Justin Baldoni and his wife made peanuts their son's first food. Wait, what?

I was super nervous the first time I fed each of my kids peanuts, terrified that they might have a life-threatening allergic reaction.

Kids can be allergic to any food, of course, but peanut allergies are particularly scary. While relatively rare, anaphylaxis isn't something you want to mess around with.

When my kids were babies, the prevailing advice was to delay introducing peanuts into a child’s diet in case they were allergic. So when I heard that actor/director/all-around-awesome-human Justin Baldoni and his wife were feeding peanuts to their 6-month-old son — as his first solid food, no less — I was intrigued.


Justin Baldoni and his wife, Emily, have a 2-year-old daughter and a 6-month-old son.

It never would have crossed my mind to give my kids peanuts as infants, and certainly not as a first food. But my kids are older, and research is ever-evolving.

Baldoni told me that he and his wife Emily decided on early introduction of peanuts after reviewing the research and consulting with their child's doctor about new data on how to prevent peanut allergies.

"Once we talked to our pediatrician and we found that it was safe and could greatly improve his chances of not developing a peanut allergy, we thought as parents we should give it a go," he says.

According to the latest research, "early and often" exposure to peanuts may prevent peanut allergies from developing later on.  

A landmark study released in 2015 found that early consumption of peanuts significantly reduced a child’s chance of developing a peanut allergy. The striking results of that study prompted new recommendations from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. Instead of delaying or avoiding peanuts, the new recommendation is to start exposure to peanut proteins early — between 4 and 6 months — and continue to feed peanuts to children a few times a week to prevent allergies from developing.

Doting daddy that he is, Baldoni naturally wants to do what's best for his kids.

Dada? Probably not intentionally but I’ll take it! #dearmaxwell #6months

A post shared by Justin Baldoni (@justinbaldoni) on

Baldoni explained how he and Emily have gone about exposing their son Maxwell to peanut protein.

"Maxwell is primarily breastfed, so the first thing we actually introduced into his diet was peanuts," he said. "We took a little bit of ground peanut powder, and we mixed it in with his mama’s fresh breastmilk. And we just kind of spoon-fed it to him three times a week."

"As they say, early and often is what helps prevent it."

The guidelines are so new that many parents may not be aware of them — or they might be afraid to follow them.

Baldoni said they didn’t have this research when his daughter, Maiya, was a baby. She’s now almost 3. With new research being done all the time, recommendations are constantly changing, so it can be hard for parents to keep up.

Justin Baldoni with his daughter, Maiya. Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images.

It can also be nerve-wracking to follow new advice that flies in the face of old recommendations. Having experienced this myself as a parent, I asked Baldoni if he and Emily were nervous to give Maxwell peanuts.

"Totally nervous," he replied.

"Emily and I are just very aware. Her sister has a pretty severe nut allergy, and I have friends with peanut allergies, and I have family members with food allergies."

"I think as parents, anytime you’re going to introduce something into your child’s diet that helps to prevent a further allergy, it’s a scary thing. But once we talked to our doctor, we were much less nervous because Maxwell was also low-risk. So we just introduced it at home, and we watched him. He loved it, and he was fine, and so we just kept going."

The website preventpeanutallergies.org has information about what makes a child low-risk or high-risk for peanut allergy, in addition to other common questions about the research and recommendations.

Baldoni has partnered with organizations invested in preventing peanut allergies to help raise awareness about the new guidelines.

He's known for using his social media platform for good, and he and Emily decided that preventing peanut allergies in kids is a cause worth promoting. He's partnered with the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI); the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT); and the National Peanut Board to spread the word.

Baldoni said he believes that if even one life is saved, it's worth it.

"I know and I’ve seen first-hand what a peanut allergy can do to somebody’s life and how it can affect them, and the fear that people experience when they have a peanut allergy, whether it’s on planes … eating at restaurants … always having to make sure, and double check, and triple check, and take an EpiPen with them ..."

"If there is a way to prevent this, if there was a way to make a child’s life that much easier, then absolutely I want to use my platform to help with that."

"We’ll never know, but if one parent does this and their child doesn’t develop an allergy and otherwise they would have, then I think this is really good and important work, and that’s something that I’m really passionate about — making sure that we’re always using our blessings and our gifts to pay it forward and help others."



While the Baldonis chose peanuts as a first food in consultation with their doctor, the ACAAI recommends that peanuts be introduced after other solid foods. Parents should consult with their doctors about any concerns they have about food allergies. For more information about peanut allergies and prevention, visit preventpeanutallergies.org.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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