Anaphylaxis Canada’s 7th Annual Community Conference, May 10, 2014

May is Food Allergy Awareness Month…what better way to spend it than at a day dedicated to food allergies.

On Saturday, May 10, 2014,  that is just where you would have found me…attending Anaphylaxis Canada’s 7th Annual Community Conference in Markham, Ontario, Canada.

What a day! I hardly know where the time went…so fast, I even forgot to run out and grab my lunch from the car!

At the morning parent session…I think I may have been one of the oldest mom’s in the group with a son with multiple food allergies ready to graduate from high school.

My table of 6 parents, including myself, consisted of a couple of mom’s with a child with food allergies entering JK, a mom of a girl in Grade 3 and parents of another child who I think was also in Grade 3.

The morning was all about “Partnering And Planning With Your School”.

The registering of one’s child with anaphylaxis in the school system was a big topic. Understanding the law and responsibilities of the school, providing resources on your child with anaphylaxis’ allergy management, creating an Action Plan and effective communication tools for parents were all covered.

Complete with a very ‘Oscar worthy’ role-play example performance!

All the information regarding the morning session can be found at The Toronto Anaphylaxis Education Group (TAEG).  Click here.

I really liked the ‘electronic binder information’ they have all ready for one to download…  I wish I had that resource way back when!

The afternoon session, “Managing food allergies:  Working together for a safer future” also flew by.

Great speakers from Anaphylaxis CanadaKyle Dine and three members of the Youth Advisory Panel from Why Risk It? discussed and answered questions on bullying and Laurie Harada, Executive Director of Anaphylaxis Canada moderated a great discussion on food labelling.

Dr. Adelle Atkinson’s , MD, FRCPC talk on “A Buffet of truths and myths about food allergy” easily kept the attention of all with her wit and humour.

Many exhibitors waited in the hallway for us all to descend upon them during our morning and afternoon breaks and lunch.

Exhibitors…such as Allerject (I picked up some posters and an Allerject trainer for my boys’ high school), EpiPen (I picked up some posters and an EpiPen trainer for my boys’ high school), Allergic Living Magazine (I happily subscribed for another 2 years), Medic Alert, and SunButter (my favourite being the Organic SunButter I asked if they could please make a crunchy version!)...just to name a few.

So what did I learn at this event?

1)  I was inspired to pick up as much information as I could from the exhibitors to bring back to my boys’ high school to present at the School Council Meeting on May 14, 2014.

2)  It made me realize, my boys’ high school website needs to contain information about registering a student with anaphylaxis.  Adding such information would be a welcoming sight for parents registering a student with anaphylaxis…the Principal agreed.

My experience at the high school level has taught me that not all parents feel the need to inform their child’s high school of their anaphylaxis.  Shocking I know!

By including anaphylaxis information on my boys’ high school website, I hope to bring awareness and encourage all parents of high school children with anaphylaxis to notify the Principal of their child’s anaphylaxis.  Set up a meeting with the Principal, review and fill out an Action Plan and provide the high school with an auto-injector for the office.

Continuing to be advocates at the high school level sets a good example for our children with anaphylaxis…for in only 4 years, you will be passing the torch!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Empowering Our Youth With Food Allergies

Powerful words…

Tip # 4:  “Sometimes we make mistakes but please don’t lose trust in us.  Encourage us and have faith in that we will learn from our mistakes.”

Tip # 12:   “Give us knowledge to empower us for tomorrow.”

I have really been taking Anaphylaxis Canada’s Youth Advisory Council’s 31 Tips for parents with allergic youth to heart…I have two boys in their teens with multiple food allergies.

I can’t stop thinking that my eldest son, Michael, in Grade 11, with multiple food allergies…dairy, egg, beef, lamb, sesame, peanut/tree nuts, fish, shellfish, mustard and raspberries…will be leaving home soon to start his own journey in life with food allergies.

Every day I read a new tip…each day I wonder…have I prepared him to be independent…have I taught him to be his own advocate…does he feel empowered?

Questions all parents ask of themselves when their children reach that certain age…however, having multiple food allergies adds another element of responsibility on the part of the parents and their children.

How does a parent with a child/children with multiple food allergies successfully pass the torch…teach their children to be advocates for themselves…empower them?

Life is all about choices…as parents, we make all the choices for our children but as they grow and mature, there are always opportunities to give our children the chance to take some risks and make some choices.

Isn’t that what growing up is all about…taking risks and learning from them?

Living with multiple food allergies adds another dimension to the risk taking that tends to immobilize us as parents…we understand full well the stakes are much higher when confronted with multiple food allergies.

How, as parents, do we rationalize this reality…while at the same time give our children the opportunity to learn from their mistakes?

I am not an expert…just a parent of two teenagers with multiple food allergies…looking for answers just as much as the next parent with children with food allergies.

I know as a parent with children with multiple food allergies, eczema and asthma issues…my husband and I have made our fair share of mistakes. I have a very large back-pack of guilt that topples me over from time to time.  I have to constantly remind myself…there is no use going back…only forward.

My husband and my mistakes are the templates from which we learn and teach our children with food allergies from…I am forever telling my boys…

“I may not always like the choices that you make but I will always love you.”

I am currently trying to put together all my thoughts, tips, words of wisdom, adapted recipes and experiences as a parent of children with food allergies together. I am hoping to create something that my boys and youth with food allergies can take away with them on the day they head off into the big wide world.

What types of questions cross your mind?

What do the allergic youth of today need in order for them to feel empowered as they leave home for the first time?

I would greatly appreciate your input as parents of children with food allergies, youth with food allergies and parents and youth with food allergies that have already been through these experiences.

Youth with food allergies are uniting…let’s join them!

Please leave a comment or email me at my new address: susan@thefoodallergychronicles.com

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free ‘Scream/Dream Bars’

May is Food Allergy Awareness Month in Canada and Sunday is Mother’s Day…this post aims to honour them both.

As a mother with two teenaged boys with multiple food allergies…Anaphylaxis Canada’s Youth Advisory Panel’s (YAP) 31 Tips for Parents – From Teens (click here) has encouraged me to learn more about what allergic youth of today need. To do so,  I have been visiting their site…Why Risk It?Where Real Life And Allergies Collide.

Why Risk It? is a great site for allergic youth to learn more about how their peers with food allergies are living/coping/dealing with their food allergies through real life stories of their own.

With two teenaged boys with multiple food allergies in the house…forever on the look-out for something tasty to eat…I was curious to check out the recipes on the Why Risk It? Blog.

I must say…I was a bit disappointed to find only 3 recipes. Out of the 3 recipes, only one stood out…I love a recipe with a good story.

The post was written by Arianne. Due to Arianne’s peanut/tree nut allergies and her brother’s egg allergies…Halloween treats were off limits at her house. Lucky for Arianne and her brother, her mother learned to make special allergen friendly Halloween treats, such as Scream Bars, for her and her brother to enjoy so they would not feel left out.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free 'Scream Bars'

Arianne states, “To this day, I still use her recipes and praise her every second that I get for helping me and my brother to truly feel the Halloween spirit.”

Click here for the original story and recipe.

I have adapted Arianne’s, already egg and peanut/tree nut free recipe, to be dairy free to accommodate my eldest son’s dairy allergy.

Adaptions and Recommendations:

1) Replace the 1/2 cup butter with Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks or Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread for a soy free version.
2) Cream the room temperature Earth Balance before adding the brown sugar…cream them together before adding the flour.
3)  Measure all the dry ingredients, excluding the coconut and rice krispies, in a large bowl.
4)  I used Adrianne’s 2 egg replacement: I measured 4 tbsp. of warm water in a little dish…just before I was to add it to the mixed dry ingredients, I added the 1 tbsp. of baking powder. I stirred it all together while it fizzed then quickly added it to the dry ingredients to combine. I then added the coconut and rice krispies.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Dream Bars

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free 'Dream Bars'

A sweet, crunchy, decadent treat!

Matthew found them…“Nice and crunchy with a powerful chocolatey taste.”

As Mother’s Day is this Sunday…I would like to take the time to thank my mother for encouraging me to help in the kitchen…she gave me the skills I needed to be creative in the kitchen, instilled in me a love for good ‘real’ food, and sent me off into the world with a pleather of great recipes…many of which I have adapted to share with my family today.

As a mother myself…I hope I can do the same for my boys.

On that note, I would like to wish all the mother’s out there with children, family members and/or friends with food allergies…here’s to you and all that you do…

HAPPY MOTHER”S DAY!

May Is Food Allergy Awareness Month In Canada

May is Food Allergy Awareness Month in Canada.

Anaphylaxis Canada is encouraging us all to “get involved and make a difference in your community.” Click here for a link to their website for a list of this month’s events.

I recently received an email from Anaphylaxis Canada with a link to a very important public service announcement for anyone with children…especially teenagers.

Anaphylaxis Canada encourages us all to ‘spread the word’ through email or social media…without further ado, click here to view “The First Kiss”.

As a mother of two boys in their teens…I very much appreciated this video as an ice-breaker.

Another email from Anaphylaxis Canada brought to my attention Anaphylaxis Canada’s Youth Advisory Panel (YAP)…a group of youths with food allergies. Throughout Food Allergy Awareness Month, the youth members will share their tips for parents of allergic youth.

The list of 31 tips encourages parents with children with food allergies to…“prepare them to become responsible for their own allergies.”

What I love the most about this list of 31 tips is all 31 tips were written by youths with food allergies. Photos of youths holding up their tips will be posted daily on Anaphylaxis Canada’s Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts or click here to view the list at Why Risk It?

Real tips from real youth…love it!

Here is my favourite youth tip so far from Day 5: 

     “We can only be empowered…IF you give us the power
to manage our allergies on our own.”

Great advice…I am a work in progress.

I plan to sit down with my boys every day of Food Allergy Awareness Month to discuss the ‘Youth Tip of the Day’…I am hoping that by exposing my boys to tips from other youths with food allergies…my boys will come up with a few of their own.

I am extremely impressed with Anaphylaxis Canada’s Youth Advisory Panel’s venture…giving allergic youth a voice. I hope it helps parents of allergic youth open their eyes and ears…take notice and listen.

It worked for me.

Click here for a link to Why Risk Ita site for Canadian youth at risk for Anaphylaxis for more information.

How will you contribute to Food Allergy Awareness Month in Canada?