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No eggs, no peanuts, no problem: 10-year-old Quebec girl writes allergy-free cookbook

Arianna Flowers is severely allergic to several foods. But with the help of her family and various community organizations, she’s finding a way to take part in all kinds of activities.

Arianna Flowers of New Carlisle, Que., has written a cookbook for those who have to avoid specific foods

Arianna Flowers enjoys most activities that other 10-year-olds enjoy (Submitted/Shannon Marsh)

A girl from New Carlisle, Que., in Baie-des-Chaleurs, has published a new book of recipes to help kids her age know they can still take part in fun activities like birthday parties, after-school programs and camp.

Arianna Flowers, 10, is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, dairy, coconut and shellfish. Tree nuts include pecans, walnuts and almonds. If she comes into contact with these foods she can go into anaphylactic shock.

She carries two EpiPens with her at all times because she lives 30 minutes away from the hospital in Maria and might need two doses to cover the distance in an emergency.

"I wanted raise allergy awareness so I did a cookbook with a bunch of facts in it like substitutes for eggs, milk and stuff like that for kids who have allergies," she told Quebec AM.

Arianna's allergy-free cook book was on sale at a market stand in New Carlisle on Canada Day. (Submitted/Shannon Marsh)

Arianna said she came up with the idea at school in a special entrepreneurship program for kids. On July 1, she sold the first copies of Arianna's Allergy Friendly Recipe Book at a Canada Day market stand in New Carlisle.

She said she loves to bake and can quickly calculate how much applesauce is needed to replace one egg: four teaspoons.

Diagnosed as an infant

Arianna's mother, Shannon Marsh, said her daughter was first diagnosed with allergies when she was only five months old. Her grandfather had a walnut ice cream cone. It was a hot summer day and he rubbed it on her lips.

"Within minutes, she had broken out in a complete body rash and her face swelled up so we knew immediately that something was wrong," Marsh said.  

Testing on Arianna later that year confirmed her allergies.

"Then, we realized that we had our hands full."

Arianna Flowers with her mother Shannon Marsh. Marsh says several community organizations in New Carlisle, Que. have supported them by making their buildings peanut-free. (Submitted/Shannon Marsh)

Community support

Marsh said the family, including Arianna's older sister Madison,11, and her grandmother, have all been involved in helping Arianna adapt.

She said they learned how to decipher food labels. 

"It may say contains peanuts, but there's so many other names for peanuts, there's so many other names for eggs. So, I mean, it was just research and a big learning experience for everyone in our family," Marsh said.

Marsh also credits several community institutions for their support. The school, the arena and the building where her after-school program takes place all went peanut-free. 

Arianna brings her own treats to activities such as birthday parties. 

She's only had to use her EpiPen once. She ate three sour cream and onion chips by mistake and was taken by ambulance for treatment. 

Arianna Flowers,10, pictured here on the right with her sister Madison, 11, on the left. Arianna set up a booth on Canada Day in New Carlisle to sell her new cookbook. (Submitted/Shannon Marsh)

Making summer camp happen

This is the second year Arianna attended sleep-away bible camp. The first two years she was eligible, Marsh said she was too worried her daughter would come into contact with a food that would send her into shock.

But last year, Marsh came up with a plan. 

"My mother and I said, 'OK, we can't let her miss out it on anymore.'" Marsh's mother cooked for the camp the whole week and Marsh prepared the snacks.

"It was really fun," Arianna said.

The young cook, whose favourite foods are shepherd's pie and macaroni, has a message for other young people with severe allergies.

"You can do what you want to do, [if] your mom and whoever makes your food."

With files from Quebec AM

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