"God showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand… and it was round as a ball. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought: 'What can this be?' And it was generally answered thus: 'It is all that was made.' It was so small I thought it might disappear, but I was answered... everything has being through the love of God." --Julian of Norwich

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Life with corn allergy

I’ve been living with symptoms of corn allergy for about 10 years now, and I’ve known about the allergy for five.  I thought you might like an update and description of what this means for my daily life.

Even though I know that it’s corn that seems to trigger my migraine headaches and tummy issues and even though I’ve finally hit good rhythms of simple corn-free cooking and baking, I still get the headaches regularly.  It’s not usually from consciously “cheating”—eating something that I don’t know whether I should eat or that I know I shouldn’t eat.  I’ve found enough substitutes and gotten enough headaches from trying things I shouldn’t that (with a few exceptions) I don’t even miss the foods I’ve had to give up.

And I’ve had to give up a lot.  If you’re curious about the details, I have made up a Google doc of the foods I consider unsafe and safe.  I’ve had to give up most conventional foods with milk, flour, vegetable oils, baking powder, vanilla, brown sugar, and most things that come from cans. 

Corn-allergy is tricky because unlike Gluten allergy or other allergies none of the foods listed above have to have corn or even should have corn in them, it’s just a cheap additive in the preservatives or vitamins or colourings.  People look at you a bit sideways when you claim that there is corn in milk.  Or regular flour or oil, why should they be contaminated?  And why should a tiny bit of contamination matter?

But matter it does.

I have a bit of a headache today in fact.  And though I can make some blind guesses, I’m not exactly sure what triggered it, and I’m past the point of agonizing over it or blaming myself.  I do my best and stuff happens.  That’s a good life lesson that this whole experience has taught me.  In our world today we like to know who or what to blame for everything.  But I’ve found that sometimes there are just accidents beyond our control.  I’m making peace with that.

Another good thing I have learned form my allergy is how to cook.  Five years ago when I found out about my allergy, my cooking skills were limited.   I lived mostly on prepared foods/frozen foods/box mixes/canned soups, etc.   I’ve been on such a journey of falling in love with food and cooking and baking. 

For a long time I’ve found it hard to start all over again in this area of life.  I resented the hard work that it is to make everything (EVERYTHING!) from scratch.  I was hungry a lot (especially through my first pregnancy and breastfeeding).  But I’m finally falling into good rhythms of enjoying the work I do in the kitchen. 

There are some things that I still miss dearly.  I miss convenience foods like the comfort of just ordering pizza or popping into McDonalds.  I miss the classic corn foods like cornbread, tortilla chips, and most of all a big bowl of popcorn (I used to rate it as one of my favorite foods).   I miss being able to easily participate in church lunches or others hospitality.

But I am grateful.  Knowing about my allergy has helped me feel much better and eat much healthier.  I know Clint, Lucy, Julianne and I are much healthier for it. 

But when I get my resurrection body, the first thing I want to do with Jesus is make a big, huge buttery bowl of popcorn.  And I think this ache for the great renewal to come is a pretty healthy thing too. 

Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Do you have any questions for me about corn allergy?  What in your life makes you long for Jesus’ return and our resurrection bodies?  Leave me a comment 

***edit: I forgot the link to the Google Document!  If you're curious, you can find it by clicking here.**** 

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