Tuesday, October 11, 2011

An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

My children, like most children, hates vegetables? So what do I do?  I give them fruits instead. They love fruits. In addition to eating the fruits whole, we also juice our fruits. A quarter of our grocery bills goes to fruits! We also had to upgrade our refrigerator to fit in all the fruits. An apple a day keeps the doctor away? In our case it is several fruits a day keeps the doctor away.

Our Top Ten Favorite Fruits include:
  1. Apples
  2. Oranges
  3. Pineapples
  4. Banana
  5. Dragon Fruit
  6. Mangoes
  7. Grapes
  8. Watermelon
  9. Papayas
  10. Kiwis
So if your child won't eat vegetables, don't fret. Try giving them fruits instead or give them more fruits and less vegetables but provide them with both.
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Thursday, October 6, 2011

I don't have time to exercise

I don't have time to exercise is an excuse for those of us who lack motivation and who has not made exercise a habit or daily routine in our lives. When you truly want something you will make time for it.

You will make time to do the things you love so why not make time to exercise. Ok. The truth is, I am writing this post because I am trying to motivate and inspire myself to exercise. I have been doing well so far, daily since Monday. I will have a break during the weekends. Thats what I used to do, then the kids fell sick and I had a host of things to do. All excuses not to exercise.

After exercising everyday, instead of feeling more tired, I feel more energized with each session. I try to exercise at the start of the day so that I feel refreshed and energized but you can make time at any time of the day. My spouse goes to the gym during lunch. He walks to the gym too.

My brother who is a very busy man and always travelling makes time to exercise at all the hotel gyms. When he is home, he will either jog or cycle early in the morning or in the evenings.

You have to change your mindset from "I don't  have time to exercise" to "I will make time for exercise" then it will happen. It is as simple as that. You can walk, do housework, dance, run, swim, play games, jump on a trampoline. They're all exercises too.

Fitness can be fun too. On my current wish list now is a Wii Fit Plus. Pin It

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I have been slacking in my exercise routine. I have been busy. The kids have been sick. These are all excuses not to exercise. As I begin to exercise daily again, I remind myself that ...

To be physically fit enough to exercise is a blessing

Quite often people say that we should exercise to keep fit but have you thought about the fact that to be physically fit enough to exercise is a blessing. I try to remind myself of this now. I don't want to reach a point in my life when I am unable to exercise and I regret not exercising to improve my health when I am able to.

Some people only exercise to lose weight and once they reach their target weight, they stop exercising. I think that should not be the goal of exercising. We should exercise for health's sake and if we lose weight as a result, then it is a bonus. Pin It

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fruit and Vegetable Juice Recipe for my Kids

My husband loves to drink vegetable juices and has been asking me to make some vegetable juices for the kids. However, I find that vegetable juices are a bit harder on the palate then fruit juices so I am starting them on fruit juices first... mixed with just one or two vegetables. That is more appealing for kids.

Previously I used to make diluted fruit juices for them but now they can take it straight. So far I have used two fruit and vegetable juice recipes. Having said that, it is however better for kids to drink diluted fruit juice because drinking it straight is too sweet for growing teeth and you also want to avoid and pesticide poisoning.

Fruit and Vegetable Juice Recipe for Kids - Recipe 1
  • 1 Pear
  • 2 Apples
  • 3 Oranges
  • 4 Stalks of Celery (Halved) 
This yields 2 cups. It is sweet and tangy. It is easy to remember as well. I have a rather bad memory. So I came up with this 1, 2, 3, 4 fruits and vegetables to help me remember. It is actually two stalks of celery halved to make the number 4. 

One day, we ran out of celery and pears and our second fruit juice and vegetable recipe for the kids were discovered quite by accident. I just went to the refrigerator to find what was available and came up with this recipe.

Fruits and Vegetable Recipe for Kids - No 2
  • 1 Apple
  • 3 Oranges
  • 1/2 a Carrot
  • 1 tomato
This yields 2 cups. The Carrot and Tomato changed the color of the juice for yellow green for Recipe No 1 to orange red for Recipe No 2. The kids liked this colour. The sour taste of the tomato and oranges were masked by the apple and carrot making it tasty yet nutritious.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Cold or Flu, Virus or Bacteria

We have been sick over and over again since August. I have a small family of four and between the four of us, we have been to the doctor 8 times in the last 3 weeks. The little one has been sick continuously for 3 weeks. Fever, vomiting, diarrhea, coughs, nose congestion. He had it all. Cold or Flu, Virus or Bacteria? It is hard to know.

Sometimes the doctor decides that it is a viral infection and gives cough and fever medicines with no antibiotics. Sometimes, the doctor decides that it is a bacterial infection and gives an antibiotic. It is all very confusing. I noticed that she would look at the throat and if it is not very red, she usually decides that it is a viral infection.

Viral infections have no 'cure' and we just have to get plenty of rest and let our body recover on its own. However some viral infections can be rather strong. Once my son was hospitalized for 10 days for a virus infection. He had been infected by the Epstein Barr Virus.

On the other hand, Bacterial Infections are usually treated with antibiotics. Some for 5 or 7 or more days etc depending on the severity of the infection. Antibiotics must be taken regularly and completed or finished.

Sometimes Virus Infections can 'turn into' Bacterial Infections. This is because your immune system is weakened at the time, so you can easily get infected by a secondary Bacterial Infection.

Here are some sites which I find useful to help me differentiate between a Cold or a Flu, Virus or Bacteria....
Whatever it is, when you are sick, whether it is the cold or flu, a virus infection or a bacterial infection, you should try to get plenty of rest, fluids and sleep. It is important to break the sick cycle, make sure that if you have a virus infection, you don't get a secondary bacterial infection because of your body's weakened immune system at the time. Get plenty of rest!
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Monday, August 15, 2011

Taking Good Health For Granted

I’m having a flu today and I keep on thinking about how I’ve been taking good health for granted.

When I am in good health, I don’t stop to think about what a blessing that is. Instead, I complain about being lazy to exercise. I don’t exercise on those days when I am feeling fit.

Now, that I can’t stop sneezing and I’ve lost my voice, and my lips feel hot and burning because my body is slightly feverish, I wish I could do those exercises that I had been neglecting.

I was this way for about 9 months last year. Each day, I would wake up with a bad sore throat and each evening I would cough uncontrollably. I took all sorts of natural cough remedies, consulted specialists, did chest X-Rays but nothing helped and then over one week, the cough just went away by itself gradually.

How awful it is not to feel whole. To feel sick most of the time. Now, I’m sick but only for a while. When I recover, I must remind myself not to take good health for granted.

I must eat  well, get enough rest and sleep and exercise. If I don’t take care of my own body, who will? Pin It

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Eat in Moderation

Have you ever gone on a diet of eating only salad all day? How about a diet of just one of those powdery “nutritious” drinks to be drunk several times a day? How about an all protein diet with no carbohydrates?
Did your diet last very long?

I am sure you will not be able to last very long on those types of extreme diets. You would be depriving yourself not only of the nutrients and energy. Even my young kids who have studied in their Science as well as Moral studies about food know that ….
  1. We eat foods with carbohydrates like rice, noodles, pasta and bread in order to have energy
  2. We eat foods with protein like meat and fish in order to grow
  3. We eat fruits and vegetables for the vitamins to prevent sickness
In other words, we must eat a balanced diet for better health. We should also eat in moderation.


If we eat too only salad every day, we will get bored and we will be deprived of other nutrients our body needs. It will also make us crave for other foods that our body needs.


On the other hand, if we eat a feast everyday, we will be having more than what our bodies need. It will make us put on weight. Being overweight is not a good thing for health.

What we need to do is to eat a balanced diet and to eat everything in moderation. If you are trying to lose weight, then you should cut down everything, eat everything but in moderation instead of cutting down on just one group of food.

It is better to eat healthily all the time then to go on quick fix-it diets. There is no such thing as a quick fix-it diet. They are detrimental to your health.

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Sunday, July 31, 2011


Dream Supreme Plus Gel Fiber-Filled Pillows, Standard (Set of 2)

Exercise is a good idea and a healthy diet is important but sleep, sound quality sleep is absolutely critical for good health. How do we sleep? How do you improve your sleep? How do you get to sleep? How do you fall asleep and stay asleep? How do you "sleep like a baby" in a perfectly relaxed slumber?

I have read many books about sleep and many of them have many remedies that I have tried on and off over the years to try to have better sleep. I will share with you those that worked for me during the times when I was having bad sleep. 

The Harvard Medical School Guide to a Good Night's Sleep (Harvard Medical School Guides)

At different points of my life, I have had varying quality of sleep. When I had bad sleep, most likely the cause was...

  • bodily discomfort
  • thinking - one thought will lead to another and sometimes I find that I have been awake half the night and almost till dawn!
  • poor routine
These are the 3 top reasons why I have bad sleep, so I have come to conclude that to have better sleep, one must...


Make yourself as comfortable as possible. 
  • Set your room to the best temperature that is most comfortable for you. Not too hot and not too cold. Changes in temperature will wake you up too so try to get the best temperature then make it constant throughout the night. Fans etc with a timer are not a good idea because when the fan turns off, you will feel hot and wake up.
  • Get comfortable pillows and bedding
  • No noise please. A quiet room is best for aiding sleep.
  • No lights. We're supposed to sleep in the night so a dark room is best. No night light is better. 
Go to sleep when you are tired.
  • I sleep better when I am tired because I don't get to think. When I start thinking about my day or the 101 things that I have to do the next day or the 101 things that I didn't manage to do, then my trail of thoughts will continue leading from one thing to another, quite often ending in something totally different from what I was originally thinking off. 
  • Leave thoughts and planning for the day. If there is something that you wish to remember, then write it down before sleep.
  • No afternoon naps. That makes me less tired and more likely to think about my day and the 101 things I didn't do.
Have a good routine

I am a night person, having been "trained" to sleep that way for most of my life. I am no early bird. Since my children started school, I have had to change my routine in order to get up early. I find that routine helps.
  • Go to bed at the same time
  • Establish a bedtime routine. Do the same things before sleeping
  • Don't go to sleep later and get up later during the weekends. It really disrupts your sleep routine.
A handbook of health

Take care of yourself
  • If you have some bodily discomfort like a rash, or itchy eyes or ears or a sensitive nose. Take care of those areas first, try to resolve those issues. It will improve your sleep.
Don't think too much about how hard it is to sleep and how little sleep you are getting
  • This is probably the hardest part but I think it helps not to worry about how bad your sleep is or how little sleep you are getting and how you will be able to catch up with sleep
  • Don't watch the clock when you are unable to sleep. That will make you think about how little sleep you are getting! Which will get your thoughts going into full gear and once your thoughts are moving along, very soon you will find that you are thinking of all sorts of things and sleep will then be evasive. 
 Thoughts are my biggest barrier to sleep.

Health (1-year auto-renewal)

Does reading help?
  • For me reading does not help. It makes me even more wide awake because a book quite often catches my attention to read more and more unless the book is boring but why would I want to read a boring book?
Norpro My Favorite Mugs, Set of Two

Does a hot drink or a hot bath help?
  • I guess a hot drink and a hot bath makes you more comfortable and creates a routine which helps overall. However, when you have bad insomnia, you may feel frustrated if a hot drink and a hot bath does not help you fall asleep. For me, these things help to make me more comfortable, relaxed and can be a good bedtime routine but I must go to sleep when I am sleepy so that my thoughts don't get in the way.
Lastly, if all else fails, consult a doctor. Don't take matters in your own hands. I wish everyone reading this a good night's sleep. 

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Vegetable Juice Recipes

Yesterday, I shared this vegetable juice recipe:

Vegetable Juice with spinach.
I used:
  1. Cucumber
  2. Celery
  3. Spinach
  4. Apple
Vegetable Juice with tomato
Sometimes, I add a tomato to the above vegetable juice recipe to give it an extra tangy taste. So I use...
  1. Cucumber
  2. Celery
  3. Spinach
  4. Apple
  5. Tomato
Vegetable Juice with broccoli
At other times, I replace the spinach and cucumber with broccoli like this..
  1. Broccoli
  2. Celery
  3. Apple
  4. Choy Sum (Chinese Flowering Cabbage)
It is very easy to make your own vegetable juice recipe. You can try any combination you like by adding or replacing vegetables like this. Once, I tried ginger but I didn't like it. I think it should only be used sparingly because the taste of ginger is so strong.

I almost always add only one fruit, that is apple to my vegetable juices. Apple is sweet so I try not to have too much of it. Usually, just one apple to whatever vegetables that I am juicing to give it a sweeter taste. I like celery too. It too has a strong taste but it makes the juice taste more interesting. The Chinese Cabbage has an almost bitter taste but it is dark green and leaf so I like it in my juice but I do not use too much of it.

If you want to know more about Chinese Cabbage and other Asian Vegetables, read this interesting article on the Sydney Morning Herald "Can't tell pak choy from buk choy? Demystifying Asian Greens."

I always peel off the skin of my vegetables and fruits before juicing. Yes, it is a pity because I will lose most of the vitamins that way but I have no choice really. I prefer not to take the risk of taking something with loads of vitamins but laden with wax or pesticides. So I peel the skin, always. 

Happy Juicing!

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Juicing Vegetables

Today I will share one of my vegetable juice recipes in pictures. My vegetable juice recipe is not precise as I will not mention how many stalks or leaves of vegetables I used. I think it depends on the amount you wish to make as well as your personal taste and preference.

Here are the ingredients I used in my Vegetable Juice.

1. Apple
2. Cucumber
3. Spinach
4. Celery

That is my vegetable juice, all done. :)

All the green vegetables you see in the first picture above yields two cups of fresh and pure vegetable juice. I do not mix with any water or ice.

Here is another closer look at my pure green vegetable juice. Does it look healthy or yuckky to you? It tastes quite nice actually, once you get used to the taste. Vegetable juice is an acquired taste just like any other foods or drinks.

Finally, here are the vegetable leftovers from the juicing. A bit of a pity isn't it? All that lovely greens and fibre. Anyway, I couldn't eat that much of vegetables in one sitting. 

Most importantly, I don't just drink my vegetables, I eat them as well. I drink vegetable juices in addition to eating my greens. They are not meant to be a replacement but rather to increase my intake of vegetables especially raw vegetables. 

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Best Music to Sleep To

Sleep is essential to us. How to you get good sleep? Will listening to music help? What is the best music to sleep to? I guess it depends from individual to individual and personal preference and of course the choice of music.

For me, it is definitely soft piano background music. No vocals. Vocals distract me. Some prefer to listen to sounds of nature like the falling rain or the sound of river flowing or of ocean waves at the seashore. Those distract me too but there are others who prefer to listen to white noise or sounds like these.

Whatever it is, music helps us to relax and in turn that may help us to go to sleep better. By concentrating on the sounds or music, we free our minds from our thoughts that delay sleep.

This relaxing piano music from YouTube is my personal favorite. It is called First Love by Utada Hikaru. It never fails to relax me. I like to listen to it after a good exercise too. It is very relaxing.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Is the Neti Pot Safe?

Like anything else to do with self hygiene it is very important to keep your Neti Pot clean so that the Neti Pot does not get contaminated.

It is also very important not to share your Neti Pot with anyone else. It is very personal, just like a toothbrush or a comb. 

Lastly, don't push the spout too far up your nose, keep the water warm (not hot!), get the amount of salt just right (not too much) and don't blow your nose too hard to prevent the water from entering the ear canal.

Most importantly, see a medical doctor if you have any infections and consult your doctor about the use of a Neti Pot before you start using one. Never use anything on your own without medical consultation or advise.

Related posts:

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How often to use the Neti Pot

This is just my personal experience. I've used it up to 2 to 3 times a day when my nose was badly congested. I could feel the mucus loosen up almost immediately and breathe better right afterwards. However, when my situation improves, I would use it just once a day or not at all. Though it is an easy procedure, rather like washing your face or brushing your teeth and can be done as part of your daily hygiene routine, I find that it takes some (just a little) effort to set up ie mixing the saline solution before you can do the nasal irrigation. So for me, personally, I would use it just once a day and increase only if the situation calls for it, when the nose is badly congested.

Generally, I try not to use it when I have a cold or inflamed sinuses. To me, it is better to use it before you have a cold not during a cold.

Here are some other useful reading on Neti Pots and Nasal Irrigation.

1. Nasal Irrigation on Wikipedia

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How to use a Neti Pot

If you have got one of those Neti Pot Starter Kits, it would have come with some instructions. However, if you have not purchased any Neti Pot, but would like to find out a little bit more, I hope that by sharing my experience, it will help you.

This is my neti pot. It is made of plastic. I like plastic because it is light, non-breakable and cheap too. 

I use Sea Salt to mix my saline solution for nasal irrigation, in other words for washing my nose.

I mix the sea salt with boiled water, part hot and part room temperature so that I get a warm saline solution. When it is too hot, it will hurt your nose. When it is too cold, it is not very comfortable. Warm is just nice for me. I got the right temperature after several trial and error attempts. The amount of salt must be just right too. Too much salt will make it uncomfortable.

Once, you have got the saline solution, you can watch an instructional video on YouTube on How to Use a Neti Pot. The one I highlighted in my post on What is a Neti Pot is the one I like best because it includes some simple exercises you can do to make sure that all the water runs out after your sinus irrigation.

Basically, you just have to bend over the sink, your head turned slightly, then place the spout over one nostril (the higher one) and let the water come out the other nostril. While you are doing this, open your mouth and breath through the mouth. You will get it after one or two tries. It is very simple and does not cause any discomfort at all. 

Related Posts:

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Types of Neti Pot

I have a very sensitive nose. Each morning when I wake up, I would sneeze several times. Dust makes me sneeze and changes in temperature makes me sneeze. When I go into an air conditioned room from the hot sun I would sneeze and when I go out from a cold room to the hot sun I would sneeze. It is a terrible thing. Quite often, I would see people trying to avoid me because they think I have the cold. I don't have the cold.

My sensitive nose is not seasonal. It is all round the year. I suffer from chronic nose congestion all through the year. I think they call it  allergic rhinitis. The best treatment for me so far are nasal corticosteroid sprays. However, these are temporary. As soon as I stop the sprays, my problem would persist.

I tried nasal irrigation using saline solution because I read that it would help. Then I found out about Neti Pots. Basically Neti Pots are a form of nasal irrigation. It just makes it easier to clean the nose, that is all. Neti Pots have been around for a long time.

What are Neti Pots made from?
Neti Pots can be made from different materials. However, they all basically look like a small teapot with a spout.

Here is a picture of a plastic Neti Pot. 

Himalayan Institute Neti Pot Nonbreakable

Here is a Ceramic Neti Pot

Himalayan Institute Neti Pot Ceramic

Stainless Steel Neti Pot for Sinus Congestion (Ayurvedic JalNeti)

And here is a Copper Neti Pot.

Copper Jalneti (Nasal Cleansing) Pot for Naturally Cleanses, Refreshes, and Protects the Nasal Passages

As you can see, the Neti Pots come in various shapes, materials and designs. I don't think it matters very much which material it is made from. They all have the same function. It is up to your personal preference. I am using plastic because it is  light and non-breakable.

Related Posts:

1. What is a Neti Pot
2. How to Use a Neti Pot
3. How often to use the Neti Pot
4. Is the Neti Pot Safe Pin It

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What is a Neti Pot

To put it very simplistically, a neti pot is a device, that looks rather like a child's toy teapot used to wash or irrigate your nose. If you like a longer explanation, you can read up this link about Neti Pot from Wikipedia which will explain the functions and history of Neti Pot in greater detail.

There are many videos on YouTube to show you how to use a Neti Pot but I have selected this one, not because of the commercial or because I recommend this brand of Neti Pot but rather because it shows the recommended exercises one should do after using the Neti Pot. I find that whatever Neti Pot you choose to use, the results will be same, ie. cleansing of your nose. To me, it does not matter what brand or what type of material your Neti Pot is made up of.

I find that quite often, there is some water remaining within the sinuses after using the Neti Pot. Doing some exercises which required bending over and turning your head from side to side will eliminate this slight discomfort. It is not a discomfort really because you don't really feel the water in there but doing these exercises will get the water flowing right out. You will be surprised by it.

Related Posts:

1. Types of Neti Pots.
2. How to Use a Neti Pot
3. How often to use the Neti Pot
4. Is the Neti Pot Safe

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