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.
Continue reading “No Talking”
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.
Continue reading “I’m An Adult Now – Steam Cleaners”
If you watched CBC’s The National last night you might have caught my 15 seconds of fame as I was interviewed for a piece about perfume and perfume allergies.
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.
Continue reading “Perfum(ing) 2”
It read like an April Fool’s Day joke. Yesterday, the Toronto Star ran a story about a Woodbridge woman who wanted oak trees near her sons’ school cut down because her two boys are allergic to tree nuts.
The obvious rebuttals come to mind:
– 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.
Continue reading “Crazy Acorn Lady – Making Life Difficult for the Rest of Us”
I read this piece on Civil Eats with great interest. It discusses a study that links ADHD in children in with the consumption of processed foods.
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.
Continue reading “Moo Juice – Not the Magic Food You Think It Is”
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.
Continue reading “Hanging in the Garden at the Drake”
Articles in all the major papers today, telling the world what many of us already knew – perfumes are toxic.
The testing showed that each fragrance contains, on average, 14 chemicals that are not listed on the product label. In total, nearly 40 undisclosed chemicals were found in the 17 products tested. The products contained a total of 91 chemicals, some identified on labels and some not. Of those, only 19 have ever been reviewed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, a review body of the cosmetics industry.
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.
Continue reading “(Per)Fuming”