Sunbutter Video Contest

Aug 05

Sunbutter has contacted us to let us know of a new contest they are holding! http://bit.ly/videodetails will take you to their Facebook page. Sadly it does not seem to be open to Canadians. So are you going to enter?     Here’s a lowdown on what they want and what you get: Grand Prize Chosen by SunButter: A case (6 jars) of SunButter $100 US savings bond 2nd Prize Chosen by voters: A jar (16 oz) of SunButter $100 US savings bond 3rd Prize Chosen by voters: A jar (16 oz) of SunButter $100 US savings bond Prize Eligibility Only persons residing in United States who are at least 18 years of age can enter. Contest Starts August 01, 2010 @ 12:01 am (CDT) Contest Ends September 03, 2010 @ 11:59 pm (CDT) Share...

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Introducing Mr. Christie Snak Paks Soft Baked Cookies!

Mar 18

Introducing Mr. Christie Snak Paks Soft Baked Cookies!

We were recently very pleased that Kraft Foods gave us the opportunity to try their new Mr. Christie Snak Paks Soft Baked Cookies. They come in three flavours — Oatmeal Cinnamon, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, and Double Chocolate — and are conveniently packaged in 30 gram snack-sized pouches, six per box. All three varieties are made in a peanut-free facility and so are perfect for school lunchboxes. Our son was so happy to try the new cookies, he didn’t waste any time getting to work. Not being as fond of chocolate as most children, our son decided that the Oatmeal Cinnamon flavour would likely be his favourite (and they were), so he started with them. He took his “job” quite seriously at first, studying the first cookie and calmly stating, “I like the colour” (incidentally, there are no artificial colours or artificial flavours in the cookies). Then, taking small nibbles, he continued, “I like that they’re soft and chewy. I really like the taste of it.” But soon he was excitedly exclaiming, “They’re YUMMY! I love them! I want another bag!” (By the way, the soft texture is due to added vegetable purée [zucchini, pumpkin, or carrot, depending on the flavour]). He’d eagerly polished off two packages before we introduced him to the next flavour, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip. By then, he was munching away happily, mumbling out a “They’re nummy” between chews. Then, trying the Double Chocolate variety, he commented that they are “a lot chocolatey.” Soon, there were wrappers all over the place, and our satisfied boy said, “They should be in the stores so we can buy them. My friends would love them!” I’m certain that they will. These cookies did not last more that a few days in our house, and my husband and I only got a couple of small tastes. As for all those wrappers, Kraft Canada has a partnership with a company called TerraCycle, which allows the cookie wrappers to be collected and reycled. Through TerraCycle’s partnership with Kraft Canada,  groups such as schools and charites can earn money by collecting the used cookie packages, which TerraCycle then recycles, or “upcycles,” into items such as backpacks, pencil cases, and yoga totes.  That’s cool stuff! Mr. Christie Snak Paks Soft Baked Cookies will be available...

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Lobster!

Jul 14

Last week, our son had his allergies retested. He is on a two-year schedule, so this was the third time he had a skin-prick test. His allergist informed us he is no longer allergic to shellfish and, despite never having eaten shellfish, he was very excited. When we asked him what shellfish he would like to try, he definitively answered, “Lobster!” “Couldn’t he have chosen a less expensive shellfish?” I grumbled to my husband. I opted for a three-dollar tin of lobster pâté. I spread it thinly on some Wheat Thins. I sampled some of the pâté, and found the flavour really strong. It contained not just meat, but tomalley and roe as well. I was expecting that my son wouldn’t like it. But, he said that he did, and he asked for four more “crackers with lobster.” I tried to act pretty blasé about his eating food he was previously considered allergic to. I didn’t want him to be fearful. All went well: there was no reaction; and both my son and I were glad he had experienced a new food. It was an especially big event for me, despite my calm exterior. I had never had a nightmare about my son’s allergies, but the night after the lobster experiment, I dreamt he was covered in hives and his eyes were swollen shut. I woke up to the sound of him softly crying, thankfully not from an allergic reaction, but from sleeping on his ear the wrong way. Next time I’ll buy him a whole lobster. Share...

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Living with Food Allergies: A First-Hand Account

Jun 18

Recently, Marc told me that there was a new co-op student at his workplace who has life-threatening food allergies. I began to wonder alot about this young man and started asking Marc a lot of questions about him: Does he carry epinephrine? Does he eat at restaurants? How has he managed to stay safe all these years? Marc suggested that I ask him these questions myself. So I did. His name is Gabe Hoogers. He’s nearly 19 years of age and is studying Contemporary Philosophy and Politics at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At about 2 years of age, it was discovered that he has an anaphylactic allergy to peanuts as well as minor allergies to other foods such as soy, shellfish, and other nuts. I was very pleased when he agreed to be interviewed, and I was most impressed by his insightful and articulate answers to my questions: Me: Is there anyone else in your family with food allergies? Gabe: No one else in my family has food allergies, although my Dad is severely allergic to penicillin. Me: Did you have an allergic reaction to food that prompted the testing? Gabe: Yes — I ate a muffin with peanuts in it and had an anaphylactic reaction to it. My mom tells me that I became very quiet, so she suspected something was up. She came into my room and found me covered in hives — off to the hospital we went. Me: Do you remember the reaction? Gabe: Fortunately, no. Me: Do you think your food allergies were well accommodated at school? Gabe: When I started school, severe food allergies were still quite uncommon, so my Mom did a lot of work ensuring that both my teachers and classmates were well aware of my situation. As I moved through elementary school, though, the school board became more conscious about food allergies, and so my Mom’s publicity job became easier. Eventually, my elementary school was actually declared a peanut-free zone. Me: Did your food allergies prevent you from doing anything that you would have wanted to do? Gabe: Besides being unable to satisfy the occasional temptation to eat a snack that may or may not have contained peanuts, my allergy hasn’t...

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An Afternoon with the Paramedics

Jun 15

An Afternoon with the Paramedics

On Sunday, June 14, we were able to visit the Ottawa Paramedic Service Headquarters. The visit was arranged by the Ottawa Anaphylaxis Support Group, and it was an excellent opportunity for the group, which was made up mainly of anaphylactic children and their parents, to learn about what paramedics do, how the paramedic centre is run, and how paramedics respond to an anaphylactic reaction. The educational presentations and question-and-answer session were fascinating and informative, and the children were thrilled to be able to explore several different ambulances and areas of this state-of-the-art facility. The Ottawa Paramedic Service Headquarters is one of the best paramedic systems in North America; and, in Canada, it is second only to the paramedic headquarters in Toronto. It has 360 paramedics on staff and takes 103,000 9-1-1 calls per year. Presenter Darryl Wilton, President of the Professional Paramedic Association of Ottawa, shared some 9-1-1 tips to keep in mind in case you need to call for an ambulance for treatment of an anaphylactic reaction (note that most of these points are universal, but some may not apply in other cities): Always administer epinephrine first – before calling 9-1-1. Darryl said that he has seen first-hand how administering epinephrine at the earliest possible opportunity results in the most favorable outcomes. He also pointed out that epinephrine is a relatively safe medication and, therefore, there should be no hesitation in giving it if you have any reason to think that an allergic reaction may be occurring. Identify the emergency as anaphylaxis. After you’ve called 9-1-1 and have been transferred to a paramedic, state that the emergency is an anaphylactic reaction. This will give your call the highest priority – Code 4, which is for a life-threatening emergency. The next-most important information you can give is your address, although GPS coordinates will work as well. Don’t second-guess the paramedics. Once the ambulance has arrived, don’t challenge the treatment the paramedics are administering. They work from complex and effective algorithms that have been proven to save lives. Give the patient’s family doctor and allergist’s names to the emergency department physician. This will ensure that copies of your emergency department records are included in your medical files. Finally, Darryl cautioned that...

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