Who am I?
I'm a 25 year old blogger, author, and food photographer living in Toronto. By day I'm a kids book buyer for Canada's largest bookseller. I penned Allergen-Free Desserts, a cookbook for kids with food allergies, which was published in April 2015. I also did the food photography for that book which was not only fun to produce but was a great learning experience for me personally. I live to cook and spend most of my free time in the kitchen or at the grocery store or market. I had an interest in cooking from about the moment I learned to walk. Watching others cook was mesmerizing and I began cooking simple meals on my own before I could even reach the stove. I have a soft spot for unique kitchen accessories and all things well designed.
"My vision for EAF is that instead of reading about how to dress for the office party, you'll read about how to manage food anxiety at the office party and where to find a cute evening bag that will also fit your Epi Pen."
Why did I start this site?
There are tons of online resources, blogs, apps, and social sites pertaining to food allergies and I subscribe to a lot of them. But I've found that while they are all very interesting and informative, few of them fully resonate with me on a personal level. There are so many popular lifestyle bloggers and I really enjoy reading about their experiences, but it seemed like there was a gap in the market for lifestyle bloggers that also deal with anaphylaxis. I decided to tie aspects of both types of blog together. I want my site to be informative and helpful, but I also want to just be myself; a quirky young woman who deals with her food allergy problems (and successes) in her everyday life. My vision for EAF is that instead of reading about how to dress for the office party, you'll read about how to manage food anxiety at the office party and where to find a cute evening bag that will also fit your Epi Pen.
My food allergy family
I have anaphylactic allergies to dairy, nuts, peanuts and all legumes (beans, peas, lentils, etc.) and was diagnosed when I was a few months old. I carry an Epi Pen and at least 10 Benadryl tabs with me everywhere I go. My brother is allergic to nuts, peanuts, mollusks, and mold (including cantaloupe), and my mom is allergic to peanuts and nuts. When one person in your family is allergic to something, the whole family adjusts collectively. Although my brother occasionally ate cheese or drank milk when we were growing up, he was happy to not have it in order to avoid cross-contamination, and I did the same for him and his allergies. I now have a nephew with multiple severe allergies, so I've learned a lot about how to cook for others with allergies that are different from my own or that I'm unfamiliar with.
The EAF team
I'm fortunate that Joella has joined me in running this site. Since she knows me on a personal level she's able to contribute content and observations from an outsider's perspective. She's stood up for me when others have made comments about my allergies, knows how to host a cocktail party while taking dietary restrictions into consideration, and understands the severity of a reaction and the stress it causes. It's great to have someone on my team who can offer opinions and advice as the friend of a person with allergies. The main objective of this site as I've stated before is inclusion and understanding and having a non-allergic person as part of the team helps us achieve that.
This photo set was produced by Karrie Kwong