There’s a popular philosophy that silence can equal strength. Saying nothing often says more than any words. But what about when you’ve been silenced involuntarily?
Like many people this month, I’ve found myself flattened by a cold. This is not rare or unusual except that at the exact same time the virus hit me, I experienced an allergic reaction to the massive amounts of Christmas tree debris that some of my neighbours left strewn about the elevators and hallways of our building as they took their dead trees to the garbage. Even though building staff seemed to be vacuuming continuously, we were finding needles in the rugs in our (tree-free) apartment.
I’m allergic to evergreens but the worst I usually get is itchy ears in the spring when the conifers pollinate. So when I woke one night unable to breathe, my throat swollen near closed from inflammation and likely a bit of anaphylaxis plus the typical cold-related mucus gluing it all together, I was terrified and really shaken.
One of the important parts of adulting is knowing the how, when and why of keeping things clean. When I recently posted to Facebook about steam cleaning my sofa I got an incredulous reply from a friend exclaiming that they didn’t even know you could do such a thing, and please would I explain how.
So let’s start with the fact that all fabric things around your house get dirty. Or at least dusty. Here at House O’ Fits, things such as curtains, throw cushion covers, table runners and bed spreads get laundered on a quarterly basis. I use the change of season (solstices and equinoxes) as my calendar guide. Linens that are more delicate or harder to dry, especially if they don’t come in direct contact with skin/hair or pets (things such as pillows, feather duvets and feather or wool mattress pads) generally get washed annually. (Yes, I said washed… I totally wash my feather linens and put them in a dryer – they turn out fine.)
But what about carpets, rugs or fabric-covered furniture?
Dudes, these should also be cleaned. Not constantly, but at least somewhat regularly.
Unfortunately due to a miscommunication on the specific topic and my own failure to research the correct issue, very little of what I said in the interview was used, and what did get used was out of context.
When the producer originally contacted me, I was told the piece was about a new law in the European Union that would force perfume companies to list the ingredients on the labels. In fact, the piece was about a move by the EU to ban certain (natural) ingredients that have been in perfume for decades and are thought to be the cause of an increased number of allergic reactions to perfume products.
So when Aaron Saltzman asked me if I though the ban was a good idea, and I near-shouted “Absolutely!”, I was wrong.
– acorns are not food, there’s no plausible reason for teenaged boys to be eating them
– they’re teenagers, not toddlers, and if allergic, should know enough to avoid oak trees during acorn season
– um… don’t roll around under oak trees?
On one hand, you’ve gotta feel really sorry for her kids who have enough stress dealing with real allergens (the article says they’re allergic to peanuts and their school – indoors – is nut-free), and now have to deal with being the spawn of crazy acorn lady.
But there’s also the risk now that the very real concerns regarding allergies – both of her kids and the rest of us – won’t be taken seriously because of the over-reaction and helicopter parenting of one woman who made the news.
There are a multitude of credible scientific studies to indicate that diet plays a large role in the development of ADHD. One study found that the depletion of zinc and copper in children was more prevalent in children with ADHD. Another study found that one particular dye acts as a “central excitatory agent able to induce hyperkinetic behavior.” And yet another study suggests that the combination of various common food additives appears to have a neurotoxic effect—pointing to the important fact that while low levels of individual food additives may be regarded as safe for human consumption, we must also consider the combined effects of the vast array of food additives that are now prevalent in our food supply.
This is interesting because back when I was first diagnosed with allergies, as well as multiple chemical sensitivity, I read plenty of books, studies and articles that linked ADHD to chemical exposure. Not necessarily in food, although food was certainly an important medium of transfer.
Having said that, I have a friend with a child who has ADHD. She relates knowing that her son had the illness only a few weeks after he was born, based on watching him in his crib. It may have been that her diet while she was pregnant was high in processed foods, but I think it’s more likely that children are born with ADHD and that the symptoms can be made worse by exposure to the chemicals in processed foods.
But it’s certainly a reasonable excuse to ensure kids get a wholesome diet of real food, grown as organically as possible.
I’m kind of boggled to see this article about milk and calcium on a mainstream media website. For years, pretty much everyone has fallen in line with the dairy-industry-promoted tagline “milk does a body good”. But there has been lots of proof, for years, that milk, in fact, doesn’t do a body good at all and that the animal fat proteins in milk outweigh the good you get from the calcium.
I came across this same information years ago when I was diagnosed with a dairy allergy and started researching the dairy industry to maybe try and find out why (as I was also diagnosed with some chemical sensitivities, the doctor wasn’t sure if the allergy was the milk protein casein, or something else like antibiotics that might be in the milk). I came across lots of articles and studies touting the party line of milk being such a wonderful food. But in almost every case, the piece could be traced back to the dairy industry, which, it must be noted, have a HUGE vested interest in wanting people to equate their product with good health.
I have a question for restaurant owners everywhere.
If your restaurant has a patio (or even if it doesn’t), why is it necessary to have your front windows and doors open on a hot day? Is it because you assume that everyone loves sitting on the patio, and by opening doors or installing big garage-style windows that open to the street that customers seated indoors will feel like they’re on that patio? Or is it just a way to get around running the air conditioning?
Because not everyone wants to sit outside.
Greg and I went out for lunch today. We arrived at our destination to find that the place had all the windows and doors open, and that it was actually hotter inside than outside on the patio, where there was at least a breeze.
I’m currently balancing on a very thin precipice with my allergies. Six weeks in and having tried three different medications, I’m finally at a point where I can actually go outside to get from point A to point B, but sitting for an hour or more in air full of astronomical amounts of mold spores is really not fun.
I’m back! We broke down and bought an air purifier and it’s reduced my crazy mold allergy symptoms by about 90%. Definitely working better than any of the meds I was taking. Well, until this morning when it was cool and 14C and we opened the windows to let the cool, “fresh” air in, which of course was full of mold spores. In any case, I haven’t been venturing outside much but one of the things I did do a couple of weeks ago when the mold count was low was to head over to the Drake Hotel (1150 Queen Street West) for their annual garden party.
The garden is actually behind a storefront a few doors down where the Drake has their General Store and ice cream shops. So we got there by heading down a back alleyway. It had rained earlier (rather a torrential downpour) so things started a bit late, but once the rain subsided, it was a decent night.
The kicker, of course, for people with “sensitivity” to perfume is that we can’t even get a legal diagnosis of “allergic” because perfume companies are not required to list all of those ingredients. Without a list, doctors can’t isolate the individual ingredients, and to ascertain an allergic reaction, each ingredient would have to be tested. Even then, knowing you’re allergic to, say, lilial, doesn’t really help if it’s out there in the chemical soup that people shroud themselves in.
It’s been a couple of years since I posted my rant about probiotic claims on yogurt containers. Recently, Dannon/Danone settled out of court rather than face a lawsuit that would make the research they based their product on public. In Europe, the Food and Safety Association has rejected health claims on packaging outright.
One other thing that I don’t see addressed by anyone…
Dannon is working hard to get an approved health claim from the European Standards Agency which annoyingly wants to see some science behind health claims before approving them. Dannon has now added a tomato extract to its yogurts with the idea that this substance, which appears to help deal with diarrhea, will strengthen its bid for a health claim.
Tomatoes are an allergy trigger for a lot of people. Just as adding fish oil to bread so it can be enriched with Omega 3 could trigger allergic reactions in people sensitive to fish, might we begin to see reactions to products with tomato extract added? This all seems a desperate attempt to confuse and mislead consumers into believing that they can buy a tub of yogurt instead of visiting a doctor or taking real medicine.
And of course, as even Dannon’s research made clear, the probiotics don’t work as well as the company is claiming they do. Add to that all the sugar and flavourings most people need to make yogurt palatable, and you might as well be eating candy. Plain, unadulterated yogurt contains natural probiotics that can (maybe) be beneficial to your health. Don’t be fooled by the hype and the pretty package.