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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (all the seeds from one medium-sized pumpkin), washed 1 tsp salt
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.)
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)
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.
If you spot a teal pumpkin this Halloween season, it's not just an on-trend decor choice. FARE has introduced the Teal Pumpkin Project—an 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:
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!?
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 doctor; I'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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.