Friday, April 12, 2013


Spring in my kitchen window! (Please ignore the filthy glass. Thank you.)
Oh, baby! The weather has finally warmed up, the world is starting to turn green again, and I feel GREAT!

Well, ok, I feel emotionally great, which is a pretty big deal. I don't know if it's all the vitamin D my skin has been soaking up this past week, but I just plain feel POSITIVE about life! My hormones were FAR more stable last month (NO PMS!) and last week we met with our soon-to-be next door neighbors. I'm so excited for them to move in at the end of the month! They have two little boys the same age as my goobs, and I foresee a little Lucy & Ethel style shenanigans in my own future...

I've also been able to get started on the garden. If you remember my tomato debacle last summer, you know that I have to break new ground in order to grow anything this year. In addition, my new eating habits have me buying GOBS of fresh vegetables. This is putting a huge strain on the food budget, so I'm hoping to ease that by growing some of my own.

There's another reason I'm growing my own veg this year. Over the last few weeks, I have come to realize that I am ridiculously sensitive to even minute traces of corn. The slightest amount causes joint inflammation, disorientation, headaches, and exhaustion.

My Arch-Nemesis... dang, that looks delicious.

If you think dairy and gluten are tough to avoid, wait til you try cutting out ALL corn. It's in EVERYTHING! Modified food starch, dextrose, citric acid... all of these ingredients are most likely derived from corn. Citric acid was an especially frustrating, although enlightening, find. I've known for a while that Hunt's Garlic & Herb tomato sauce affected me, but couldn't figure out why. The ingredients all looked clean. I started avoiding it and cooking with plain diced tomatoes or tomato sauce. Much to my confusion, I was STILL reacting to foods. Finally, two weeks ago, I realized that the ONE common ingredient (besides tomatoes, duh) was citric acid. Although it can come from other sources, in America it's typically made from corn! Since then I have scoured store shelves for a citric acid-free canned tomato product. Nothing. Even the organic brands boast a "naturally derived" citric acid, but I hardly trust that vague distinction. Looks like I'm going to have to can my own tomatoes in order to have a product I can trust.

As of that wasn't a big enough kick in the stones, just last week I found another product I can't have. I was getting a pretty big headache one day, despite eating nothing but pbj on grain free bread. The bread? Totally safe, I made it from scratch. Peanut butter? I only buy Krema brand, which has one ingredient. Jelly? It was my homemade apple peel jelly (still one of my favorites!). Let's see, the jelly had apple peels, tap water, white sugar, a small amount of spices and... pectin. Uh, oh. I checked a box of pectin, and sure enough, the first ingredient was dextrose, a corn-derived sugar. All those jellies and jams I canned up last summer? Can't have them. At all. After all the love and effort that went into them, this was seriously depressing. Thank GOD I also have apple butter, which does not contain pectin. It has become my one sweet treat.

Now, I know there are people who might be saying, "come on, the amount of corn that would actually be in an entire batch of jelly, never mind a jar, never mind a sandwich, can't possibly be affecting you!" If you're saying that, you're in good company, because even my dear, supportive Hubby is having trouble grasping just how sensitive I am. Some days, I worry that I look like a hypochondriac, even though there is no denying the physical effects I feel. I have eaten foods without carefully reading labels, and just by how I felt 15 minutes later I could tell you there was something in it I can't have. So, doubt me if you like, I would certainly do the same in your shoes, but my body is shouting loud and clear to lose ALL corn products.

There's always an up side!

On to more positive news, my sudden burst of positivity (and a clean kitchen) has me finally tackling the problem of an adequate diet. Cooking 100% grain and dairy free is a real challenge, especially when you have a normal-eating husband and two kids to feed as well. Virtually everything that passes my lips has to be made from scratch, and I'm even picky about what brand of chicken I buy. (many are injected with "broth" to enhance flavor, but there's no telling what's in the broth. My biggest question is, how lousy does the meat taste that you have to inject flavor?!) I am tinkering with quite a few recipes, and when I finally get the results I'm looking for I will be sharing them here. I'm also completely out of the habit of menu planning, and want to get back in to that.

Speaking of planning, I am also working on getting my household binder back up and running. I developed a pretty good system that, potentially, could work very well for me. It's going to take some effort, because my schedule is going to get very busy very soon. AC will finally be getting in to speech therapy, starting next week! I can't wait! Although he's much better than he was a year ago, he could still use the help. What I'm NOT looking forward to is the drive. Twice a week, an hour away. Yuck. I did find out that there's a Whole Foods very close to the therapy building, and since I've never been to one I think I'll be making a stop after AC's appointment. Mommy needs field trips, too!

Ok, enough chatter for today. Maybe next post I will get around to showing you my progress in the garden. To save money I am tilling up the whole thing by HAND! Not an easy task, but I am actually enjoying the exercise! I love SPRING!


  1. While i do not have such sensitivities... Im happy to see you figuring them out. I've gone to regular fast food places such as quiznos etc to get something vegetarian. Post consumption i feel sleepy, irritated, scritchy, and not happy. I'm with you, whole-heartily about making your own food from scratch. Albeit, my primary reason is quality vegetarian meals. :) -cloud

    1. Hello and welcome, Stay @ Home Gardener! Sleepy, irritable, and itchy most definitely sound like allergy/sensitivity symptoms to me, especially if they're pronounced enough for you to notice (the itching is a histamine response). I'm willing to bet it is due to a food additive if you only feel it when eating commercially prepared foods. Because so many foods are unsafe for me, I generally only eat food made by me, my awesome mom, or a fellow food sensitive friend. Too many variables otherwise. Oh, how I miss the convenience of Quiznos....