Friday, June 01, 2012

Quest To Live Healthy In HK

It's flu season again in HK. On Monday Nachos woke up with a fever and had to stay home from school. Poseidon woke up with a horrible cold and a cough. After sending Nachos back to school the next day I get a call from school on Wednesday. This time Boy Wonder was the one with a fever. He missed school the next day but is back to normal again today. Now its just Poseidon who is still dealing with a bad cold and cough.

It was only last week that I finally went through our drugs collection to throw out a bunch of bottles that has expired or reached empty. Doctors here must have some deal with the drug companies because they sure are prescription happy.

This was the original batch of meds we had collected. After throwing a whole bunch out we ended up with more after the kids got sick this week.

We definitely feel HK has deteriorated in terms of air quality and overall hygiene since we moved back. Our family has been plagued with health problems since then. And now that we've been able to save up a bit, we are definitely thinking about getting some good quality air purifiers for the apartment. Alen Air is offering free air quality assessments for apartments and offices so we had ours checked. The results were definitely eye opening. Although the readings weren't as bad as I thought, the difference it made after turning the purifier on for a few minutes made me smell the difference! The reading also showed a 50% improvement after only 10 minutes. Now I just need to wait for a few more friends to get a purifier or two so that we can get a group deal!

A few weeks ago, Hubby forwarded me an article from SCMP about chemicals in fruits and vegetables sold in all the leading supermarkets around HK. Just when I thought we were spending too much already buying non-local meats, the article now made me completely doubt the safety of all other foods! Here is an excerpt from the article:

Most vegetables 'contaminated'
Greenpeace survey shows that 11 of 12 samples taken from major supermarkets contained residues of various types of pesticides, one seven times UN limit
Cheung Chi-fai
Updated on May 18, 2012

Almost every vegetable sample taken from major supermarket outlets in a recent survey contained pesticides - in one case seven times over the safety limit - Greenpeace said yesterday.
Eleven of the 12 samples taken from ParknShop, Wellcome and Jusco in February contained residues of various types of pesticides.

At Jusco's Lai Chi Kok outlet, a long yard bean sample had traces of 12 pesticides. They included the carcinogen chlorpyrifos, at a level seven times above the international standard set by the UN's Codex Alimentarius Commission.

After reading the article I did a research on how to properly wash our fruits and vegetables to minimize the contaminants. It said to soak them in clean water with a tablespoon of salt and rinse properly.

But because I know simply washing them is not good enough, I started looking into organic foods. Its definitely not cheap!!! There is a list that comes out every year called the Dirty Dozen. It lists which foods have the most pesticide residues and thus recommends these are the foods you buy organic. Number one on the list are apples! My kids love apples. Apples are always on my shopping list when I do my groceries. But after reading these reports and articles, I finally caved in and bought my first pack of organic apples. It sure hurt my wallet, but at least I have peace of mind when I see them chomping on their favorite fruit. I also ordered my first batch of organic apple juice from Park n Shop. Good thing they were on special and the usual brand we get are out of stock anyway.

Going further into my quest, I found this website that lets you order organic vegetables! They claim all are organic and they work closely with farms in the New Territories. After reading through their website, I thought to try out some of their veggies.

My first order was delivered last night. Although I had to pay a little bit more than what I usually spend for a week of vegetables, it is still cheaper than buying organic from the supermarket and they deliver it to your door. It also comes with salad greens which are quite expensive at the supermarket, so buying from them isn't too much of a stretch.

My next quest will be to find a more economical alternative to buying organic eggs and chicken from the supermarket. I had a bit of a shock when I bought some at City Super last week. I think I'll stick with Lilydale for now.

I just hope all these added expense and effort to feed the family lately will work. Or at least its an investment for our future health!

1 comment:

Kate Gosselin said...

Thanks for the health related information. Great post!