Thursday, August 19, 2010

Corn Woes

I freaking hate corn.
Seriously, it is in everything. Robbie still can't eat it. He does get some in small amounts, if it's towards the end of the ingredient list of something he will eat. But I really prefer things without it.

After we finally figured out that corn made him vomit more than a year and a half ago, I've been hoping he'd outgrow it. Several months ago, I tried adding Duocal to his food for extra calories and 9 days into it, he started vomiting blood again. Obviously he hasn't outgrown it.

When he would eat nothing, and then when he would only eat purees, corn was easy to avoid. But lately, he's had more interest in table food. Of course, those table food interests are limited. He still doesn't like anything with a wet texture. His diet isn't terribly unusual for an American toddler. I'd love for him to eat something with a little more nutrition in it, but at this point, I'm still just happy when he puts food in his mouth. So for now, he eats hot dogs, tater tots, pizza rolls, salmon or chicken nuggets, crackers and french fries.

Grocery shopping for me is complicated. I go from box to box, bag to bag, reading ingredients. Almost everything that is breaded contains corn meal, corn flour or corn starch. If it's sweetened, you can almost guarantee it's sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. It's maddening.

There are certainly things I can make at home. I can bread fish and chicken myself, for example. My culinary talents stop short of homemade pizza rolls. I might try my hand at homemade crackers one of these days. But mostly, I just keep looking for corn-free products.

It's frustrating because people, even those who should, don't take it seriously enough. Either they don't realize how rough corn is on Robbie's stomach or they don't realize how prevalent corn is. My dad is an amazing grandfather, truly. He loves Robbie so much and would do anything for him. Tuesday night, David had to work late, so my dad picked Robbie up from daycare. There was some confusion about getting into our house, so my dad took Robbie to his. He stopped and picked up a happy meal along the way. He called to tell me where they were and that he'd gotten Robbie some food. The problem? Chicken McNugget breading contains corn.

It's not just my dad, either. Friday night I called home and David informed me that Robbie was eating a Dorito. Doritos are corn chips. I am constantly feeling like the bad guy saying no, he can't have that.

This morning, Robbie seemed hungry and I wanted to give him something to hold him over until feeding therapy. I decided to try some cheerios. When I went to get some, I noticed David's box of chocolate cheerios and thought Robbie might like those. I had him a couple and he scarfs them down and asks for more. And more. And more. And more.

He probably ate 30 of them before I glanced at the box and realized they're made with corn flour. CURSES! I put the box away, trying to distract Robbie. He starts to cry because he wants them. Murphy's Law of childhood eating disorders: If your child will only eat one thing, it will be the one thing they shouldn't have.

I looked at the box of Honey Nut Cheerios and they're made with wheat flour, but contain corn starch. At least it wasn't the first ingredient, so I gave him a couple of those, hoping to at least minimize the damage. After a few of those, I managed to distract him with some corn-free crackers. I just have to hope the corn he ate doesn't make him sick enough to not eat again for a few days.

Now I guess I'll go try to find a corn-free knock-off version of chocolate Cheerios. Suggestions welcome.



Anonymous said...

I totally recommend going to your local health food store and looking through their stuff. You will probably be able to find WAY more things that Robby can eat - mac n cheese, cereals, cookies, crackers, chicken nuggets, pizzas, etc.

Anthony and Ashleys Mommy said...

I've started doing a gluten/casen free diet with Anthony. Not 100% strict but we are cutting out a lot of things in his diet. There is a huge selection of these foods in our grocery store (pavillions) might be something to look into if you are trying to get away from corn syrup.

ggop said...

Target has Happy Baby Puffs. But they aren't as sweet as Cheerios.

Trish said...

Thanks guys. The trouble with a lot of "healthy" options are billed as "all natural." Which corn obviously is.

I am going to visit Whole Foods & maybe Trader Joes this weekend (we don't have either close, but both are within an hour's drive) and see what I can find.

ggop, he does like puffs, but they hae almost no calories at all. I mean, it's great that he'll eat them, but if I could find something with a little more oomph, I'd be happier.

Maureen said...

I think Chocolate Chex are made with their Rice Chex. I know their Cinnamon Chex are made without corn (I have some of those upstairs). I think their Strawberry Chex are also corn free (when I was trying to look online, all of their ingredient list were old, so I couldn't tell).

Puffin brand and EnviroKids have some good options for cereals as far as allergies are concerned. I know one of them had a cereal I could eat when I was corn free.

I'm always gluten free. My first son couldn't tolerate soy or dairy in my diet when he was really little. It was a pain. My second son couldn't tolerate corn in my diet. The last thing that he could tolerate was corn syrup in my diet. Gluten free/corn free was by far more difficult than gluten/soy/dairy free (which was no joy either).

PS Carnation Instant Breakfast is cheaper if you buy it at Sam's Club around here vs anywhere else I've found
PPS If you find corn free things but they are hard to find in stores, try Amazon. Generally if you buy more than $25 it will be free shipping.

ggop said...

I didn't know there were such less calories. We are desperately trying to work with my son on eating things like rice krispies, puffs anything which melts in the mouth. (Texture and gag problems)

Whole Foods is a good place for people with allergies. I definitely found rice crackers there for a child with wheat and soy allergies. But not sure about the calorie count.

Trish said...

That's great to hear about Whole Foods, ggop. I'll make it my first stop.
I wish I had some advice for things that melt easily. Robbie did okay with Baby Mum-Mums (you can get those at Walmart) but never really loved them.
Have you tried veggie sticks? Robbie really likes those (except the white ones. Ha!) They don't have much in the way of calories, either, but he does like them. They melt pretty easily and I think Robbie likes the cheap of them. They're easy to hold and gnaw on.

They're made out of potato. I'll check the package when I get home to see if they have wheat in them, but I don't think they do.
They also make apple cinnamon sticks. We can't have those because they are corn & rice flour combined. But if you can do corn & rice, they might be an option as well.

You are making me count my lucky stars. I was dairy free for a while during Robbie's first year (before we figured out that it was corn, the docs kept insisting it was milk) and that sucked. But corn was harder. Robbie couldn't tolerate it in my diet either. For me, the worst was no high fructose corn syrup. EVERYTHING is sweetened with it. It's nuts.

I could still eat okay because I'm not so picky about food. I just had to cook more and not rely on packaged foods (better for all of us.) But with a kid who basically eats 5 things, it gets challenging!

And we do get our CIB at Sam's! Thank God it's not made with corn. I was disappointed when the duocal had such a crappy impact on him. I thought we were going to be using Good Start formula for the rest of our lives. CIB is *so* much cheaper.

Abbey said...

I feel your pain. Max can finally tolerate corn but still can't do wheat, soy or dairy.

Rice Chex are a good alternative. I haven't checked the chocolate because M can't have them. Milk.

I second Whole Foods. They have a much larger selection than Trader Joes. I have spent hours there. Seriously Hours. Some Dierberg's have a pretty good selection. You just have to check from store to store.

There is a brand called Ian's that has a lot of allergy friendly kids foods. There are free of the 8 major allergens. Corn isn't one but they do have somethings (fish sticks) that are corn free. You can read the ingredients online. Max loves their Gluten Free/Casein Free Chicken Nuggets.
Good Luck!

ggop said...

Thanks Trish. In our case we have fine motor delays + refusal to put anything in his mouth + texture and gag issues. I think moms like won't be surprised at this whacky combo :-)

Oh I just checked two days ago for you. 365 brand had some varieties without corn. I just checked Trader Joe's variant and it lists modified corn starch in the first five ingredients. So save the gas and go to Whole Foods and stock up.

Amy said...

I so feel your pain. I find corn somewhat harder to avoid than wheat! For cereal, we do Rice Chex or Oatios (both wheat-free and corn-free) but honestly, the Oatios don't taste that great. They might be worth a try. They're plain though; the same brand makes flavored versions but they have corn (and, I think, wheat) in them.
I really wish we had Whole Foods or Trader Joe's in town! We have an Earth Fare downtown and it's not bad, but SO much of their wheat-free stuff had corn in it. If you find anything, definitely let me know! (I have a few other GF moms among my friends but you're the only other corn-free mom I know of!)

kcoleman said...

Have you tried Benecalorie? It does have milk in it so I'm not sure if it would work out for Robbie or not.
And yeah, Whole Foods is awesome! My sons dietician suggested their olive bar since they are high in fat but healthy too. Just a few thoughts...

Elizabeth said...

I definitely found rice crackers there for a child with wheat and soy allergies. But not sure about the calorie count.

Deep Thinker said...

For cereals, have you checked cocoa rice krispies or cocoa pebbles? I know the main ingredient is rice, but I'm not sure if they have corn in them.