Are you looking for the Master List of Ingredients to Avoid? It can be found here: http://go.livecornfree.com/list

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Corn Allergy Wallet Cards ~ Now Available for Download

Corn Wallet Card Would you like a Wallet Card containing a list of ingredients commonly derived from corn?

Many of you are probably familiar with "the list" and you know it's long, and difficult to memorize when you are new to the Corn Allergy Community.

In addition to using this card while you shop and read labels, consider carrying this card as part of your Medical Alert program. If you wear a bracelet, a note of "See Wallet Card" should be sufficient.

Corn Wallet Card Warnings
The inside of the card contains the most common ingredients derived from corn, but, it does not contain all of them. After agonizing over trying to fit all of the ingredients I know on a single wallet-sized piece of paper, this is what I will be using.

Corn Wallet Card Ingredients
The card is available as a free download, within Google Docs (PDF Format). The Google Docs web address for this document is unbearably long, so you can access it using this short link: http://bit.ly/corncard.

Print the file, fold on the center line, trim the edges, and fold in half again. You will now have a handy dandy list the size of a traditional business card!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Dear Beekeeper, Are Your Honey Bees Corn-Free?

Honey Bee As addressed in a previous post, corn syrup is commonly fed to bees as supplemental feeding to help them live through the winter. Although Agave is a decent alternative to honey on occasion, I must admit, I prefer honey!

Bees by nature are corn-free creatures, and their honey and beeswax would be corn-free if they were left to their natural devices. I have spoken to beekeepers in my local area and have struck out where it comes to finding corn-free bees. However, I recently learned about a very cool group of people known as the Backwards Beekeepers (based in Los Angeles, California) who are interested in keeping bees – the natural way.

Out of hope for more people and groups like the Backwards Beekeepers, I’d like to put out a Call to Action, as I search for Corn-Free Honey, and Corn-Free Beeswax.

If you are a beekeeper who practices similar beekeeping methods to those of the Backwards Beekeepers (including healthy supplemental feeding), I want to connect! Specifically, I would like to know if you sell Corn-Free Honey and/or Beeswax. Do you sell in your local area, and, are you up to selling to areas that would require shipment?

As a beekeeper who sells Corn-Free Honey, or Corn-Free Beeswax, I will open the opportunity to list your business on The Corn-Free Guide. Many people like myself would like to know about you, and may be interested in buying – but we need help locating your corn-free goods!

To be listed in the Corn-Free Guide, please contact me and include the information below.
* Name:
* Email Address:
* Business Name:
* City, State:
* Willing to ship outside your local area, within the US? (yes/no):
* Business site or blog URL:
* Do you ever feed your bees corn syrup? (yes/no):
If you contact me with the above information, I will be in touch with you prior to listing your business in The Guide.

And to those of you brave enough to practice Urban Beekeeping - I am in awe! Thank you for all the work that you are doing to provide bees with a natural safe habitat!

Image Credit: aussiegall

Friday, July 2, 2010

Abita Beer has Corn-Free Options

Abita Beer A few weeks ago I had a very interesting and wonderful conversation with one of the beer crafters at Abita Beer. The representative I spoke to was not only knowledgeable about beer crafting in general, but also had detailed knowledge about Abita’s practices and procedures. He was also happy to talk to me at length to determine why I had unfortunately, had an allergic reaction to one of their beers. Out of all the hundreds of conversations I have had with companies over the last 8 months, that conversation sticks out in my mind. They have genuine interest in their customers and want their customers who enjoy their beer. Who could ask for more?

Abita Beer uses Louisiana sugar cane (instead of corn syrup) and does not use preservatives, additives, or stabilizers. All in all, it should be a relatively safe choice for those avoiding corn. Which is what made my situation a little confusing…

In the past I have successfully enjoyed Abita Turbodog Beer (no reaction) but didn’t get five minutes past the first sip of Abita Purple Haze before my eyelids began to swell. I even did a second test run a few days later (Purple Haze is very good beer, I had to be sure!) but indeed had another allergic reaction after just a few sips.
Abita Beer Turbo Dog
As it turns out, there is ascorbic acid in the Raspberry Puree that is added to Purple Haze. Bingo – that explained my allergic reaction. So what does this mean for Abita and a Corn-Free status? In my conversation with Abita I learned another place where corn may hide in beer production – something that Abita does NOT do. Often ascorbic acid is added during the final stage of beer bottling to act as an oxygen scavenger. The purpose of an oxygen scavenger is to consume the oxygen, allowing the beer to stay fresher longer as it travels to shopping store shelves and later to your refrigerator. Since Abita Beer does not add ascorbic acid to their beer, I have confidence that the majority of their beers will indeed be safe for those of us allergic to corn.

In the last few weeks I have tried another one of Abita’s beers, their Amber beer, and also returned to the safety of one of my all time favorites – Turbodog. Still reaction-free for those two beers. I have confidence that Abita brews good, pure beer, but I will stay away from their beers that contain added fruit such as Purple Haze, and their Strawberry Harvest.

For the time being, only Amber and Turbodog will be listed in The Guide, but others will be added as I learn they completely corn-free.

Cheers!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mind Your Beeswax: Corn's Hold on Honey

Honey If you have swapped out Honey in exchange for artificial sweeteners in an attempt to avoid corn derivates, you may still be consuming corn.

Since you may not be eager to give up honey entirely, it is important to know how and why it may be contaminated, so you can ask questions that may help you find corn-free honey!

Corn may extend it’s reach to honey either by directly being added to the end result, as an unlabeled ingredient in the form of HFCS, or because HFCS is sometimes fed directly to honey bees.

Have you ever heard of eating local honey to help with your allergies? The idea behind this theory is that the honey will contain bits of pollen and with continued exposure you may become less allergic. That’s not really a topic to discuss here, other then the correlation that the bee consumes the pollen, and traces of pollen result in the honey.

Pollen will not be the only food source for a honey bee, and other foods consumed by the bee will result in the honey, just as the pollen does. It is common practice to provide supplemental food options to keep the bees alive during times when their natural food source is scarce. The “seasons” will differ depending on location, but the end result is the same. The beekeeper may provide a sugar syrup to the bees, and this sugar syrup could be one of many types of sugar, including High Fructose Corn Syrup.

HoneyBeeWorld.com, a source of information for beekeepers, explains the various options for supplemental feeding for honey bees. BeeSource.com provides test results that show they were able to detect that bees fed HFCS produce honey with traces of HFCS present.

Now, how can we go about finding corn-free honey? The answer is similar to finding other corn-free products. You must know your source. Simply buying a jar of honey at the grocery store won’t tell you if there are traces of HFCS in the honey. The only way to know for sure if your honey is corn-free, is to talk to the beekeeper.

Find a Farmer’s Market in your area, and talk to the local honey producers. You will want to know what season the bees are receiving supplemental feeding, and, what food source is provided. Not all beekeepers approve of feeding HFCS to the bees (the test results on BeeSource.com show bees live shorter lives when fed HFCS!) so this is not a blanket rule of how things are done. It is however how the commercial, larger companies are run.

Even though you may be able to obtain “safe” honey locally, you will likely want to avoid Honey as a labeled ingredient in food packages. It is as much of a catch-all ingredient as “Natural Flavors.”

The last question that remains is, should beeswax be avoided for the same reason? If you are an active label reader (and with a corn allergy, you should be), you will know that the majority of readily available lip products contain beeswax. Whether you use lip balm, lip gloss, or lip stick – beeswax will likely be involved. To this question, I have no definitive answer. I was unable to find concrete information about corn appearing in beeswax, largely because I think this has not been tested.

It makes sense that if corn appears in the honey, it will in the beeswax as well. If you would like to avoid using beeswax, you may want to look for Vegan cosmetic products because if an item is considered Vegan, it will not contain any byproducts from animals or insects. Of course this will just help you in your search to find items that do not contain beeswax. You will still need to verify all other ingredients are corn-free.
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