As a follow up on my lamp post blog a few days ago – and just in case you think that I was making somewhat of a fuss over nothing – you might care to read Gunilla Ladberg’s book, Forced to Disconnect, about Swedish people who have become refugees in their own country as a result of becoming electro-hyper sensitive. It is quite short (you will find it on the foodsmatter.com site as a pdf) and since Gunilla is not ES herself, nor are any members of her family, her perspective is quite unbiased.
The thought of endless bands of children hammering on your door threatening a trick or in search of a treat may strike dread into the hearts of the average householder – but think how much worse is the dread if you are the parent of a food allergic child who is desperate to join his or her friends trick or treating. How can you expect complete strangers to understand that giving the wrong treat to your child could be life threatening? But how can you bear to forbid an outing which is, at this moment, the only thing in the world that your child wants to do?…
One option, if you really do not feel you can take the risk, is to throw a party at home where you can control the ‘eats’. Turn your house into the spooks’ layer – you could have a wonderful time making scary posters and pumpkin heads to decorate the house; festoon your rooms with torn black tissue paper (very cheap); turn all the lights off, only using night lights; play lots of spooky music….. Have a spooks treasure hunt with allergen-free treats hidden round the house. Get a Halloween/ghosty DVD/film and play it in a dark room…
However, if you decide that your child would be safe to go out here are a few basic precautions that you could/should take:
1. Make sure that your child has his or her emergency medication on them and that at least one person in their party apart from themselves knows how to use it.
2. Make sure that all the children in the group know about your child’s allergy and that he or she must not touch their allergen – children are very supportive of their friends and if they are given the responsibility of caring for your child they will tend to take that responsibility very seriously.
4. Impress on your child and everyone in the group that if they accept treats, your child (whatever about the others) should not eat them there and then but save them till they get home.
5. Ensure that your child has had a big meal before going out so that they are full and less likely to want to eat anything. Even so, make sure that they have a stock of safe Halloween nibbles with them if they get hungry or if everyone else is eating treats and they don’t want to be left out.
6. Make sure they are wearing MedicAlert bracelet or other medical tag with instructions as to what to do in an emergency.
7. Make them a special cloak or costume on which you paint, in spooky writing but obviously, ‘NO PEANUTS FOR ME’ or ‘NO MILK FOR ME’ so that strangers will see it and at least be alerted.
8. Make sure that one of the other children has your mobile number in case of emergencies.
But – however, scary the prospect for the parents of food allergic children, spare a thought also for those with other allergies and with allergic conditions such as asthma or eczema.
• Latex. Masks and costumes could contain latex – check….
• Eczema. Make up, hair dyes, costumes and masks could all contain substances that could irritate your child’s eczema – check before using.
• Asthma. Masks can interfere with breathing – try using a half mask or none at all. Fragrances in make up, hair dye etc could also trigger an asthma attack – as could running in and out from a cold outdoors into warm houses. Make sure your child has their medication and is wearing a Medical Alert bracelet or other medical ID tag.
Finally, make sure you have something really exciting to come home to so that they are not tempted to stay out too long and stretch your nerves beyond breaking point…..
Foods Matter’s Cressida, who has a three year old son of her own who is just about old enough to start trick or treating, has been busy in the kitchen and has devised a yummy pumpkin soup and a delicious pumpkin pie for supper – both of which need lots of pumpkin flesh so will give you plenty of pumpkin shells to make heads from!
You might also want to look at the About.com site which has a great list of non-food Halloween treats.
And above all – enjoy!
The interactivity of the modern internet has certainly allowed full reign to creative spirits! Take the latest viral campaign from the lobbying group FairFood who use social media and on line communications in their attempts to raise levels of sustainability in the food and drink industry.
Fair Food want us to think about where out food comes from so, as from Global Food Day on October 16th, they have been inviting us to video ourselves while eating, then join the campaign on Facebook where our video will be played – backwards…
Well, it’s a cookie idea – and if it raises awareness of sustainability issues in the food industry, more power to it!
If you want to join check in on their website.
I wanted to encourage everyone, when they get their e-newsletter tomorrow, to read my article on lamp posts… Not really because I want you to read the article – although that would be nice of course – but because I want to stir you up to do some protesting…
In essence I am highlighting the fact that wifi is becoming so pervasive that it will very soon be impossible to avoid unless you choose to live in the most remote and uninhabited parts of the country. But while this poses major problems for those who, like me, are electrosensitive it is also subjecting the whole population to extraordinarily high levels of electrosmog with absolutely no evidence that this may not, in ten or twenty years time, result in far greater health problems than were ever caused by smoking, asbestos or obesity.
Wifi enthusiasts will point out that the evidence that it will cause major health problems simply does not exist – but that was what they said about smoking and asbestos – until it did. It is also what they said about GM (genetic modification) and mobile phones. Yet the evidence is mounting fast to suggest that GM is not as benign as it might appear and even the recent, deeply flawed Interphone Study admitted that excess mobile phone usage over a ten year period could cause cancer.
(Anyone interested in the GM debate might want to look at a round-up of research by Jeffrey Smith, author of Seeds of Deception, on the Dr Mercola site. Anyone who wants to discover for themselves what evidence of harm currently exists for excess use of man-made electromagnetic pulsed radiation should take a look at the Foods Matter ES section – and the many other sites ES-related sites which are linked from it.)
So what has happened to the precautionary principe here? Should we not be moving just a little slower and a little more carefully? Becoming interconnected is a wonderful thing – foodsmatter.com would not exist without the internet – and mobile telephony has brought untold benefits to the third world – whatever about enabling first world parents to keep in contact with their children! I am not for one moment suggesting that, even if it were possible which it is not, we should move backwards and abandon the airwaves as a means of communication. I am just suggesting that we take note of the warning signals and not entirely smother ourselves in radio waves before we understand what unintentional consequences this might have.
Which is why I want to encourage you all to protest…
Although concern about electrosmog is growing fast from the European Parliament to Fairfax town in California, the way to make to grow faster is to talk about it, complain about it, object to it, discuss it, harrass your MP, your MEP, your town councillor, the mayor of London – anyone who will listen! The power of the multinationals is massive but, when push comes to shove, if we won’t buy their products, they are ‘stuffed’… Remember what happened to the GM tomato paste – it died without issue because no one would buy it.
And before anyone says it – yes, I know that the big corp.s will not leave it there and will (and have in the case of GM) used all kinds other means to con us into buying the products they want to sell us and we do not want to buy. But, the ultimate power remains with the consumer – and the consumer should not forget that!!
So, please do read my article – not for the article’s sake, but for the links at the end to those to whom you can protest!!
However…. since I finished it…. I started to look into Boris’ promise to wifi-se London by 2012 – and found that 22 London boroughs are already signed up to this scheme… So more on that one to come.
And… I heard on the radio and subsequently read in the Daily Mail, that Starbucks (and L’Oreal) are adding to the pavement electrosmog by sending electronic vouchers to anyone passing their store who is on the GPS satellite system. The system has, apparently, created concerns about privacy (tracking people’s movements?) – but not about extra electrosmog.
If you wish to complain to Starbucks try this page : if you want to have a go at L’Oreal try +44 (0)20 8762 4000 or email them at email@example.com
Last month I blogged about the apparent bias of Wikipedia against complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
For those who are interested in the area, CAM supporters have now hit back with a Wiki of their own – Wiki 4 CAM.
Wiki4CAM, they say, has been started to provide the Complementary and Alternative Medicine community its own space, where it can build its knowledge base without any undue skeptical diversions. This is a pro-CAM wiki and we invite the practitioners of various alternative medicine therapies to join this movement. A wiki is all about community participation. Your active involvement can make this wiki the most exhaustive and authoritative source for complementary and alternative medicine.
While many of the main therapies (acupuncture, TCM, herbalism etc) have relatively comprehensive entries some of the more obscure ones (unani, magnetotherapy, isopathy…) either have very minimal entries or do not, as yet cite adequate references or sources, but no doubt they will soon be fleshed out as the site develops.
We have, unfortunately, had to withdraw our invitation to be a judge at the FreeFrom Food Awards from one of our prospective judges. She is a freefrom wholesaler. You can find her on her Facebook page and I understand that she also has a blog.
The reason we have withdrawn the invitation is because she had expressed some rather strong opinions about some freefrom products on her Facebook page – nothing wrong in that – but had done so in a gratuitously offensive manner.
Just to set the record straight, we had two reasons for withdrawing our invitation:
1. We felt that the language that she had used about the products was inappropriate for someone who would be judging the awards.
2. We value the integrity of the FreeFrom Food Awards above all else and it is therefore essential for us to be absolutely sure that all of those that we invite to sit on our judging panels are entirely independent and objective and have no connection, either positive or negative, with any of the companies who might be submitting products to the awards.
It appeared from the comments that the lady concerned might have some particular problem with these brands which would prevent her taking a totally objective view of their products if she were to taste them – although, since all tastings/judgings are blind it is very unlikely that she would know them if she did.
However, even if we were convinced of her independence and objectivity, we would not be prepared to take the risk that she might recognise a product and therefore be biased either for or against it.
While, obviously, we believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion of any product, freefrom or otherwise – and we certainly engage in a good deal of what we hope is constructive criticism in our own product reviews – we do not see any need to be offensive just because one wishes to be critical.
As regards transparency and open-ness, the tables reporting on the awards judging not only give the judges comments, but give full ingredient details and flag up additives and manufacturing aids using a traffic light system so that readers can judge the products’s ingredients for themselves.