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Gina Clowes

Staying Allergy-Safe Over the Holidays

By Gina Clowes

A food-filled family gathering need not be a minefield for those with allergies. Here are six key steps to safe celebrating. I grew up in a huge Italian family where love was spelled F-O-O-D. About a year after my son was diagnosed with more than a dozen food allergies, I hosted Christmas Eve. Every table …

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Laurie Harada

‘Oh Waiter…’ An Allergic Child Learns to Dine Out

By Laurie Harada

There I was again, reeling off the list of foods which my son, Julian, had to avoid because of his allergies to peanuts, nuts, shellfish, chick peas, split peas and soy. He was 6 years old at the time and we were dining at a restaurant, one of many during a week-long vacation in Florida. …

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Laurie Harada

What’s Fair to Expect of Others

By Laurie Harada

Food allergies are a growing public health concern, with approximately 1.2 million Canadians at risk. The surge in allergic disorders, and the risk of life-threatening anaphylactic reactions has elicited a flurry of media coverage. At the heart of many articles are lobbying efforts to restrict peanut and tree nuts in schools and public venues. Journalists …

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Laurie Harada

Sharing the Allergy Load

By Laurie Harada

When my son, Julian, was diagnosed with peanut allergy years ago, I faced the news alone. My husband Victor could not come to the allergist’s appointment as he had a business commitment. Overwhelmed by the thought of possibly losing our child, I had a meltdown when I called Victor later. Sobbing, I explained: “He could …

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Laurie Harada

If Your Child is Bullied

By Laurie Harada

Are school playgrounds getting meaner? It certainly seems so when you hear media reports about children being singled out for being different, whatever “different” may mean. A while back, I was surprised to receive a call from a friend whose child had been involved in a bullying encounter. She was embarrassed to admit that her …

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Laurie Harada

I Don’t Define My Son by His Allergies

By Laurie Harada

When my son, Julian, was first diagnosed with an allergy to peanut the summer before starting kindergarten, I was devastated. I felt overwhelmed by the prospect of losing him to a lowly peanut. For months, I walked around looking like a deer in the headlights, my face fixed with that ‘ohmygawd’ expression. Danger seemed to …

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Laurie Harada

Food Allergy Backlash

By Laurie Harada

Ten years ago my foray into the world of food allergies began when my first born, Julian, was diagnosed with peanut allergy just months before starting junior kindergarten. Looking back, I’m amazed to see how far we’ve come as a society to address an issue affecting a growing number of children. In January 2006, Sabrina’s …

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