Anyone who knows me very well knows that I need to avoid many common food items because they make me very sick. It is not a casual “I think I’ll stop eating snails” kind of thing. Perhaps the hardest for me has been corn. Sure I like the taste of corn bread, corn on the cob, and creamed corn. Giving it up isn’t without some severe nostalgia; however, the real difficulty lies in the pervasiveness of corn in the American diet.
Because of my relative success, many people have asked me for the guildelines I follow in eliminating corn from my diet. Beward – purging your diet of corn is not for the lazy or faint of heart. It takes an abundance of dedication, research, and perseverence. I believe it is worth it. In response to the questions, I have prepared for you my short list of corn avoidance rules. While written with a bit of humor to counterbalance the bitterness of the task, I am also being serious about what can be involved.
- Do not eat processed foods – not ever. If you feel you absolutely must eat something that comes in a package, don’t eat it if it contains an ingredient you cannot read or do now know what it is.
- Make everything from scratch so that you know what is in it. Even your common spice containers may be suspect.
- If you don’t have to peel it, chop it, or core it – eat with great caution.
- Put manifacturer’s phone numbers on speed dial. Plan to call the company before using almost anything in a box, can, or frozen food section. Remember, corn does not have to be labeled. The fact that it isn’t listed as an allergen on the package doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
- Never assume you know what is in the product you are ready to eat. Even powdered sugar has corn starch.
- If it is something that could stick together, but isn’t sticking, it probably has corn starch to prevent the sticking.
- If it comes in a pill/tablet – assume it has corn in it until proven otherwise. It should be listed on all medication package inserts and your pharmacist should be able to check it out as well. Unfortunately all of the ingredients in your medications don’t simply say corn. They will be called something else most of the time.
- Only buy supplements or vitamins that specifically state NO CORN. “No corn added” is not sufficient and is a real give away that there is probably corn. If it is supposed to be chewable it has to be sweetened with something. That something is often corn.
- Bottled spiced and herbs, condiments, sauces, and gravy are all suspect. Call the company or make your own.
- Deli meats almost all contain corn. Roast your own turkey, beef, or chicken at home and slice it thin. Think like a pioneer woman. Convenience does not exist. You need to pre-plan everything. If you do the planning, it can almost feel like convenience on some days.
- Buy a very nice insulated cooler/lunchbox and carry most of your meals with you. This is a place to make a good investment. If you happen to go somewhere that is corn safe, count your blessings and take your food back home for another day.
- Always carry corn-free snacks in your car, purse, briefcase, or pocket. Don’t be caught unprepared.
- If you are going to eat out, skip the condiments that are on the table. Tell your server that you would like to speak to the kitchen manager because you cannot eat corn. I have found most places to be very knowledgable and willing to feed me safetly. I carry a laminated card with me that lists my food allergies so that the kitchen can have it while preparing my food.
For people with serious corn allergy it gets even worse from here since many other things are also made from corn products, including plastic bottles we drink from. I have not become sick from a plastic bottle yet, but do try to stay away from them.
I know it sounds like a lot, but my philosophy is that it is a small price to pay to keep me feeling healthy.
I know that many people have developed the habit of starting the morning with the news, whether print or digital. That habit can have some merit since you can prepare for the weather, have the latest news to discuss with colleagues, or enjoy a chuckle if you are reading the comics. The downside is that you are also exposing yourself to all of the negativity that has accumulated in the world the night before. Have you ever wondered how reading about murder, theft, hunger, poverty, corruption, and deceit might impact your day?
I have found that I often start my day at a full sprint. I pop out of bed and fly through my morning performing tasks at superhero speed trying to get as many things done in as short a time as possible. Again, this has both positive aspects as well as hazards. When in sprint mode I can cross many things off of my to-do list and give the appearance to myself and others that I am amazingly efficient and effective. But at what cost? After this sprint to get things done I am usually too tired and too grumpy to enjoy the free time that I expected to have later. Truthfully, when in that mode I suspect that I’m not all that pleasant to be around either.
At different times in my life I have made the effort to exercise first thing in the morning. I got up very early and dedicated that time to riding my stationary bike. Most of the time I also had some positive attitude or personal growth CD playing in the background. The combination was fantastic. I know other people use yoga, meditation, spiritual study, prayer, or running as a way to get their day started in the right direction.
Other times, and prior to the time change (now sunrise comes after my work day begins), I took my dogs on a short walk to get some fresh air and exercise and to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery. They felt better. I felt better. That feeling persisted throughout my morning at work. Once darkness and black ice interfered with our early morning walks I began using inspirational CDs during my commute to gently lead my mind where I wanted it to go. Most mornings you will find me listening to Wayne Dyer, Anthony Robbins, or the Dalai Lama. I confess that during the Christmas holiday season (starting around Halloween for me) I listen to endless hours of Christmas music instead becauase I adore it.
I am trying to be more aware of my mindset at the beginning of my day and have noticed that when I do plan for a peaceful start that I have a more peaceful day. I can tell a difference in the way I feel about the world, myself, and the people I meet when I have made a conscious choice to start my day in this manner. It does take some planning and intention to manage my time in the morning so that this is possible. It is all too easy for me to just hit the floor running. But, much like the garbage in – garbage out metaphor in computing, peace in – peace out seems to be every bit as true.
Do you have a tendency to bury your head in the sand and try to ignore problems? If so, this tapping exercise from my upcoming book Unleash Your Primal Power: Totem Tapping for Health and Happiness might be just what you need to get started on a path of managing things more directly.
Begin tapping on the karate chop spot and use these words as your setup: Even though I would rather play the ostrich and stick my head in the sand, I deeply love and accept myself. Even though it feels like it would be easier to ignore my problems and hope they will go away on their own, I love, accept, and forgive myself. Even though I would prefer not to see the problem so that I don’t have to do anything about it, I accept the reality of my situation and accept all of me.
Side of Eye…Sticking my head in the sand
Under the Eye…Playing ostrich
Nose…Ignoring my problems
Collarbone…Hoping these problems will magically disappear
Under the Arm…Playing ostrich
Top of Head…I don’t really want to deal with this
Side of Eye…I know it doesn’t really work
Under the Eye…Playing ostrich
Nose…I have to pull my head out of the sand sometime
Collarbone…I might as well face it
Under the Arm…Playing ostrich
Top of Head…I can do it now
Take a deep breath and let it out. Notice what you feel. You are likely to need to repeat this several times or add your own words about playing ostrich and how it has shown up in your life. Drop me a comment and let me know how it worked for you.
I hate to admit this, but I tend to jump to conclusions. That’s not much of a surprise. In fact, my Myers Briggs personality type is INTJ. That J stand for Judging. Now in the Myers Briggs, judging does mean judgmental, but there are those tendencies.
This personality trait shows up frequently while driving. Recent a truck pulled out in front of me and I instantly thought, “wow, that is an odd color for a truck.” In a split second, and without much information, I made the assumption or jumped to the conclusion that the truck was a funky color. Upon closer inspection I noticed that the truck was actually covered with dirt and other evidence of an off-road adventure. Underneath all of that the truck appeared to be white – a very normal color.
So what – you might say. By itself this even had very little meaning. As I continued to ponder this I wondered how often I make snap judgments without all of the information. This also raised some other questions.
- When I do make snap judgments, am I open to additional information?
- How often are these judgments correct?
- Am I really not very observant?
- How do I take in more information?
- Would I benefit from slowing down by judgments?
I am a work in progress and plan to consider these questions more as I go through each day. Perhaps this is an issue that speaks to you too. How many snap judgments do you make? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
Presenting To Win: The Art Of Telling Your Story by Jerry Weissman is a fantastic book. I’m not sure what drew me to it since I am not necessarily in a position where I give formal presentations very often and frankly avoid using audiovisual aids if at all possible. Prior to reading this book I also couldn’t have told you what an IPO was and I’m not in an industry where I’m likely to give presentations to investors from multimillion dollar corporations. (At least not yet.)
I have given presentations though and they haven’t always gone the way I wanted them to. Now I know why. I’ve committed almost every one of the “cardinal sins” of presentation, both with and without A/V assistance. After reading this book, I feel much better prepared should I be called upon to give a presentation in the future. In fact, I’m almost hoping that a chance to put these principles into action presents itself.
I could also see many applications for the same information in other aspects of my personal and professional life. We are all “selling”, whether it be a product, an idea or concept, or a relationship. We want others to get it, to understand us, and we really want them to agree with us or take a desired action. The way that we communicate that is critically important to whether we achieve our goal. All of these corporate-tested presentation techniques have useful applications in many life areas if applied creatively.
The author practiced what he preached, and the use of the techniques was evident in the way he crafted the text, diagrams, and captions. Since I was reading on an older Kindle, some of the formatting wasn’t the best, but even with that said, the attention to detail and the use of great communication techniques was evident. I learned a lot – about presentations, about writing, about communication, and about myself.
Are you impressed with my French? Don’t be. Not only do I not speak French, I stink at mise en place. I watch many cooking shows. In fact, I’m somewhat addicted to them. I’ve heard Alton Brown and others preach mise en place. But do I practice it? NO!!! For example, one day I started putting together a great Tuscan Bean Soup but dumped the onions in the oil to saute long before I had even retrieved the garlic from the cupboard or the carrots from the refrigerator.
I’ve been pondering this personal deficit for a while now and it truly baffles me. I’m a person who makes lists. My daily schedule in on an Excel spreadsheet and I dutifully remove things as they are completed. Usually the tasks are even recorded in order. The list might include thawing meat for tomorrow’s dinner, or staging the items I plan to take to the office the next day. So my mise en place failure isn’t an inability to plan ahead.
I’m not a terribly patient person though. I can look patient, but on the inside I’m usually quite the opposite. I do find it hard to wait for the things I want or the activities I want to do. I’ve learned to cope with it though, so I can generally stay within a financial or time budget.
After reading an article about mise en place I think I may have found the answer. Mise en place can also be about attitude. If I fail to prepare my attitude or thoughts, the behavior is more erratic. I think this could be a lesson that far transcends the kitchen.
If you have a pre-cooking attitude adjuster that works for you…..please share.