Eating healthy for Chinese New Year

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Chinese New Year is just round the corner and as many knows, this is a period of time where there is an abundance of food and especially unhealthy food, that is, food high in sugar and oil. On the eve of Chinese New Year, reunion dinner is the highlight and many tend to go overboard with table-full of seafood, meat and other delicacies. Coupled with late night merry-making and early morning rising for the visiting, no wonder many fall sick after Chinese New Year!


  1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Drink mineral or plain water and take more fruits instead of sugared drinks. Taking fruits directly is also better than taking fruit juices so that more fibre can be consumed.

2. Choose steamed or boiled food

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Niángāo (sticky rice cake) is typically made of rice or glutinous rice flour. You can add red beans or dates to the niángāo and steam it to make a yummy and healthier snack. In TCM (traditional Chinese medicine), grains that is the main ingredient in making niangao invigorates the function of the spleen and stomach. Red dates and beans are good for the qì and blood.

Another Chinese New Year must-have delicacy is jiǎozi or dumplings. Similarly, jiǎozi is considered a healthy food because in each small dumpling, you can include grains (jiǎozi skin), meat (filling, typically pork), legumes (peanuts, dates, chestnuts, tofu) and vegetables (carrots, cabbages, spring onion). Cooked in soup or steamed, these are very delicious and filling food.

3. Take more vegetables, especially mustard, and cook vegetables whole

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By cooking vegetables whole instead of chopping them up, you will need to chew on them longer and the enzymes in saliva aid in better digestion. Fibres in vegetables also encourage intestinal activities, preventing constipation. Also, more meat and glutinous rice is consumed during festive period and these are considered wēn (warm) nature in TCM. Taking too much of these will cause the internal organs to be “warmed” and cause absorb and retain more fats. On the other hand, mustard is consider hán (cold) in nature and will dissipate the heat in the internal organs.

4. Keep up with exercise

Keep active during festive season to not just work off the extra calories consumed but also to avoid constipation.

5. Take healthy vegetarian breakfast

Have a good breakfast packed with vegetables, grains and legumes to start off your days of celebration. This will be a good balance to the loads of meat and oil consumed later on.

6. Avoid food that are no good for your ailment

Go easy on the hot pot. People suffering from constipation, piles and indigestion should go avoid food that are too hot, spicy or sour. If you are diabetic, it is best to take small frequent meals to avoid taxing your intestines and stomach. People suffering from peptic ulcers should avoid, alcohol, sugars, high fats, coffee and spicy and sour food as these will stimulate secretion of gastric juice. People suffering from back flow of gastric juice should also avoid these food, as well as food that are too hot, too cold or too oily, and chocolate, onion and garlic to prevent heartburn and acid back flow. People with gallstones should also avoid high fats food to prevent pains in the stomach.

During this merry Spring Festival, eat healthy, eat in moderation and keep active. May all readers have a happy Chinese New Year and receive a prosperous year ahead!

Netflix: Tidying up with Marie Kondo

The life-changing magic of tidying up - the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo
Cover art from Barnes and Noble

Years ago, I read and highly recommended Japanese tidying guru Marie Kondo’s book titled The life-changing magic of tidying up – the Japanese art of decluttering and organising. After finishing reading the book, my husband and I were inspired by Marie’s tidying philosophy and were both eager to tidy up our wardrobe and books. It was a much smaller scale of organising compared to whole house decluttering, but still it took us a good half a day at least to get through it. The result left us both extremely satisfied. Marie is right, the process itself is cleansing. I had never felt so good about myself and had a clearer picture of the things that I would like to have in my life, that is, “spark joy” in me and have a more sensible approach to getting new things. Many years later, after 2 children and 3 maids, our house got messy again and we decided to reorganise our storeroom. This time, it took us one whole day to pull everything out, sort, clean, label and put everything back in logical order. In the end, we were exhausted but seeing the neat and tidy storeroom where everything is in first access order, it left us immensely happy.

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So you can imagine my delight when I see the series Tidying up with Kondo Marie showing on Netflix. I was excited and curious at the same time, to see how the petite, Japanese-speaking Marie tackle American household mess. After watching a few episodes, I am happy to see that the important principals of the KonMari Method was portrayed well in the reality TV show.

The KonMari method is simple actually, but it can be trying for some people to carry through. Ultimately, as Marie puts it in her book, first of all, we have got to want to tidy up. This process has got to start from us, having a desire to get more organised in our life. By starting with a strong motivation and with an end in mind, there is bound to be a successful end.

Of course, if you are over zealous, your house might end up like this.

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But hopefully, it is more like this.

Picture from Finder

My takeaway from the KonMari method

Artwork from NewScientist

Begin with an end in mind

The motivation for tidying up and reorganising got to come within ourselves. Start by visioning what result you want to achieve.

Photo from 92Y

You get to know yourself better

Does it spark joy? This one simple maxim in deciding which item to keep and which item to discard can be difficult to grasp and follow through. I learnt that it is easier to start by holding the item that you obviously love the most and hold on to that feeling. That is your “joy”. Doing this exercise regularly as you sort through your items one by one will accustom yourself to be more aware of your own emotions, likes and dislikes. The sorting and elimination will then become easier and easier.

Photo from Home & Decor Singapore

Folding is important

Folding makes the clothes more compact and easily stored. Also, the KonMari folding method props the folded clothes up neatly and easy to see and retrieve.

Photo from Decider

Boxes are important

After watching Marie Kondo on Netflix, a lot of viewers are probably going to buy a lot of boxes. The small guru always arm herself and her interpreter with boxes of all sizes to help her clients store their items properly. The boxes help give the items a “home” so we know exactly where to place them back after use. Using boxes just makes so much sense.

Photo from YouTube

It gets worse before it gets better (much better)

Do not despair if, after days of tidying, you find your room not any much neater. In fact, the mess seems to have worsen. This is what is to be expected – the disorder and puke before a yoga cleansing.

Photo from The Loop HK

It is not just about tidying up

Marie Kondo applies the Japanese shintoism belief that things in nature are sacred and spiritual and this translates into mindfulness and gratitude in tidying up. So we are mindful of our “joy” and thankful to the things which have served us before but we need to discard them now.

Marie Kondo said she does not need to tidy her room again after the initial tidying up because her room is already tidy. In other words, after you spent a weekend, weeks or even months tidying up, you should only spend minimal time in maintenance.

Well, I look around my house and cannot help but see lack of maintenance in lots of spaces. Looks like it’s time to KonMari my house again!

If you are gearing up to KonMari your room too, after watching the TV series on Netflix, I urge you to read Marie Kondo’s books first as they expound her declutter philosophy and method in detail.

Hey there, 2019!

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Time flies (yet again!). Things have gotten crazy at BGO Ecoshop and in some ways, good. I have been trying to grow BGO and started listing items on Redmart marketplace in Aug 2018. Since Redmart’s entry into Singapore, this online grocery company has disrupted local grocery shopping scene. Consumers can shop for a wide variety of groceries online and have them shipped to their homes at a really low shipping rate. Since Redmart, there have been quite a few online marketplaces in a small Singapore market.

I was glad that BGO Ecoshop was invited to join Redmart at its start and it has really helped BGO gained a lot more customers. There are orders to be fulfilled every day and this has kept us busy (happily). The downside of it is orders from our own website has been dwindling and this caused me to focus more on developing our marketplace site and products on Redmart and neglected BGO’s own website. And this is truly unacceptable.

WELL, the new year has begun and I want to make a change. Products should be updated more regularly and blog posts should be kept up too. Upon reflection, I have built meaningful relationships with BGO customers over the years, though many I have never met. Such relationships established through blogging takes many years to build up and I certainly would not want to waste previous efforts.

I am excited to blog about ideas to make Singapore greener, and how we can make ourselves stronger and healthier. I am eager to introduce new BGO products to you. Personally, I have many projects in mind to be done.

I wish 2019 be an even more fruitful year for BGO Ecoshop and also an exciting and joyful year for all of you who read this. To all BGO supporters all these years, I THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.

Weleda Calendula Shampoo & Body Wash Voted M&B Ed’s Choice

MBJan tried  tested-1


Our Weleda’s Calendula Shampoo & Body Wash was voted Ed’s Choice in the Jan issue of Mother & Baby magazine!

Here are some the reviewers’ comments:

“Baby’s skin feels soft & moisturised. Cleans well with only a small amount.” — Lee Guei

“Easy to wash off and baby smells great!” — Selina

“A creamy, hydrating wash with a subtle scent that cleans gently.” – M&B

Weleda’s Calendula Shampoo & Body Wash is available at BGO Ecoshop here.

TCM Triumphs Again!

Recently, I experienced a pain in my stomach and in my right abdomen. It was quite bad such that I couldn’t concentrate on doing anything. I called up a few TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) clinics that I know, but alas, it was a Sunday and the clinics were either closed or the practitioners were off duty.

Out of desperation, I visited a Western clinic near my place and after examination, the doctor said I seemed to be suffering from gastric problems and prescribed medication which reduces the acid in the stomach. I was to stay away from spicy and sour stuff as well as caffeine.

After taking 3 capsules however, I still didn’t feel any better by the next day. I was disappointed as I always assumed Western medication can provide a quick fix solution.

So I went to see the TCM practitioner I often visit. Caffeine, it seems was okay with the TCM medication prescribed to me, but I was to stay away from spicy and sour stuff, as well as cold food and drinks. I got to watch myself eating fruits straight from the fridge, but the caffeine green light delighted me.

According to the TCM practitioner, my liver is imbalanced (which explains the pain in my right abdomen) and that might lead to gastric problems. Liver is our body’s detox machine and produces biochemicals responsible for digestion. The imbalance in my liver is the reason why I felt bloated and suffered from indigestion.

After a couple of days purely on TCM medication, I felt better than when I was on Western medication, though again I was disappointed that the effect wasn’t quite immediate. By the 5th day however, I was up and running and the pain was gone.

TCM is the winner!

#1 Anticancer Veggies


Dr. Michael Greger ( shows in this video which plant food (among 34 common vegetables) ranks high in restricting the growth of cancer cells in 8 common cancers.

The statistical video shows that the following two families of vegetables rank extremely high in their anti-cancer strengths:

– Cruciferous family (kale, broccoli, cabbage etc.)

– Allium/Onion family (chives, onion, garlic, leeks etc.)

Veggies in the Amaranth/Beet family (beetroot, spinach, quinoa etc.) do well too.

On the other hand, veggies that most people take (eg. carrots, potatoes, tomatoes) rank low in this aspect. So eating more of certain veggies does not necessarily mean living healthier. With cancer rates rising, it is wiser to include in our diet veggies that are anti-cancer as well.

Saying No To Sharks’ Fin

A 3rd local supermarket chain has said no to sharks fin sales in Singapore. Carrefour joins NTUC Fairprice and Cold Storage in committing to stop selling sharks fin at its outlet in Singapore.

This announcement comes after Singapore’s largest supermarket chain, Fairprice, announced that it will withdraw all sales of shark’s fin products by end of March this year due to a public uproar after an insensitive message was posted by one of NTUC Fairprice’s seafood supplier Thern Da Seafood.

The supplier had posted on Facebook on 17 Nov 2011 at 12.14am, “Screw the divers! Shark’s fin and Mola Mola will also be launched at all NTUC Fairprice outlets during CNY 2012! Exact date for launching will be out soon!”

Sharks fin, which is virtually tasteless, is priced in Chinese culinary as a rare and privileged food. It is lauded by the Chinese that sharks fin helps to boost sexual potency, improve skin quality and the body’s “qi” or energy. As it is rare and expensive, it symbolises wealth and prestige and is often served to guests in banquets to show honour and respect for guests.

Environmentalists have long criticised shark finning contributing to the decline of certain shark species. There is controversy in this area as researches have shown that only a small proportion of the shark species are in endangered and sharks are captured for reasons other than shark finning.

Nevertheless, the removal of sharks fin from the shelves of supermarket chains should be celebrated. The nutritional value of sharks fin has been overrated (see article here) and it is inhumane to deprive these great sea creatures of their fins for mere satisfaction of human’s taste buds and ego (one suspect it is more of the latter).

The preparation of the sharks fin may involve the use of hydrogen peroxide which is a bleaching agent, and its vitamin content is much less than that of typical vegetable soup, containing almost no vitamin A.

If consumed in extremely large quantities, shark fin soup may cause sterility in men due to mercury content. The FDA recommends pregnant women and young children avoid eating shark fins.

One would be much wiser to choose healthy vegetarian soups. View loads of good recipes at Savvyvegetarian.

Dr. McDougall On Why A Vegan Diet Did Not Cause Steve Jobs To Die

Dr. John McDougall (a physician and nutrition expert who teaches better health through vegetarian cuisine) wrote an article in his newsletter on what exactly caused Steve Jobs to die.

According to Dr. McDougall’s analysis, Steve Jobs’ cancer cells possibly began in his body and metastasized when he was in his twenties, when Jobs was exposed to carcinogens in the electronics industry, such as his working on frequency counters at HP plant, as well as soldering circuit boards in his early days in Apple.

Dr. McDougall dispelled the thinking that many people might have that Jobs’ life could have been prolonged if he had not delayed the surgery to remove his cancerous tumour and had not been on a strict vegan diet. While some people might “discount the importance of a healthy vegan diet” by the apparent paradox of Jobs’ strict vegan diet and that of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who loves typical American fast food and is older, bigger and heavier, Dr. McDougall stated that:

The cause of his cancer was not due to his vegan diet. In fact, his healthy diet likely slowed the growth of his tumor, delayed the time of diagnosis, and prolonged his useful life.

At the pressure of his doctors’ advice to take more high quality protein, Jobs finally took eggs but it also did not help him in fighting off the cancer cells.

Neither Steve Jobs’ vegan lifestyle nor turning down surgery were the acts of an insane man. Rather both decisions demonstrate his rationality, genius, intuitiveness, and internal strength to stand up for what he knew to be right.

What could we have done to ward off cancer?

Dr. William Li of Angiogenesis Foundation (a nonprofit that is re-conceptualizing global disease fighting), gave a TED Talk on how eating antiangiogenic foods can help to starve cancer cells.

William Li: Can we eat to starve cancer?

Refer to the link here for Dr. William Li’s list of antiangiogenic foods.

You would find that the all the foods listed in this list are non-meat, not even eggs are listed. This is another support of the fact that a healthy vegan diet can be helpful in fighting against illnesses such as cancer.