Wow! What an honour! I was touched today to receive this award from The Food Allergy Chronicles, a blog sharing "One Family's Journey on the Road to Surviving and Thriving with Food Allergies."
I love this for two reasons:
1. Who doesn't like to win an award?!! Woot! Woot!
2. This is a great and frankly ingenious way to encourage collaboration and sharing amongst the mom bloggers!
Now for some reason, they ask you to write 7 things about yourself when you accept this award. Talk about myself? Who me? Aw yeah! lol For some reason most of my points below are confessions.... So here you go:
1. I eat "unsafe" foods.
It's true. It's my dirty little secret. When I go to parties, don't even bother trying to talk to me because I'm standing at the cheese tray jamming as many dairy filled delicacies and nuts into my face as I can! If for some reason I am away from my children eating out at a restaurant I take every opportunity I can to indulge in nuts. It's bizarre..how can a food that is completely harmless to me wreak such havoc on my little one? I remember a fellow allergy advocate and I were out for coffee and she was shocked when I ordered a muffin with nuts in it. She said that witnessing her child's reaction to nuts was enough to make her never want to eat one again. And I felt weird about it...was I a bad mom for eating these foods when away from my allergic child? I thought about it and decided that I am cool with it. In fact, talking to my doctor she told me that while there is a propensity to allergies if there is a family history, it is to allergies in general -not to specific allergens. That means that while allergies may be hereditary, the actual allergens are not -meaning you can have one kid with a milk allergy and then other will be allergic to soy.... So the way I see it is that different people have different allergies and banning one food from the world (i.e., nuts) doesn't help the people who are allergic to sesame. Now we can't ban all the allergenic foods or there would be nothing left to eat so we have to have avoidance in other ways. And that is through REASONABLE RISK REDUCTION measures to prevent cross-contamination and accidental exposure. For me personally this means that I do not enjoy allergens that are unsafe for my daughter in our shared space (our home) but that I do indulge when away from her. This gets tricky when you are in larger shared spaces like a school. It doesn't make sense to ban something from the whole school if nobody in that school is allergic to that allergen and then to have people consuming tons of dairy -pizza days, milk days etc when there are children with life-threatening dairy allergies in the room. This is something I have really struggled with and could write pages on... to sum it up, my basic suggestion would be to get food out of the classroom. In our schools children eat in their classrooms -2 snacks and lunch -Ideally if children didn't eat in their classrooms this would mean the classroom environment would not be a risk for students with food allergies. What do you think? Comment below and let me know!
2. Sometimes I disappear from the Allergy Community
Every once in a while I get upset by all of the information and check out for a bit. It causes anxiety and depression to read about the risks and the realities of a life-threatening allergy and sometimes I just need a break from it all. This doesn't mean I let down my guard at home or anything like that -it just means I get off the internet and take a break from all the media and information for a bit. I do this when needed and then hop back in... it's my passion to advocate and educate but everyone needs a mental health day from time to time! When I am not advocating for allergies and anaphylaxis, I work at Prashamana: Good Health for Body, Mind, Heart and Spirit. Check it out!
3. I have used the word "burden" to describe having a child with allergies
I'm hesitant to share that with you. What an awful thing to say but it's the truth. I feel sometimes that it is a burden and just wish I didn't have to deal with this!!! I feel a HUGE BURDEN OF RESPONSIBILITY to keep my child alive and I fear that if I let my guard down or make a mistake, something could happen to her and I would never forgive myself. Isn't that a horrible weight to carry? And we all do. Being an allergy mom can be isolating and stressful and frankly really challenging. Flying with my daughter over the holidays, she had her head on my lap asleep and I felt very worried if she was breathing ok as the smell of cheese and eggs wafted through the cabin -she is highly anaphylactic to dairy, egg, peanuts and tree nuts and they are heating cheese omelettes and passing out almonds to the first class travelers. I felt hugely anxious and worried whether she was going to be ok. I thought to myself, no mom should have to feel like this! I should be relaxing and enjoying a movie and instead I'm a bundle of nerves worrying if my daughter is going to make it home safely! So yes, from time to time I play the self-pity card.
4. I am so proud of my kids.
My son is amazing -he is only 8 years old and so responsible and caring about his sister with her anaphylactic food allergies. Sometimes I look at him and think no kid should have to worry about protecting his younger sibling from danger but he does and I am amazed that someone his age could be so caring and responsible and nurturing (aren't they supposed to be egocentric at this stage?)...melts my heart.
My daughter is a fierce little thing and despite her small size she is mighty! She is 6 and plays hockey with the boys and totally holds her own! She is responsible about her allergies and is so gracious about eating out in public or watching others indulge in things that she can't have and it makes me so proud of her every day. I can't imagine a child that age having to think about being safe or avoiding foods or any of that. Kids shouldn't have to worry about that kind of stuff but she handles it all so well and is a vivacious, amazing kid!
5. When I was a kid I used to lie to neighbours and say I was allergic to milk and peanut butter because I didn't like them.
Isn't that crazy? So what is this? LIke Karma or something? Or perhaps maybe my body didn't like those things for a reason and maybe somehow I was telling the truth? I was allergic to eggs and had a lot of seasonal allergies as a kid so maybe in fact my body didn't like those things and that's why I made up lies so I wouldn't have to eat it! Interesting......
6. I am so touched by all of the people I have met on this journey!
As I say on the first page of my website, there have been some silver linings to this journey and one in particular has been the amazing people that I have connected with over the years. When I first created the website and wrote out my big long story of how I became an allergy mom, my husband asked who on earth would read that?! lol Well it turns out a lot of people! And I am so grateful for those who take the time to share their stories with me and to connect in any way.... So keep 'em coming! I love hearing from you!
7. My first experience with anaphylaxis occurred when I was in grade 5.
It was summer holidays and I was at home with my mom. She was gardening and got stung by a bee. She started to feel ill and went to lay down. Then she asked me to go to the store to get her some medicine as she just felt awful. I rode my bike to the corner variety store and when I got back my mom was gone! My neighbour had taken her to the hospital! It was a very frightening experience. After that, my mom had a syringe and vial of epinephrine in a kit in the fridge and we were very afraid of bees! Ironically, my name means honey bee.... I digress... :)
OK so enough about Me!!!! Now it's my turn to recognize other amazing bloggers out there! Here they are!!! Please check out these fabulous blogs!
1. The Daily Love
Nothing to do with allergies or anaphylaxis but easily one of my favourite blogs and so I had to put it here! Inspiring blog? Oh yeah! It's all about inspiration and a daily dose of feeling the love....you won't be disappointed if you subscribe to this one! Mastin Kipp is amazing!
2. Holistic Wellness: Nourish Your Mind, Body and Spirit
Samantha Gladish is AMAZING!!! I consult with her all the time and she is a wealth of knowledge. She is continually expanding her training and always sharing new information, recipes and tips. Check her out and subscribe to her blog...you won't regret it!
3. Pramilda.Com: Ignite Your Inner Bling. You got it... so Rock it!
Pramilda is currently updating her website so I have sent you the link to her facebook page instead but do check back soon because this woman is AWESOME!!! A fabulous speaker and coach.
4. http://theallergymommy.blogspot.ca/ Recipes, Products, & Help for Gluten, Egg, Soy, & Dairy allergy kids and moms! This sweet blog offers tips, advice, encouragement and recipes. Check it out! I found out about this blog when a friend of the author's contacted me to share her story and tell me how much she appreciated my site. This is what is all about! Sharing with each other! Awesome.
5. Cupookies The girl I was telling you above is the author of this blog. Kjersti is an allergy mom whipping up yummy recipes that are dairy-free, egg-free and soy-free. Check it out!
6. Delicious Alternatives: Finally....Food I can Eat! This lovely lady also contacted me through my website...see what I'm saying about meeting all these great people! Shirley Plant has even generously offered to donate a copy of her book to one of my lucky subscribers so stay tuned for that!! Shirley is also a wealth of knowledge and has published various articles for food and allergy blogs, publications and presented at the Ottawa Environmental Health Clinic on food allergies, intolerances and rotation diets. Check her out!
7. Emily Levinson I love this lady! She calls herself a Rainbow maker, Magical Mentor, Life Stylist, and Game Changer and frankly I just enjoy her blog. Recently she has been doing blog posts on the different colours and I am loving them. Check her out to find out more about this neat lady.
8. Cybele Pascale: The Allergy-Friendly Cook
I came across Cybele Pascale's book The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook on a sale rack at a bookstore downtown and could not believe how awesome the recipes were! What a score! I wasn't surprised to hear that she recently became a contributor to Allergic Living magazine. She rocks!
9. Food Allergy Mama
Most of you probably already know about this one. Kelly Rudnicki is the author of The Food Allergy Mama's Easy, Fast Family Meals, The Food Allergy Mama's Baking Book, and Vegan Baking Classics. Well done!
10. Anaphylaxis Canada Hot Topics
Not sure if this constitutes a blog or not but as a Canadian, this is an important place to keep your eye on to see what is happening with this national registered charity.
11. Allergy Free Table
Allergy Free Table seems to be constantly at work, tirelessly advocating and educating. Their online courses are great for caregivers, babysitters, grandparents. Check them out!
12. Kids with Food Allergies
This place is insane! Soooo much information...a massive community....great contributors of professionals and experts...if you have somehow missed this one, you gotta check it out.
13. Why Risk It? Teen Allergy Blog My kids are still small but I'm hoping that they will have something like this for their teenage years. Stories and experiences about living with allergies. By teens, for teens. Teens are known for risk-taking and when severe allergies are involved...it's just not worth the risk!!
14. Food Allergies Rock! Kyle Dine's Blog
When I first met Kyle I had to ask him -why on earth do Food Allergies Rock?!! Kyle is an amazing guy and truly inspiring. He seems to be smiling all the time and has such great energy. He has such an impact on the kids.... check him out!
15. Allergy Alli
Saved one of the best for last here. Alli is great and I love sharing her blog with my daughter. This 14 year old shares her experiences with food allergies and I love to read her posts to my daughter. She talks candidly about her temptations and it is such a good model for my daughter to relate to. Way to go Alli! You rock!
Phew....This post has officially taken me hours to write but I'm so excited to share this award with these bloggers!
As always, I encourage you to comment below! What do you think about my 7 points about me? Did you check out any of these blogs? What did you think? DO TELL!!