Allerject Educational Materials For All Ontario School and Public Health Units

Did you know…all Ontario Schools and Public Health Units will have received educational material regarding the latest auto-injector Allerject?

Anaphylaxis Canada,  in collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of Education, have updated their Anaphylaxis Support Kits with packages containing resources to inform and educate our educators on the Allerject. Click here for the announcement at Anaphylaxis Canada.

Minister of Education, Liz Sandals, stated, “The health and well-being of our students is a top priority for the Ontario government.”  “Together with our partners, we are committed to making our schools healthier places for students to learn and grow.”

I am more than thrilled!

The resources in Anaphylaxis Canada’s Support Kit support Sabrina’s Law…passed May 2005, Bill 3 and effective January 1, 2006.  Sabrina’s Law “requires that every school board in Ontario establish and maintain an anaphylaxis policy” also “requires that principals develop individual plans for pupils at risk of anaphylaxis.”

Ontario publicly funded schools, school boards and public health units received their first bilingual Anaphylaxis Support Kits in 2011…they will receive Updated Packages, whereas, new schools and public health units will have received the full packages.

The bilingual Anaphylaxis Support Kit includes epinephrine auto-injector training devices (EpiPen and Allerject), awareness and instructional posters and videos, a presentation for school personnel, as well as, related materials and other information.

Educating our educators on anaphylaxis is key to the safety of our children with anaphylaxis in their journey through the education system.

I truly believe the next step is to include the students themselves…our children with anaphylaxis’ classmates.

I know from experience with my two boys with multiple food allergies…the importance of educating their classmates on their food allergies and explaining, in age-appropriate language, the causes, signs and symptoms and treatment of anaphylaxis.

I believe…de-mystifying auto-injectors and developing an awareness of anaphylaxis early on has many benefits. 1)  It would increase a student’s understanding of a classmate with anaphylaxis. 2)  Develop an appreciation of their classmates living with anaphylaxis. 3)  Build a support network of educators and students for classmates with anaphylaxis.

I am every so grateful for the continuing compassion, empathy and support from my boys’ classmates and educators throughout their education journey.

Classmates are on the ‘front-line’…they are the most likely to witness the onset of an anaphylactic reaction. Students educated on the causes, signs and symptoms and treatment of anaphylaxis would be prepared to administer an auto-injector in the event of an anaphylactic reaction…saving precious time.

A recent article, “It’s Hard Not to Stare children’s book opens discussion on disabilities” by Andrea Gordon in the Toronto Star supports my theory of capitalizing on educating students early to embrace all their classmates, regardless of their differences. Click here to view the article.

Author Tim Huff’s latest children’s book, “It’s Hard Not To Stare: Helping Children Understand Disabilities” and his first book, “The Cardboard Shack Beneath The Bridge”, both touch on this very concept.

Tim Huff’s goal…”to demystify the unfamiliar, build empathy and prevent the kind of judgement and meanness he has witnessed during his decades working with the disabled and as an outreach worker on the street with youth.”

Tim Huff, co-founder of Street Level…”a national advocacy network on homelessness and poverty issues “ states, “If we teach children to be compassionate when they’re young it spills over to everything  and affects their character.”

He goes on to say, “At a time when bullying is rampant, it makes more sense to build on the positive by instilling compassion and dealing with kids’ questions or uncertainty about the unfamiliar, rather than simply outlawing behaviours through numerous anti-bullying programs.”

I totally agree…perhaps a children’s book focusing on anaphylaxis should be next in the works!

Now there is some food for thought.

P.S. Upon learning of Anaphylaxis Canada’s Updated Packages…I photocopied their media release to give to my boys’ high school principal.


Two Recipes From The Toronto Star Cookbook by Jennifer Bain

Jennifer Bain, Food Editor of the Toronto Star, just launched her new cookbook…Toronto Star Cookbook.

Toronto Star Cookbook by Jennifer Bain

I had the pleasure of being one of the guests at the event. Click here for the post.

After reading the book from front to back…I was eager to try out some of the recipes. I thought I would start with a couple of recipes that were featured in the Toronto Star, March 30, 2013 Saturday edition, in anticipation of the big event.

The first…my ultimate favourite dish that can easily be adapted to a meal…a salad. Not just any salad, mind you…Jennifer titles this one, “Salad a magical creation”

Crawford Street Salad

Crawford Street Salad from Jennifer Bain's Toronto Star Cookbook

Jennifer’s description of the salad, “This creation, with its salty, lemon-lime-soaked onions, is loved by all who drop by for dinner.” She explains that it was “inspired by a Chilean dish served by Jumbo Empanadas restaurant in Toronto’s Kensington Market.”  Click here for the original recipe.

I decided to be adventurous with the recipe…something Jennifer encourages us all to be at the end of her introduction in the Toronto Star Cookbook…”Cooking is for all who try, too. Please be adventurous.”

I thought the lemon-lime-cilantro dressing, along with the rest of the ingredients, would pair well with the addition of some flaked tuna, quinoa and kidney beans. As I didn’t have a white onion…I replaced it with a red onion and used spinach and arugula in place of green leaf lettuce.

My adaption of Jennifer Bain's Crawford Street Salad from the Toronto Star Cookbook

Now it is more of a meal…perfect!

The second recipe was more to the liking of the boys/men in my family…potatoes!

Garlic-Basil Smashed Potatoes

Garlic-Basil Smashed Potatoes from Jennifer Bain's Toronto Star Cookbook

This potato dish is in Jennifer’s words, “my favourite way to eat spuds.”  Click here for the original recipe.

The recipe is from 2005 when food writer Susan Sampson adapted the original recipe by Bob Blumer…Food Network star and cookbook author himself.

In Jennifer’s version…”I amp up the garlic and basil, slash the oil and make flaky salt key.”

Well…the garlic was definitely ‘ampted up’ in this recipe…a whole head of minced garlic…raw! Yes, you read that right…a whole head…raw!

Now, I must say I was concerned…so I cut back…twice. I refrained from mincing the whole head and then refrained again at mixing in all the minced garlic. Even still, it was a bit too much for my guys.

My husband’s reaction…”A whole head…she must have meant a clove.”

Matthew’s reaction…”Are they meant to look so beat up?” “Mmmm…I like them…the insides are yummy.”

Michael’s reaction…”The vampires won’t be coming around.”

I loved the concept of the recipe…roasted whole little potatoes with a bit of olive oil dusted in salt and them ‘smashed’ with a fork.

I felt they deserved a second chance…the next night I offered them again. The boys requested them without garlic…not even a clove! I think they were ‘garlic’d out’!

Roasted little potatoes with olive oil and salt

These were more my boys’ style.

This is what I love about the Toronto Star Cookbook…all the stories, personal accounts, the history of how a recipe transpired…Jennifer’s journey of discovering new and exciting flavours throughout Ontario is educational.

With a reference section at the back of the book where all of Jennifer’s favourite places to shop are listed…she calls them her “go-to stores for the best and most diverse ingredients”.

It makes me want to get out and explore all the great venues in and around Toronto…to be just as Jennifer intended us to all be…adventurous!

P.S. Did you notice? Both of these recipes happened to be allergy friendly for our family. Hopefully they will be for your family too.