Monday, November 1, 2010

corn in pharmaceuticals

first - thank god for spell check.  I can't spell pharmaceuticals correctly no matter what.  I try and try.

anyhoo, a member of the Delphi forums posted a question about medications utilizing corn and I became intrigued.  like a dog with a bone I made google my bitch and found this bit of fun:

now, that there is a list of all the drugs that have just the word corn somewhere in their descriptive information.  sometimes it's a reference to corn syrup and sometimes it's a reference to an ingredient being derived from corn.  but it's 230 different drugs.  sweet moses!  i'm actually tempted to type all 230 of those out into a spreadsheet and then do a search for all of the other hundreds of corn names (dextros, maltodextrin, glycerine,etc.) to see how big I can get this list.

that endeavor would be incredibly satisfying (as I love spreadsheets), but I would likely end up in a ball on the floor crying for the poor families who have to figure out how to medically treat their children who are allergic to 90% of the medications available and are dealing with a hospital and pediatric staff who know bupkis about allergies.

*shakes fist at sky*

Sunday, October 31, 2010

skin reactions to something

Well, the original intention of this blog was to give ME some reference materials to track down reactions and keep track of safe items so I didn't have to rely on my very unreliable memory.  So here's the newest issue ... the face rash *sigh* not much swelling, just a fine rash all over my face and up under my jaw and of course on my scalp.

Ingested items for the last 24 hours:
king arthur flours
kroger salted butter
spring tree maple syrup
oscar meyer bacon
fuji organic apples
sweet potatoes

Topical items on the face in the last 24 hours:
Jason Vitamin E oil
Marukan Rice Vinegar
Savonnierie lotion

Hm, now that I've typed it all out I'm second guessing my butter, maple syrup and bacon.  I've used all of those before without reaction (or a noticeable reaction I should say).  The lotion has given me pause in the past.  It should be corn free and the company has been reliable and reputable for the corn free community for quite some time so I would be very surprised if there is corn in the lotion - but maybe there's something else in there I'm reacting to.

To further complicate things, I had a reaction to some mushrooms on Friday ... a delayed skin response isn't out of the question, but this is a more severe response than I am accustomed to.  This reminds me of the 'good old days' before I had a diagnosis.

More notes as I fine tune the search and see how the rash heals.  Will have to keep things super clean for the next few days.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pillows and Deodorant

So, I mentioned the pillow thing to my mom and she ordered me a buckwheat pillow. She also said she would give me the very feather pillow that was under my head at night while I stayed at her house. Isn't she great!?

The pillows of hers that I brought to my bed aren't feather after all. They feel like feather, squishy and all - but are actually some kind of foam. The hives are back albeit better than before. I am excited to see how things go with the new pillows!

After my armpits peeling completely as a result of some Jason brand deodorant I decided to try some crystal deodorant. Mind you, I was skeptical. I live in a VERY hippie town, which generally makes shopping for whole natural foods easier but also means that most of the people in my town smell REALLY bad. Apparently, they aren't using the crystal deodorant that I am. This stuff not only works but my armpits feel great. I was super tired last night and decided to go to bed without a shower. The deodorant is STILL going strong, 36 some odd hours later. Here's what I'm using:

Not too expensive and worth every penny.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Traveling Perils

I was so happy to get to travel to my mothers for an impromptu vacation! Off I go, 5 hours north, rental car that drives like a dream ... and was apparently cleaned with gallons of corny cleaning fluids. I had hives on my face 1 hour into the trip. After the hives appeared I began to pay attention to the hundreds of miles of corn fields I was driving through and started to get a little nervous about this trip.

Got a hotel as there was lots of family at mom's... found I was allergic to EVERYTHING in the hotel, from the sheets to the pillows to the towels to the carpet *sigh*. Back to stay at mom's.

Eating wasn't too bad as I was the designated chef given my allergy.

I had hives for a week and was VERY happy to get home even though I missed all the family I had to say goodbye to.

The silver lining on this red blotchy cloud is that my mother has feather pillows instead of foam. The hives on my scalp (which I have had off and on for at least a decade) cleared completely. I think it was my pillows all along. So when I got home I pulled my mom's feather pillows out of our guest room and have been luxuriating in my non-itchy scalp ever since...

will have to go buy mom some more pillows - or make an investment in buckwheat.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Get rid of what you are not...

I was very happy not searching for things, and I find myself beginning to think and search about what I am not and all the trappings I hold on to that are not for me.

"Get rid of what you are not."
"Do nothing for your smaller self."

Friday, September 24, 2010

Not Smoking, Yoga & Savonnerie

I quit smoking - 2.5 weeks ago.  I know it seems silly that someone who is allergic to corn would still smoke.  I worked very hard to find a cigarette that I didn't react to very much (American Spirit Lights).  I also discovered that if I smoked regularly it significantly deadened my reactions. 

Of course, now that I don't smoke, I am even more sensitive to corn.  It's a curse.  Feel better by getting rid of corn, but by god if you are around corn at all you will feel 100xs worse than you did before.  Suk!

Yoga doesn't have anything to do with corn ... but it makes me feel wonderful.

I also splurged on shampoo, conditioner, lotion and deodorant from Savonnerie.  I'm tired of fighting with my hair and skin ... I'm tired of hives on my scalp ... and believe it or not, I'm tired of mixing up concoctions to rub on my head in hopes of some skin relief.

I've gone all commercial!  I'll update with my thoughts on the product.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hive Treatments

I shaved my head two weeks early due to a horrible hive reaction from popcorn (I love the movies). As I was wincing at the red scabby spots on my newly shorn scalp, I got to thinking about the best way to treat hives.

I dislike hydrocortizone cream and all steroids. I'll use them if I must - but they make me nervous and I'm a bit of a hippie when it comes to skin care.

So when I get hives here are my options.

1. Wash area well (and gently) with corn free soap (I do well with Ivory and Dr. Bronner's) and washcloth.
2. Pat area with towel but don't rub all of the moisture out.
3. Mix the following in the palm of your hand: 5 drops jojoba oil, 2 drops grapefruit oil, 5 drops vitamin E oil.
4. Rub palms together until the oils mix and melt together.
5. Rub mixture on hives.

If your head is shaved, you can rub it right on your scalp. It's heavenly.

As a bonus, rumor mill has it that jojoba is antibacterial (yay, no more skin infections from scratching) and grapefruit oil will help to tighten pores. I've been using this mixture on my face and scalp regularly. It immediately relieves any itching and my skin looks fantastic.

Happy oiling.

By the way, I am THE SEX with a shaved head.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Shaving the head for Charity!

And not because I'm having a Britney breakdown. It's for charity.

I'm participating in a St. Baldrick's event. St. Baldrick's raises funds for children's cancer research and provides grants to researches at hospitals and universities across the U.S.

My goal is to raise $1000 by March 12, 2010 (the day the clippers go to work).

You can visit my page here:

Yay, I'm so excited ... it's a great cause and I've always wanted to shave my head! Any and all donations are encouraged, every dollar makes a difference.

Friday, January 29, 2010


I'm getting lazy. The weight has stayed the same since I dropped it all (all 80-ish lbs) back in 2006/07 ... but I'm getting soft and de-conditioned. I bought a bike, a recumbent bike ... one that will let me watch bad movies whilst I condition. One that will allow me to pedal away my non-smoker angst. A new friend and companion. I call it Schwinn:

It's a tad pricey, but the reviews are good and apparently if you stare at your Amazon shopping cart for a long time before making a decision their computers get scared. After a good 10 minutes of debating on whether or not to hit confirm ... a message popped up and offered me free two day shipping on the bicycle IF I hit that confirm button within the next 2 minutes. Well, that was all the push I needed (if you read the reviews, the shipping is the biggest concern ... boxes get busted while out on the road, I figure a faster shipping time might increase the odds of a nice tidy shipment).

I was suckered by Amazon's marketing into finally making a good purchase for myself. I love tax returns.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Used my Epi-Pen

I used my pen on Monday. It was a foolish gamble on my part, Ezekiel hamburger buns. Frankly, I knew better, but since it said 'fresh yeast' I got excited. Anyhoo, about 40 minutes after eating I was slurring my words, my tongue and throat were swollen, and I was stumbling and having trouble keeping my balance. In the past, this is where I would have said, 'I'll probably be okay' - but after reading more in the last few weeks and talking to my allergist I was better informed about how dangerous this can really be and how quickly it can turn.

My husband was with me and he administered the shot into my thigh. It didn't hurt at all (I actually assumed it had malfunctioned and didn't have a needle). Within about 3 minutes of the injection I was shaking all over, but the foggy headedness was gone almost instantly. I shook for about 15 minutes and then settled into feeling very wide awake, but not shaking. It took my tongue about 20 minutes to return to its normal size.

We didn't call an ambulance as my allergist had indicated it wasn't always necessary (particularly if you are conscious). About 2 hours after the injection I was exhausted and my head hurt. A two hour nap set me right as rain and aside from a lingering pain in my thigh (felt like muscle pain) for the next day or so, I was fine.

It's not nearly as scary as I thought it would be and I'm really happy I did it. I know now that I could administer the shot myself. I know that it's not a big deal to take the injection and that 'better safe than sorry' is absolutely true. I feel a lot safer now having used the pen, there's something about experiencing that makes me feel secure in knowing what to expect.

Now I have to put in a call to my allergist to get a new epipen refill.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

castille w aloe + rice vinegar

I discovered that I can use rice vinegar (Marukan brand). Delphi peeps have had good success. Apple Cider Vinegar leaves my roots looking greasy even when they aren't but I need to balance the ph on my scalp or I get dandruffy bits... So, I used the same old standby shampoo (castille and aloe juice) which is still working wonders on my hair. For a rinse I followed up with roughly 2tsp rice vinegar diluted in about a cup of water (measurements were inexact since I didn't have time to prep beforehand and had to eyeball while in the shower).

My hair is soft and really shiny. My roots are a little greasy looking, but I could prolly pull back the amount of vinegar a smidge and be thrilled.

I'm going to keep this up until I have an issue. The results are reminiscent to my early love of white vinegar before the hives drove us apart (I miss you my darling WV)!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Castille/Aloe Vera Juice (Round 3)

Same recipe as here:

After rinse in the picture.

You should know that I made maybe 1/4 cup of this mix when I first started and I'm still using it. 3 Shampoos later and I've maybe used 1/4 of the 1/4 cup. It's ridiculous.

I used alot this time as I didn't feel I got my hair adequately clean last time. I had lather flying everywhere. I may modify the ratios a bit and pull back on the soap as I clearly don't need quite this much.

Notes: After washing my hair felt a little dry and tangly. I used a small amount of the Dr. Bronner rinse and it came out beautifully. (Note: I didn't dilute like you are supposed to because I'm lazy. I put about a tsp into the middle of my hand, got my hair real wet and combed this through my length with my fingers. It's easier and just as effective for me).

Day 1 (01.13) - I like this shampoo so much. My hair was gorgeous all day, soft and shiny. Happy me.
Day 2 (01.14) Hair still looks great. I'm going to have to wash it tonight since I have court tomorrow and can't run the risk of it looking even slightly yucky. I'm not going to experiment this time since the last one went so well. More experiments will follow shortly.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Castille soap/Aloe Vera Shampoo (second use)

Okay, I'm shampooing tonight. Same recipe as here but I'm not going to follow up with the ACV rinse, we'll see how it goes. Shampoo only on the scalp and a concerted effort to keep it off the lengths, that's tricky (unless I grow a few more arms on the way to the bathroom) ... but I'm gonna try. Update soon.

--keeping it off the ends wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. The shampoo is liquidy so I dispense it in a little squeeze bottle. I simply sectioned off my hair and put the shampoo right on my scalp like I was applying hair color (*wistful sigh*). Once I had put a few stripes on my scalp I used my fingers to gently work up the lather. It went pretty well.

--this has absolutely no smell in it's 'virgin' formula. I may add some grapefruit oil to it as I like to smell fruity - but for those sensitive to smells, this is perfect.

day 1 (01.11)
Nice. The length isn't tangly at all. My hair is fluffy and a little staticy (but it's -a gagillion degrees outside and my heat runs nonstop), lots of body. Feels a little thick at the roots, but that's likely due to no ACV rinse. I think I'm going to have to toss in an acid rinse periodically or i'll get soap scum. I'm happy. ... oh and so far, no itchiness YAY!
day 2 (01.12) I'm greasy today. It's not awful, but half way through the day I was dreaming of a good wash. My best guess is that I didn't get it washed as well this time since I was trying so hard to keep it only on the scalp. I'm gonna lather like a madwoman tonight and see how it goes tomorrow. I have court on Friday so I figure if I do it tonight I can wash again on Thursday night and have fresh hair for court and still be able to skip a day. it's funny that washing everyday now seems verboten.

Skin Care - Cornless style!

Moisturizers suck! About a year ago I started using only Jojoba oil on my face, no soap (barring a catastrophe that required a soaping). Here's what I do (this is for you ma').

Required items:
Jojoba Oil (I use NOW brand)
Vitamin E Oil (I use Jason brand)
Aloe Vera Juice
Spray bottle

Daily Maintenance Recipe:
Mix in spray bottle
1 part Jojoba Oil
4 parts water
1 part Aloe Vera Juice

Each morning I spray about 4 squirts of this mixture into my hand and rub on my face, neck and chest area. You can monkey with the ratio based on your own needs. If I notice dryness throughout the day, I simply do the 4 squirt process again. Use as often as you need.

After shower care:
Pat face try and put about 4 drops of pure Jojoba into my hand. Slather on face, neck and chest (I do this full body on occasion, it's heavenly). If my face is REALLY dry I follow up with a few drops of the Vitamin E oil and let it all sit until it's soaked in.

Oil wash (two/three times a week, works well when your kids are in the bath and you have to stay in the bathroom with them):
Washing your face with oil is all kinds of good. It was good enough for the Romans, so why not us? eh? Here's the process.
1. Pull your hair back and get a washcloth very warm with water (not scalding, you aren't trying to cook anything).
2. Hold the warm washcloth on your face until it's room temperature.
3. Warm the washcloth again and repeat. This opens the pores on your face and let's gunk out. 4. Use 4-5 drops of Jojoba oil and slather on face. Rub gently for a bit while you contemplate the value of your skin and the joys of being alive.
5. Warm washcloth a third time and hold it on your face until it's cool.
6. Splash cool-ish water (not cold, you aren't a salad) on your face. This closes the pores and helps seal in the good oil you've just slathered on.
7. Pat face gently with a towel and let dry.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Castille/Aloe Juice Shampoo w/ ACV rinse

4 parts castille soap (dr. bronners baby unscented)
4 parts 100% aloe vera juice
4 drops jojoba oil
2 parts water

1. mix
2. apply directly to scalp
3. lather
4. rinse

ACV rinse (closes the hair shaft and restores the ph of the length to a more acidic level. leaves hair shiny and reduces 'soap scum' if you have hard water)

1tsp Spectrum Apple Cider Vinegar
16 oz water
5 drops grapefruit essential oil - Now brand

1. pour on ends of hair only

-- First of all, this lathered. I mean real, rich, sweet lather. Dr. Bronners doesn't usually do that for me, so I believe the aloe vera juice had something to do with it. It felt like regular commercial shampoo. I didn't work this down my ends as they have been pretty dry recently with the winter air.

-- The ACV rinse often leaves my scalp looking greasy, so I leaned waaay over in the shower and tried to keep the rinse only on my length. I ran my fingers through my hair lightly until it just started to feel slippery and then whipped around to rinse it out while still bending over. Man white vinegar works so much better ... if only it weren't for the hives!

Straight out of the shower. Towel dries easily, no dripping ends with very little towel work. Combed it out carefully, but it wasn't tangly at all.

* Day 1 (01.08)- Hair is soft and light. No greasies at the scalp. It does feel a little dry, but I'm not going to mess with it yet. It could be shinier, but this is clean ... and I like clean :)
*Day 2 (01.09)- No wash today. Hair doesn't look greasy at the roots yet, still soft (if a little staticky). Doesn't feel so dry. More shine today after decent brushing (boar bristle baby)! I had some mild hives on my forehead and scalp this afternoon that I attribute to a trip to the grocery (damn detergent/candle aisle).
*Day 3 (01.10) - Woke up to greasy-ish hair. Itchiness completely gone. Did a water only wash, still a bit greasy but nothing I can't work with for a day. Prolly going to wash tonight. Will try to wash just the scalp with no ACV rinse and see how it goes. I'm impressed so far.

elusive hair care hunt!

I posted awhile back about the Dr. Bronner's Shikakai wash for my hair and about going with no shampoo for awhile. Well, I wasn't satisifed with either of those options. See, I'm a bit girly and I want to smell pretty (shikakai wash does not smell pretty). It's shallow, I know. In addition to being a bit girly I'm also really cheap, so buying the Shikai everyday shampoo (at .50 an ounce) or the Savonnerie shampoo (at .80 an ounce) made me cringe to a degree that head shaving became a viable alternative.

My husband is a treasure and bought me a book on how to make your own beauty supplies, but the fool author spent way too much time on picking out mineral makeup and shirked shampoo altogether (she claimed it was easier to just buy *sigh*). So I decided to take on shampoo like I took on cooking for myself. Carefully, methodically and with a zest for happy corn free survival.

We don't need to be deprived, we just need to work harder than others to get what we want.

Thus begins, what will likely prove to be, a series of posts with my shampoo recipes and results.