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Changing Jobs? Check the Impact to Your Medical Benefits

Updated as of 2/22/22 If you’re changing jobs, don’t forget to think about how to coordinate your benefits between the two jobs, so that: you’re not without coverage between the two  you maximize your benefits you minimize any forfeits in FSAs you coordinate your HSA contributions and providers (If you’re wanting to compare plans at your new job, check this post on health insurance plan comparison spreadsheets.) Below are the main things that I’ve learned to check during job changes: Fill the insurance gap between jobs If you and your partner are each insured through different employers, then whoever is … Continue reading Changing Jobs? Check the Impact to Your Medical Benefits

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To Ice or Not to Ice Injuries?

Updated as of 11/2/2021 My child sprained an ankle and immediately, every well-meaning person around us kept at us with ice, and more ice. The day after the injury, our sporty, super-fit friends quizzed me, double-checking that we were continuing to ice the ankle. All this emphasis on ice gave me pause, because in traditional Chinese medicine (whose philosophy I have followed growing up), ice is never used for an injury. These opposing views sent me running to Google.   It turns out that recent research suggests icing an injury may not be the best way to heal an injury. In fact, … Continue reading To Ice or Not to Ice Injuries?

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Minimalist, Athletic Shoes for Kids

In another post, I wrote about how I decided to lean towards minimalist footwear for my kids and for myself. Well, I didn’t realize that finding children’s minimalist, athletic footwear (and there are definitely degrees of minimalism here) would be so difficult! In fact, most popular brands had very thick soles and were heavy. Others were too rigid and narrow, particularly in the toebox, and even others also had positive inclines, so much that I was effectively putting my child in a slight heel. None of those made any sense to me and yet those were the majority that I … Continue reading Minimalist, Athletic Shoes for Kids

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Can You Control or Reverse Your Myopia?

In my quest to quell my child’s myopia, I discovered the myopia reversal community online. It seems there are many adults who are trying to improve their vision naturally. Yet while the medical eyecare community has not reached the point where they will even consider that myopia reversal is possible, myopia control for children is a growing sub-specialty and reaching mainstream eyecare practices in the US. In Asian countries where myopia is unusually high, myopia control is already a common practice. Considering that myopia control didn’t exist when I was growing up, (and yet here it is), I’m wary of … Continue reading Can You Control or Reverse Your Myopia?

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10+ Things to Know About OIT for Food Allergies

Recently, we decided to have our children try oral immunotherapy (OIT) for nuts. OIT is just one of many treatment options emerging. This was a huge, agonizing decision for us and we went back and forth several times for months before we finally committed. Read this post, “Stopping OIT at One Nut,” for where we are with OIT today. My takeaway This post is a summary of the key information (but a long list, nevertheless) that I found helpful in making our decision and knowing what to expect once we started OIT. I gathered it through reading online resources, quizzing … Continue reading 10+ Things to Know About OIT for Food Allergies

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Reversing Myopia: Getting Started

Once you become myopic, is it possible for your vision to improve? Ophthalmologists and optometrists say NO, and rather emphatically so. However, welcome Internet research, pseudoscience, and anecdotal evidence. Even the burgeoning science found in myopia control methods has many theories in common with the myopia reversal movement. After a lot of reading, it seems like it may be possible to reverse some myopia and that it’s worth giving it a try. (As of 8/16/20: My one year progress update.)   My takeaway: the basic method of reversing myopia The basic method of reversing myopia looks like this: Reduce your … Continue reading Reversing Myopia: Getting Started

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Proper Oral Hygiene for Children

Updated as of 10/9/21 I was wondering how important it was to personally brush my kids’ teeth, especially since they have the black stain problem, but also because I HATE brushing their teeth, and the process of yelling at them to come to the bathroom, and getting them to stand still, so I can brush their teeth. I was really hoping to find out that I don’t need to brush my kids teeth anymore. Instead, I just found way more than I had planned to know.  #1 Up to what age should you help brush your child’s teeth? My own … Continue reading Proper Oral Hygiene for Children

Favorite Audiobooks for Kids

There have been a few standout audiobooks that my kids have really enjoyed so far over their elementary and early middle school years.  For the most part, the books themselves are well known and already wonderful, but the particular readers have made these audiobook stories even better! The way these narrators know how to perform the dialogue, pausing, enunciating, emphasizing, applying different tones and voices, can really transform the story experience.  You can find these audiobooks free at the library and at many of the audiobook apps such as Hoopla, Overdrive, and the like. I hope you enjoy these as … Continue reading Favorite Audiobooks for Kids

Prevent Foot, Knee, and Heel Pain from Soccer Cleats 

The standard fit of soccer cleats doesn’t make any orthopedic sense (see this article on podiatrists whose patients play soccer) and yet, it’s the norm. If you play soccer in cleats, you probably know they can be pretty uncomfortable. However, when I was a new soccer mom, the first time I went shopping for cleats for my kids, I was stunned by the stiffness and narrow shape of the shoe. The uppers were stiff, synthetic leather and the sole plate was hard plastic with a thin, flat insole. I sucked it up and after twisting many a pair, I settled … Continue reading Prevent Foot, Knee, and Heel Pain from Soccer Cleats 

Reversing Myopia: Update #2

My last update about my experience trying to reverse my myopia was about 20+ months ago. For previous posts about my experience, please see: my first post and my first update. Today my 2nd update, in short, is that my vision still seems to be improving, but the improvement is quite slow when averaged out over 3.5 years – a 1.50 diopter improvement total in each eye when measured by my contact lens RX. See below for an updated chart and further notes about my experience: Eye Exam Date Glasses RX (from optometrist) Contact Lens RX (from optometrist) My Reduced … Continue reading Reversing Myopia: Update #2

IGE and Oral Immunotherapy (OIT): Sample Size of 2

I’ve received many questions about what the kids’ IGE numbers have been since they began oral immunotherapy. I was definitely curious when I was researching OIT and I like to see numbers too, so I’ve posted them below. Basically, the numbers trend downwards since OIT. Unfortunately, the numbers were already down from their peak before they began OIT (2019), so I won’t ever know if the continued downward trend is due to OIT or if they were on their way to becoming less allergic anyway. Below I list the raw data, and then graphed. I don’t have 2022 numbers, so … Continue reading IGE and Oral Immunotherapy (OIT): Sample Size of 2

What You Need to Know About a Health Savings Account (HSA)

Everywhere on the Internet, you will easily find the basics on health savings accounts (HSAs) about who is eligible, what the rules are, etc. However, as they say, “the devil is in the details,” both good and bad. Is an HSA right for you? Using an HSA is, in fact, a big pain in the ass. It’s not easy to manage and use it efficiently and a certain amount of administration is required. While financially beneficial, I have to view it as getting paid a decent amount of money to do some low-level administrative work.  Below are the things I … Continue reading What You Need to Know About a Health Savings Account (HSA)

Favorite Chinese Medicines

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been a part of my American upbringing because my parents grew up under TCM principles and philosophies. Our family healthcare approach has evolved to be a mix of both Western and Chinese medicine along with some skepticism for each of them (see “5 Reasons Not to Rely on Doctors“). However, through generations of family trial and error, we’ve come to find a few Chinese herbal remedies that are popular, commonplace, and often more effective than Western options. Here are the top Chinese herbal remedies that sit in our medicine cabinet: Best Chinese Medicine for Strains, … Continue reading Favorite Chinese Medicines

Heal Fast and Prevent Recurring Pain

With two kids in contact sports and my own, easily injured, aging self, I’ve looked into ways to heal the body faster and avoid recurring pain and injury. This means doing more than just ice and rest to reduce recovery time. Below I’ve combined emerging practices from Western sports medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to heal soft tissue injuries.  Don’t Use Ice on an Injury Immediately after the injury, do not apply ice. In fact, do not apply ice at any point. Instead, apply some compression and massage to help ease the pain. Most Western sports medicine recommendations are … Continue reading Heal Fast and Prevent Recurring Pain

5 Tips for Reversing Myopia

In my experience so far with reversing myopia, I’ve learned a few things that have made a big difference for me. They’re mostly related to ways you can make this journey easier for yourself. If you’re still experimenting with reversing myopia, below are some tips you can consider, too.  #1 Use the Eye Chart Regularly Put up one or two eye charts in places that will be easy for you to use to check your vision casually and without much effort. (Get free printable eyecharts here.) This tip is actually CRITICAL because it keeps the idea of vision improvement in … Continue reading 5 Tips for Reversing Myopia

How to Be a Happier Parent

When I saw the title, “How to Be a Happier Parent” at my local library, I was curious. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to be happier! Written by KJ Dell’Antonia who is a former editor of a New York Times parenting column, the book has chapters on dealing with pain points, called: Mornings, Chores, Siblings, Sports and Activities, Homework, Screentime, Discipline, etc.   Even though it’s not the main or only message of the book, my biggest takeaway from this book is that taking care of myself will make me a happier parent. I used to poo-poo this idea when my children … Continue reading How to Be a Happier Parent

Raising Your Child to Be a Champion

Cultivate Interest – Less is More Hold Your Ground as a Parent Nurture a Second Passion  The title of my recent read is a bit misleading for its true value – bold letters state “Raising Your Child to be a Champion” and in smaller letters, “in Athletics, Arts, and Academics.” This seemingly trite, short, and simple parenting book is authored by Wayne Bryan, the father of the Bryan twins, who grew up to be world doubles champions in men’s tennis. There’s not much scientific evidence backed strategies, but instead, refreshingly straightforward, actionable ideas from a dad who found success with … Continue reading Raising Your Child to Be a Champion

Chinese Herbal Medicine for UTIs

You may have tried a lot of different things to treat UTIs by now (e.g. D-mannose, garlic, cranberry, oregano, etc.). We certainly have, and have battled UTIs for 10 years without lasting success. In yet another bid to avoid antibiotics which cause all kinds of issues, I’ve looked into how Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) might help. Since both my kids seemed to resolve their problems (cough-variant asthma and clammy/sweaty hands respectively) with a tailored course of CHM, we decided to try Chinese herbal medicine to treat UTIs as well. In this post, I share a list of formulas I found … Continue reading Chinese Herbal Medicine for UTIs

Find the Lowest Price for EpiPens

We have food allergies and we need to carry around EpiPens. But we also don’t have spectacular health insurance, so below is a rundown of the options I went through. My takeaway is that if you can’t get an EpiPen or EpiPen alternative for free, you should only pay in the range of $5-low $100s in the U.S. #1 Health Insurance When we had excellent health insurance, I was able to buy a pack of two generic EpiPens for as little as $30. I’ve also seen online that some people have health insurance that can bring the cost down to … Continue reading Find the Lowest Price for EpiPens

Goji Berry Chocolate Muffins

This is a muffin that is like a chocolate cupcake, mixed with some goji berries and whole wheat that make you feel like it’s slightly healthier. Goji berries are a bittersweet berry that are supposedly a superfood.  We normally snack on them or put them in chrysanthemum tea, but I wanted to give the kids a little variety in how we get this superfood, so I made Goji Berry Chocolate Muffins. Ingredients Makes 12 muffins / cupcakes 1 ¼  cup all-purpose flour ¼ cup whole wheat flour ½ cup cacao powder 2 tbsp cornstarch (optional – I added this to … Continue reading Goji Berry Chocolate Muffins

How to Raise Good Eaters

Updated 9/2/2021 Feeding our children in this day and age is challenging – unhealthy food is too readily available and social norms of accommodating children can cultivate picky eaters. As parents, we’re met with a plethora of feedback from grandparents, pediatricians, parenting books, media, peers, societal norms, and social pressures and expectations.   My kids, ages and 7 and 9, are good eaters, in the sense that they eat a wide variety of foods (meats, vegetables, grains), and will try new foods. Some of this may be luck, but it’s also due to habits. There are constant “turning points” in … Continue reading How to Raise Good Eaters

Prevent Food Allergies With the Latest Research

It may be too late for my children in some respect, but it seems there are more things that we now know about how food allergies develop that would have COMPLETELY changed the way we approached our kids’ diets at birth. If you’re concerned about your baby or child possibly developing allergies, below are some things you should absolutely consider. Actually, there are an increasing number of individuals who are developing allergies as adults, so it’s worth taking a read below even if you’re no spring chicken.  Food Allergy Epidemic   First, some statistics that I came across recently – according … Continue reading Prevent Food Allergies With the Latest Research

Free Printable Eye Charts

Since I started trying to reverse my myopia and control my child’s myopia progression, I’ve found eye charts to be handy. During the pandemic with distance learning and increase in computer use, I have used eye charts as a way to check my kids’ vision regularly. However, I’ve also found that those sneaky kids have memorized the eye charts so it’s harder for me to check their vision accurately! So below I’ve included links to the best free printable eye charts that I found online as well as links to some eye charts that I can customize.  Standard charts typically … Continue reading Free Printable Eye Charts

Eye Massage and Eye Acupressure Points for Myopia

I reviewed some online literature on eye massage to add to my repertoire of things to try for slowing / reversing myopia. As an acupressure layman, I found the acupressure points and techniques seemed to vary just enough from site to site to confuse me initially. Finally, I cobbled together some basics.  (Note: there are also eye exercises and acupressure points on other parts of the body that directly affect the eyes. I think I will have to review those thoroughly another time.) My basic takeaway The theory is that eye massage improves the blood circulation to the eyes and … Continue reading Eye Massage and Eye Acupressure Points for Myopia

Reversing Myopia: Update #1

It has been about one year since I began trying to reverse myopia and I am relatively encouraged by the results after visiting the optometrist to validate my progress. If you’re new to trying to reduce your myopia, check out this post first:  Going off of the contact lens prescription, my right eye improved by -1.00 diopter. My left eye improved by -1.25 diopters.  Going off of the spectacle prescription, both my eyes improved by about -0.50 diopters (SPH), and neither eye needs astigmatism correction -0.50 (CYL) to see 20/20.  I read on this post that the average rate of … Continue reading Reversing Myopia: Update #1