Dec
30
2014

Facebook Investor Sean Parker Gives $24M to Allergy Centre

Here's Hoping His Golden Touch Works This Time!

Facebook Investor Sean Parker Gives $24M to Allergy Centre

Known for creating the music-sharing site Napster, and as being one of the first investors in Facebook, Sean Parker seems to know a good investment when he sees it. He also happens to know what it's like to have anaphylactic reactions. So when he recently donated more than $20M to create a new allergy research centre at Stanford University, I did a little happy dance. Finally! Someone with enough money to invest in allergy research and personal interest in it is stepping up!

Parker told Forbes, "The most important thing is to cure kids. This should be a curable disease but all we’ve done is put band-aids on it. We’ve been treating symptoms for 100 years. The scariest thing is for parents. You can’t be with your kids 24 hours a day–they’ll be in school and at friends’ houses. There is a lot of social pressure just to eat things and not ask questions–there is even bullying. It happened to me. Once kids found out I was allergic to peanuts, they’d try to smear peanut butter on me–that could have killed me."

And he's right. It's terrifying living being the parent of an allergic child, and infuriating to think people are bullied for something over which they have absolutely no control. 

THIS Is What It's Like Parenting A Child With Allergies

It's incredibly frustrating to deal with something like allergies -- they're so different for each patient, and the information is unclear, and debated between even those who are supposed to know everything about them. My allergist may make one recommendation while another disagrees wholly. The fact that this new research centre will have the money to seek a cure instead of just another band-aid solution gives the allergy community so much hope.

Allergy Bullying: What Happened To Compassion?

Parker says, they are, "...setting up the infrastructure for scientific immune monitoring–looking at molecular markers to see how the body reacts to allergens and see why some people are desensitized, and other get allergic reactions. The ultimate goal is to create a therapy that successfully induces tolerance to any allergen in a single treatment. In other words, we’re looking for a cure." 

A cure. A cure for allergies. It's like a dream, isn't it?

Image Source: WikiCommons

Dec
09
2014

Food Allergy Holiday Survival Guide

You've Got Allergies and You Don't Owe Anyone an Apology

Food Allergy Holiday Survival Guide

You can survive the holidays with food allergies with these helpful tips.

The other day we were out at a Christmas brunch with our family, and I found myself repeatedly apologizing for being a pain in the butt about Mason's food allergies. And in my head, I was reprimanding myself for apologizing because it's not like it's my fault he has allergies. I'm just doing my parental job by making sure the hot chocolate is safe, and double-checking that the foods are, too. But there I was: full-on stress mode, and also being utterly too Canadian in my constant apologetic state.

How To Create A Stress Management Plan That Works

This made me realize that for many, especially those fairly new to the food allergy world, being an advocate is really ... stressful. And awkward. And when you're already someone who loathes speaking up, it can be downright embarrassing. But it's also the way we protect the allergic people we love and how we spread awareness.

Declining invitations does nobody any good - we don't have to miss out just because of food allergies! We just need everyone to know how to handle them, and know how to communicate these needs. So I've got these helpful tips for navigating social waters this holiday season for those who deal with food allergies.

Sloane Miller, of Allergic Girl, is one of the most incredible food allergy advocates around. She's such an amazing source of information so I was delighted when she responded to me on Twitter when I asked, "Hey #foodallergy folks, if you could give ONE piece of advice for handling food allergies over the holidays, what would it be?". Here's what @allergicgirl replied:

  • Always keep your emergency medications on you.
  • Don't ever feel like you have to eat something to be a gracious guest. If you can't verify ingredients, just don't eat it.
  • I always recommend people know where their allergens can hide. Educate yourself so there are no surprises!

11 Allergy Myths Debunked: How Many Of These Did You Believe?

Twitter user @deevinesunshine hosted an entirely gluten- and dairy-free Thanksgiving dinner that everyone loved, and she offered up a very helpful tip, too:

  • You don't have to decline an invitation! Just adjust the plans a little.
  • If you're going to a restaurant, call ahead to speak with the manager and chef about your dietary needs.
  • If you're not sure they can handle food allergies, suggest a new venue where everyone will be safe.


My friend Lisa (who is @BlueRaveFinn on Twitter) also suggests:

  • If you're hosting, keep packages and ingredient lists handy. We love being able to read them to assure ourselves everything's ok.
  • How about offering to help cook at the host's home to ensure the food's safe?
  • If you're hosting, be sure to ask your guests if they have food allergies or restrictions.
  • Be aware that young children may not know enough to not eat food left out, so forgo the bowls of nuts or candies if there's someone allergic coming over.

If you have some helpful tips for managing food allergies during the holidays, please share them! I love hearing from all of you.

Image Source: Julemiddag on Flickr

Alexandria writes at YummyMummyClub on her blog Irritated by Allergies.

Dec
02
2014

Maple Rum Cookies with Candied Bacon

Warning: Highly Addictive

Maple Rum Cookies with Candied Bacon

Maple Rum Cookies With Candied Bacon

These are going to blow your mind, they’re so amazing.

Candied Bacon

Ingredients:

3C real crumbled bacon bits
1/4C brown sugar
4tbs real maple syrup

  Preheat oven to 400°F.
  Spread crumbled bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  Sprinkle brown sugar over the bacon.
  Drizzle maple syrup over the bacon.
  Mix together well to cover all bits with the sugary goodness, then spread in an even layer across the sheet.

  Bake for 5 minutes on middle rack.
  Broil at 500°F (staying on middle rack) until bacon is sizzling and the maple syrup/brown sugar is bubbling. Remove from oven and leave out to harden a bit. They end up crisp on the outside, soft on the inside.

You can use these in baked goods or as toppings on desserts like ice cream. For now, set them aside to use in these cookies:

Maple-Rum Cookies

Ingredients:

1cup softened salted butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs (NOTE: If you have an egg allergy, you can substitute applesauce here. For every egg a recipe calls for, I use 1/4C of applesauce instead.)
1 tsp pure maple syrup
2 tsp rum (the darker the better!)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

  Preheat oven to 350°F.
  In a large bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar and eggs (or applesauce if you’re subbing).
  Add in the rum and maple syrup.
  In a second bowl, mix all the dry stuff together.
  Mix the wet and the dry.
  When dough is fully mixed, roll into 1″ diameter balls and place on a non-stick cookie sheet about 1.5″ apart. When I usually make cookies, I make them slightly larger, but given the flavour of these ones, they’re best a little smaller.

Makin' Bacon (Jam)

  Press a pinch of candied bacon bits into the top of each dough ball prior to baking. This is really to taste, see the photo for the amount I pressed into each cookie.

  Bake till edges are just barely turning brown. They may seem undercooked because they’re so soft when you remove them from the oven, but trust me: when cooled, these are the best consistency. Takes about 10 minutes. This recipe yielded 70 cookies!
  Let them cool completely before eating.

These are cookie equivalent of crack; you have been warned.

Click here for a full list of handy allergy-friendly substitutions.