What do you mean I can’t eat polenta?

Imagine my surprise, to find out that 80% or more of what I had been eating all of my life, I was allergic to…The doctor laughed at me after I got upset over being allergic to corn.  He said, “Most people cry when they find out they can’t have chocolate.  You were upset over polenta!”

Of course, as time went on, and I began to research corn a bit, I discovered that it isn’t just the allergy factor.  Corn, because of the way it’s been genetically modified poses a problem.  Corn is cheap to reproduce, and it’s in EVERYTHING!  Our cattle, chickens, hogs, and even our cats and dogs eat it… and in the form of corn syrup, it’s actually cheaper to use that sugar.

However…cheaper is not always better.  Perhaps the old saying, “You get what you pay for” is true.  Nutritionists claim that obesity, which is currently a rising epidemic in the U.S. has been affected by corn and all of its modifications.  By the way… it’s also affecting the quality of the meat; it’s become fattier.

According to Time Magazine, “From 1972 to 2002, the amount of sugar and syrup produced annually per American grew 21%, from 104 lbs. to 126 lbs., according to the Department of Agriculture. In that same time period, the percentage of syrup sweetener in that total grew from less than 1% to nearly 50%.”

Ouch!

Dr. Mercola would have to agree.  He says, “Pundit George Will has joined the ranks of those who have noticed that the U.S. government’s treatment of corn is wrecking the health of Americans…Rates of chronic diseases like cancer and Type 2 diabetes are much higher today than they were in 1900. Type 2 diabetes is a $100 billion a year consequence of, among other things, obesity related to a corn-based diet. Four of the top 10 causes of American deaths — coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer – have well-established links to diet as well.”

Of course, since I am allergic to corn, this should have no barring on me… Yet, it’s taken years for me to “try” and wean myself off of corn, and to be truthful, I still have not completely accomplished this, but I am working on it, and I have lowered my intake of corn products radically.  The greatest offender is corn tortillas. I live in Southern, California, and they’re hard to avoid. However, I do not eat any product that has high fructose corn syrup, especially with the absolute understanding that this ingredient is wrecking the health in America.

Think about it:  We are eating products that raise our insulin levels at every meal.  When I was eating “Italian,” even though “sugar” was not a common part of my everyday diet, so many things that I ate became sugar when broken down in my body.  For example:  pasta, bread, cereals, rice, polenta, potatoes, etc.  The carbs in some foods (mostly those that contain simple sugars and highly refined grains, such as white flour and white rice) are easily broken down and cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly.  The foods to avoid are mainly empty carbohydrates including all white flour breads, pasta, white rice, anything made with white sugar, corn syrup, or high fructose, processed foods like boxed or prepackaged foods, foods with no or low fiber, fruit juice with added sugar, condiments with added sugar, sugary cereals and regular soda. The two vegetables that have the highest glycemic index are potatoes and corn. Most foods that are packaged like frozen dinners and canned foods have fillers like corn starch, sugar and carbohydrate-based preservatives.

It’s interesting that for the past few years, health practitioners have been encouraging people to eat according to the Glycemic index, which measures the effect that carbohydrate consumption has on blood sugar levels.

After reviewing my eating habits for most of my life, it is no small wonder as to why I’ve developed some health issues, beginning with food allergies.  In an recent article on WebMD, it says, “A food allergy occurs when your immune system responds defensively to a specific food protein that is not harmful to the body…The first time you eat the offending food, your immune system responds by creating specific disease-fighting antibodies (called immunoglobulin E or IgE). When you eat the food again, the IgE antibodies spring into action, releasing large amounts of histamine in an effort to expel the “foreign invader” from your body. Histamine is a powerful chemical that can affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin or cardiovascular system.”

So, essentially, I compromised my immune system with the foods that I grew up eating, and it’s no wonder that I’m currently rethinking Italian!
“He who enjoys good health is rich, though he knows it not.” Italian Proverb –OH THE IRONY!

Sources:  http://www.ehow.com/about_4603110_foods-diabetic-should-avoid.html

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/04/04/corn-is-making-the-us-unhealthy.aspx

http://www.webmd.com/allergies/food-allergies

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4 responses to “What do you mean I can’t eat polenta?

  1. I’ve been good to my cats and feed them well – nothing with corn as a main ingredient. It’s more expensive for me, but they deserve the best I can give them for nutrition since I am their caregiver. I care about their health, more than my own perhaps. I try to avoid too much corn myself, but it’s in a lot of human food too, even if indirect ways. Yes, well said, and the corn diet is not a healthy one for humans either. I look at labels and try to limit myself too. Thanks for bringing attention to this and it’s worth thinking about.

  2. When I had a dog, I did the same, in fact he was on a dried food/raw meal plan, which is significantly more expensive. It is so much better for our animals, which only stands to reason that its much better for us humans as well. Corn, though yummy is definitely an issue for both human and animal consumption, and needs to be monitored… be sure. It’s good that you read labels and watch your intake. Thank you for posting this and sharing your experience too. 🙂

  3. “With most people it’s chocolate but with you it’s polenta.” I had to laugh with that one but I certainly know the feeling. It’s the same for me. While I love chocolate, I dream of raviolis in alfredo sauce.

    I also grew up eating alot of corn tortillas and have now had to switch to multi grain or wheat. They do not deliver the same taste but they are edible and something I eat quite often now in place of bread which has a multitude of ingredients, including sugar that I have to avoid.

    I however, never realized that corn is essentially in everything we eat. All of this is an eye opener for me.

    Again, a great post, Carla.

    • Thanks again for your comment Joanne… You know, it is rather comical, I suppose… or rather my response to finding out I am allergic to corn. It’s been a death of so many things familiar, yet what’s the point in eating things that are making me sick? There is none.

      It’s hard to grow up anywhere in California and not eat corn tortillas. I have not fully let go of those yet, but my intake is much, much lower. YES, corn is literally in EVERYTHING. If you go down the isles in a grocery store and begin to read many of the labels, you’ll be shocked at the amount of things that have some derivative of corn in them, beginning with high fructose corn syrup.

      Thanks again for your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed this post. 🙂

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