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
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
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
Updated June 1, 2021 Changing jobs? Open enrollment? 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, … Continue reading Health Insurance Plan Comparison Spreadsheets
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?
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?
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
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?
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
There are, in fact, nuances to the common allergy medications that are prescribed like Zyrtec and Benadryl, that are worth considering when deciding which to use and when. Continue reading Best Allergy Medications for Kids
Having children with severe food allergies can be very difficult on the parent as well as the child. However, other than plain avoidance, there are now actually a number of different options for families to consider. If you have a child under 5, you have a particularly good chance of using some of these options (particularly OIT), to cure (not just desensitize!) your child’s food allergies. Researchers have found that the younger kids have much more lasting benefits of immunotherapy – meaning they could actually be cured(!) rather than just desensitized. My kids were unfortunately past that age when I … Continue reading 6 Treatments for Food Allergies
Updated as of 5/7/2021 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)?
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
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?
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
After a lot of searching the Internet and asking around for best practices, we settled on a few key resources for teaching Chinese to our children. The amount of resources and choices online can be really overwhelming and paralyzing if you don’t know where to start. There are a lot of good options and none will be perfect. I was definitely in the “paralyzed” category for awhile. Now that I’ve done the research, I realize that the key is to just pick a strategy and structure and get started. Below are the five main resources we use: Resource #1: A … Continue reading Top 5 Resources for Teaching Chinese to Kids
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 – My Experience So Far
Do you want to share your language with your child? Have you wondered if you’ll be able to teach your kids your own language despite living in a foreign country? You absolutely can and there are benefits. Many studies have shown a cognitive benefit to bilingualism and it’s a great way to strengthen the bond with your child throughout their lives. The question is how will you be able to do it? Despite living in the US and having English be our shared family language, we have been partially successful in teaching our children three different languages. They are now … Continue reading How to Raise Bilingual Children
Updated 5/7/21 It’s great to try and prevent myopia, but what if your child is already myopic? Or what if your child becomes myopic in spite of all your attempts to prevent it? Did you know that there are now ways that you can try to slow down your child’s myopia? Below I summarize the options that I researched and what we decided to try for myopia control. When I was growing up, anyone who became nearsighted just got glasses and were told that there was nothing to be done to either improve or slow down their myopia. However, now, … Continue reading Myopia Control Options and Our Choice
Screen time is great! It immediately distracts my kids and gets them to stay still. They love the screen so much that they’ll watch videos in languages they don’t know just to have the right to the screen. For me, when I’m standing in line at the grocery, I can check my emails or run through my grocery list. I can leave work early and be with my kids more often since I have email and text access to stay caught up with the office. It’s so efficient, time is never wasted, and dealing with the kids could never be … Continue reading The Slippery Slope of Smartphones and Screen Time