My Prepared Statement About Stock Epinephrine Presented to the Nevada Legislative Committee on Health Care Today

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Good afternoon Madam Chair and members of the committee.  My name is Homa Woodrum, and I am an attorney here in Las Vegas but first and foremost I am a mother of a child with multiple food allergies.  My daughter tested positive at about 15 months old with allergies to: wheat, soy, milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, sesame, corn, and oats.  We carry an epinephrine auto-injector for her at all times.

I have followed developments in increased food allergy awareness and potential legislation with interest but wanted to lend my voice as a parent today on the subject of what is commonly referred to as stock epinephrine in schools – especially considering that, per the CDC, 25% of anaphylactic reactions in schools occur without a food allergy diagnosis.

Additionally, the New England Journal of Medicine has indicated that four of six deaths from food allergy occur in schools AND were associated with significant delay in treating reactions with epinephrine.  We are talking about mere minutes making all the difference between the life and death of a child.

I am excited to see that this subject is being addressed through legislative process and wanted to provide some background information.  Nevada would be joining eight forward thinking states that have adopted stock epinephrine bills in the face of over 2 million school aged children in the United States suffering from food allergies.  It is important to note that (1) these are ever growing numbers, (2) many food allergies go unreported, and (3) food allergies can present at any time.

Also, many food allergic children may not have filled prescriptions or unexpired medication considering the cost of obtaining annual replacements ranges from $200 to as much as $240 per pen twin pack.  There are other injectors entering the market, such as Auvi-Q that may hopefully be more affordable but the need is there and the risk is great. 

I applaud getting anything passed regarding this issue and to address the dire need for epinephrine in schools.  I understand that during the public comment period earlier concerns were raised about licensed professionals administering epinephrine injections but as I can show you with this epinephrine injection trainer, administration of epinephrine is something that parents are doing every day across the country.

Imagine, if you will, that my daughter, who turned 4 on Sunday, has an anaphylactic reaction at school (and this could be something as simple as touching a pencil with nut butter residue and touching her eye or mouth) and her own injector malfunctions.  As written, this bill could save her life if a school chose to keep an epinephrine auto-injector on hand and train in its use.

…Or save the life of a child who does not have an injector sent to school with them.

…Or save the life of a child that has their first ever reaction at school.

…Or save the life of a child that has a worse reaction than they are accustomed to.

I implore the committee to consider the young citizens of Nevada that need mandated stock epinephrine.  Their future is in your hands.  Thank you.

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I need to gather my thoughts about today’s experience in another post (including a few shout-outs) but the above is the statement I read (with some asides) during the public comment portion of the August 29, 2012 Nevada Legislative Committee on Health Care meeting.

Light Quinoa Tabouli (or Tabbouleh or Tabbouli)

I always suggest this cool summer salad to people when they are looking for a way to spruce up their quinoa (a wonderful staple all alone) and yet I’ve never posted about it!  Quinoa makes a great stand in for the usual tabouli base of wheat bulgur (E is allergic to wheat as you may know).  We serve this with our favorite falafel recipe (I made a double batch which yielded 27 patties at under 70 calories apiece) and bean dip.  Now that I can eat tomatoes again I am sure to throw some extra tomatoes on my plate as well.  I can’t help it!

Oh, and I have seen this spelled tabouli, tabbouleh, and tabbouli just to name three variations and though Wikipedia goes with “tabbouleh” I’m going to use “tabouli” because I don’t do well remembering to be consistent when double letters are at play.

Supplies

Cutting board and knife

Large Bowl

Scale and/or measuring cups

Ingredients

3.5 cups cooked quinoa (about 640 grams) – this would be just a little over 1 cup dry quinoa

4 or 5 leaves (or 2 grams) of minced fresh mint – you can of course put more but the mint I’d purchased wasn’t all good

20 diced grape tomatoes (or 2 servings at 85 grams each)

100 grams of onion (or half a medium onion), diced

10 grams of parsley (about half a cup), minced

2 tbsp lemon juice (fresh or bottled, though fresh is tastiest)

1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil – this is where I was trying to save calories)

1 clove of garlic, crushed (optional, sometimes kids don’t like a strong garlic flavor) or 1 tsp of granulated garlic

1/4 tsp sea salt

pepper to taste

Directions

This is a very forgiving recipe, you can really cook any amount of quinoa to suit the proportion of herbs that you have but I had made quinoa the night before and had 3.5 cups of cooked quinoa left, hence the weird measurement here.  So rinse one to two cups of dry quinoa thoroughly while double the water is brought to a boil on your stove.  1 cup of quinoa needs 2 cups of water, and so on.  When the water is boiling, add your rinsed quinoa and reduce the heat to low, covering your pot with a lid and setting your timer at 15-20 minutes.  15 minutes usually does the trick for a cup of quinoa.  When the quinoa is fluffy, you’ll want to remove it from the heat and let it cool.

Chop your mint, parsley, onions, garlic, and tomatoes and combine with the cooled quinoa.  Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.  Stir to combine, cover, and refrigerate a few hours or over night.  The flavors improve the longer the dish rests.  95 grams of the recipe I made above is about 102 calories which is not far removed from the usual nutritional profile of quinoa.  My kids like mint but they preferred this iteration of the salad over my usual ones when I have free reign with my fresh mint.  I’m guessing I overdo the herbs so a little restraint helps when you’re serving this dish to children.

As I mentioned above, enjoy alone or with falafel and bean dip!  However you spell it, it is a great option to add to your meal rotation.

(Shared on Cybele Pascal’s 8/3/12 Allergy Friendly Friday)

Food Find: Enjoy Life Double Chocolate Crunch Granola

I can barely remember what it used to be like to just eat what I felt like eating without worrying about safety.  I am sure reading labels is better for me now than random eating ever was but a lot adjusted after E’s food allergy diagnosis.  My greatest struggle has been with breakfast.   None of my staples were safe and I said good-bye to my Trader Joe’s Vanilla Almond Clusters Granola…or so I thought.  Here’s the tweet that got me back to eating granola again:

Turns out that in addition to being top 8 allergen free, Enjoy Life Foods (of Plentils and just about anything I bake with chocolate fame) also doesn’t use any oats!  Definitely news to me!  This is huge since a lot of wheat free products use “gluten free oats” while E is specifically allergic to oats in addition to wheat and the others.  I excitedly purchased a package of granola and ate some with rice milk.  It was lovely.  They also have a Cinnamon Raisin and Very Berry variety but Double Chocolate Crunch will always have my heart.

It manages to withstand the rice milk long enough to stay crunchy while eating a serving.  A serving, you ask?  Just one?  Yes, I weigh just about everything I eat now and the advantage is that a bag actually lasts a while whereas I could never get allergy friendly treats to stick around when I wasn’t counting calories.  A 52 gram serving holds me well until my morning snack probably because of the decent protein content.  The kids and my husband really enjoy the cereal as well.  Hopefully the company makes a safe protein/energy bar next, that would be awesome.