The Land of Can

Student & Advocate. Empowering children w/ food allergies & their families. “You are who you are & who you can be. Not who you're not.” #foodallergies

In my weekly CANspirational video, I discuss how to get to The Land of Can. People who live in The Land of Can give themselves breaks.
Link in bio. ⠀ ⠀ Post #175 — Each Saturday, my parents and I have a brief but honest podcast discussion about the challenges of raising a child with an allergy. I’ve never really talked to my parents about the challenges they had raising me. I’m eager to find things out. Maybe their experiences might help someone else, too.⠀ ⠀ Back-to-school season is underway! There are so many great resources online to help families with food allergies navigate starting the new school year. This week, my parents and I chatted about the back-to-school philosophies they implemented over the years, and the importance of defining goals for a new school year. (Duration - 4:48)⠀ ⠀ #thelandofcan #thelandofnot #jjvulopas #youarewhoyouare #canspirational #foodallergy #foodallergies #foodallergiessuck #foodallergymom #foodallergylife #foodallergyfamily #foodallergyawareness #foodallergyfriendly #foodallergykid #foodallergykids #foodallergymama #peanutallergy #glutenfree #dairyfree #anaphylaxis #allergymom
Submitted by Lisa Ngo: We are fortunate to have six wonderful Can Openers in our lives. My parents, brother, sister in law, and nephews make food allergy life a whole lot easier for our family.⠀ ⠀ Our son Cam is 21 months old and highly allergic to peanuts, eggs, and tree nuts. Our reality includes preparing and bringing his food whenever we go to parties, restaurants, or events. It’s an extra step, but we don’t mind, as it keeps him safe and gives us peace of mind. However, at our regular dinners with my family, we don’t have to worry about a thing.⠀ ⠀ Meals shared with my family are always delicious and safe for Cam, right down to the brand of spices used. My sister in law also often goes out of her way to make a safe dessert, which can be especially difficult when avoiding cross contamination. Just last weekend, he was able to enjoy his first homemade Rice Krispie treat she brought to share at a big family event. He loved it!⠀ ⠀ It’s so wonderful for our son to be fully included in meals with the family. His big cousins, Alex (8) and Lucas (5), are especially conscientious about what is and isn’t safe for him. Not only do they want to keep unsafe foods away from their little cousin, but they choose to avoid it themselves (even during pretend play!) so they can interact with him worry free. ⠀ ⠀ All of these little actions my family takes to keep Cam safe are a BIG deal to us. We are so grateful to have family who gets it!⠀ ⠀ ***⠀ ⠀ If you have a friend, family member or teacher who is a Food Allergy Can opener in your life, let me know in the comments or DM. ⠀ ⠀ For more information about Lisa's advocacy, check out her amazing allergy-friendly recipe site,, or on Instagram @safelydelish. ⠀ ⠀ #thelandofcan #thelandofnot #jjvulopas #youarewhoyouare #canspirational #foodallergy #foodallergies #foodallergiessuck #foodallergymom #foodallergylife #foodallergyfamily #foodallergyawareness #foodallergyfriendly #foodallergykid #foodallergykids #foodallergymama #peanutallergy #glutenfree #dairyfree #anaphylaxis #allergymom ⠀ ⠀ ⠀
Food Allergy 101: What if my food allergy was a real person? What if I could talk to him about what he's taught me over the years. Every Thursday I get that chance.⠀ ⠀ BLOG POST #173 — Mr. A, my allergy, is waiting in the lobby when I arrive for our weekly meeting.⠀ "Thanks for meeting me at this new restaurant," Mr. A says. "Instead of always meeting at the same place, I'd thought we'd try some place new this week."⠀ ⠀ I nod.⠀ ⠀ "Besides, I hear the chef is amazing, and they are supposed to have the greatest food," he adds. "Have you ever been here?"⠀ ⠀ "Nope," I say. "First time here."⠀ ⠀ "Nice," he says with a smile. "I'm hungry, hungry, hungry!"⠀ ⠀ I know why he's smiling. He knows I'm a bit uneasy meeting at a new, unfamiliar place for lunch. Usually I wouldn't meet him here if I didn't have to. But this time I felt I could...⠀ ⠀ (Read the complete post on my daily blog. Link in bio.)⠀ ⠀ #thelandofcan #thelandofnot #jjvulopas #youarewhoyouare #canspirational #foodallergy #foodallergies #foodallergiessuck #foodallergymom #foodallergylife #foodallergyfamily #foodallergyawareness #foodallergyfriendly #foodallergykid #foodallergykids #foodallergymama #peanutallergy #glutenfree #dairyfree #anaphylaxis #allergymom
Pic 'n Play: In Red Sneakers, we CAN...⠀ ⠀ I LOVE this picture, which was sent to me by Tatiana Platt. Indeed, in our @redsneakersforoakley , all of us can live a life of CAN, turn #foodallergies on their head, and save lives!⠀ ⠀ What can you do in your red sneakers?⠀ ⠀ Thank you #muralonmott artist, @jasonnaylor , for inspiring us all to live in the Land of Can! ⠀ ⠀ #thelandofcan #thelandofnot #jjvulopas #youarewhoyouare #canspirational #foodallergy #foodallergies #foodallergiessuck #foodallergymom #foodallergylife #foodallergyfamily #foodallergyawareness @foodallergyfund #foodallergyfriendly #foodallergykid #foodallergykids #foodallergymama #peanutallergy #glutenfree #dairyfree #anaphylaxis #allergymom #thisisnuts
Situation Food Allergy. Safety vs. Empathy⠀ ⠀ BLOG POST #171 —You’ve raised your child to be accepting of others. "After all," you've reinforced over the years, "You have a food allergy and want others to be accepting of you."⠀ ⠀ Your son has befriended a classmate, John, who has a developmental delay. Even though he is in fourth grade, John constantly has his fingers in his mouth. He then likes to hug friends around him. ⠀ ⠀ Each time the teacher asks the children to pair off, John asks your son to be his partner. At lunch and on the playground, John wants to be near your son. John even saves your son a seat on the school bus. ⠀ ⠀ How do you address the situation to accommodate safety while also reinforcing your life lesson of accepting others?⠀ ⠀ Check out my daily food allergy blog. Link in bio. ⠀ ⠀ #thelandofcan #thelandofnot #jjvulopas #youarewhoyouare #canspirational #foodallergy #foodallergies #foodallergiessuck #foodallergymom #foodallergylife #foodallergyfamily #foodallergyawareness #foodallergyfriendly #foodallergykid #foodallergykids #foodallergymama #peanutallergy #glutenfree #dairyfree #anaphylaxis #allergymom
“...then they won’t know me for all I am.” Blog Post #170 —Children with food allergies don't have to be timid little souls sentenced to a lifetime of sitting at an allergy-free table, living lives where they are quarantined, scared to interact with all the "normal" kids. ⠀ ⠀ Children with food allergies CAN live amazing lives of accomplishment. Children with food allergies CAN be active. Children with food allergies CAN be involved. Children with food allergies CAN be confident.⠀ ⠀ And children with food allergies CAN soar. ⠀ ⠀ If we can teach them how to embrace their strengths, we will shatter food allergy bullying. ⠀ ⠀ If we can teach them how to embrace their strengths, our children will become advocates for themselves and will be safe and included.⠀ ⠀ If we can teach them how to embrace their strengths, our children will live lives of accomplishment. ⠀ As I travel throughout spreading my message of advocacy, I am constantly impressed with the children I meet.⠀ ⠀ My feelings once again were reinforced this weekend, when I attended an amazing FARE ( @foodallergy ) Let's Connect conference in Cherry Hill, NJ.⠀ ⠀ Hosted by Lisa Rosenberg from Safe and Included, the event gave parents an opportunity to interact with an expert panel of food allergy experts and advocates. While the parents were in one room, their children were in an accompanying room participating in a series of food allergy awareness activities. I was helping to lead the activities, along with @jaime_gialloreto , Miss New Jersey, whose platform is food allergy awareness. ⠀ ⠀ Jaime and I had an awesome time empowering and inspiring these young people. After Jaime read my children's book, Land of Not, to the roomful of children, we began a discussion about food allergies and the importance of letting others know who we are... (read the rest of this post on my daily food allergy blog site. Link in bio)⠀ ⠀ #thelandofcan #thelandofnot #jjvulopas #youarewhoyouare #canspirational #foodallergy #foodallergies #foodallergiessuck #foodallergymom #foodallergylife #foodallergyfriendly #foodallergykid #foodallergykids #foodallergymama #peanutallergy #glutenfree
In my short weekly CANspirational video, I talk directly to young people about how they can get to the Land of Can. People who live in the Land of Can value personal reflection. Visit my daily food allergy blog. Link in bio. #thelandofcan #thelandofnot #jjvulopas #youarewhoyouare #canspirational #foodallergy #foodallergies #foodallergiessuck #foodallergymom #foodallergylife #foodallergyfamily #foodallergyawareness #foodallergyfriendly #foodallergykid #foodallergykids #foodallergymama #peanutallergy #glutenfree #dairyfree #anaphylaxis #allergymom
Post #168 — Each Saturday, my parents and I have a brief but honest podcast discussion about the challenges of raising a child with an allergy. I’ve never really talked to my parents about the challenges they had raising me. I’m eager to find things out. Maybe their experiences might help someone else, too.⠀ ⠀ This is a special week. This morning my parents picked me up from my internship in New York City. We then participated in a FARE ( @foodallergy ) Let's Connect conference in Cherry Hill, NJ, hosted by @safeandincluded ... On the way home, in the car through a driving rainstorm, we recorded this week's short podcast. ⠀ ⠀ I'll be posting much more about the event in the next few weeks. It was awesome to meet everyone, like Anesha Santhanam of Likeable Stem and @jaime_gialloreto of @dontgetnutty , @missamericanj ⠀ Podcast in bio. ⠀ ⠀ #thelandofcan #thelandofnot #jjvulopas #youarewhoyouare #canspirational #foodallergy #foodallergies #foodallergiessuck #foodallergymom #foodallergylife #foodallergyfamily #foodallergyawareness #foodallergyfriendly #foodallergykid #foodallergykids #foodallergymama #peanutallergy #glutenfree #dairyfree #anaphylaxis #allergymom
Which educator has been your child's Food Allergy CAN Opener? Which educator has gone above and beyond to create a safe place for your child to soar? Nominate that person today! ⠀ ⠀ With back to school approaching, let's start thinking about the role that educators play in helping us to successfully manage our food allergies. A child cannot learn if a child feels unsafe, which makes the role of an educator that much more important to our children with allergies. During my schooling, some of my teachers had gone far beyond expectations to provide a safe learning environment for me, and I will be highlighting some of them in this very space soon. I'd love to feature your child's past teachers. Nominate them in the comments, through email ( ) or DM. ⠀ ⠀ #thelandofcan #thelandofnot #jjvulopas #youarewhoyouare #canspirational #foodallergy #foodallergies #foodallergiessuck #foodallergymom #foodallergylife #foodallergyfamily #foodallergyawareness #foodallergyfriendly #foodallergykid #foodallergykids #foodallergymama #peanutallergy #glutenfree #dairyfree #anaphylaxis #allergymom ⠀ ⠀
What if my food allergy was a real, live person? What if I could talk to him about what he’s taught me over the years? Every Thursday, I get that chance. See link to my daily food allergy blog in bio. ⠀ ⠀ BLOG POST #166 — I'm sitting at the table when Mr. A, my allergy, runs over to me. He's holding three huge textbooks and two backpacks. He's smiling broadly.⠀ ⠀ "Why are you so happy?" I ask. ⠀ ⠀ "It's back to school time," he says. "I love back to school time!"⠀ ⠀ "You do?" I ask. "Why?"⠀ ⠀ "I love all the anxiety it causes parents and kids," Mr. A says. "They are so, so, so, so, so worried about how they're going to do it all with their allergy."⠀ ⠀ "You're pathetic," I say mater of factly. "Stop gloating over someone's pain."⠀ ⠀ He chuckles. "It's what I do."⠀ ⠀ I continue: "Anyway, school is awesome when it comes to the allergy. It's the perfect place for kids to learn how to manage and navigate living with an allergy."⠀ ⠀ "Huh?" he interrupts. "What do you mean perfect place?"⠀ ⠀ "When set up correctly, and under the eyes of trained and responsible administrators, teachers and staff, school is a safe space for kids to learn how to thrive," I explain. "Sure it can cause some initial anxiety because of the unknown. But just like it can teach our children how to read and write and perform high level math skills, school can also teach them how to become geniuses at living and thriving with an allergy."⠀ ⠀ Mr. A loses his smile. ⠀ ⠀ "Why are you always ruining a good thing?" he says. "Why are you always trying to knock me down."⠀ ⠀ I chuckle. "It's what I do."⠀ ⠀ (This awesome picture above is by Ben White!)⠀ ⠀ #thelandofcan #thelandofnot #jjvulopas #youarewhoyouare #canspirational #foodallergy #foodallergies #foodallergiessuck #foodallergymom #foodallergylife #foodallergyfamily #foodallergyawareness #foodallergyfriendly #foodallergykid #foodallergykids #foodallergymama #peanutallergy #glutenfree #dairyfree #anaphylaxis #allergymom
Like. Follow. Share. Enjoy. Read my daily food allergy blog. Link in bio. ⠀ ⠀ Situation Food Allergy: What would you do?⠀ ⠀ BLOG POST #164 — Two weeks into the new school year, your 13-year-old son storms through the front door.⠀ ⠀ "I hate lunch!" he yells, tossing his backpack on the floor and stomping into the kitchen. "Mrs. Rand is constantly watching me and my whole lunch table. Whatever my friends do around me, she comes over and yells at them."⠀ ⠀ You let him rant.⠀ ⠀ "Today Austin tossed a pack of cupcakes to Matt. Tossed. Not threw. The cupcakes were still wrapped. And Mrs. Rand came flying over to our table and yelled. 'No throwing food. You know that's not safe around Adam. I hate lunch mom. Mrs. Rand is just too much."⠀ ⠀ It's obvious that Mrs. Rand, a veteran lunch monitor who takes her job seriously, is following orders. After several issues in the cafeteria surrounding your son's food allergy last year, you addressed the situation this year during your pre-school meeting wth the principal and his teachers. During the meeting, you emphasized the importance of making sure your son is safe in the cafeteria.⠀ ⠀ "If I were my friends, I wouldn't even want to sit with me," your son adds. ⠀ ⠀ You take a breath. "We're in this together," you say. "Now, here is what we're gong to do..."⠀ ⠀ What would you do? ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ #thelandofcan #thelandofnot #jjvulopas #youarewhoyouare #canspirational #foodallergy #foodallergies #foodallergiessuck #foodallergymom #foodallergylife #foodallergyfamily #foodallergyawareness #foodallergyfriendly #foodallergykid #foodallergykids #foodallergymama #peanutallergy #glutenfree #dairyfree #anaphylaxis #allergymom
Like. Follow. Share. Enjoy. Blog Post #163 — In my CANspirational video for young people yesterday, I walked through the rain without an umbrella to reinforce the importance of knowing what we can control and what we can't.⠀ ⠀ "People who live in the Land of Can stay dry not because it doesn't rain for them but because they bring an umbrella," I said. "You can't control if it rains. You can only control how you respond to the rain."⠀ ⠀ When you have a food allergy, knowing what you can control is a big part of living your best life. It's a big part of finding the balance between safety and normalcy. ⠀ ⠀ I can 99.99999 percent avoid having an allergic reaction today if I stay in my bedroom and only eat apples. But that isn't living. So I will venture out from my apartment this morning, and I will live, and I will indulge in foods that are not just red and round and grow on trees. And the second I make that decision to venture out, I need to make sure I am prepared.⠀ ⠀ If I want to avoid getting wet while walking in the rain, I better check the weather forecast and bring an umbrella. If I want to avoid having a reaction while eating out or going about my day, I better be vigilant and double check ingredients and how the food is prepared. BUT even the best weather forecasts are wrong. So when the storm clouds open, if I happen to inadvertently eat something I'm allergic to, I better have my two Auvi-Qs with me. And I better be prepared to use them just in case. That I can control. ⠀ ⠀ #thelandofcan #thelandofnot #jjvulopas #youarewhoyouare #canspirational #foodallergy #foodallergies #foodallergiessuck #foodallergymom #foodallergylife #foodallergyfamily #foodallergyawareness #foodallergyfriendly #foodallergykid #foodallergykids #foodallergymama #peanutallergy #glutenfree #dairyfree #anaphylaxis #allergymom
In my weekly CANspirational video for young people, I talk about how to get to the Land of Can. People who live in CAN know what they can control. You can’t control the weather, but you can control whether you carry an umbrella! Read my daily food allergy blog. Link in bio. #thelandofcan #thelandofnot #jjvulopas #youarewhoyouare #canspirational #foodallergy #foodallergies #foodallergiessuck #foodallergymom #foodallergylife #foodallergyfamily #foodallergyawareness #foodallergyfriendly #foodallergykid #foodallergykids #foodallergymama #peanutallergy #glutenfree #dairyfree #anaphylaxis #allergymom @endallergiestogether @foodallergy @foodallergyfund @redsneakersforoakley @faactnews @allergycloud @allergiclivingmag
Each Saturday, I phone home, and my parents and I have a brief but honest podcast discussion about the challenges of raising a child with an allergy. I’ve never really talked to my parents about the challenges they had raising me. I’m eager to find things out. Maybe their experiences might help someone else, too.⠀ ⠀ Today, my parents and I talk about parenting and family philosophies. Link in bio. ⠀ Duration: 7:05⠀ ⠀ ⠀ #thelandofcan #thelandofnot #jjvulopas #youarewhoyouare #canspirational #foodallergy #foodallergies #foodallergiessuck #foodallergymom #foodallergylife #foodallergyfamily #foodallergyawareness #foodallergyfriendly #foodallergykid #foodallergykids #foodallergymama #peanutallergy #glutenfree #dairyfree #anaphylaxis #allergymom #parenting
Do you have a family member who goes above and beyond for your food allergy? Nominate that person today! Comment or DM. ⠀ ⠀ My 9-year-old cousin Ivan is a Food Allergy CAN Opener. When it comes to understanding my food allergy, the fourth-grader simply gets it! ⠀ ⠀ Every Summer my family takes vacation with our extended relatives. Aunts. Uncles. Grandparents. Cousins. We usually rent a big house at a beach location, and the three, four or five different families come together for a week and have a blast. One thing that my relatives have always done since I was a baby was keep the entire house milk and tree nut free. Every meal we make in the house — and we make many amazing meals — is safe. All snacks are safe. When we do go out to eat, no one brings back any leftovers. ⠀ ⠀ Because of my internship, this is the first summer that I was unable to attend. Of course, there was no need to keep certain foods out of the house. ⠀ ⠀ My aunt relayed this story about my cousin, Ivan. While they were driving to the beach, Ivan was getting hungry. Since they only had a few miles to go, my aunt said.⠀ ⠀ "Maybe when we can get to the house, we can order pizzas for everyone."⠀ ⠀ Ivan immediately reacted. "Mom, we can't get pizza with JJ."⠀ ⠀ "Ivan, JJ won't be there, remember?" my aunt said. "He's in New York, and it's OK for us to have pizza this week."⠀ ⠀ Ivan sat back in the seat, thought for a moment, and then responded. "I'd rather have JJ there than a cheesy pizza!"⠀ ⠀ True food allergy advocates care more about the person than the food. For a hungry 9 year old to say what Ivan said speaks volumes about his heart and about how much he cares for me. He's an advocate, and that advocacy will serve him well over his entire life. It also speaks volumes for his parents and older brother, who obviously have raised him to think in such a caring way. ⠀ ⠀ Thank you Ivan! I appreciate you. I love you. May your story of advocacy inspire others!⠀ ⠀ #thelandofcan #thelandofnot #jjvulopas #youarewhoyouare #canspirational #foodallergy #foodallergies #foodallergiessuck #foodallergymom #foodallergylife #foodallergyfamily #foodallergyawareness #foodallergyfriendly #foodallergykid
What if my food allergy was a real, live person? And what if I could talk to him and tell him what I really think? Every Thursday, I get that chance.⠀ ⠀ BLOG POST #159 — I wasn't able to get to the meeting this week with Mr. A., my allergy, but I left him a note at our regular table.⠀ ⠀ "Hi Mr. A. Sorry I missed our meeting. I thought you'd be wanting to talk about Southwest's decision to stop serving peanuts on their planes. I think it's a bold, great idea. I'm sure you disagree. Anyway, I'm sure you also brought a bunch of copies of the misleading USA Today advertisement the National Peanut Board created. You'll try to convince me there was value to the ad. You don't have to convince me. Here is one good thing you can do with the ad right now:⠀ ⠀ HOW TO MAKE A PAPER AIRPLANE WITH THE NATIONAL PEANUT BOARD'S FULL PAGE USA TODAY AD.⠀ ⠀ 1. Take out the USA Today National Peanut Board full page adverisement and place it on the table vertically.⠀ ⠀ 2. Fold the left half to the right to make a crease in the center.⠀ ⠀ 3. Unfold it.⠀ ⠀ 4. Fold the top corners to the center.⠀ ⠀ 5. Fold the new left and right corners to the center.⠀ ⠀ 6. Fold plane in half from right to left.⠀ ⠀ 7. Now fold the left edge to the right to form the wing. Use your fingernail to help make the tip as pointy as possible.⠀ ⠀ 8. Turn the plane over.⠀ ⠀ 9. Fold other wing to line up with the first wing.⠀ ⠀ 10. Unfold the wings.⠀ ⠀ 11. Make sure the wings are tilted up a bit.⠀ ⠀ 12. Throw it far, preferably in the direction of a trash can or dumpster. ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ #thelandofcan #thelandofnot #jjvulopas #eatable #youarewhoyouare #nooneisperfect #canspirational #foodallergy #foodallergies #foodallergiessuck #foodallergymom #foodallergylife #foodallergyfamily #foodallergyawareness #foodallergyfriendly #foodallergykid #foodallergykids #foodallergymama #peanutallergy #glutenfree #dairyfree #anaphylaxis #allergymom #foodsafety @southwestair
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