You might be MAD at me after this one

I guess it comes with the territory. If you put yourself out there. If you post a picture or two on Instagram, or better yet, if you write a book, you are bound to make someone mad.

And every once in a while some of us like to stir the pot. A few of us do it more often than others. When a celebrity does it, like Jenny McCarthy did, it can become accepted like FACT. For instance, if vaccines really do cause autism, then how come MOST of us that have had one, two or 40 of them don’t have it? I am just trying to paint a perspective for you, and perspective is in fact everything.

We must remember that correlation does not always imply causation.

For the past few years I have been struggling with how to express my thoughts about the way ____ nut (fill in the blank based on your experience) allergies are handled at schools. As a physician I understand the ramifications of anaphylaxis for someone with the most severe allergies. I don’t take the idea lightly; it’s something you don’t mess around with.

But this has been truly overblown.

Instead of being smart about creating and taking proper precautions teachers and principals basically pronounce that no “nuts” will be allowed in the classroom or schools all together.

This is one of the best examples of a “reactionary” versus an “active” way to make decisions.

For one, physicians and parents alike have caused more harm than good when it comes to keeping children away from certain foods due to allergies. Did you know that most allergy tests are less than 50% accurate or that those allergy shots that many people receive on a weekly or monthly basis don’t work for many who receive them? Or how about the FACT that restricting foods in infants such as peanuts and peanut butter has actually led them to being more prone to food allergies as they get older?

It is simply the truth. And to be fair to most parents, these ideas mostly come from doctors, followed by people with loud voices and others with the ability to spend hefty amounts of money on marketing.

Allergies do exist, but many of the claims are simply not true. If you eat something and your stomach hurts or you break out in to hives after doing so you are likely allergic to it. That is something we cannot deny. But many folks that I have met also claim to have an allergy (or better yet, that their child has one) so that they can simply fit in. I never would have thought allergies make you look cool, but I guess they can. I know what real allergies are. One of my best friends has celiac disease — he actually has it — and rather than just telling people he cannot eat gluten, he must adhere to a strict diet 24/7/365 or else he becomes quite ill.

But here is my argument and why I decided to share my thoughts today:

If my child is eating some almonds or pistachios or cashews or walnuts, or whatever nut I packed in her lunch, does that mean she is harming a student in her class or school who may be allergic?

My answer: VERY DOUBTFUL. Unless of course she is shoving a handful of nuts down another child’s throat, which I can assure you she is not or won’t be doing anytime soon. How my children act is a direct reflection of how we conduct our family at home. Likely this is the story for you as well.

But what am I really getting at…

My youngest daughter wears hearing aids; she has done so ever since she was 5-weeks old. She has had them placed in her ears every single day for the past 7.5 years. She cannot hear very well when when lots of people are talking — especially rowdy kids in a 2nd grade classroom or while running around on a soccer field. It is like a severe peanut allergy in many ways, as if she cannot hear adequately she might run into something; she might mistake one sound for another and have something horrible happen.

Yet the other children in her class don’t have to tape put across their mouths to remain quiet. I am pretty sure you have not thought about it this way. I would not expect you to. Or how about processed foods.

Juice boxes, cheetos, candy bars, soda….

…all leading to obesity and diabetes and at much faster rates than having peanuts in the same room as someone with an allergy. Yet all of these things are okay for our children, the ones we love with all our hearts, to be exposed to.

Nuts are a very healthy snack for more than 99% of us, and they quite simply shouldn’t be banned. They provide good fats, along with vitamins and minerals that most foods don’t come close to delivering.

How about we take a tried and true approach: we EDUCATE . What a concept! Educate! Physicians, parents, teachers, children and all of us. Instead of freaking out, let’s take a deep breath. We can be smarter about this. We can do more. We can in fact bring nuts back in to classrooms and cafeterias everywhere. We can use this as an example for so much more.

It really has nothing to do with a potential allergic reaction. It has everything to do with how we choose to react in life. If we react poorly, things won’t go well.

Are you about to react to something today? Do you have all the facts? Are you aware of the consequences of your reactions?

Think about that this week. And if you have a voice use it in the right way. Do your part to add something of value to the conversation.

Thanks for stopping by.

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