My Corny Story and Silver Linings

I’ve thought about it for a while and it’s time to share my allergy story with you and how it was the genesis of the Creating Silver Linings site. So as all good stories start…

In the Beginning

In elementary school I noticed that every time I entered a classroom with a lot of chalk dust, my eyes watered, my nose ran and my arms broke out in hives where they touched the desk. So I determined that I was allergy to chalk.

Jillian & Winkey
Jillian & Winkey on day one

In my early 20s, I noticed the same symptoms when I was around my cat. I really loved that cat but I was starting to notice a pattern. I was allergic to chalk and cats. The only thing they had in common was the letter “C”…or so I thought at the time. It turns out they had corn starch in common. (There’s corn starch in clumping kitty litter.) In my early 30s, I was diagnosed with only one “C” allergy and it was corn.

“True” Corn Allergy

The full ramifications of the diagnosis didn’t come easy or quickly. My allergy doctor did several series of skin prick tests and the only thing that came up was corn. She kept trying me on different antihistamines and they weren’t working. As they were prepping me for the last skin prick test, the doctor came in waving a bunch of small strips of paper—the ones that come with medicine samples telling you all the stuff they can’t fit on the box. She told me that all the antihistamines she had prescribed to me up to that point had corn starch in them. I was having allergic reactions to my antihistamines! Someone call Alanis Morissette. I’ve discovered the quintessential definition of irony.

My doctor was so excited because she’d never met anyone with a true corn allergy and now she could write a paper. I wasn’t nearly as excited. She was able to find one antihistamine that didn’t use corn starch as a filler—Hydroxyzine. I’ve been taking it since that day.

Jillian & Winkey
Apparently Winkey loved me too!

I got my cat back from my sister, bought corn-free kitty litter, and got on with my life. It took several years and additional allergies before I realized the enormity of life changes I’d need to make to live with food allergies.

Yeast, Mold, and Fungus: 3 of the 4 Horsemen of My Apocalypse

In 2007, I unknowingly developed a severe mold allergy and spent three years taking 18 rounds of antibiotics for a sinus infection that wouldn’t go away. In case you’ve forgotten, antibiotics are made from mold. Again with the irony!

It was only in 2010, I start researching for myself. My health was at rock bottom. I had no energy, I was constantly battling sinus infections, and my weight was at an all-time high. I finally found an allergy doctor that knew her stuff. She recommended a book to me called Hormones, Health, and Happiness by Steven F. Hotze, MD and put me on an anti-candida diet. Everything in the book was spot on. The allergies had worn down my system so much that I had leaky gut, adrenal fatigue and my hormones were way out of whack.

Anti-Candida Diet

I dutifully followed the diet but I was pissed off. I thought I was going to have to live on poached chicken and steamed vegetables for the rest of my life. Ugh!

As I removed all the allergic triggers in my environment and replaced them with foods I could have, my health dramatically improved. I lost 100+ pounds and the sinus infections went completely away.

Things that I wasn’t even trying to improve, improved. My skin looks better than ever, which is a good thing because corn-free cosmetics are near impossible to find, limited in palette, and expensive. My hair is healthy and shiny all because I don’t wash it with commercial shampoos and conditioners and I don’t use chemical dyes on it. I’ve come to call these things silver linings. They’re the perks I received because I was forced to change my life due to allergies.

Creating Silver Linings

Eating an allergy-free diet necessitated that I also start cooking from scratch. The poached chicken and steamed vegetable life was a non-starter as far as I was concerned. I started following several gluten-free recipe blogs. (I have yet to find a dedicated corn-free recipe site, so I made one!) I have been modifying gluten-free recipes to fit into my ACD diet ever since. Friends and family that don’t have allergies started hounding me for my recipes. To be blunt, this site was built originally just to stop the nagging! LOL.

As I started working on the site, I realized I had a lot more to share with other allergy sufferers than recipes. I want to give you hope. Four years ago, I desperately needed to know that life would get better. I needed to know not only that I could make and eat delicious food, but that I could find a practical way to fit all the home cooking into my lifestyle. I needed to know I could find alternative health care practitioners that would empower me to make myself better. I needed to know that I wasn’t making the journey alone. I would make wonderful new friends who would love and support me without judgment or impatience.

So, here I am, optimistically midway through my health journey. I want to share with you all the knowledge that I’ve gained and will continue to pursue, so that you will have hope that it does get better and you are not alone.

Note: I am not affiliated with Amazon or Bellephoria. I do not get paid to link to their products.

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