Taking On Corn

Phase One Operation Feel Better involves eliminating corn and soy from my diet. This week I have been obsessed with corn. Every since I saw Food, Inc and read Eating Animals and now King Corn, it has been on my mind. Now that I know I’m allergic to corn, it has become the primary source of my frustration. Corn is in absolutely everything. This is not a joke or an exaggeration.

The picture above is just a small sampling of the things that contain corn. This is in no way an exhaustive illustration. Allow me to explain exactly why they have all been ousted from my cabinets:

  • The frosting contains confectioners’ sugar. Confectioners’ sugar contains cornstarch.
  • The creamer (I know it’s an evil Nestle product, my mom left it here) contains mono- and di- glycerides. Mono-, di-, and tri- glycerides are all made from corn.
  • Refried beans contain soybean oil and yeast.
  • Ketchup contains high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup.
  • The popcorn is pretty obvious.
  • The vegan spread, which I have used a lot on this blog, contains a “natural oil blend” that includes soybean oil. “natural flavor” that is derived from corn, soy lecithin.
  • The ah-so sauce contains corn syrup, modified cornstarch, and hydrolyzed corn protein.
  • Most conventional extracts contain corn syrup.
  • Baking powder contains cornstarch.
  • The mayo contains soybean oil and eggs.

Additionally, anything made with the following ingredients is made with corn:

  • Any meat marked “grain fed” contains corn. Livestock is fed a corn-based grain mixture to help the animals yield the most amount of meat. Cows eat grass, not corn.
  • Sorbitol – a chemical commonly found in toothpaste
  • Dextrose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltitol
  • Monosodium glutamate aka MSG
  • Barely malt
  • Barley malt extract
  • Added Niacin
  • Carmel Color
  • Vegetable oil

I could go on, but I won’t. Corn is a super crop that is cheap to grow, easily modified, and sold in mass quantities to manufacture a great deal of the items in conventional grocery stores.

I am not telling you all of this so that you’ll feel sorry for me. On the contrary, this post is meant to educate you. It’s meant to make you sit up and take notice of what’s in your food. Knowledge is power. As Jason Carney says in a poem of his that I so dearly love, “Knowledge cures ignorance. If you’re in the know, be fucking contagious.”

This is my attempt at being contagious.

For more information, please see The Center for Science in Public Interest‘s post on Food Additives.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Michael says:

    If you check, you will find that corn is a grass. The most common way cows eat corn is not as grain, but as a chopped up corn stalk, they eat the whole plant.
    Cows can and do eat more than grass. They like clovers and alfalfa which are legumes (like peas and beans). They also will eat fruit like apples. In dry areas ranchers burn the spines off of the prickly pear cactus for cattle to eat, its a great source of food for cows.
    Grain fed may not be corn fed. Canada and Europe are too far north to grow much corn. They feed their cows barley and wheat.
    Feeding corn, barley or wheat grain to cows is giving them concentrated starch much like you get when you eat bread. Ruminants (cows, sheep, goats, etc) have evolved to be able to use the more complex carbohydrates that make up the plant stems. In the end they are converted to starch and then simple sugars just as grain is.
    So please drop the “Cows are made to eat grass” rant. They can and do eat a lot more than grass, and remember, corn is a grass.

    1. cooktivism says:

      Ugh huh. What are they fed on farms that produce or grow cows? I know what they are capable of eating. The question is: WHAT IS THEIR PRIMARY SOURCE OF FEED ON FARMS THAT PRODUCE COWS FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION?

      Either way, I don’t eat cows and I don’t eat corn. One eats the other and I don’t eat either. Thanks for the info, Minnesota Farmer.

      1. Michael says:

        What cows eat depends on where they are. Either way, the statement cows are supposed to eat grass is wrong. Cows eat many kinds of plant material. If the cow grows up in corn country it will eat primarily the chopped up corn stalk. If it grows up in range land it will eat what ever is out on the range. Cattle grown in areas where corn is not grown eat what ever is available. Many cows never get corn of any kind. The answer is not simple.
        If you eat meat of any kind you could be eating corn raised meat. Some cage raised fish are eating corn now. It’s a good source of the starch plant eating animals need.

      2. cooktivism says:

        Thank you for the added information. I am aware that whatever meat I choose to eat may have been fed with corn. My allergies are severe and I want to feel better, so I have made the conscious decision to stop eating meat. I really appreciate the lesson on what cows eat. Do you have a farm where you raise grass-fed cattle? This is a fascinating topic to me.

  2. Nicole says:

    I will die if I eat corn , I carry an Epi-pen 24-7 . I would appreciate full disclosure. I’m trying allergy shots when my allergist finishes doing more testing. I just want the truth!

    1. Michael says:

      Sorry to hear that. Farm groups are working to get that disclosure you want. We want healthy customers for what ever crop we raise.

  3. nandoism says:

    great piece! I also saw Food, Inc and I want to now support the small farmer!

  4. cooktivism says:

    Thanks for the comment, Nando! There are some farms in my area. I am sure you’d be able to find some closer to you. There’s actually an awesome food co-op in Park Slope, Brooklyn. http://foodcoop.com/

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