Saturday, September 4, 2010

In contemplating corn

In some ways corn has been both the easiest and the hardest of the monkey's allergies to contend with. Corn and corn syrup appear to be in just about everything that stands still including gluten free products as it is not one of the top eight allergens. Easy enough to eliminate right? Hmmm.

Everything I have read for making a gluten free bread says to use xanthan gum. So, after that first attempt at bread came out flat and hard as a rock I bought some from my favorite local store. Tried using it in some of my quick breads. Seemed to work pretty well. Then I was poking around the internet looking for new ideas for the monkey, and found that xanthan gum is CORN. Or at least a close relative of corn.

"Xanthan gum is considered a polysaccharide in scientific circles, because it is a long chain of three different forms of sugar. What's important to know is that all three of these natural sugars are present in corn sugar, a derivative of the more familiar corn syrup. The Xanthomonas campestris bacteria literally eat a supply of this corn sugar under controlled conditions, and the digestion process converts the individual sugars into a single substance with properties similar to cornstarch. Xanthan gum is used in dairy products and salad dressings as a thickening agent and stabilizer. Xanthan gum prevents ice crystals from forming in ice creams, and also provides a 'fat feel' in low or no-fat dairy products." (WiseGeek)

"Produced primarily from cellulose from corn or cabbage, xanthan gum functions similarly to gelatin in recipes with regards to stabilizing suspensions, but it is completely vegan and great for cooking and baking for persons with food allergies and restrictions, especially for those who are omitting dairy, eggs and soy from their diet." (

To say I am annoyed would be putting it mildly. I know corn isn't a top eight allergen. I truly get that corn is great for going gluten free. Now, I am wishing the monkey's corn allergy to farthest depths of the galaxy, and wondering what else I need to be watching out for to make sure we aren't getting any corn in his diet.


  1. Guar gum is a great sub for xanthan gum - and it's corn free. :)

  2. I have since discovered guar gum, but it isn't as widely touted as the xanthan gum. :)