Alexandria Durrell: Irritated By Allergies

Nov
04
2014
This adoption reunion story leaves more confusion and uncertainty than there ever was before.

This post originally appeared on my personal blog, but because November is Adoption Awareness Month, I wanted to share it here. I hope you'll all excuse the departure from my usual allergy-related content today. I would love to tell you that things are clearer now, since it has been nearly two years since finding my birth mother, a full sister, and connections to the rest of my biological family, but they are not. They are murkier, really. Adoption isn't something that a child overcomes.

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Oct
31
2014

Win Tickets to Gluten-Free Garage In Toronto

Event Features Toronto's Best Gluten-Free Eats!

Win tickets to Gluten Free Garage in Toronto!

Have you heard of Gluten Free Garage? It's a one-day event in Toronto that founder RonniLyn Pustil created to give people a taste of gluten-free options in Toronto by bringing over 60 artisanal vendors offering gluten-free products under one roof. We're talking top-quality local gluten-free food, none of that cardboard nonsense. Pustil's mission is to also create awareness about celiac disease, and prove that gluten-free fare can really be delicious!

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Lupins may be a threat to those with legume and peanut allergies. Find out why.

There is a connection between lupins and peanut allergies that you need to know about. Lupin isn't used as much here in Canada as it is apparently in Europe. There it's a very common alternative to wheat flour. In fact, it's so uncommon here that until this week I didn't even realize they were ever eaten. We have lupins in our garden, and they're a common (and beautiful) site in Newfoundland where we spend our summer vacations. I had no idea they were edible!

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Oct
21
2014

Here's Why You Need To Be Reading Food Labels

Do You Really Know What You're Eating?

Reading food labels may shock you!

Label-reading isn't just for the allergic folks of the world (although, admittedly, we do take it to another level). You should read every label, every time, because I'm betting you'd be surprised about some of the ingredients in foods you eat regularly! Chemical additives, unexpected fats and sugars, things we can't even pronounce . . . it's all in the food we're eating.

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Oct
20
2014

What To Do With All Of Those Pumpkin Seeds

Make This Nutrient Rich and Delicious Snack!

Cinnamon brown sugar pumpkin seeds will rock your world.
Those jack-o-lantern guts are good for more than just grossing out your kids! Did you know that just 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds almost 1/2 your daily magnesium requirement? That means pumpkin carving can be good for your heart. They're also packed with other nutrients that do a body good, so don't compost, roast!

Ingredients

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (all the seeds from one medium-sized pumpkin), washed
1 tsp salt

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Oct
18
2014

Easy Crockpot Caramel Apples

What's better than a caramel apple? An easy-to-make caramel apple, that's what!

These caramel apples are so easy, you'll want to make them every day!

What's better than a caramel apple? An easy-to-make caramel apple, that's what! (And what's more, it's safe for peanut- and soy-allergic kids, too.)

Ingredients:

Approximately 100 little caramels (like these)
10 medium-sized apples
10 popsicle sticks
Candies to decorate your apples
2 tbs milk or cream
Wax paper-lined baking sheet
Crockpot (or double-boiler or microwave)

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Oct
16
2014
So, This Is Nutty News If You're Allergic to Peanuts!

You know you're an allergy parent when you get super excited to hear about peanut-free nuts. That's right. This is what constitutes excitement in the life of someone allergic to peanuts, but not other nuts, you know why? Because nuts hang out with nuts, so cross-contamination is a pretty real risk in these cases.

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Oct
15
2014

This Device Could Save My Son's Life

Code4Armour Set to Change the Allergy Landscape

This device speaks for patients when they're unable to do so themselves.

When anaphylaxis happens, there are two keys to survival:

1. Having people around you know you have an allergy, and understand how a reaction may present, and

2. Having those people act quickly and appropriately. 

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Oct
14
2014

Those Teal Pumpkins You See Are For Allergy Safety

Plus Lots of Cool Non-Food Halloween Options

Find out how FARE's Teal Pumpkin Project will keep allergic kids safe this Halloween.

If you spot a teal pumpkin this Halloween season, it's not just an on-trend decor choice. FARE has introduced the Teal Pumpkin Projectan easy way to let parents of allergic kids know that you've got a safe option for them as they go trick-or-treating this year. From the FARE site:

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Is it something in our homes that's causing allergies, eczema and asthma?

It seems like every week there's a new study releasing its results with yet another guess as to why allergies and asthma are presenting at increased rates. Is antibiotic use in early life to blame? Or maybe it's a lack of a particular bacteria in the gut?

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Oct
10
2014
Parents in Newfoundland are angry over yet another food ban in classrooms.

Don't mind me, I'm just over here behind my monitor wishing I had more eyes to roll. Parents in Newfoundland are throwing temper tantrums over the school board banning peanut butter replacements like Wow Butter. But what will they feed their kids? I mean, they've already banned peanuts! WHAT'S NEXT!? 

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Oct
07
2014

Why I Want To Thank YOU

Yes, You. The one behind the monitor.

Here's why I want to thank YOU.

When I took on this role as allergy blogger for YMC, I wasn't really sure how things would pan out. I mean, I'm no doctorI'm just a mom of a kid with food allergies (and one who also spends an awful lot of time on the internet). It's been about 15 months of researching every new study, every single news piece about allergies, each product that promises improved conditions for those with allergies.

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Sep
27
2014
Are antibiotics to blame for food allergies?

Giovanni Cipriano died in 2013 from anaphylaxis. He ate peanuts, to which he was allergic, and died. His parents were never told to carry an epinephrine auto-injector, which is completely crazy to me. Whenever I read these stories, I get chills -- his parents knew about his allergy, yet still, he's gone. 

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Sep
18
2014

New Free Course Helps Educators Be Allergy Aware

Anaphylaxis Canada Launches Exciting Program

Anaphylaxis Canada has teamed up with Telus and LEAP Learning Technologies to provide a free online course designed to help educators become more allergy aware!

Fabulous news! Anaphylaxis Canada has launched a new resource to help keep those affected by serious food allergies safe in schools. The program, called Anaphylaxis in Schools: What Educators Need to Know, is the first in a series of three bilingual courses. Per their press release today:

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Sep
10
2014
This is the best potato salad recipe ever.

I know, it's September and that means we all need to start posting squash recipes and profess our love for all things pumpkin spice, but summer's not over yet! (Although, I'm sorry about that snow, Alberta, that totally sucks.) I'm holding on to these last couple weeks of summer by presenting to you the most amazing, delicious, drop-the-mic-awesome potato salad recipe ever. That's right, it's so good you can just drop the mic and walk off stage.

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Sep
09
2014

Have You Heard Of This New Allergy?

Pesticide Use Blamed for Child's Reaction

A young girl suffered an anaphylactic reaction after eating a blueberry pie, but she wasn't allergic to the pie. Could pesticides on the berries be to blame?

A 10-year-old girl suffered an unexpected anaphylactic reaction when eating blueberry pie, despite not being allergic to any of the ingredients or anything the pie may have been contaminated by. The child has known allergies to milk and penicillin, as well as seasonal allergies and asthma, but doctors were initially baffled when the pie was tested and found to contain none of the allergens.

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Sep
08
2014

School Bans Dairy, Eggs, Peanuts, And Tree Nuts

Hamilton Mother Who Threatened Legal Action Wins Battle

With all the food bans in classrooms, what's left for kids to eat?

Remember Lynne Glover, the mother whose daughter Elodie has such severe food allergies that being in school was a threat to her life? Ms. Glover brought her daughter's case to the human rights tribunal, saying the school had to accommodate Elodie's many food allergies, and the family has seemingly won their battle.

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Sep
06
2014

ALERT: Peanut, Sesame, And Almond Oils In These Products

Do These Hidden Ingredients Pose an Allergy Threat?

These common household cleaning products contain peanut, almond, sesame and coconut oils. Are they a threat to allergic people?

When I used cleaning products with almond oil in them, our allergist assured me the oils were so highly refined that they wouldn't cause reactions for my nut-allergic son. And she was right—in our case, we never had an issue at all. That said, I know many others who've had mysterious reactions and can't seem to pinpoint the causes, so this latest buzz in the allergy community is interesting. And alarming. And disappointing.

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Should teacher's make rules about what kids are allowed to eat as snacks at school?

It's a back-to-school paperwork tornado over here, and I'm not positive but I think I signed away my firstborn to a bridge troll on one of those forms I hastily read and autographed. One form that did stand out to me, however, was sent from my son's kindergarten classroom with a list of "rules" we parents must agree to follow. We were asked to sign the form and return it to the classroom so that we were forever remembered as "being on top of things." I liked that little bit of humour to soften what was a list of some serious classroom rules.

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Aug
29
2014
Can exercise cause anaphylaxis? Take this quiz to find out how much you know about anaphylaxis.

If there's anything I know about food allergies, it's that there's always something new to learn about food allergies. Even researching and reading about them daily doesn't always mean I'm in the know. One study comes out and contradicts the last, one professional speaks out against something another has said, people have experiences that fall outside the norms . . . allergies are tricky things, and anaphylaxis is as hard to fully understand as it is scary.

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