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

How to Raise Good Eaters

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 their eating … Continue reading How to Raise Good Eaters

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Stop Food Allergies from Developing

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 Stop Food Allergies from Developing

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

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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 – One Year Update

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 – One Year Update

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Chrysanthemum and Goji Berries Tea Recipe for the Eyes

Are you trying to bolster your eye health? In our family, we are definitely doing what we can to strengthen the eyes. At any given time, members of our family will have red and/or itchy eyes, dry eye, or blurry / myopic vision. While we use artificial tears and allergy eye drops, we also do what we can to help address the root cause. In traditional Chinese medicine, chrysanthemum (菊花, ju hua) is the go to herb for clearing and strengthening the liver which is apparently closely tied to our eye health, among other things. While there are extracts and … Continue reading Chrysanthemum and Goji Berries Tea Recipe for the Eyes

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4 Ways to Reduce Allergies Naturally

Maybe Zyrtec doesn’t work for you lately or perhaps you don’t like its side effects. Personally, I fear that we don’t know much about the long-term use of these “safe” OTC antihistamines for allergy relief. Instead, I’m hoping to treat my sneezing family as naturally as possible. Below are some of the things that I’ve been reading about (and in some cases, trying out): 1. Avoid Antibiotics as Much as Possible Scientists are increasingly looking at an imbalance in the microbiome as the root cause of many of the problems we have with our immune systems not working properly. These … Continue reading 4 Ways to Reduce Allergies Naturally

7 Ways to Reduce Physical Exposure to Environmental Allergens

I try to avoid the use of allergy medications as much as possible, so I’ve tested out a variety of non-medical ways to reduce my family’s environmental allergic reactions to tree pollens, grass pollens, and dust mites. Here are the things that we do that seem to have helped in order of suspected effectiveness. 1) Run the air purifier We have serious dust mite allergies, so I run an air purifier on high in my children’s carpeted bedroom about 1 hour before their bedtime, then I switch it to low for the remainder of the night. We’ve been told to … Continue reading 7 Ways to Reduce Physical Exposure to Environmental Allergens

Simple Dang Gui Soup or Tea Recipe

As I mentioned before, dang gui (angelica sinensis, 当归) soup is my go-to Chinese herbal tonic for whenever I have any issues that I suspect may be remotely related to blood, circulation, or hormones. Men can benefit from this tonic in the same way, too. Whenever I drink it, I feel revitalized and relaxed at the same time, helping my sleep and energy. I swear by it, and so do 2,200+ years of traditional Chinese medicine. (Whenever I think about how Western medicine would never suggest this as a simple remedy because it’s not evidence-based, I’m frustrated by how many … Continue reading Simple Dang Gui Soup or Tea Recipe

Lessons Learned in the Time of Coronavirus

I’m home with my family this morning, following guidelines for self-isolation and social distancing. It is so surreal, but here are the actionable items that I’ve learned so far from living in the time of coronavirus. Most of us will survive the coronavirus, and this is why these learnings are important to me. #1 Respond at the first hint of trouble, not at panic time Determining what constitutes as “the first hint of trouble” is open to debate, but I will say that I responded somewhere in the middle between “the first hint of trouble” and “panic time.”  I went … Continue reading Lessons Learned in the Time of Coronavirus

Stopping OIT at One Nut

I have to take my mind off coronavirus somehow, so I thought I would provide the latest update on our experience with oral immunotherapy for food allergies.  We’re done for now We have stopped oral immunotherapy updosing, after having reached a dose of 1 whole nut for each child (see why in the section below, “New information since we started OIT”). So now we are entering maintenance phase at a daily peanut for one child and a daily cashew for the other. Our allergist said that after about 3 months on the 1 nut dose, they would be protected from … Continue reading Stopping OIT at One Nut

5 Tips for Dealing with Health Insurance

I’m still on my health insurance rant. How many ways can the health insurance system screw you? If you’re a health insurance user, chances are you’ve been scammed, duped, or basically not given the coverage that you paid for because the health insurance system in this country has been intentionally/unintentionally designed to make sure that you won’t know how to use it and getting enough reliable information to avoid costly errors is practically impossible. (Help fight this by choosing the most cost-effective health insurance for you with some of these comparison spreadsheets.) Here are five things I’ve learned about when … Continue reading 5 Tips for Dealing with Health Insurance

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Health Insurance Plan Comparison Spreadsheets

Recently, we were choosing between a variety of health insurance plans. Before I thought to look online, I had already made my own, but I guess that’s all well and good because it was a nice, eye-opening experience to think through the ridiculous rules of each of the health insurance plans myself. Even the plan representatives barely understand the rules.  Later on, I found a few different health plans spreadsheets online that I thought were helpful and collected the links below. There are also various calculators and comparison widgets on health websites, but they hide the logic and calculations they’re … Continue reading Health Insurance Plan Comparison Spreadsheets

Got Body Odor? And Will Your Child, Too?

I’d been sniffing the hair on my children’s heads – yes, moms do that. And found that they smell very different. I can’t even describe the smell though – one like vanilla soup and the other like citrus tea. That got me wondering what they might smell like as teenagers and then adults. Would my deliciously smelling kids become stinky people with various body odors? Would I need to arm them with deodorants? Was I going to need to do a 3 week research project on finding the best, non-toxic deodorants?  I’ve noticed that men and women and folks of … Continue reading Got Body Odor? And Will Your Child, Too?

Can Axial Length Be Reduced?

This is a niche post for those of us trying to explore the causes and cures for myopia. Since the causes of myopia are not fully understood, the treatments are still under discovery and experimentation. If you search online, you probably won’t find much evidence that the axial length of the human eye can be reduced – this is a key measurement that folks are using as an objective way to determine if axial length myopia can be reversed. However, I suspect that there exists some evidence – it just hasn’t reached Google’s top search results. I discovered that the axial … Continue reading Can Axial Length Be Reduced?

5 Reasons Not to Rely on Doctors

Just to be clear, this post is not about bashing doctors! We see many amazing, caring doctors. This post is about an over-reliance on what doctors in our healthcare system can do and taking charge of our own health. Maybe you already know different, but I grew up thinking that the doctor’s word was the final word. Unsure about anything? Go see a doctor. Nowadays, I still see a doctor, but I go online, research some more, and I take the doctor’s opinion into consideration as I decide what to do. Here’s why: #1 They’re not always up to date … Continue reading 5 Reasons Not to Rely on Doctors

How Much Outdoor Light Do You Need to Prevent Myopia?

If you’ve been reading about the latest findings on why we’re all becoming so nearsighted, then you know that researchers have found a strong link between myopia and outdoor light. They think that outdoor light (possibly even more so than near work) may have the strongest impact on protecting against myopia. However, the simple recommendation of spending more time outdoors is a little ambiguous and not enough information to decide whether following this recommendation was feasible or worthwhile.  As much as I would like to spend my entire day at the beach, in a time-constrained world, I wondered how much … Continue reading How Much Outdoor Light Do You Need to Prevent Myopia?

5 Traditional Chinese Herbal Remedies That Work

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 also quite effective. Here are our top five Chinese herbal remedies: #1 Yunnan Baiyao Yunnan Baiyao is an ancient Chinese remedy for severe bleeding, … Continue reading 5 Traditional Chinese Herbal Remedies That Work