Jennifer Iannolo

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This is my first post for ONE.org, an organization I’m honored to work with not only because of their humanitarian efforts, but also for the use of “hard-headed” in their tagline. The photo above is courtesy of my dear friend C.C. Chapman, who toured Ghana with ONE last year.

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I’ve had two women on my mind lately. They are counterpoints; polar ends of a spectrum whose very existence is difficult to reconcile.

Each woman is fighting a battle — to the death — on her own end of the spectrum. And though one of them faces a matter of critical urgency, the other presents a glimpse of the future which we cannot ignore.

Let us call woman #1 “Adowa”. She lives in a developing country where starvation is a very real possibility, and where every day that ends with some form of nourishment for Adowa and her family is a victory; a triumph over death.

Let’s call woman #2 “Heather”. She lives in a modern society where food is plentiful, and career and family demand a lot of her. She’s wearing down her body, which is tantamount to a time bomb that is primed and ready to set off a chronic illness when stress and unhealthy eating become too much for her system to bear. Heather’s lifestyle will kill her one day, and that day will likely come way too soon.

Now, it would be easy to stop right here and profess that we cannot equivocate one situation with the other. I agree. There are choices available to Heather that are not conscious — or even imaginable — possibilities for Adowa.

My reason for taking a closer look at these two women, however, goes beyond moral equivocation. It is a look at the future, and poses the question of just how long it will take for Adowa and her sisters to internalize problems just like Heather’s, and how we can take responsibility now to prevent that from happening.

This might seem like an academic argument.

There is no denying that starvation is a fierce and deadly enemy; its effects are quite immediate and visible, and saving lives must be the priority.

But we must also stop for a moment and look at the catastrophic numbers that surround chronic illness. While developed lands and modern societies offer plenty of food innovations that will shuffle us down our mortal coil, 50% of us will shuffle in misery from chronic pain, diabetes, obesity, or any number of their co-morbid conditions.

1 out of 2 people. It’s you or me.

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Food Allergies: A Kid’s View

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My dear friend Jenn and her exuberant, talented son Ryan have created a video to talk about Ryan’s peanut allergies for Food Allergy Awareness Week.

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Christmas or New Year’s Brunch (Gluten-Free)

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Christmas morning can be a bit…chaotic, and New Year’s morning comes with its own special characteristics (and perhaps a little hair o’the dog). When faced with such challenges, we say brunch!

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5 Holiday Travel Tips – Gluten-Free & Chronic Pain

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Even for the average person, holiday travel is a burden. For those of us with special concerns, it can be downright scary. After more than a year of intensive travel, Jennifer now has a strategy that she’s happy to share with you.

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Has Anyone Seen My Brain?

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I’ve spent the past few weeks coming to terms with having impaired brain function, and all the things I’ve made that mean. Dealing with sore muscles is one thing; dealing with a brain that needs mending is another thing entirely, and when the science and testing prove that it needs mending, there’s no hiding from reality.

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