Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Corn Free

I love corn. When I was a kid, when the white "silver queen" sweet corn would come in, I remember having meals that were nothing but corn because we all loved it so much. There were very few weird meals like that coming from my mom's kitchen. The exceptions were apple dumplings, waffles, and corn. So that tells you how special corn is to my family and to me.

So it was with great sadness when I tried to reintroduce corn into my diet after eliminating it to test for food sensitivities, and found that I can't eat it. I mean I really can't eat it. Within a minute of eating a corn chip my stomach turned, I felt nauseous, and I didn't want any more. I said to myself, well, maybe I had a little too much to drink last night (it is the holidays) and I am just a little off. I went to put another corn chip in my mouth and it hung there in my hand in midair because my body wouldn't let me eat it. I could not make my arm put it in my mouth. I kid you not.

I have told this story a few times now and have heard varying reactions to it. My opthamologist thought it was funny and believed me. Dr. Kracher is awesome, by the way, if you need an opthamologist. He said, "I really think there is something to this, and I think you are halfway there." And he switched me to preservative-free contact lens solution because the stuff I was using was making my eyes itchy- he said probably an autoimmune reaction. And I think he was right, because my eyes don't itch now. My dad, on the other hand, said it was psychosomatic and weird, and he looked at me funny. I said, "maybe it is, but I can't eat corn anymore, and that's an autoimmune problem."

I had a similar but worse reaction when trying to eat dairy again. I made a mushroom pate and put some of my favorite cow goat cheddar in it from CapriKorn farms. I had such a bad reaction to eating it that my tongue and lips burned. I thought, "maybe that's not the dairy. Maybe that's something else." I went to pick up the package so I could eat a slice of cheese, and I felt an electric shock go through my arm to my hand, and I dropped it. Now I know that there is nothing wrong with that cheese because it is awesome. It is me.

Other foods have caused me minor issues. Scallops turned my stomach over, but I ate them. Same with tuna fish in mayo. Sugar turns my stomach if I eat more than a few bites of something sweet.

Now that I am feeling better, I have actual reactions to foods, rather than living in a murk that is better or worse from day to day. I am so profoundly better that I am like a totally different person. So my hunch was right. Some foods trigger me to have autoimmune reactions that cause the narcolepsy symptoms. I don't know if this is because I am atypical, or if there is a dietary relationship with this disease the way there is between celiac and wheat; that is my instinct, since both diseases have the same genetic marker.

Sometimes I eat something, and I don't know what it is, but it hits me like a land mine. I started out assuming that if there weren't any obviously bad ingredients in a food for me, I could eat it. Now I assume the opposite, and find that I can only really eat the food I cook myself- or go to places that are obsessed with food purity. Food is so adulterated, I have discovered, and there are so many things that it is adulterated with; it makes me think that instinctively I turned to local foods more and more because they are not processed.

Today I got up at 5:45 on my own, which never happened to me in my life before I started eating this way a little over a month ago. I was taking the dog for a walk, and I thought about how many people out there are like me and just don't know it. I also thought that if all of these people knew this about themselves and acted on it, there would be a much greater market for primary rather than processed foods, a lot more pressure on the factory farming industry, and a lot less pollutants in the environment. There would also be a lot more healthier people.

I told the Naturopathic Doctor (Steven Sinclair) about my reaction to dairy and he said it was highly unusual. I am okay with that. I feel deeply normal now, more than I ever have been. I feel unstoppable.



Jessica Martiele said...

That is FASCINATING. According to what we know about the typical Western diet, and the sensitivities you have, it sounds like your body is protesting fake versions of food! I look forward to reading more when you have future run-ins! Thanks!

Chelsea said...

I agree - utterly fascinating, but what a process! I'll be curious to hear how you get on with all the holiday eating this year also. It's just so incredible the effects certain things can have on a body... Thanks for sharing your experiences - really.