Saturday, January 31, 2009


There's a lot of gatherings and parties this Chinese New Year holiday. If it's possible, do separate your trash and put whatever you can into the recycling bin like glass, plastics, drink cans, Tetra Paks (Drinho, soy milk products, milk, etc) and paper.

I, myself, separate my trash and give it to my neighbor. She collects newspapers and other recyclables and send them to the recycling center. It's great. She gets to teach her daughter the value of money from observing how trash turns to cash. I benefit as well, because I'm so darn lazy to carry all these stuff to the recycling box or drive to the recycling center. Lazy, lazy! So it's really win-win for all.

I'll tell you what's also win-win.

The garbage men who does collection at my parent's neighborhood has been quietly separating the recyclables from the main trash. To help them out, I try to separate the trash into a separate bag for them. That way, they don't have to dig into the dirty stuff to get what they want. They are just trying to earn decent, perfectly acceptable extra cash. So, why not help them out a bit? This also means my parents don't have to drive all the way to a recycling center to dump their recyclable stuff. Recently, a NGO has placed a huge box for people to donate their unwanted goods at my parent's housing estate. Great convenience for all of us too. If you have a lot of stuff to give away, some centers will come to your house to collect them, free of charge. Xim Phou Moon Welface society is one of the groups that offer this service.

Reuse, reduce, recycle :-)

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ps I have seen huge recycle bins in Singapore. There's still one at Marine Parade near my previous place of residence called Bayshore Park. That bin, which I believe belongs to the Salvation Army (correct me if I'm wrong) has been there for years now. Now I find out there's also a door-to-door service as well. A collector will come by about twice a month door-to-door to collect recycled stuffs. They will even pass some plastic bag to store the recycled items. You just leave the plastic bag outside the main door on collection days. This is what I call easy recycling.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Ethan trying to drink from the cup

A few days ago, Baby Ethan was admitted into the hospital because he could not eat, and was getting dehydrated. The reason was, his mouth was full of nasty, painful sores.

Funny enough, I spoke to my dentist a few days before my baby got sick, and he said, nobody really knows what causes mouth sores.....

The Chinese believe it's the dry weather. And you know what? I nearly could not get a single hospital room for myself that day because the paediatric ward was full, with many kids having similar problems. Boy! Who knew!

Ethan, playing with the screws on the pole that hoist the IV bottle to relieve his boredom
He was constantly wearing a bib, slobbering like a water fall because he can't swallow his saliva

So, anyways, for 5 days and 3 nights, the poor kid was hooked up to an IV machine. I didn't allow him to crawl on the hospital room floor because people walk with dirty shoes that went god knows where. And he wasn't allowed into the playroom, discouraged by Ethan's paediatrician who said it's full of germs .... don't want him catching something else while at the hospital. Anyone who have children will know a kid can go stir crazy stuck in a baby cot for so many days. Luckily, he's such a good kid, not much complains, except when he cries in pain when I try to feed him a little bit of solids.

Poor kid asleep. Check out hand!

Now the Chinese believe, when the body is "heaty", it's best to drink lots of liquids ... something "cooling" like coconut water, watermelon, boiled sugar cane water, boiled barley water or one of those sweeten herbal drinks, and to cut down on tangerines or one of those many Chinese oranges which are in season now. It's a little hard to avoid oranges, seeing every other person has bought a crate of these juicy fruits for the Chinese New Year holidays.

Darn! I could kick myself for not taking faster action, when I saw the first ulcer. But it's too late. The poor kid has mouth ulcers the size of moon craters, some bleeding and lots of it. My brother and his wife tells me, they have cracked lips.

Baby Ethan's out now, and safely sleeping in his familiar cot. And mummy has to get up at ungodly hours to get him to drink lots of water.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009


This afternoon, my mum got a pleasant surprise package; a Full Moon present from a family we have never met.

For those who don't know what a Full Moon is; the end of the full moon period marks the first month of a Chinese baby's birth. It is also the period when the mother completes her confinement period which to me is also known as the month of pampering, eating lots of meat and wine ... if the old folks have their way, and smelling like a caveman in the hottest month of July because, again, the old folks believe bathing will make a woman's body weak in the later years. Frankly, I think getting the good woman smelling like a bed of garbage just turns the husband green in the face. A man won't, in his right mind, want to do the horizontal mumbo with a being that smells faintly of rotting fish, right?

But, back to the baby.

It was a surprise for my family to receive this gift because we don't know who they are. My mum had asked the Indian guy who handed her the box of goodies if he got the right address, and he said "yup". Turns out, he is the driver for the family who lives in the big house on the hill near where my mum lives. He said, the father of the baby asked him to hand out these gift boxes to random houses around the neighborhood. It's really intriging, the reason why they did that because the usual method is to pass the gift boxes to limited friends and familes.

Different shops sells different Full Moon packages. If you want to see what my husband and I ordered for our first born's full moon celebration, just go to this webpage. We didn't send out full moon presents on behalf of our second son because we decided to hold a party at a nearby KFC restaurant instead.

Anyways, I'd like to think, doing this act of random kindness, if you will, is a nice way of making new friends, with neighbors whom we have never got in contact with. Brings cheer to everyone who receives it as well.
Meanwhile, I'd like to congratulate the Ng family on the birth of their beautiful baby Amber.

Opps, looks likesomeone ate part of the delicious vanilla-chocolate butter before I had the chance to snap a photo of the inside of the box. There's also red colored hard boiled eggs and "angku" pastries. (go to for the recipe)

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I luv shampoo and soaps.

My earliest memory of fragrances was when I was 10 years old. I had used my mum's Kao Merit shampoo earlier in the morning, and while I was at school, I kept pulling my long braids, and smelling the wonderful fragrance in my hair. By the way, anyone still remember using this shampoo?

As I grew up, I'd save my money to buy my own soap. At 13, I would go to the nearby grocery store and buy my own bar soaps like Camay and Lux. By the time I was working, my bathroom resembled the shampoo aisle at Watson Drug Store.

However, I started using soaps and shampoos a whole lot less these days, and it's all because of my children. You see, both of them have very sensitive skins, and my second one is highly allergic to basically most everything. He turns red and gets very itchy, and feels very miserable. So, I only use very mild cleansers sparingly and only on areas that need thorough cleaning. Throughout, I worried I might not be using enough cleaners, but you know what? It's plenty good. The kids are clean, and so am I. Fragrance free, but so what. They have that lovely baby smell. And they are not scratching like a cat hounded by a bunch of fleas.

I'm saving tons of money and this probably makes hubby real happy! I still have that very large bottle of Eucerin cleanser that I bought for my kids two years ago. My body washes are practically sitting on the bathroom shelf, untouched. I'm slowly phasing out my stuff, and switching to bio degradable, organic products.

Also, I've been reading up on manufacturing of goods, and I found out, it takes a lot of energy to produce 1 bottle of shampoo. The amount of energy to create the plastic bottle. The amount of water that goes into the production of the actual liquid shampoo. The amount of petrol to fly the goods to our destination. The petrol for the truck to bring the goods to the shopping center. And, after all that, I found out, a lot of the chemicals inside the product are highly carcinogenic, and does not biodegrade. So, by cutting down on cleansers, we are, in our own little way, helping Planet Earth, one step at a time.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Reduce, reuse and recycle using CD cases

Most of use have CD cases whch we don't use right?

I have lots, especially after I transfered all my CDs and VCDs into folders to save space in my house.

Go to to find out how you can recycle these CD boxes into something beautiful and free.

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If you buy ears of corn from the market, choose bright, fresh looking ones wrapped up in it's corn husks. Corn husks really do make better wrappers than plastics, keeping the corn kernels fresh, plump and juicy longer.

If you need to buy a few ears of corn, ask the vendor to wrap the ears together with a rubber band, and put it inside the grocery bag you carry instead of a plastic bag.

Also, did you know that you can eat corn raw? It tastes yummy just off the plant. Don't have to cook it at all!

You can make a succulent salsa with raw corn. Add in bits of raw chopped corn, onions, chopped tomatoes, chopped up cilantro or chinese parsley, a bit of chopped chillies is a must for flavor, salt and sugar to taste, and a squeeze of lime juice to balance the flavor. Put it all in the fridge to let the flavor sit for about an hour. Eat it chilled just like that, or if you want to, you can have it as a side dish with some roast chicken or steak.

I prefer a simple raw corn dish drizzled with some melted butter and some raw cane sugar, some chopped mint leaves and a pinch of salt, served cold.

Eating a raw salad like this is great because it's really part of sustainable living. By cooking less, we save on gas. Less energy and pollution happens when trucks transport less gas to shops and houses. And when we use less plastic bags, we also reduce less pollution because less energy is used to create plastics that can not biodegrade, plastics that pile up in waste dumps, plastic that end up in bodies of water, which kills animals that swallow the plastic bags thinking the plastic was food.

By the way, corn husks makes a biodegradable plate scrubber. My mother-in-law occasionally buys corn you see. She will tear off the husks fold the husks with a rubber band and use it to scrub plates. And when the husks start to degrade, she just tosses it away. Dead simple. What a eco-friendly way to use up something that most people would just trash. She got the idea from a Chinese tv program about sustainable living.

Happy days to you.

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Thursday, January 8, 2009


My parents, my younger brothers and I at my grandparent's house with our
Morris Minor car in the background

I used to always look forward to a celebration as a kid because I get to drink lots of sugary soda, lots of "air sirup" which is really nothing more than artificial rose flavored syrupy water and orange cordial.

However, this year, I plan to change things .... drink a lot less of these diabetic inducing drinks and drink more clean, fresh water and delicious raw juice. I would bet that just a simple change like this will likely help me keep my weight at bay.

So anyways, I was thinking about what drinks to serve to guests who come to visit this Chinese New Year aka CNY.


Orange cordial?

What would you offer to your guests when they come to visit?

My two brothers. Sitting just long enough for a snapshot

Every since I was born, every CNY, my parents, me, my two brothers and practically 20 other people would congregate at my paternal grandparents' house in Seremban. We did this every single year without fail until my granny's passing a few years back. There, us kids would helped our self to granny's stash of cans of soda at the back of the kitchen and glugged down bottomless amount of choice stuff like 7 Up and Coca Cola. My brothers and I would all be so stuffed up from all that sugar in our bodies, not to mention sugar from cookies, cakes and sweets as well. Many a time, we would have a glazed look watching mindless Cantonese musical concerts on government tv channels, then known as RTM1 and RTM2. Later, my grandparents discovered the joys of the video machine, and mindless Hong Kong Cantonese serial dramas was all we could watch. To wear off all the sugar, our parents would dump us upstairs to bounce from wall to wall, maybe to play cards, scare each other with ghost stories or just whack each other until we collapse in exhaustion.

Watching tv

The TV

I have a theory why my parents allowed us to "coked up" in sugar. It's not that they want us to drink these "poisons" because, think about it, it made us hyper, it made us unreasonable, it made us little terrors who made hell seem like a fun holiday place.


I think, back then, my parents were just plain too tired to stop us. You see, every year, they had to drive 10 hours from Kelantan to Seremban through small winding roads to visit my grandparents with 3 lovely but ultimately stir crazy, yapping kids in a very small car by today's standards.

Fun stuff.

And on good days, the trip may even take up to 16 hours, many times because we were stuck behind slow moving vehicles or because of the endless pee stops. Now that I have kids of my own, I can imagine what a torture it was. See, in those days, there were no DVDs in cars. No air conditioning units. My dad would crank up his favourite Jim Reeves yodeling cowboy songs to drown out our voices squirming, crying, bored-out-of-our-minds throughout that mind numbing journey.

Oh joy!

I'm surprised my mum didn't turn bonkers from all that noise and complaints. I'm surprised my dad never uttered a curse word .... right till today, though mum did once or twice finally screamed .... SIT. DOWN. NOW.

There were no seat belts then.

I suppose they just grinded their teeth and accept this annual journey through hell as their karma! Now that I have kids of my own, I understand. Even a 3 hour trip to a shopping mall feels so exhausting. If I was in their shoes, believe me, all I would do is to sleep for the rest of the holiday and not come out from the bedroom. OK, maybe come out occasionally for some air, sustenance, beer and brandy. Who wants to deal with kids high on sugar and nothing much else after a long arduous journey?

So, where was I?

Oh yes, CNY.


The fact was, sugar did nobody any favors. Not for the kids, not for the adults.

During CNYs, my paternal grandparents would offer orange cordial and orange squash drinks to visitors who come for a visit. It's an auspicious thing, you know, and anything out of a bottle was an easy drink to make when you have like a hundred visitors to entertain during the first week of CNY. But the problem, as we now know, orange cordial is nothing more than sugar and artificial flavorings pack full of "chemical goodness". Frankly, those orange juice packs we get at the cold food section at the local supermarket aren't that great either. Some contain high fructose corn syrup or other sweeteners as well as artificial colors and preservatives. Many of the pesticides used for growing the fruit are in fruit juice as well, and in concentrated forms. By the way, not all fruit juices sold are 100% juice. If you look at some of the juice boxes, you will notice that many use reconstituted concentrate juice. That's really complicated English, isn't it? What it simply means is that those stuff are nothing more than processed drinks. Also, 100% organic bottled or boxed fruit juice that you find in health food stores is still pasteurized and stripped of most of the valuable nutrients and enzymes of fresh juice. What's left? Sugar! And don't let me start on my childhood favorite frizzy canned orange soda like F&N Orange or Mirinda Orange. All these sugary drinks are just totally bad for everyone's teeth, and can really spike the body's insulin levels.

I'm pretty sure the answer to the above is fresh, raw juice. Alternatively, there are raw, dried herbal teas that we can all serve as fabulous, fresh tasting teas. Easy to make, doesn't really need sugar of you use quality stuff. Let the fragrance and taste of the tea speak for itself.

But in those days, nobody knew what we know today. But since I do know, I'm cranking up my new blender this month. This baby can pulverize a carrot. Really awesome! My eldest kid and my niece think they are drinking juiced carrot when in reality, they are drinking the entire carrot, with the pulp, together with some flax seed thrown in to boost the drink's nutritional value!

Cool right?

Don't think I won't drink any soda, mind you. I will, cause I love them, and it's really hard to shake off this childhood comfort food, if you may. I'll just drink it in moderation.

So what's your drinks menu during a festive holiday?

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Sunday, January 4, 2009


One mother on a raw food thread had an excellent health check list which she use to check the state of her child health. You could use this list for yourself, and your family as well.

Here's what she says:

There are some key indicators of an individual's health status that are quick and simple to check and help us to monitor our own health.

I've been teaching these gems of knowledge to my 7 yo son in order to help him learn to monitor his own health and teach him about the importance of eating food high in essential nutrients.

Here's a list below that I have trained him to look out for.

* Colour of wee (dark and dull means dehydrated, pale yellow and bright is good).
* Whites of the eyes (cloudy and yellow, dull, or bloodshot means not healthy, clear and white is good).
* Poo (easy to come out means good, at least once a day for poo is healthy).
* Tongue (white and furry is not good, clear and pink is good).
* Buzzy head, irritation (too much sugar, not enough sleep, need to eat something).

(Note: Some parts have been edited out for a better read)

Jasmin says:

This is an excellent, simple and effective indicator of one's health. I used to remember my mum marveling at how clear and bluish the whites of my eyes were when I was a kid. But they just look dull yellow and bloodshot nowadays. I really need more sleep and more structured exercise, which I will do once my baby is a bit older. What about your eyes?

I've also talked about poo previously. Before I had my kids, I never was into poo. We all go to toilet, and we get out of the smelly toilet as fast as possible, right? As kids, my brothers and I thought loud farts was a real fun thing to do, to aggravate adults. And the boys in the school bus used to fart, cup some smelly fart in their fists and toss the smell over to the nearest girl for kicks. But heck, now, stools are something I check on ... every single day. My eldest son went for 7 days without pooing even once as a breastfed baby, and every adult in family just went into a frenzied fear. I quote my husband's friend, "I never thought I'd be so interested in poo until I had my kid". Yup, as we grow older, poo is an important, if not fascinating, aspect of our daily lives. Of you want to know more about stools, go to this link if you have not read about it

Our tongue is also an important indicator of our diet. Certainly I have noticed that my tongue gets all fuzzy and more smelly when I eat more meat, more unhealthy food, more sugar and less raw, fresh fruits and vegetables. A little bit of fuzzy stuff is generally ok. But a very furry tongue is often not fine - especially if it's a thick and cheesy-looking white fur coating. Scrape a fingernail across your tongue and look at the path it carves. If you see a big groove, it could mean you have a serious problem. And one of the symptoms of a serious Candida overgrowth is very fuzzy tongue. Candida can cause a lot of health problems. If you think you have candida, please read 2 excellent article on this and Also, please see your doctor to get a proper diagnosis, cut out all sugars, cut out food that has yeast in it and eat lots of yogurt to reintroduce good bacteria into your gut asap. Also, really important to show this email to your loved ones who have recently been battling bad breath. Let them read this, and see if they have a Candida problem.

Have a good year ahead and good health to you!

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Year after year, at the start of the year I make it to check my new year to-do list. Stuff that I need to do once a year or once every couple of years.

At the start of the year, I will check my driver's license to see if it needs renewal. I also do the same for my passport, otherwise, I can't travel if it's expired! I look at my important documents because these puppies only get renewed roughly every 5 years, and I tend to forget about them. I tried to make reminders inside my phone calender or email calenders, but ya know, phones tend to break down roughly every few years and email addresses with calenders do get cancelled because somehow, insidious spammers will find ways to attack these email addresses, yada, yada, yada, and when that happens, all the reminders are gone. So I make it a point to just remember these stuff in my head and to tackle them head on at the start of every year.

The other thing I do is visit my dentist at the start of every year. I dislike visiting dentists, because I hate pain, and the thought of having something drilled or pulled out just make me nauseous. Luckily, I only had one teeth pulled, and that was when I was 7. My teeth has been in excellent condition, touch wood! But having said that, I like my dentist because he is really gentle. I go there, have a thorough check up, have my teeth cleaned, get rid of all the unseen, can't reach plaque and then go home and floss my teeth carefully for the rest of the year.

What's your yearly to-do list? Might as well do it now. The present time is always the best time. All the better if you are still on holiday from work.

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ps forward this email to your loved ones as a reminder to update their to-do list as well

Friday, January 2, 2009


We are always reminded not to share toothbrushes, but I have never been told not to share toothpaste. But recently, this got me thinking because the flu was going around, and I just could not figure out why my family was reinfecting each other. Luckily, with good raw food, most of us recovered quickly from this nasty flu, kids barely sneezed, thank goodness.

Anyways, back to the toothpaste, I realised, we kept touching the toothbrushes that had all those nasty germs with the tube of toothpaste shared among us all.


So, I came up with a simple solution of squeezing a bit of the toothpaste on my clean finger and then spreading the toothpaste on the toothbrush. Problem solved!

Try this if you have the same germ problem as my family did.

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ps it's advisable to soak the toothbrushes in some bleach solution every once in a while to kill the germs (I use trusty Clorox), and to throw the toothbrushes away when the bristles turn wonky.

pps I know holidays are the time lots of family members and friends come to visit and stay over; Chinese New Year is around the corner. It's really a good time to stock up on small tubes of toothpaste to share with those who stay over. The cost is way cheaper than trying to medicate you and your family if you guys get sick right?

Thursday, January 1, 2009


So, have you decided what your new year resolution for this year yet?

Whatever it is, please make your health a priority. One of the ways is to gently add more raw greens to your diet. It's really not that difficult.

One of the ways I do this is to plant an onion in my garden once a month. I take a green onion stalk and cut it into fine pieces to put into my kids' food. They hardly notice it, has a nice pleasant taste to it and it's good for them. I use up plenty of these greens which is why I plant them often! They don't take up that much space in the garden, and it looks pretty cute in an Ikea flower pot if you decide to plant it inside your home.

The other thing I do is to make chlorophyll drinks. I often take a Pandan leaf and blend it with a jug of water. I then sieve out the blended leaf. The jug of blended juice is put into the fridge for anyone to drink. One leaf is not a lot, and it has a mild sweet taste, easy to make, and easy to wash the blender components up. By the way, other alternatives are Pegaga leaf and Basil leaf. Green juice do not break down as fast as fruit juices. They can last up to 2 days in the fridge, if you don't add any sweetener to the juice. We drink them like water in my home, and we always finish them before the day is over.

Have a great new year. I know we all deserve it.

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