them while in season, and dehydrate them myself.
  • If I want beef jerky, I have to use my custom processed grass-fed beef (because the grocery store stuff will cause me anaphylaxis) and grind it myself (because the grinder introduces contaminates due to the cleaners and lubricants used on the equipment), then spice and dehydrate it.
  • If I want to eat pickles, I have to lacto-ferment them myself using my safe salt and safe water,  since the packaged version will have vinegar from corn, or at the very least will use water that is unsafe for me and salt that I would not be able to drink or eat since most of those are unsafe for me.
  • I have to get my safe nuts spray free direct from farm (and completely spray-free nuts are actually harder to find than you would think!)  and then shell them by hand myself, because the shelling machinery introduces contaminants via cleaners or other items processed on the same equipment.
  • And forget about grains, ground flours, or pretty much anything that has to be processed even enough to thresh, clean, or sort.  I haven’t yet found one of these that I tolerate.

I already had some homesteading tendencies before, but it was mostly in the vein of general kitchen-witchery: home-baked bread, high quality spices, home ferments, small knitting projects, handmaking cosmetics and soaps occasionally, and candles from melt-and-pour kits. You know, hobbies that could reasonably be researched in a few hours and executed in a day. I never had any particular interest in getting extreme.  In fact, I was pretty vehemently opposed to doing that kind of thing on a regular basis. That is why we have such a thing as trade and economy- because people want things that they can’t or don’t want to make themselves.

I also had little interest in going *too* far to sacrifice convenience or thrift for sustainability. I recycled, sure, and even composted when there was someone who took care of the actual compost pile. I got reusable glass containers and used them *most* of the time, though if they were dirty, I did have a backup supply of disposable plastic tupperware. I loved going to the farmers’ market once in a while, but going *every* week? What a pain!

Unfortunately, when you start reacting to just about everything disposable and premade, you are faced with three choices: skip it, get the reusable version if it exists, or make your own. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you can spend a fortune on a premium brand for something that may be safe, but as time goes on and your wallet gets thinner, you start opting to make your own more and more often.

 

Secret Lives

I’ve been doing the daytime-as-a-semi-normie and nighttime-as-a-rock-and-roller lifestyle for a long time. That’s not too difficult, especially because my hobbies are a choice. But it’s a a strange juxtaposition of experiences to work as a tech professional with people who embrace corporate 9-to-5 urban culture and grab-and-go-meals to eat during their commute,  then spend your evening-and-weekend social life attending events that mostly take place in bars or large venues that serve food and drink, and then ALSO live like Little House on the Prairie in the rest of your time.

It’s honestly fairly alienating to be discussing weekend plans with your coworkers who are having barbecues and camping trips all summer and you’re like, “Well I’ll be lugging 250 lbs of apples on a hand-truck from the market to my car, and then taking it home to turn into dehydrated fruit, sauce, and flour. (Yes, you can make flour out of apples!)” Or when people ask if you want a drink from the bar and you have to choose between a simple “No thanks,” and explaining that you will probably have at least a minor reaction to any water you drink that isn’t specially filtered through a specific kind of filter, or served in a container that is not made out of the right material or has been washed with unsafe dish soap.

A Personal Apocalypse

When I want to make Little House Life feel a little more badass, I think of this lifestyle as post-apocalyptic. It fits: One day in 2012, all of the infrastructure and conveniences I took for granted– from easily-available foods to safe water to air that was safe to breathe–were ripped away from me. I had to spend years figuring out how to literally survive and had to go without items I couldn’t learn enough about to either make myself or find safe. That kind of sounds like post-apocalyptic living to me, except that everyone around me went on as usual, and only I lived through it.

It’s not a really bad life, but it’s not a secure or convenient one. It’s been really rewarding to get in touch with local farmers and support families who grow food that supports me. I actually love the weekend trips to the farmers markets. I love it so much that I work at them occasionally  now.  But I don’t love knowing that if I don’t preserve stuff while it’s in season, I can’t eat it for the rest of the year.

When one of my food sources change, I can and do experience food scarcity. If it’s a staple food such as my safe meat, I will almost definitely lose weight.  And I definitely don’t love the fact that I spend so many hours per week growing, locating, or prepping food that I haven’t finished a book in a year and almost exclusively listen to music while working or driving.

My activities and ability to travel are also severely limited by my required-but-not-chosen lifestyle. If I want to take a trip on a weekend during the winter or spring, I have to make sure to buy and cook enough food ahead to bring with me on the trip, since I won’t be able to source safe food there and as someone with a more-than-full-time job on top of all my health needs, I really long for the days when I could just grab something from the store.

What it comes down to is that life choices are much easier when they are choices. Investing this much energy becomes a huge burden when it’s something you must do to survive. Overall I’m pretty positive and enjoy a lot of the things I have to do, but it most definitely isn’t an easy life.

Why the Blog

Well, I’ve spent so much time researching this stuff, I might as well share what I know. And honestly, I forget it myself if I don’t write it down. So I  brain-dump everything I know here. Also, this life is hard, and one of the things that keeps me going is having a sense of humor about it and helping others by giving them the information that I’ve learned the hard way.  That way I feel like at least if I’ve had to suffer, it wasn’t completely useless.

The corn allergy accounts for the most life-altering food and environmental restrictions I have, but I am also allergic to over 30 other foods, dozens of environmental allergens, and hypersensitive to a number of different chemicals. I try to keep the blog focused mostly on the corn allergy, as that is the area in which I am most able to nail down sources. Because I am sensitive to more than corn, I try to only report on contaminated items when I am sure that other corn allergics are reacting to that item. If I am making a guess or a warning based on my experience or on the experiences of others’ who also have multiple sensitivities, I try to make that clear.

Allergy Profile (in brief)

I discovered my corn allergy in 2006, simultaneously with gluten intolerance. I am a probable celiac given my family history and my symptoms, but have never sought a formal diagnosis. In 2012 my already-known corn allergy went from a more “normal” allergy to hypersensitive and extremely severe. I began having throat-closing and facial-swelling reactions to eating small traces of corn-based additives such as citric acid and xanthan gum, and began having severe systemic reactions (blood pressure drop, blurred vision, severe asthma, feeling of throat closing) from being near items such as popscorn or items fried in corn flour.

Within a year of becoming more sensitive to corn, I also began to have moderate to severe reactions to over 30 other foods when ingested (only corn causes severe airborne reactions so far), and now have severe sensitivities to dozens of chemicals. To explain the number of allergies and rapidity of onset, I am also accruing a number of other diagnoses including H-EDS and MCAS. You can read more about those on my more long-winded “Allergy History” page. Most recently I have discovered that my suspected dysautonomia was not that at all, but rather hemolytic anemia due to g6pd deficiency.

At the time of writing I am unable to eat any vegetables in the brassica, chenopod families, can’t eat any root vegetables unless I grow them myself  due to allergy issues with the fertilizer, and also haven’t been able to eat any squash that I’ve tried. So that’s most vegetables, basically. But hey, I can eat the hell out of some lettuce, and I have also been having good luck with many fruits.

Due to chemical sensitivities in combination with a sensitivity to cross-contamination in facilities with corn and corn products, I am also unable to eat any food that has ever been processed on equipment, or packaged in any way other than being placed into a box. When I say processed, I don’t mean highly processed, I mean things like threshing dry beans from pods and placing them in a burlap or plastic bag. Or shelling walnuts with a shelling machine rather than by hand.

What it boils down to is that I need to get all of my food fresh and local. Most things that have been pre-cooked, canned, frozen, or transported usually have something *done* to them that cornifies them: spraying, waxing, gassing, glazing, or disinfecting all usually involves something corn-based. Then in addition, the more times something is exposed to a new surface, the more likely it is that one of my other sensitivities will contaminate the time.

I’ve written up a longer version of my allergy story here. 

24 thoughts on “Who Is Corn Allergy Girl?

  1. My son has a corn allergy and where we live we don’t have much choice it’s not quite and allergy more like a sensitivity. I just want to get it out of his system. It’s shocking because he sensitive to a lot of other things. Life’s a constant battlefield. I just came accross your blog and was boggled by where corn is lurking it scared me 😦 thanks to gmos and everything else out there ugh.

    1. Hi Cristina,

      It’s better to know than not know, but I agree that it’s overwhelming. In this country at least, there really is no such thing as completely avoiding corn. If nothing else I’m breathing it in every time a car drives by. I actually own a carbon-filter mask because I have allergic reactions in heavy traffic. You just have to do the absolute best you can. Be aware, and do what works for your family. It sounds like your son’s sensitivity is relatively mild: I hope it stays that way, but if his symptoms increase in severity or his sensitivity to traces increases, at least you won’t be blindsided.

  2. Christina,

    I understand what you are saying about foods. Several years ago I was diagnosed with allergies to corn, tomato and potato. I am sensitive to foods with the preservative in Aspirin. So for me I can eat Bananas, pears, diary, meat and some veggies nothing processed. I keep trying to eat different foods for nutrition, but it is not working. My corn allergy was mild compared to the others, but it is only getting worse, so I am trying to eliminate more corn from my diet. Thanks for the info.

    1. I don’t think my mold exposure is the cause of most of my problems given the sequence of events, but it may have been responsible for some. I did get my first LDA shot yesterday, and that was a trip. Of the foods allowed on the diet, the only thing I could tolerate was lettuce. I negotiated with the doc as far as what protein sources I did have available and we arrived at oysters, so I’m on the end of 3 days of lettuce and oysters right now. Oysters are pretty low fat and I’m pretty much ready to eat my own arm. 🙂 But I’ve got a whole chicken roasted up (had my boyfriend cook it in the toaster oven in the basement so I wouldn’t have to smell it) and ready for tomorrow morning. I may very well eat the whole thing in one sitting.

  3. Hey, I can’t remember if I’ve ever written to you, but I have a Twitter site: Gluten & Corn Free@mlock571. I’ve come a long way in nearly 2 years of finally understanding what was going on with my corn allergy and Celiac diagnosis. Anyway, since our symptoms are so similar, wanted to be sure to share with you that my allergist had a hunch I’m allergic to the entire grass family, and she was right. Though I’ve fought this whole time to get my gastroenterologist to see that there must be a connection between the allergy and celiac, I’ve gotten no where. So I’ve been seeing different doctors for different problems. Corn is by far the worst offender, but slowly, all the other members of the grain family caused either celiac-like symptoms, allergy, or both. I now have inhalation anaphylaxis from wheat. It’s been crazy and I’m convinced that eventually I’m going to be a hermit! The other issue is that the allergist says I shouldn’t react to corn derivatives, but I do. I’ve never had a positive allergy test though. Obviously, something is happening that the medical industry doesn’t understand. Here’s to us.

    About how many people would you say have written to you with similar symptoms? I also started having symptoms as a child, but no one knew what was wrong.

  4. Is there a way to have your new articles delivered to my email? I didn’t see this option any where. Also, I haven’t read your whole blog so forgive me if this is redundant. Your allergic issues sound like a mast cell disorder that I’ve been diagnosed with. In researching this rare, but now becoming more common disorder I found ties to GMO foods. My personal believe is that GMO foods, stress & a mold toxicity created ripe conditions for this disorder to take hold. In recent years I’ve avoided GMO products but now I’m more like you where I feel compelled to avoid it at all cost. Thanks for your well researched, fact filled blog! It’s helping me tremendously! 🙂

    ~Lesly~

    1. Hi there. I added a widget on the right hand sidebar to subscribe via email. I think it may just notify you t hat there is a post, though, rather than sending the whole text of the entry. Not sure.

      Thanks for the heads up… MCAS has been suggested once before, including by an immunologist, but I haven’t pursued a diagnosis. The immunologist (see the whole story in the “allergy history” section) didn’t propose to do any testing and was generally kind of a jerk. I’m interested in knowing whether that is my problem or not, but since the treatment is avoidance of triggers and taking antihistamines/mast cell stabilizers, I’m not in a big rush to get a diagnosis.

      Glad to be of some help! Best wishes on your journey!

  5. How do I contact you directly? I am a specialty food producer(rancher/farmer) who specializes in producing lamb, pork, and goose without corn or soy products. I am interested in building a mail order or pick up point business to serve larger groups of people with sensitivities to these crops!

    1. That sounds amazing Patrick! I work wih a group of people that will react to any animal product fed GMO anything. Mast Cell Disorders. I’ve managed to put mine in remission and now consult with others that have the condition. But these are very ill people that often can’t leave home. I would be interested in hearing more. Facebook message me? Lesly Rae owner of Younique Herbal Healing.

  6. I left this comment under ‘corn free probiotics’, but wasn’t sure if you’d see it! So I just copied and pasted to here… I was amazed at the amount of allergies I had that ‘appeared’, that promptly disappeared after doing the pyroluria thing, and not overloading my body with the nasty synthetic folic acid that they enrich stuff with… my liver doesn’t process it, and it gets toxic. They try awful hard to kill us while curing us, don’t they?

    Hiya!

    I haven’t read your other posts, so IDK, but I had multiple allergies and sensitivities UNTIL my doctor diagnosed me with pyroluria and mthfr gene mutation.
    I had reduction of allergies by 95% just doing the pyroluria supplements… some of my allergies, like celery, mould, and grass pollen, have completely disappeared. My asthma, (which kinda wasn’t), left me, never to return. Often what is referred to as asthma is a deficiency of zinc in the lung coating, which lets the nasties in… like leaky gut for lungs. One doesn’t always have that problem, though. Pyroluria gives you massive zinc and b6 deficiencies.

    Maybe worth getting checked if you haven’t already?
    I now soak everything in kefir whey, make kimchi and kraut etc, and use water kefir for drinks in the summer… never looked back!

    Also infrared saunas have helped me sweat… I never did much, because pesticide build-up prevents you from doing that, which means more build-up, which means more allergies and sensitivities! Infra red has helped lots… maybe good for you, as well, seeing as you have all this problem.

    Good luck with it!

    1. My husband was diagnosed with MTHFR variants and upon changing both of our diets, it truly changed our health, asthma, allergies, and digestive issues.

    2. Gloria, you left this comment 2 years ago, and I just had a doctor suggest pyroluria to me yesterday. If I don’t take at least 45mg of zinc a day, every day, I have cystic acne, and I am likely having other systemic effects from this deficiency that I don’t notice as much.

      I also have mthfr c677t. It’s heterozygous but because I also have several other methylation mutations (COMT, CBS, VDR TAQ, MTRR just to name a few), and I also have g6pd deficiency (you can read more about that on my newest post), my overall metabolism and detox is kind of broken. So I’m working with a naturopath on how to support my body in optimal function. And pyrolurea came up again when we discussed the fact that I have to take buttloads of zinc to feel normal. A bunch of other things I have going on are apparently indicative of b6 deficiency so we are going to carefully try supplementing it.

  7. We hugely appreciated all your good work and details (your dr bronner info explained my itchy hands)….. Much obliged if you would add a ‘buy me a coffee’ or similar link so we can send you coffee money since we are too far away for a real coffee!

  8. I have asthma and have recently experienced some severe flare ups, so finally I was tested for food allergies; blood tests revealed allergies to a milk protein (lactoglobulin) and corn…..so you are not alone…..

    It’s so frustrating, because everything seems to have corn, and it’s not like I can have a smidge of this or that and get away with it…..my lungs get irritated, and I experience asthma excerbation, bronchitis, then off to the ER for antibiotics, steroids……

    I have been experiencing a lot of gas and bloating since eliminating corn, is that normal? been trying to educate myself….

    Shalom, Rose

    1. I haven’t found a commercial one, no. Your best bet (unfortunately) is a homemade recipe which will probably not give the kind of hold you want. Everything I’ve found for a hairspray uses ethanol from corn.

      Carina organics has a hair gel that looks like it could be corn free. I haven’t looked into it carefully.

      Full disclosure: I deleted a comment suggesting that you just try to google “corn free hairspray.” Googling for “corn free” anything is not particularly helpful because there is so much misinformation out there about what “containing corn” entails, and this entire blog is about how items can “contain corn” enough to cause us a reaction when the rest of the world would not consider them to be “containing corn”.

  9. I, too, am a corn allergy girl. It is a frustrating allergy to have and not understood by anyone- even many doctors. It is next to impossible to find pharmaceutical drugs that do not contain corn. I have the dubious honor of also being allergic to coconut and capsaicin…

  10. I’ve basically been using your website as my homepage for a while now and was wondering (and I hope I don’t cause any offense) if you have a donation button? You do so much for the corn allergy community and while I don’t have a lot of money (to say the least) I can’t imagine living the way you do can be affordable by any stretch of the imagination and I owe you a lot for the time you’ve put into this page. I don’t mean to insinuate anything about your financial situation though, so please don’t take offense.

  11. I will be as brief as possible. I’m sick- really sick. after going for an endoscopy and having a violent reaction to whatever they put in me I have been unable to recover. I have severe chemical sensitivities like you and a dozen other things. I finally realized it was corn when I began reacting to all the fish and meat that I ate that came in plastic. I thought I was losing my mind. I react to salt and since my endoscopy cannot find safe water. I cannot find anyone to work with me to secure a safe source of protein. I have slipped below 90 pounds and I am scared although trying not to panic. What are you using for dish soap? Shampoo? Thank you. If I had not come across your information I would have checked myself into a mental health facility as I thought I was truly losing my mind!

    1. Hi Donya,

      I’m going to email this to you as well to make sure you get it.

      Before I directly answer your questions I’m going to suggest some general resources.

      1) Get support from 7,000+ other people who avoid corn. Many of whom have as many or more other sensitivities as me. If you don’t use Facebook, it’s worth joining for this group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/cornallergy/

      2) The 101 guide: http://cornfreecommunity.com/2013/07/corn-allergy-101-information-for-beginners/

      3) My beginngers guide: https://cornallergygirl.com/2013/08/15/dont-panic-a-beginners-guide-to-corn-allergy/

      4) The list of corn derivatives: http://corn-freefoods.blogspot.com/2017/11/corn-allergen-list-corn-derivatives.html

      5) My water post, since you said you were reacting to water: https://cornallergygirl.com/2017/05/24/the-water-post/

      6) For your next medical procedure: https://cornallergygirl.com/2017/02/22/hospital-and-medical-safety-with-a-corn-allergy/

      Now to answer your direct questions:

      – Dish soap – for hand dishwashing I use either my safe baking soda, which is Karlin’s Finest brand (looks like arm & hammer but says Karlin’s Finest in tiny letters on the upper right corner) or I use soap nuts liquid. I buy the Greenwill brand of soap nuts from amazon, but other brands could be safe. There are lots of google instructions on how to make them into liquid but I stick them in my instant pot mini with some water, hit “soup” and walk away, When I come back I have soap nut liquid.

      – I don’t use shampoo, I no-poo. There are a lot of variations on no-poo which you can google. I like Crunchy Betty’s recipes the best for all this homemade crap, however I am also too busy to make actual recipes. In the past I did honey as a single-step wash and condition. Sometimes I would do an egg hair mask as the wash step then a honey soak as a conditioner. I *personally* can use the Kirkland organic honey from costco on my hair even though I can’t eat it, and any old organic eggs on my hair even though I can’t eat eggs. NOT EVERYONE CAN DO THIS. Some people can’t put anything on their skin that they can’t eat. Patch test everything first until you’re more confident in your sensitivities. Lately I’m doing a conditioner-only wash with the unscented deep conditioner from Carina Organics. This literally means that I just put conditioner in my hair and rinse it out instead of washing. I have very fine, wavy, and very dry hair so this works for me. It won’t work for all hair types. Some people use bentonite clay to wash with. To keep it very simple you could just go ahead and try the shampoo and conditioner from gfsoap.com. They are corn free for sure but contain some coconut. Carina organics contains coconut too.

  12. Hi CAG,
    I can sympathise with you as I am kind of co-passenger of the same bus. When caught off guard and happen to ingest something with corn then breathing slows down and the body feels like swelling from inside. Maltodextrin is the worst because there is no way of knowing it just by tasting. Citric acid, Carrageenan and a few other things can be picked up by my tongue and warns me before I may consume entire portion of drink or food. My own roasted coffee and a well known brand chocolate power is something I carry with me where ever I go. Also taking espresso shots with whole milk (the brand that I trust) come handy to make me cope with a shock type situation.
    In my late twenties, I migrated to US in the year 2000 and my health went downhill only within 3 to 4 years. Lost a lot of weight and came down from 145 lbs to just 98 lbs in 2005. Originally from a country where food is cooked from scratch and so I had very little exposure to corn. Then started my research on food along with my PhD in bla bla bla ( don’t wish to brag about my current work). Doing research in food became part of life, just to survive. I followed strict gluten-free diet and stayed away from corn products for many years thinking that corn starch has something to do with mold etc. But a few years ago after challenging with corn everything was so clear to me. I regained all the lost weight. Yes, travel is a challenge but not eating does not kill me. Long road trips are part of my life, like one in 2014 with my parents who were visiting me, we took a 4300 mile road trip from Pacific Northwest to Midwest. I also fly to my home country which requires me to change 4 flights and a 35 hour ordeal. I am an avid standup paddle (SUP) board freak as I live on the banks of a big river. Skiing in winter and hiking to Mt. Rainier in summer are my other activities. There are many challenges in life and I take them as they come. Finding safe drinking water can be some times challenging. I keep my home stocked with enough supply of my favourite brand of spring water.
    Taking medications may be challenging, be it reaction to some pill or vitamins or dextrose containing IV fluids. Have been through all the that hell and know it well. Fortunately, now in my mid forties and keeping healthy and don’t need any medications.
    In addition to my intolerance to gluten and corn, I get severe inflammation from ragweed exposure or ragweed cross-sensitivity from lettuce, zucchini, cantalope and watermelon, and certain brands of spinach (not my home grown). It is well documented that ragweed protein can be carried by water and picked up by other fruits and vegetables. Based on my preference of certain kind of water, I believe that allergen proteins are probably ubiquitously present in today’s drinking water supplies as the disinfectant being used is Chloramine rather than Chlorine like many years ago (does not mean I support use of Chlorine). Chloramine is probably not very effective against very small quantities of allergen proteins in drinking water supplies and therefore I am unable to tolerate water from certain towns or cities. Spring waters (CG Roxane, evian etc.) go well with me.

    The following rules apply to me when I am alone in far away places like mountain trails etc:
    1. If I did not cook it then I will not eat it.
    2. Staying hungry won’t kill me and so bear with it until I get safe food.
    3. Fresh fruits and unsalted nuts can be of great help.
    4. Always keep supply of my own roasted or trusted sources of coffee and chocolate which I pack into dipping bags made from trusted coffee filter paper and cotton fibre thread.
    5. Live life to the fullest and enjoy each day as if it is the best gift.

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