NBC Nightly News ran a report recently about “food deserts”, which is a phenomenon that occurs in low-income, rural areas of the country. (See 2004 article about Pittsburgh, NH) A food desert is where a fresh produce market is 1 mile or farther away from any given neighborhood. For many in this kind of situation, locals often do their shopping in expensive mini-marts or convenience stores. And the health implications of food deserts exacerbate various weight-related issues. Read More…
There’s a saying in ancient Chinese: “Walk 100 steps after every meal and you’ll live to 99 years old.” This is a reminder that food isn’t meant to sit- it should be moved around.
Avoid the following scenario: Drive to the restaurant, get out, go in, sit down, eat, then leave, drive home, and go directly into the house. This is a recipe for digestive disaster over the longer term.
And although many people may think that it should be a 30-45 minute “brisk” walk, it doesn’t have to be. Just a 5-10 minute walk around the block is worth it and does make a positive difference. Read More…
Welcome to 2013!
It’s been a wonderful holiday back in the US with family and friends. This is definitely the best time of the year because it not only brings loved ones together but it also gives us an opportunity to start fresh again. And in that respect, this new year is no different from previous ones… everyone wants to improve something about their health.
When I asked my family about their New Years resolution I kept hearing a variation of “getting healthy” and that got me thinking… Why not do something easy for your health everyday throughout 2013? Yes, I said everyday. Read More…
Hi everyone. Today I’m turning 30 and I guess I’ve been feeling 30 for a while already. Family and friends have called wishing me a great day on this occasion because I guess it is a milestone. (I’m still alive! Woohoo!) Actually, I have got to say that I’ve really enjoyed spending most of my 20s out in Asia and I would never trade those years for anything. A lifetime of experiences have come from the last 10 years: interesting people, amazing food, unusual arguments, wild adventures, new friends, and near-death experiences… who could ask for more?
Although I’ve spend most of my career as a teacher, I have certainly learned more than if I had chosen to stay local and get a job after graduation. Certainly I would have made more money and kept in better touch with friends, but I’m sure they have also found themselves busier with their own lives as the years have rolled on… And I don’t blame any of them for that – it’s life, and we all must live it in our own way. It is important, though, to remember your roots and find a way to give back to the society that raised you. And that’s why I know I will come back to New England before I’m 40. Read More…
After getting to the real Southern China (Guangdong, not Shanghai) in 2006, I never became too fond the local pension for homemade soup. I knew it was a great excuse for parents to invite their kids home for a weekend visit and I knew there were loads of health benefits too. But I personally never preferred to eat soup as a meal, except as a free side to Chinese fast food. It was only recently that I discovered how easy it was to make and enjoy. Now it has finally found its place among the other great discoveries here on AL.ME
Maybe I avoided it because it was so Cantonese and I missed the Mandarin world a little. Making soup (煲汤) and Morning Tea (早茶) are very Cantonese and have slowly found their place among my all-time favorite Chinese weekend activities. Now, or when I’m ready to move on, they will join me as I explore the rest of China (and the USA).
Last December I experienced my first Catholic mass in China… yes, it’s true, there are lots of Christians here although their numbers make up a small proportion of the population. A friend of mine in Guangzhou asked me if I’d like to go to a religious concert at a church in downtown Guangzhou. Of course my curiosity was peaked, so I checked it out and learned a few new words along the way. Master, Lord, and Surrender were pretty common in the songs.
Have a look at what the church looked like outside. The white banner on the left is the official signage which shows this church is registered with the central government. (Click image to zoom in)
The inside was a little bit of a surprise to me. I guess the group was a Taiwanese, Christian band which tours throughout the world. They do English songs too. The crowd was feeling pretty spiritual, which couldn’t be a bad thing. It all reminded me of how strong capitalism truly has become in China.
And, by the way, Wuhan is hiding most of China’s beautiful women (and handsome men) from the rest of the country!
(Alishan, Taiwan) (Wuhan, Hubei)
What is the first thing you think of when someone suggests getting a massage? For those who haven’t tried a genuine massage, it probably sounds dirty, but don’t let the negative press fool you. Massage is genuinely useful and even plays a substantial role in Traditional Chinese Medicine techniques. After a long week of work on my computer or dealing with university stress, I find that a professional body massage really helps. If you play sports regularly or receive an injury, a mix of acupuncture and light massage can bring your muscles back to their healthy state much faster[*]. People with poor circulation can get blood moving again with regular medicinal massage too. My mother often reminds me of the benefit her legs received in 2008, the last time she was in China.
What may come as a surprise for some friends, family, and students has actually been a defining moment for keeping the last 7 years of my life from gathering dust. Originally, my 5 year plan saw me coming back to New England, finding a job, and perhaps marrying a Chinese Harvard grad! But since publishing that plan I realized that none of my plans would appropriately take advantage of my valuable experience in Asia. I have made a decision based on the realization that completely moving back home would not have been the best investment of my time, business relationships, and experience. Some might be thinking, “Where did this change come from?” or “Isn’t this a little sudden?” I understand that reaction, but have a different way of looking at it. Since it might be a bit much to swallow all at once, I’ll just describe what has been going through my mind over the past three or four weeks.
“Don’t Quit” … “Be a Jack of all Trades” … “Diversify” Read More…
Back when I was living in the States as a student, I was definitely hooked on take-away coffee. It was the ultimate wake up juice, even though the sugar was probably what helped out most. But when I think about it a bit harder, it was probably that scent which pulled at me most. Drinking the coffee was nice, but smelling it was even better… Charlie Harper once said (in his infinite wisdom) that his coffee tasted “Christmasy… and anything was possible!” In my case, my coffee smells Sunrisey and anything is possible!
Fast-forward six years. I’m in the tea capital of the world, China. Tea is served for free at meals with little bits ‘n pieces swirling around in every cup. It’s enjoyed by 100s of millions in travel mugs, much like how we carry coffee. But, the benefits of green tea deliver a scientifically-based pounding on coffee. Their culture started to drink it because it was healthy first, and tasted good second.
As in any new environment, we find a way to adapt; Read More…