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Gwen Smith

WestJet Steps Up to the Mike

By Gwen Smith

Hallelujah, we’ve been heard. If you ask a flight attendant on WestJet, Canada’s second largest airline, she or he will step to the microphone and ask fellow passengers to please not pull out nut or peanut snacks. The attendant will briefly explain that this is because there is a person onboard with serious allergies. This …

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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

Travel Abroad: Possible After All

By Laurie Harada

They say that music is a universal language. In many ways, so is food. No matter where you travel, people show pride in their heritage and express their emotions through food. As world travelers, my husband, Victor, and I want to expose our children to different cultures. Both of us have worked abroad – he …

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Laurie Harada

The Holiday Snack Tray and Allergies

By Laurie Harada

A few years back, the news media reported the results of a study that found that many nut-allergic children were unable to recognize common nuts. The article prompted mixed reviews from parents of food allergic children. Some were offended by the suggestion that parents, in trying to shield their children from danger, had not taught …

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Laurie Harada

Tips For Talking to School Officials

By Laurie Harada

Food, the very sustenance of life, is present as we celebrate both life and death, mark rites of passage, and proudly offer others a glimpse into our unique cultures with special dishes. But our relationship with food – when, where, how, and even why we eat – has changed significantly over the years. There is …

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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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