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Showing posts from February, 2013

Complete Organic Gardening Course!

The COMPLETE ORGANIC GARDENING COURSE offered by Edible Corvallis Initiative in collaboration with OSU Extension and Oregon Tilth will take place throughout the month of April.  Learn how to grow your own food using organic methods by participating in hands-on garden activities, in-depth discussions and engaging educational exercises.  There will be a lead instructor with visits by specialist guest instructors from all three organizations.  In April, we'll meet every Wednesday evening from 5:30 - 7:30pm for interactive discussions with our hands-on gardening days being every Saturday from 9am - 1pm. 
You can register HERE or email me for more details!   sage@corvallisenvironmentalcenter.org




Nickmom, Bake Sales and Food Allergy Portrayal in the Media

So I'm trying to get incensed and dig up some outrage over the whole Nickmom allergy video. (The video has already been taken down or I'd link it for you.) But I'm just not feeling it, even after a couple of Red Bulls, despite how good a tirade would probably be for my web traffic.

I watched the video this morning before work so I don't remember everything, but the gist of it seemed to be that the extra demands of FA-aware bake sales stress the moms of non-allergic kids out. There was a table for "milk-free" and one for "peanut-free", etc. etc.

While I was watching it, I thought to myself "What an awesome school! Wouldn't it be great if that were REALLY the way a bake sale went?
Which leads me to ask the question: why was this video so very offensive to allergic moms?
Assuming nirvana was actually reached and the school/PTA/after-school group actually accommodated us and made separate tables at a bake sale for allergens, it probably wou…

Harmful Things Food Allergy Advocates Say

If you've read my blog for any length of time, you know I have mixed feelings about advocacy and support groups. I do think there's just no other way to really learn the nuances you need to know to keep a food-allergic child safe. However, I also believe they spread fear, misinformation, ultra-conservative thinking...and, even at times, do outright harm. Let me give you some specific examples of where I think advocacy groups have crossed the line.

1. Peanuts are Poison.

This is like telling your child when their pet dies that it has "gone to sleep." It's a dangerous misrepresentation of the situation that is likely to lead to future problems.

In all likelihood, your child will need to undergo a food challenge at some point. It's possible (likely, in the case of milk and egg) that they will outgrow their allergy. (Remember that as many as 20% of children do spontaneously outgrow even a peanut allergy.)

What's going to happen with the child who's been told,…

What Kind of Father Will You Be?

illustration by Robert Rendo
(click to enlarge)
(Feel free to lift this image and/or article and use it in a free license in your own advocacy material . . . simply provide a byline, nothing more!)


Dr. Burks' Presentation at AAAAI: Related Tweets

So for those of you who are not obsessed with research, this weekend is the annual AAAAI meeting down in San Antonio. A number of immunologists and allergists tweet during the presentations to give those of us who are not lucky enough to attend a glimpse of the presentations.

This morning was Dr. Wesley Burks' highly anticipated talk: Immune Tolerance and Allergy: Can We Produce True Tolerance? Here's what the various tweeters had to say:
Several studies now indicate that food allergy is related to defective T regulatory response” Anne Ellis, M.D ‏@DrAnneEllisSome studies suggest that when peanut tolerance develops, existing cells do not change, but rather, new populations of cells arise. Peripheral t cell tolerance is key. Children who have outgrown non IgE-mediated milk allergy demonstrate detectable T regulatory activity. Sakina Bajowala, M.D‏@allergistmommySo these are things I've touched on in other columns. Somehow, a child's immune system gets off track when they&…

Dandelion Heralds Spring

Being blessed with our climate, this time of the year still allows us an opportunity to grow a lot of food. I've covered some of the purposeful plants we're growing, but what about all the goodies we're growing but not necessarily meaning to grow?  This includes things frequently termed "weeds."  Now technically a weed is just a plant that is growing somewhere you don't want it to grow, but many plants are known as rather notorious "weeds."  Dandelions, for example, inspire a lot of people to head out into their yard with death and destruction on their minds, but dandelions are stellar little plants with a change of perspective.  For one, they're quite tasty in a variety of ways.  For those of you who know me, you know I love most things (especially wild things) that are edible.  Well with dandelions, you can eat the root, shoot and flowers.  Dry and roast the roots for a tasty tea.  Eat the young leaves in salad or stir fry (a great bitter, exc…

Abby's Poem to Tommy Whitelaw

Tommy are you listening, i cant say i understand, 
But i am here, and i am willing, 
so penny for your thoughts?
C'mon Tommy, pick yourself up theres no time for feeling down, 
Your doin ok, and you shouldn't worry, 
Your doing your ol' ma proud.
The small things your doin everyday, 
are brining hope to peoples lives, 
so when your feeling down and in doubt, 
just keep that in your mind

The things that you's faced, all on your own
Send a shiver right up my spine, 
And i gotta tell you one more time, 
Mate, your doing fine.
You told us stories about your ma, 
And God she sounds like a doll, 
A hardworking lady who loved her kids, 
And was madly deeply in love.

Tommy i know cause you told us so, 
The way the story goes, 
The newspaper clippings and scribbled writings, 
To remind her who she was.
That hardworking lady cant remember a thing, 
even the man she loved so true, 
But no 'what ifs' Tommy cause your ol' ma, 
is living and shinning through you.

We have let you down, and your ma…

Tommy Whitelaw Talks to 1st & 3rd Year Mental Health Students

Student tweets in response: Listening to  in a seminar.Hard hitting real life story about carers&their families. Puts things into perspective.
@tommyNtour crying at your talk. Sad but inspirational !
Your story was heartbreaking & inspiring! @tommyNtour Relate 2 u in many ways as carer at home! carers need a voice like u!#gcucarersvoice
@GCUMentalHealth@tommyNtour Had a seminar this morning that I feel will change the course and attitude of our students forever.
What ive learnt today is that its time to step up our game as students. We affect real people & its up to us how we do that. #gcucarersvoice
@tommyNtour absolute inspiration, such a heartbreaking story told so eloquently. you should be so proud of your work and am sure Joan is too

Run for Your Life!

illustration by Robert Rendo
(click to enlarge)
(Feel free to lift this image and/or article and use it in a free license in your own advocacy material . . . simply provide a byline, nothing more!)







How Come No One Paid Me to Blog About Auvi-Q?

Oh, Sanofi.

I'm so disappointed. I hear from my peeps that you flew a bunch of bloggers out to your headquarters, paid for their trip, wined and dined them...just so they'd have the opportunity to review your Auvi-QTM epinephrine injector.

Now I know what Mary Boleyn must have felt like, after giving it away to King Henry for free. Her sister held out for the Queenship and, sure enough, the king bought the Royal Cow in the end. (Of course, that story ended rather badly...but I'm sure the bloggers all got home safely with their virtue mostly intact.)

Maybe you didn't invite me because you knew I had already done my part to review the Auvi-Q. (Milk...cow...free...back in August, for heaven's sake!) Maybe you didn't invite me because I don't have enough readers.

Maybe you didn't invite me because of the (shhh!!!) bitch in my name.

But see? That's exactly why I've kept the BITCH in my name, despite it being offensive to some people. It reminds me, every …

Why Food Allergy Parents Won't Use Thresholds

So apparently I woke the Tiger Allergy Moms with the "peanut is probably already in your food" blog post.

As I said in my follow-up post about food allergy cross contamination, I really didn't even realize this was controversial...or not common knowledge. After all, the study I cited (that showed 5% contamination with may-contain products and 2% contamination with products that had no label at all) was sponsored by FAAN (now FARE), overseen by Dr. Sicherer and carried out by FAARP, all cornerstones in our little food allergy castle.

However, poke a Tiger Allergy Mom and you're likely to get scratched. The blog post vaulted into my Top 5 for traffic and generated the longest comments exchange yet. I've puzzled over why this is and the conclusion that I've reached is that I unintentionally took away the Blue Ribbon for Total Avoidance. By saying that people were eating peanut they didn't know about, I was somehow apparently also saying their child's food …

Vice or Virtue?

illustration by Robert Rendo
(click to enlarge)
(Feel free to lift this image and/or article and use it in a free license in your own advocacy material . . . simply provide a byline, nothing more!)
We already know the undemocratic consequences of corporate style reforms to public education. We've been living it since NCLB, and now we're attempting to machete our way through its steroid filled cousin, Race to the Top.   
Most of this reform mischaracterizes teachers, bullying them in a false, destructive light. Yet, there is this very tangible realm of protest, questioning, lobbying, and the still functional "write-a-letter-or-pick-up-the-phone-and-tell-your elected-official" strategy that are beginning to light a few key matches in a very parched forest. 
But, really, in all of these slowly burning fuses that stand to potentially burn down privatizing interests, how much voice is reported from a child's point of view? 
Children . . . . remember them? The ones who have …

1st Year GCU MH Nursing Student Abby's Stigma Poetry

Anti-discrimination film made by 1st Year GCU Mental Health Nursing Students

Winter Disbelief

People wandering by SAGE this time of year are always curious, "what are you doing?"  Despite having my boots on, harvesting tool in hand and a big tub filling with greens, people seem to want verbal confirmation that I'm doing what they're observations suggest; harvesting.  I can have rows and rows of kale around me and still people say "kale can last in the winter?"  Yes, it does and it is so easy to grow, you can do it too!

I've been pondering this phenomenon (because it happens to me multiple times a week) and I think, perhaps, people need verbal confirmation of my actions because it is winter and they don't associate that season with gardening.  Yes, we can grow food year round here and I consider us Willamette Valley folks pretty lucky for that.  If you need to see it with your own eyes though, here's some recent photos of the bounty (some, but not all the goodies) we're growing right now.  If still you'd like to see this in person…

Congrats! Your Child Passed a Baked Milk Challenge!

Now what?

I get a lot of questions about baked milk dosing: how much, how long to bake, what foods to start with, what order to give them. It's such a helpless feeling to have to say "I don't know" most of the time.

We are back to doing milk dosing, but things have been a bit haphazard in our house. We try to do the milk dosing right after school so there's time to deal with reactions if we have to. However, I have also recently started an on-site job and my son works most weekends, so it's been difficult to find the time.

About a week ago, I gave him his dose (individual rice puddings baked 50 minutes; approx. 1.5 oz. milk in each, or ~1.5 g protein), only to realize that I was signed up to drive car pool that day and had to leave! A frantic call to my husband, followed by him abandoning his work day to drive home, and at least we were covered. However, this is clearly going to get harder and harder for us to do, so I encourage all of you with younger children …

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