Giving up the foods that make you sick is not that hard, it is not like a diet where you crave things that can enjoy again. You have a huge incentive, and lots of negative conditioning, to avoid foods that that on a "lucky" day, when you stop the reaction quickly, just make you itchy, puffy, wheezy, and nauseous and on a bad one make your throat swell shut. The particular issue with a corn allergy is that almost everything prepared falls away. If it has citric acid or zanathan gum (or any of the 180+ common ingredients made from corn) it contains corn and, unfortunately, I do react, that means simple things like a bottle of unsweetend iced tea (citric acid) have fallen away .
The other things that fall away are places that are not safe. For me that means places that are corn-y, like movie theaters, amusement parks, outdoor festivals, places that have corn containing chemical and perfumes like most malls and a lot of stores. Good thing my allergist had told me the story about his patient, or I wouldn't have had a clue as to why I was reacting to "smells."
Places I don't go anymore, because I don't want to get sick:
- The Body Shop; Bed, Bath & Beyond (too many corn-y fragrances) and similar stores
- Department stores in the mall (except for one high risk foray)
- Movie Theaters, except the drive-in on cool nights when I can keep the windows up
- Street Fairs & Festivals where popcorn and nachos are sold
- Concert venues where popcorn/nachos are sold -- just missed a great concert at Red Rocks :(
- Amusement parks
- Cleaning products aisle of the grocery store, I basically shop in the produce and dairy isle
- Target -- they sell popcorn inside the front door
- Waiting rooms of car dealerships, service stations etc, they tend to be full of fragrance
- Whole Foods after 9pm, even their green cleaning products have corn and cleaning happens in the evening
- Hair Salons & Spas -- I haven't had a haircut in over a year, after I had a reaction at the Avada salon (yes, their eco-friendly products have corn)
- I try to avoid Wal-Mart on general principle, but on the rare occasions I have to go into the store, I have a very short life span; the amount of chemicals in the air gives me about 15 min. before I start to react
- Outdoor activities where people are using lots of bug spray (corn, corn and more corn)
- Places with poor ventilation and people wearing lots of perfume so that means no:
- dance performances
- fancy restaurants (not that we go to a lot of restaurants)
- Most restaurants, of course (there are 2 safe places in our town)
- Cafes that only use corn plastic cups (they are not as stable or hypo-allergenic as their manufacturers claim, I react to them and other corn allergic people on the Avoiding Corn Delphi Forum report similar reactions)
- Swimming pools and hot tubs (wheezing and full body hives, yuck)
- Gyms, heath clubs (all the sanitizers and air fresheners)
- Homes of friends who use air fresheners or a lot of perfume (it is really embarrassing to run out of someone's house in the middle of a reaction)
- Laundry rooms, laundromats -- Bounce dryer sheets are full of corn, I assume the other versions are as well, at least Bounce lists its ingredients.
What has fallen away for you? Do you mind or is the trade off worth it? What do you factor in?
For me it usually comes down to whether the event is worth the negative consequences of the smallest possible bad outcome; a minor Benadryl coma, feeling like a dying slug for the next day or two. The things on my list are not worth the negative outcome for me. I'll take risks for big things like a family wedding, but not for little things that are just for a brief amusement. Those are the things that have fallen away.