050 Seeing Four Doctors In A Single Day!

I was on a roll. Not for good things though. Have you tried visiting four Doctors separately in a single day! Quite a feat, eh?

  • Pit-stop #01: TCM Clinic

At eight in the morning, I arrived early at a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) clinic to have an acupuncture treatment for a prolonged frozen shoulder ailment that has been torturing me for months.

Frozen shoulder is an inflammation of the connective issues around the shoulder that greatly restricts motion and causes chronic pain. Pain is felt throughout the day, worse at night, and with cold weather.

Acupuncture offers instant relief to the pain. But an end to my agony is nowhere in sight.

  • Pit-stop #02: ENT Specialist Clinic

At half past eleven, I arrived at an Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT) specialist clinic at the National University Hospital (NUH). Several weeks ago, I was advised by a doctor who noticed some abnormal thyroid reading in my annual health screening report. The doctor said, “You might need lifelong medication. Please talk to a specialist.”

The specialist said, “TSH is sending excessive signals to the brain. But your T4 is back to normal. “

Having noticed the blank look on my face, he quickly switched to layman language, “Your body is probably adapting to a new normal. No cause for worry.”

“No medication necessary?”

“Not at all. See me again in six month’s time for review.”

I heaved a sigh of relief.

  • Pit-stop #3: Physiotherapy Clinic

At ten to three, I attended physiotherapy treatment at the Ng Teng Foong Hospital (NTFH). It is part of an on-going treatment that I have been receiving fortnightly to alleviate the pain arising from the frozen shoulder.

The condition has improved with the combined treatment of physiotherapy and acupuncture, but its effect has come to a plateau recently. I still have trouble sleeping on my right shoulder. And doing simple things like reaching for my wallet in my back pocket and pulling clothes off my back remain an agony. Even a fairly firmer handshake from a fellow associate at a recent Conference in Malaysia made me feel as if my arm was nearly broken!

Worse, for some unknown reasons, I started feeling severe pain in my right knee since that morning and had to limp to the clinic. The therapist told me, ” This is unrelated to the frozen shoulder. Probably because you did not do sufficient warm up before your daily runs.” Truth to be told, I have never quite understood how much warm-up is considered sufficient.

She applied Kinesio taping on my knee to facilitate its healing process while at the same time, providing support and stability to muscles and joints without restriction to my movements.

  • Pit-stop #4: Family Clinic

At the end of the long day, I couldn’t help thinking about the word “aging”. Although none of my ailments is life-threatening, my entire body is showing signs of aging like an old car.

I recalled an embarrassing moment I encountered the day before at a restaurant. An elderly waitress told me and my friends, “You may enjoy the 3 for 1 free promotion today. Also, there is a discount for seniors. Any one aged 55?”

To my disbelief, she turned to me, and asked earnestly, ” Are you 55?” In half-jest, I replied, “56, to be precise.” My friends broke out in laughter. But the waitress dutifully wrote in her order slip: “Senior 1”!

I became the butt of the joke for the rest of the evening. Perhaps, I am indeed aging much faster than what I choose to believe. But then again, perhaps my young-looking peers should be the ones to be blamed for my predicament.😂

William W.K. Tan

30 Jan 2019, Wednesday

039 Enjoy Your Rides

Throughout my adulthood, I have an on-and-off love affair with bicycles. I fell in and out of love with cycling more times than all the romantic relationships I had. (sighs and laughs).

  • Rekindled Love

Once again, that love was rekindled recently, after a lapse of a more than a decade. Why that long a break you might ask?

It’s all because the previous relationship ended badly. My left foot was fractured after I tumbled off my speeding bicycle. Scarred by the painful experience, I fell out of love with bicycles for a long time.

Surprisingly even to myself, I have made a comeback. Every day, I cycle twice. Cycling has become a substitute for my regular one-hour morning run. After work, I alight a few stations ahead of my destination and use bicycle as a “last mile solution” to complete the final lap to home. Over a span of 36 days, I have covered 260 km, twice the distance to cycle round the Singapore island!

But the greatest satisfaction came just two days earlier when I set myself a challenge: how far could I cycle along the MRT downtown line route from Bukit Panjang?

I found my answer after 1 hour 23 minutes: The Botanical Gardens of Singapore, a UNESCO Heritage site!

  • Enjoy The Little Things In Life

I was so elated that I had to grab someone to take a picture of me. But it was barely 7 am in the morning, passersby were few. It seemed rather inconsiderate to bother commuters who were trying to beat the early rush hours.

Fortunately, I chanced upon a young, beautiful and helpful lady, Jasmelia who was willing to spend a couple minutes to help a stranger. Jasmelia made an extra effort to take a few better pictures of me with the bicycle using her better quality mobile phone. Almost immediately after we parted ways, she sent me the pictures with encouraging words.

I meant to reply her, ” You’ve made my day, pretty and helpful lady!🤗” But I was filled with hysteria of joy that I couldn’t compose a simple thank you message properly.

In contrast to my awkwardness in expression, Jasmelia’s reply was thoughtful and heartwarming. She wrote, “It’s good to see that you enjoy all these little things in life.”

Like many others, I am often bothered that our once squeaky-clean pedestrian sidewalks are now littered with smart bicycles. Jasmelia’s words reminded us it is how we think and act that decides our quality of life.

Friends, get a sharing bike and enjoy the rides! Just make sure that you ride responsibly and park it right. And don’t overdo it too. Simply ride occasionally for the little joys in life it brings. Surely, you remember the good old days of cycling with friends along the East Coast road when we were young.

William W K Tan

7 April 2018, Saturday

10:45 pm

032 Chinese New Year Tales From SG: Food! Food And Food! Versus Health Efforts

How not to put on weight during festive celebrations? We eat more and exercise less, especially so, during Chinese New Year’s celebrations.

  • All We Do Is Talk, Eat And Drink

The only body part that gets real busy during this period is the mouth. All that everyone does is talk, eat and drink. Period.

Like many Chinese families in Singapore, we had lots of seafood such as abalone, cuttlefish, prawns, scallops and a variety of meat such as chicken and pork, and even pork liver that went into a steamboat at reunion dinner, which marked the start of a 3- day food indulgence.

I’ve heard that CNY celebrations last for as long as 15 days in mainland China, while the Taiwanese across the island enjoy a break from school and work until the 5th day, though the celebrations very much continue till the Spring Lantern Festival (元宵节), which falls on the 15th. Thankfully, we adopt an abridged version in Singapore. Just 3 days.

I took no picture of the reunion dinner this year because it was no different from any other years. The above picture is taken from the internet, but it looks almost identical to what I had at home. Here is a picture of my children and their cousins having reunion dinner last year.

That was not all. Below is a glimpse of some dishes that my culinary-gifted sister Marilyn had cooked for family, relatives and friends when they visited my parents’ place this year.

(From top-left clockwise: Stir-fried giant tiger prawns, fried yam rolls, stir-fried vegetables, mixed mushrooms with fried chicken, and oysters-omelette.)

And let’s not forget to mention all the CNY goodies and snacks that were served round the clock.

The above picture shows some of my all-time favourite CNY goodies: pineapple tarts, mini prawn and pork floss rolls, sweetened BBQ pork aka Bak Kwa and egg rolls aka love letters.

As a person who adheres to time-tested traditions (laughs), I cast my cholesterol concerns temporarily aside for three days and succumbed to the lure of CNY delicacies. Constantly, I reminded myself to eat in moderation. The tricky part was I wasn’t sure how much was too much when it came to my irresistible favourites like Bak Kwa and pineapple tarts.

  • Guilt-lessening Efforts

To lessen my sense of guilt, I immediately switched to drinking a self-concocted Apple cider vinegar green tea throughout the days after I failed to resist a can of Kickapoo, a sugary lime-flavoured carbonated drink that brought nostalgia of childhood memories.

I knew that I had to find time to exercise. Despite the disrupted morning routine, I stole time to visit the gym twice, but did lesser than usual because of time constraint. I was even caught in video doing exercise at my mum’s place.

In the background of the video, you’d probably hear the chatter of children. It was the voice of my children and their cousins. Guess what they were doing on the first day of Chinese New Year’s celebrations?

  • Learning Discipline From Children

They actually did some serious school homework together! This is how some school-going children celebrate Chinese New Year the Singapore way. As a disclaimer, I had no part in orchestrating this scene at all.

It just happened that the kids were given too much homework by their school teachers. Conan’s eldest cousin, Sherman decided that he had to do homework. Shernice, his diligent younger sister and Conan, my self-professed less-hardworking younger son followed suit. There was no study gloom as they listened to pop-music and enjoyed CNY snacks while solving Maths problems on practice papers.

On normal days, I’d have told Conan off for putting in half-hearted efforts. But I decided to cut him some slack that day. He was at least enthusiastic and focused to keep up with his diligent cousins for an hour or so, before falling prey to playing games on his mobile phone later.

I am no better in the department of discipline. But I’ve learnt something from the children. Sometimes, when it becomes too hard to do it alone, do it together with others. Perhaps I should start asking friends out for exercise soon. Care to join me?

William W. K. Tan

19 February 2018

029 Two Precious Health Lessons: Keep Warm And Eat-Move-Sleep-Relax Well

Getting Sick: How often and how long?

How often do you catch a flu? And how long does it typically last for you?

The most recent one took me eight days to recover, albeit some minor symptoms continued to linger even now. The one prior to that, took two weeks. All in all, I had two bouts of flu in less than a month. Evidence of a weak immunity against viral infection.

Yet, I was completely immune from viral illnesses for eight consecutive months last year. It prompted an obvious question:

“Why do I fall sick more easily than before?

Here are two precious lessons I have gleaned from reflection.

1. Be Ready For Rapid Changes In Temperatures

I had under-estimated the effect of cold temperature exposure on my body. The weather had turned chillier with frequent rain. But I took no precaution. Even when the temperature dropped to its lowest in decades, I was still in my usual t-shirt and shorts. And there were chilly nights that I slept without a blanket.

Lesson learnt: Wear appropriate clothing to keep warm always.

2. Moderate How Much To Eat, Move And Sleep

My daily health routine of eat-move-sleep in moderation was disrupted. The frequent overseas travels in December, both for work and family, was the biggest disruption.

Thinking back, even though I continued to work out daily, I had reduced cardiovascular exercises in favour of muscle-building exercises like weightlifting. I suspect that might have dented my immunity defence in the respiratory system, which is the first defence against viral infection. Time to get back to running.

And admittedly, I was indulging in too much good food during the travels and at the year-end parties with family and friends. Now I am not gonna make the same mistake in the coming Chinese New Year celebrations.

I am an early sleeper who turns in by 10 pm. But I broke the rule too often in the past 2 months. The reasons were aplenty: Returning home late after a social gathering, becoming engrossed in a Netflix TV drama or some reality shows till late hours, and reading into the wee hours of the night just because the sleep bugs had disappeared.

Lesson learnt: Adhere strictly to the Eat-Move-Sleep routine. And yes, not to forget, got to relax too.

William W K Tan

28 January 2018

028 Health Battles: Another Bout Of Severe Flu

  • A Wrong Time To Get Sick

Barely a week after my recovery from flu, I had another bout of severe flu. The timing couldn’t be worse. I had to reach the airport in 2 hours’ time.

To avoid the hassle of finding a doctor in a foreign land, I made a quick trip to a nearby 24-hour clinic.

Seeing no other patient in the clinic, I asked the receptionist, “Is the doctor available now?”

“Yes.” But she added, ” It’s midnight charge of $84 before 7 am if you see him now. The consultation fee after 7 am is $34.”

What a hefty difference in price! I looked at my watch. The time was 6:57, so I said, ” I’ll wait till after 7 then.”

“You’ll have to wait until 7:45 for the next doctor to come in.” The receptionist replied nonchalantly.

My goodness. What kind of 24-hour clinic is this? I decided to get medicine from the pharmacy at the airport.

  • Self-medication Doesn’t Work

The symptoms were appearing quickly: phlegm, cough, congested sinus, throat inflammation and headache. I bought medicine for each symptom at the pharmacy. And took the medicine immediately at the airline lounge.

The effects were instantaneous. I broke into perspiration while falling asleep in the 1-hour flight to KL. The symptoms did not disappear, but alleviated to a certain degree. All I could feel was the drowsiness caused by the medication for the rest of the day. Nonetheless, I felt good enough to enjoy a dinner with three good friends that evening.

Just when I thought that self-medication was working, I woke up the next morning feeling worse than ever.

  • Ample Rest Is The Best Medicine

A full day seminar had been scheduled for the day. But I was so visibly sick that my boss told me to return home on an earlier flight at noontime.

It was a first time in 20 years that I had to change my work itinerary because of health issues.

Upon returning home that evening, I visited the family GP immediately. By then I was running a high temperature at 38.7C.

The doctor said the recent cold and rainy days had seen a surge of patients of similar influenza symptoms. She asked, “Did you rest since the symptoms started?”

I shook my head.

Her advice: “Ample rest is the best medicine.”

I was struck by her words.

Whenever I fell sick in the past, all I wanted was to recover as soon as possible. I’d asked for the strongest medication from the doctor, with scant concerns of it’s ill-effects in the long run. I knew that was wrong, but it never occurred to me that perhaps all my body needed was more rest.

One precious health lesson learnt.

William W K Tan

20 Jan 2018

026 Health Battles: What To Do Next?

  • Health Must Always Stay As A Top Priority

It’s already the fourth day into the fresh new year. But I do not feel fresh at all.

Plagued by a bad flu since the day after Christmas Day, I know I have yet to recover fully even though the antibiotics had depleted.

Sticky phlegm is stubbornly tickling my throat. The sinus region is stuffed with mucus beneath the skin. Feeling lethargic yet hard to get into sleep, I cannot wake up early for my regular morning exercise for five straight days.

As much as I wanted to make a fresh start in the new year and set new resolutions, this influenza serves well as a good reminder that personal health management must stay as a top priority, above every thing else.

  • Complacency is a serious problem

I had some degree of success in managing my health last year. Having shed nearly 10 kg through daily physical exercise and improved dietary habits, I was looking forward to favourable results in this year’s health report. And I have good reasons to be confident.

One apparent reason is appearance. Here was how I looked in September 2016.

And this is how I look now in mid Dec 2017.

And I’ve become healthier. For eight consecutive months, I did not have any flu or whatsoever until recently. In fact, I was quietly glad that my immunity system remained strong when quite a number of my colleagues were falling sick in the midst of our annual education conference at Yogyakarta in early December. But two weeks later, I realised that I was no better when I finally succumbed to influenza.

In retrospection, I had allowed complacency to set in when I indulged in party food between November and December. In a blind belief that I could easily burn away any excess calories through physical exercise, I had eaten more cakes than I should for instance. In last November alone, I had three birthday cakes in a week. Not to mention all the gatherings I went in December.

  • Alarm Bells Are Ringing

As the adage goes, appearance is deceiving. Alarm bells rang off loudly when my annual health report came in mid December. The bad cholesterol had shot up above the high risk range of 160, raising the prospect of strokes and heart attack. Uric acid level was no better. Luckily, I suffered no symptom of gout. In addition, the thyroid was performing at a lower than desired level.

The only consolation was BMI had dropped below obesity level while the good cholesterol had elevated, bringing the overall cholesterol ratio to just within the desired level.

Interestingly, two doctors made vastly different interpretations of the same data, and therefore gave contradictory advice.

My family doctor, the GP, thought that the visible weight loss through exercise and dietary improvements demonstrated that increase in bad cholesterol had more to do with genes than anything else. While the thyroid was not functioning at optimal level, it was in a better state than the year before. His advice: Start taking cholesterol control medicine.

The doctor at the health check clinic disagreed. He deduced that the thyroidectomy I had last year slowed down my metabolism and was likely to be the cause for the increase in bad cholesterol level. His advice: Start taking thyroid medication. Certainly not cholesterol control pills.

Now, what should I do next?

One thing for sure. Stricter control of dietary habits. That means..No chocolates. No fried food. No seafood. No snacks and titbits for now. Oh no.. but Chinese New Year is coming..

Do you have better ideas?

William W. K Tan

6 Jan 2018, Saturday

018 Make Time To Enjoy Each Day

  • Why Do You Want To Live That Long?

“Why do you want to live till 100?” I am often asked. But no one asked in a more humorous way than ZH, an old friend of more than 3 decades.

Out of the blue, he sent me a satirical comic that left me in stitches.

The comic illustrates a boring-looking man who wishes to live a long life but seems totally clueless about the pleasures of life.

ZH probably thought that I am living like a puritan. Someone who believes in hard work and self-control.  And hardy know anything about enjoying life.

I don’t blame him. Just look at the serious stuff I’ve been blogging: life, death, health and values.

I think ZH was not merely sharing a comic, he was making a salient point,

“What is the point of having a long life if you do not know how to enjoy it?!”

  • Make Time for The Simple Things You Enjoy Doing

Sure, I am enjoying my life. All it takes is to turn some simple things that I enjoy doing into daily habits that keep me healthy and invigorated.

Here are four ingredients that make a day of happiness for me–exercising, blogging, reading and singing. Sometimes, people wonder where I got so much spare time to do all these stuff. I don’t. I make time, that’s all.

  • Make Time To Exercise

Like most working parents, my body clock is synchronised with the reveille time for my two school-going children. A typical day starts at about fifteen past five in the morning.

While my elder son Kyan is getting ready for school with the help of his mom, I spend 15-20 minutes exercising with my younger son Conan at the gym almost every morning.

After sending Kyan off to the school bus at 6am, I hit on the road for a slow run of about 50 minutes and complete the routine with roughly 15 minutes of weightlifting exercises in the gym. That still leaves me with ample time to enjoy a healthy breakfast and be ready to leave home for work at 8 am.

Needless to say, I have to be an early riser to maintain this routine. To do so, I usually sleep by 10 pm at night.

  • Make Time To Blog

Where do I find time to blog then?

I commute on bus and train daily. It takes 40 minutes to reach my workplace in the morning, and 10 minutes more to return home in the evening. That gives me plenty of time to blog on the move. When I travel overseas, I have even more time doing so in the airport and on the flight.

Occasionally, I get too busy to blog. Work has to be brought home to complete in the weekends. Even at such times, I never fail to write an article before my self-imposed deadline. To me, blogging is not so much about writing. It is really about a commitment to self -reflection and a way of communicating with my loved ones and friends.

  • Make Time To Read

I pick up books of interest to me whenever my family visit the library in the weekends. It is part of our weekend routine that lasted more than a decade.

My new-found interest in health and wellness motivates me to find books that are relevant to health, wellness and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) regularly.

Some friends share similar interests. They send me interesting links to websites for reading online. That is how I got ideas to experiment with tea-making, taking hot foot bath before sleep and eating spelt grains porridge at dinner.

After work, my time is often spent on the studies of children in the evenings. Usually, I can only find small pockets of reading time before bedtime. Not enough, I often think, but I insist to read a little before sleep. It keeps my reading habit alive.

  • Make Time To Sing

I love to sing. But I knew long ago that my voice was merely mediocre since the youthful days in junior college.

A good friend HP and I belonged to a Xinyao (新谣)group, a group of young people who gathered to sing locally-composed songs, often accompanied by the acoustics of a guitar.

When I sang, I received little attention. But when HP sang, everyone, especially the gals gathered around him in adoration.

To make myself useful in the group, I quickly moved behind the scene and found a niche in writing songs. But I never stopped singing.

I sang most frequently when my children were young. At one point of time, I could easily remember the lyrics of nearly 200 children’s songs and rhymes. I became convinced that those days of singing to my children enhanced their vocabulary and fostered their love for singing at a young age.

Even after my vocal chords were adversely affected by the thyroid surgery I received last year, I never stop singing. I find singing therapeutic. It soothes emotions and raises spirits.

Making time for singing is a no-brainer. A song takes no more than 5 minutes. Now, with karaoke apps like “smule”, it becomes easier to record songs in a studio quality, albeit at a cost.

  • Create Your Own Formula Of Happiness

Exercise, blog, read and sing. Do we share the same interest in any one of these four activities? It’s nice to find like-minded friends of common interests.

Of course, you should find a formula that suits your interests and lifestyle best. I would be most interested to learn from you.

Already I have been thinking of expanding my interests to other stuff such as food therapy, meditation, yoga, qigong, academic-research, stocks and property, and personal financial investments. Anyone care to show me the ropes?

Oops, that sounds like a lot of things to learn. Perhaps, I should focus on one thing at a time. Seriously, can’t you see why I have no choice but to stay healthy and live up till a ripe old age of 100?

William W K Tan

12 November 2017, Sunday

014 “Tea-riffic” knowledge: Let’s have a cup of tea

  • Find joy in discovering the therapeutic value of tea

I am not an expert tea drinker. At best, a new convert. 

    • In the mornings, for a long period of time, I drank neither tea nor coffee at home. Just plain water. Not tea.

      In the weekends, even when I had breakfast with my kids at the McDonald’s, my choice of drink was always ice milo. Not tea.

      Occasionally, when I visited Starbucks or any other cafes, my choice was often Cappuccino, and sometimes Latte. Still, not tea.

      Now, tea has triumphed over all other beverages to become my number one choice drink. Yes, give me tea anytime.

      The reason? I have found joy in discovering the therapeutic value of tea.  Every sip of tea I take is a deliberate choice for healing and healthy living.

      • Is brown rice tea really a tea?

      Those who are familiar with my blog know that I drink brown rice tea daily for gastrointestinal well-being. You may read post 010: Homemade remedy: Tangerine Peel Brown Rice Tea (TPBR) if you are interested in making your own concoction. 

      It is really no trouble at all to make your own TPBR tea, but I guess my detailed documentation of the process over-amplified the efforts required unintentionally. In a nutshell, all you do is just mix two ingredients and fry them, that’s it. 

      Too bad many of my friends find it an hassle to prepare their own tea mixtures, but they were intrigued enough to buy ready-to-use tea bags from the shelves.

      The picture above is a brown rice tea that a friend M recently recommended me. I find it robust with roasted rice flavour. I started making the same, minus the tangerine peels. The taste is good but I cannot achieve the same roasted aroma. Time to start some experiments, I guess.

      This picture above depicts  a cup of brown rice tea served in a Japanese restaurant that I went with my wife yesterday. It is known as Genmaicha, 玄米茶, which is the Japanese equivalent of Caomicha 糙米茶 in Chinese. 

      Strictly speaking, however, brown rice tea is not a tea. It is called a tea simply because the public has generally named all kinds of herbal concoction as tea. In that sense, all kinds of beverages that are concocted from botanical plants are now known as teas, or more commonly known as “herbal teas”.

      • Similar health benefits, but varied flavours

      Experts in the tea industry tend not to see brown rice tea as real tea. They maintain that there are only five types of tea, namely black, oolong, green, yellow and white, all originate from the same plant, a kind of camellia (Camellia sinenis and Thea sinensis). 

      The health benefits of these five different types of tea are similar because they come from the same bush. Their benefits, evident by an abundance of scientific researches, include treatment of a variety of ailments such as headaches, heart disease, disgestive problems, immune system disorders, respiratory problems and nervous system issues. 

      Their difference lie in their processing techniques, which alter the health benefits slightly, but significantly change the amount of caffeine each tea contains and their taste. So, you may choose one tea over the others based on your personal preference.

      • The After-Meal Choice: Green Tea

      Probably influenced by my liking for Japanese culture and food, I prefer green tea over the other four teas for its subtle aroma and light grassy taste.

      Green tea is most reputed for its weight loss effects. It increases fat oxidation by thermogensis (heat production) in the body. It also lowers LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels, which make it a perfect choice for after-meal consumption. Here are some green teas I consume. They are quite affordable.

      As you probably know, LDL cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol, clogs arteries and is culpable for raising the risk of heart attacks. Medical researchers have found that a cup of green tea contains as many antioxidants as one cup of blueberries! Antioxidants are substances that protects the body from cancers. So, even if you are not drinking for weight-management, drink it for your health.

      • For Better Sleep: Chamomile 

      Chamomile is the tea I drink before sleep. I find it very useful for improving sleep quality because of its sedative effects. Those who struggle with insomnia may benefit from the effects of chamomile tea. 

      On sleepless nights, chamomile tea can help me fall asleep faster and wake up feeling rejuvenated.Chamomile tea is fragrant, but it carries an unique taste that took me some time to get used to. You might need to give your tastebuds some time to adjust too.Other than its effectiveness in aiding sleep, the anti-inflammatory properties in chamomile also help to soothe emotions, as well as stomach discomfort.

      For women, chamomile has the added benefit of bringing much relief to menstrual discomforts. But it should be noted that for precisely this reason, pregnant women are generally advised to refrain from chamomile.

      For most people, chamomile is generally fine unless you have a known allergy to pollen. After all, chamomile is a daisy-like herb.

      • Teas for longevity and health

      Teas are not a cure-all for any ailment. But they can stimulate a person’s natural defence against diseases if taken wisely.

      Since ancient time, people have known that tea promote longevity and health wellness. It is such a waste to ignore such time-tested wisdom, don’t you agree?

      Let’s have a cup of tea together.

      William W K Tan

      11 October 2017

      Personal notes:

      From the readership and responses I received so far, it is clear that articles written on the topic of health and wellness are most well-received. 

      A supportive friend J always forward my blog to her other friends each time I write about health and wellness. I was so delighted the other day when she asked a question about fennel (post 003:) on behalf of one of her friends. 

      I really hope that my sharing helps people in their health in some ways. It is my way to telling you that I care for your health, my friend.

      Interested to find out more about tea? Try this book “The Healing Power of Tea” written by Caroline Dow. An easy-to-read book that is not overly technical and yet covers all the relevant know-how.

      013: Simple changes to the body and mind can transform our lives

      This week, I would like to share with you some observations from friends and also my humble views on how simple changes to the body and mind can transform our lives.

      • Stop, look and enjoy simple things in life

      A close friend and also my workplace apprentice F, read the previous post (011E/C: Morning Run Discovery: Pang Sua Pond @ Bukit Panjang, Singapore) and remarked, “I am so happy for you. You have learnt to stop, look and enjoy the simple things in life.”

      F was spot-on about my change in mindset. I have learnt to live the moment. That allows me to enjoy the friendship of people, appreciate the beauty of places and partake in skilful endeavours of healing and running

      • Do what is right full-heartedly

      While it is true that I have become a happier person because of the positive changes I’ve made to my lifestyle, it is definitely not a carefree life devoid of worries as others might have imagined.

      Like everyone else, I have my fair share of earthly troubles –increased workload and demands that put me under stress; emotional bumps and bruises that hurt terribly; and health scares and alarms that cause anxiety. 

      The difference is I no longer put up with things going the wrong way and yet foolhardly believe that it will somehow get better over time, as long as I do not give up.  

      I long knew that time alone is a powerful agent of change. But time can change things for better or worse. If we really want things to change for the better, then we owe it to ourselves and the people we love to make full efforts to do what is right full-heartedly.

      • Health and family come first

      But what is the right thing to do? I remember seeking advice from a wise friend and mentor A one and a half year ago, “Work, family, health and study, I am having trouble in the balancing act on all my obligations.” 

      I was seriously contemplating what had to be given up before being forced into a situation of unintended consequences.

      My mentor A never tell me what to give up. She simply said, “Health and family must come first. The rest will find its place.” 

      • Start with health and wellness 

      I started with taking control over my personal health issues. Obese and constantly bothered by viral infections, weight-reduction was the first thing I had to work on. 

      I started with a simple change. Sleep early to wake up even earlier to run. Read enough about running to experiment on different methods and stick on to whatever proved most effective (post 04: How to enjoy a good run). The results have been most empowering when one can feel the transformation to the physical body.

      In connection, I have also developed an interest to learn more about both western and eastern healing methods. New-found knowledge from reading and self-experiments quickly expanded my interest to dietary improvements. The below is an example of one of my healthy breakfasts- Spelt flakes with black sesame.

      It does not look great, but it certainly contains high nutritional value. The health benefits of spelt include boosting metabolism and strengthening immunity, while improving the digestive function and lowering blood sugar and cholesterol level in the body. 

      Thanks to the recommendation of another good friend who also goes by the same initial of F*, I even successfully concocted a home-made remedy of TPBR tea (009: Homemade remedy: Tangerine Peel Brown Rice Tea). Like her, I share an interest in healing methods such as traditional chinese medicine.

      Here are some books I am presently reading for leisure, mostly health-related, which I intend to glean a wealth of knowledge about health benefits. 

      • Spread positive energy 

      Another close friend and workplace apprentice Z said she couldn’t help smiling while reading my blog (010: What happened over 10 weeks of blogging). 

      Then she added, “Do you realise that you are spreading positive energy to others?” 

      I certainly hope so because I know from personal experience that body wellness must begin in the mind. With this, let me share a quote of wisdom from Plato:

      “This is the great error of our day, that physicians separate the soul from the body. The cure should not be attempted without the treatment of the whole, and no attempt should be made to cure the body without the soul.”

      William W K Tan 

      04 Oct 2017, Wednesday

      Written in Dhaka, Bangadesh.

      Personal notes:

      Return from an inspiring work trip. Glad to tell everyone that our company Kumon, the world’s largest supplementary education program provider is working hand-in-hand with BRAC, the world largest NGO to spread the benefits of self-learning and superior academic ability to the children in Bangadesh, from the affluent families to the less privileged ones. Feel really good knowing that our work is extended to one of the poorest countries in the world.