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Month: August 2012

What Really Causes Heart Disease?!

What Really Causes Heart Disease?!

Richard shared this article on Facebook.  I thought it’s pretty informative.

What really causes HEART DISEASE?! by a world renowned surgeon.  Read on and find out!

Well, it’s basically all the yummy stuff.  The yummier the stuff is… the more poisonous they are!! Sigh.. That’s the sad truth.  The real cause of heart disease is the inflammation of the artery walls.

Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol can accumulate on the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.

Therefore, natural fats (contrary to common beliefs) don’t cause inflammation.  It’s our diet that’s low in fat, high in polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates that causes it. So who are the biggest culprits?!

Here goes the hit list (hold your breath):

1. Simple, highly processed carbohydrates – sugar, flour and all things made from them.  Sigh! There goes all the yummy cakes and sweets.

2. omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods.  The right kind of oil to use is either olive oil (as pure as possible, I have read somewhere that unpure ones are mixed with other oils such as canola etc) or butter.  Most of the processed food like fish fingers, fries etc have been pre fried with one of these oils…

What should we eat?

1. Foods closer to their natural state (basically unprocessed food)

2. Protein food

3. Complex carbohydrates such as colorful fruits and vegetables.

Reading this article brought me to the topic of Paleolithic diet (Paleo Diet).  It’s also known as the Caveman diet.  Well, simply said, we are supposed to eat food that’s closed to what our forefathers ate as these are the unprocessed food that our bodies can absorb better and don’t cause harm to our bodies.  I have tried it, and believe me, it’s super hard to follow!! Imagine – no yummy stuff.  But I shall try harder from now on… but allow myself to indulge just once in a blue moon.



I’m trying to migrate my data from my old laptop to my new one and it’s taking unbelievably long. Now I remember why I hate changing laptops. So while I’m twiddling my thumbs, I may as well do some blogging.

I have been reading up on homeschooling. Not that I’m going to homeschool 宝贝, I simply don’t have the time, resources and patience to do it. But I thought I could take a page out of it and do it with her whenever I have the time. One interesting activity that homeschoolers usually do, is lap booking. It’s usually based on a certain topic, that’s of current interest to the child and she needs to create the book herself, based on research, under the guidance of the teacher (parent in this matter). I like the idea. Because I believe that children (for that matter, anyone, including adults) learn better when they find out the information themselves, through their own methods.

And I kind of like scrapbooking myself. Heheh. Although I never got around to doing it. But Lapbooking looks very similar to scrapbooking.

So I searched online on scrapbooking. I will post the links I have found at the end of the post. Most of the material are tailored for the older children. And when the children are older, it’s actually more open ended. For example, if the child is interested in the solar system, the parents bring him to the science center to gather information or he will be able to find the information from the internet. After information gathering, he needs to put them together in a logical manner on the lap book. And of course, if he’s particularly artistic, he can design the layout and presentation to his own satisfaction. At the end of the day, he will have a lap book that is wholly done by him (it reminds me of my final year thesis… which is of a much dryer topic), and he’s able to refer to it in future. But, if he has made it himself, he usually will be able to remember the facts and information.

But for toddlers, it’s much harder. She’s almost 3 and can hardly surf the net or gather information herself. There are fewer things that can be done with them. There are actually activities books in the market that are meant for her age and learning level. Although she’s doing them, but I’m not sure if she really remembers them at the end of the day. It’s more like a “ok, i’ve finished this book, next…” kind of thing. So one way would be to mutilate the activity books, form your own material and then guide her through the entire process.

I started her off with an “A” book. Everything to do with As. It took the whole afternoon although it looked pretty elementary… I bought construction paper from the book shop, a toddler scissors, prepared her coloring pencils, crayons, pens, glue, and printed everything to do with As on paper.

I told her that we were going to make a book. She was really enthusiastic about it. She loves artwork of all kinds… She set there, brandishing her new scissors, eagerly waiting for me to dish out activities for her to do. We started off by sorting the As in big and small caps. A piece of cake for her as she knew it long time ago, but she found it fun, because the As were printed in different fonts. (top left hand corner of the book). I just wanted to start her off with an easy activity. Then I cut out a huge apple for her and she used her A chops to beautify it. We also did an alligator poem, but she didn’t look too interested in it though… Alligators aren’t exactly the cutest A creature on Earth. And of course, words that start with the letter A. After that, I wrote the words on flash cards and stuck them on her magnetic wall board and she’s supposed to teach every adult in the house the words (she loves being the teacher…). Then the tracing of the letter As (she stuck them on the back of the book, so it’s not in the picture). She looked really comical when she was looking very serious while tracing the letters.

Finally she arranged her material nicely on the lap book in the order that she would like to stick them in. She applied the glue stick generously over the bits of paper and over my poor wooden table, and stuck them coherently (pretty good for her age) on the book. Her end product —

She wrote the word apple herself… quite illegible, but I’m confident that she will just get better. 🙂

The final touch –

She proudly printed her name (in her best handwriting) on the front of the book.

There! Voila! The finished product. She’s been pestering me to do a “B” book with her every since…. Sigh.. I need to prepare the material, set aside one afternoon and do it together with her. I’m also planning to increase her letter A vocabulary by printing out pictures and words that start with A… So much to do and so little time… When I get around with the B book, I will post some pictures on it…

There are many links out there. Just do a google…Interesting Lapbooking links :

Breakfast Art

Breakfast Art

宝贝 is a true blue carbo baby. She loves noodles, rice, bread, pasta ….. All the energy giving but non nutritious stuff. Much to the delight of the older folks. They think that I starve her by giving her little rice and loads of veggie, meat, fruits etc. *roll eyes* A starving toddler at 14.7kg at one month short of 3 years old?! You must be kidding me.

Anyway she’s more inclined to eat something that she’s made so here’s something simple n fun for breakfast.

Rainbow Crackers

2 pieces of wholemeal high fibre crackers
1 slab of cream cheese. (she loves the cow brand – whatever you call it)
Lots of dried fruits like cranberries (you can vary them because of their colours)
Lots of dried nuts and seeds (almond, macadamia, pumpkin seeds etc)

Spread a thick layer of cheese on the crackers. Let her decorate the crackers with the colourful fruits and nuts. Easy peasy. Simple to make and prepare. She gets to prepare it creatively and the best thing is… Because she prepared it, she usually eats it all up without much persuasion or coercion!


Into the Toddler’s World of Art

Into the Toddler’s World of Art

A toddler’s mind knows no bounds.  She never fails to surprise me with her creative antics.  She’s not very mainstream. I like to think that it’s because of the lack of influence from the goggle box.  Though some people tell me that I’m an extremist.  Yes…. almost 3 years old and she’s still on a tv ban.  She doesn’t miss it, neither does she ask for it.  I will probably write about this in another post.

She occupies herself with reading, playing play doh, chopping up vegetables into unsightly cubes, riding her strider, playing uno etc.

This was one of her Play-Doh efforts when she was 2.5 years of age.

To me, they just looked like lumps of… well, Play-Doh.  But it’s a whole new animal world for her.  They didn’t look too impressive, but she did spend quite a lot of them “sculpting” them.  To her, they were a fish, an elephant, a chicken, a giraffe and an ant.  At first thought, she was probably just dishing out the names on the spot.  So I asked her again,”Can you tell me what this is?” (Pointing to the chicken.) “Mommy, chicken!” Hmm.. ok… “What about this one?” (Pointing to the fish) “Fish…”  She was giving me the were-you-paying-attention-to-me-when-I-named-them-just-now kind of look. Hey! She’s pretty consistent!! They all looked the same to me, but she could tell the difference.  Well, it’s her artwork after all.  So she did sculpt according to images, although her fine motor skills probably weren’t advanced enough yet. I was pretty amused by it all.

I kept wanting to enrol her in an art class, so that she could do her messing around with better instructions.  I am not too artistically inclined, my art at school was mainly passable but never Van Gogh standard, ok ok that was too much to ask for… make that never “A” kind of standard.  I finally got around to putting her in a trial class with Little Artist’s at Mandarin Gardens.  She was terribly excited at the thought of it. On that day, she was the one fussing, reminding us to bring her for art class.  Her class was meant for ages 2.5-6 and unaccompanied.  She went through the door, said “hi” to the teacher, put on her apron and didn’t even look back. (unfilial girl!!!)  I was still busy hovering around at the glass door, trying to see if she could adapt to it.  She was already fully focused on drawing something with a pencil, with her tongue slightly sticking out at the corner of her lips.

When I came back to pick her up, this was what was presented to me… She was mighty proud of it.

Huh?! “Did the teacher help you draw this???”

“No! I did it myself!” (looking a little offended)

“She didn’t draw just a little bit???”

“Only a little bit here and here” (Pointing to the bottom part of the top 2 wings)

“That’s all??”

She nodded her head.

Wow! I was kind of blown away.  It’s not fantastic, but it kind of exceeded my expectation.

The teacher gave an account of what she could do and couldn’t do so that if she’s transferred to another class, a report would be sent to the permanent teacher so that she could progress from there.

“She can follow instructions really well. When I pointed in a clockwise direction and she actually drew the round circle according to the size indicated by my finger. Same goes for the wings.  She couldn’t draw the wings very well, but when I pointed 2 slanting lines and told her to join them with a letter C, she did it perfectly.  She wanted to colour everything green and blue though.”

“Oh, Green and blue are her favourite colours.”

“Ah, that explains it. When I asked her what colour she wanted for the sky, she said green. I didn’t want to limit her creativity by asking her to change the colour.  I asked her what colour for the grass, she thought for a while and decided to use blue for the sky and green for the grass.  She wanted to paint the body blue again, but I told her that it wouldn’t show against the blue sky so she changed it to pink.  She chose all the colours herself.  Her brush control is quite good for a 3.5 years old as most of the toddlers at this age can’t hold their brushes properly and are not able to draw at places indicated.”

“Erm, she’s not 3 yet.”

“Not 3?! I thought she’s almost 4!”

“She eats a lot….” =.=”

“Oh, usually I let the ones who are 3 years and below do printing because they are not able to control the brushes well. I will make an indication that she’s able to control the brush so that the next teacher knows her level of competency.”

I think all those writing practices my Mom did with her at home kind of paid off… She’s now eagerly asking when’s her next lesson, she wants to draw a cat…

This is her latest “creation”.

She suddenly announced that she was hungry, and wrapped a little plastic stand in tissue paper.  She found her xylophone stick and asked my Dad to tie it to her messy wrapped stand with rubber band…

“Nom Nom Nom… ice cream!!”

Some people think it’s because I deprived her of eating ice creams that she had to resort to make believe ice creams with tissue paper… Sigh.. my fault again..  At least she’s able to create what she wants…

Though her creations aren’t prodigally fantastic, and she probably won’t turn out to be a professional artist, but I like to think that her unlimited imagination and ability to use material at hand to create her little world, will aid her well when she grows up.
I hope that we are teaching her how to fish and not doing all the  fishing for her.  She’s growing up beautifully… my 宝贝…

Just A Mild Discomfort

Just A Mild Discomfort

I swear if I hear these words uttered to me again, “You will just experienced a mild discomfort.”, I may turn violent on that person!!

I had to choose between 2 procedures – Amniocentesis and Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS), to dispel all doubts of chromosomal disorder of the foetus (well up to 98%, they always like to leave a disclaimer behind).  All part and parcel of being an overaged Mom.  It was quite a no-brainer.  The Amniocentesis requires the use of a really thin needle, the procedure takes only 1 minute whereas the CVS requires a much thicker needle and the procedure takes 15 mins?!  The difference is that you get to do the CVS and of course, know the truth earlier.  I’d rather be kept in the dark for a few more weeks and opted for the thinner needle and shorter procedure time.

This Amniocentesis was quite a bother.  The first time just before I went, I developed a high fever.  We called up the center and they assured us that we could go ahead with it and so of course, being the non-experts in the field, we went down to the hospital.  We spent a good 1 hour doing the prescan, typical waiting for the doctor’s grand arrival before the doctor told us that it’s best not to go through it as fever indicated an infection.  There’s no point taking a risk as there’s 0.3% chance of miscarriage.  Ok fine… we trudged home…

It was rescheduled for 2 weeks, to allow the fever and whatever infection to pass out of my system before we attempt it again.  So yesterday was THE day.  There were 1 nurse and 2 doctors in the room.  One doctor was responsible for monitoring the position of the foetus so that he wouldn’t get in the way of the needle.  “You will just experience a mild discomfort.” Uh huh… ok. Mild right?! Easy Peasy! Although I couldn’t imagine how a needle that could go through all the layers of fats, right into the womb with just a mild discomfort, but I just had to trust the expert right??

The main doctor was still on the phone when I was on the couch. Hmm.. must be really a piece of cake to him.. The nurse said “relax, relax..” when she noticed me clenching my fists and my legs were pointing in an awkward position.  I read from the net that they could take really long to find the right position.  My baby must have been really coorperative… it took them a mere 3 mins! The doctor poked my tummy with his finger (I could see it on the screen), made a mark, swabbed it with iodine etc.

Then i saw the needle…. for just a few mere seconds before it was plunged into my tummy… OWWWwww!!!!! WTF!! What kind of mild discomfort was that?! Just when I thought that’s it, he pushed it in and I felt it go through another barrier and OWWWwww!! Then another time! I could see it sticking into the liquid through the monitor and then I heard, “the fluid is not coming through”, then I felt a twist (I swear my eyes must have rolled behind my head!). I was busy counting seconds in my mind to take the attention off the pain. The monitoring doctor said in a reassuring voice, “mild discomfort only.. ok?”  At that point, I felt like jumping up from the examining table, flung him onto it and pierce the needle into him, twist it a few times and say in an evil voice, “Don’t worry.. it’s just a MILD DISCOMFORT!!”

Anyway, they said it was for only 1 minute right?! Well! They were lying!!! It was at least 3 minutes!!! And minus the time taken to overcome the initial shock at the pain that I forgot to start counting.  I saw them fill a huge tube with amniotic fluid taken from me, while feeling the foreign object inside me… Finally I saw the nurse nodding her head, indicating that it was enough.  They pulled the needle out and stuck a plaster on me and I was advised to rest for 30-45 mins so that the blood would clot.  Bedrest was prescribed for 2 days… and monitoring for 2 weeks.

When I described the whole thing to my hub, including my fantasy, he said, the doctor would probably not survive that.  Afterall, men had lower pain tolerance than women.  That’s why if men were the ones who had to go through giving birth, Earth’s population would have dwindled to none.  Too painful lar… Hmm.. ok that made me feel better…

But still.. if I hear the words “Mild Discomfort” from anyone, in whatever context, I swear I will plunge a needle into him/her!!