Do you eat this ancient food?

Do you eat this ancient food?

I posted a picture of sweet summer corn on my social media and asked folks if they were anti or pro this ancient food.

That question got a LOT of interesting responses!

  • “I love it but my body just doesn’t.”
  • “Love it but don’t eat it since removing grains from my diet.”
  • “Pro as long as it is non GMO and organic.”
  • “I’m pro fresh corn, unfortunately, a few years ago my body became anti-anything-corn. Pretty sad when one of my FAVORITE foods was popcorn.”
  • “Anti or pro is the wrong question. I love corn! It does not love me back. I have a gluten cross reactivity to corn and unfortunately can’t eat it without suffering an inflammatory response. Doesn’t mean I’m anti-corn.”

Mostly, I think people are confused about corn. But, then again, people are confused about a LOT of the current foods in our food supply.

According to Native Americans corn was considered the “sustainer of life.” And, where the corn grew, civilizations sprouted up.

Which is apparent, as corn in its many forms, has spread around the globe and quite possibly contributed to our population explosion (kinda like popcorn!).

Corn is a highly revered ancient food that has been abused by us modern people.

We have taken this “sustainer of life” and genetically modified it, turned it into high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, maltodextrin, corn flakes, xantham gum, ascorbic acid, di-glycerides, ethel acetate, acetic acid, citric acid… you name it, corn derivatives are in everything and have saturated our food supply. Just take a look at the ingredient label on any processed food  and you will probably see something that was once corn.

It is no wonder people are confused about corn. We barely eat it the way it was traditionally, and healthfully, eaten.

Native women ground dried maize corn and mixed it with wood ash or limestone to make tortillas, hominy or fritters. It’s a process called nixtalmalization.[1] This way, more of the nutrients, like niacin (vitamin B3) are available.

Corn also lacks the amino acids, tryptophan and lysine, that are essential to forming proteins. Traditionally, fresh corn (Cherokee corn) was combined with beans that are high in lysine and tryptophan to make up for this lack.[2]

For those of you that find fresh corn kernels in your stool – it doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot digest it, it probably means that you haven’t chewed it thoroughly. The starch in corn needs to be mixed with amylase, carbohydrate-digesting enzyme, to be turned into more digestible sugars.

Interestingly, corn was also considered a sacred healing plant. “The Mayans said that a very sick person should eat nothing but pure corn mush, as this was the best way to create healthy flesh to replace the sick flesh.”[3]

I’m a fan of organically grown corn, but I don’t eat it daily, and I certainly don’t eat the various derivatives of it – at least not intentionally.

So, for the folks that are having trouble with corn, it may not be the corn itself (unless it has been genetically altered), but more likely the way it is prepared, and the way it is eaten that is the bigger culprit.

For those of you that want to give corn another chance, try this delicious Black Beans and Sweet Summer Corn Salad.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this corny topic.

Please share below in the comments section.

[1] https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/11/18/502025877/tribes-revive-indigenous-crops-and-the-food-traditions-that-go-with-them

[2] https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/high-lysine-foods.php

[3] A Curious History of Vegetables by Wolf D. Storl, North Atlantic Books 2016, p. 98

Andrea Beaman is a internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker and Herbalist. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching individuals and health practitioners how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers using food, herbal remedies and alternative medicine.