Happy 90th Birthday! Mr. Low!

Happy Birthday to you!  Mr. Low.   Happy 90th Birthday!

Wow!  What do most people look like if they live up to the age of 80 or 90?  But Mr. Low is not like any 90-year-old man!  He walks briskly , his back is as straight as the wall.  His mind is as sharp as a fifty year old.   His wife who is 82-year-old, looks like  a pretty lady in the fifties. Both go to the gym daily, and exercise for at least an hour or so. Both go to the senior center to enjoy a nutritious lunch. Both enjoy every minute of their lives with their children and grand-daughter.   This is the most loving family I ever met.

Today, Mr. Low celebrated his 90th birthday.  His children gave him a very nice party with the best Chinese food in San Francisco Bay Area.

His children prepared a beautiful  slide show and video showing all his travels in the last 90 years of his life! Most trips were taken with the whole family.  Mr. Low once traveled with my brother to Huang Shan, China.  He was over 70 , the oldest person in that group. Yet, he was the first to reach the top of one of the peaks of Huang Shan.

How can all these happen?  Exercise is the key.  Positive thinking is the ingredient.  A loving family is the nutrient as well as the product.

Dear friends:  if you want to be as young as Mr.  Low,  and to be happy and healthy like him, follow his healthy life style:  exercise regularly, eat well, sleep well, think well, and enjoy life!

There were lots of food tonight but I only posted this dish of Longevity Buns.  Enjoy! ( I may post the full menu on my .food blog.  Please stay tuned.)

 

image

Food for Thought

I just realized that I have been very behind as a blogger.  My last post on this blog was more than a year ago.  While I consider myself still “active” in blogging,  I have to confess to my fellow bloggers that my energy has been diverted to writing and publishing books.  In the past year I have published four books, the first one being a cookbook which is now on Amazon.com and iBookstore:

Easy Chinese Home Cooking Recipes

My other published books are all related to my travels.

Today I suddenly turned “home” to write on this blog because there are quite a few friends who came to visit during the Labor Day holiday.  All of them asked about my books, and they are all surprised of my “achievement” of publishing a cookbook!  If you read the different recipes in this book, you will notice that the recipes are all about healthy eating.

I hope you will take a good look at my cookbook. The e-book on iBookstore is free.

Happy Labor day!  Happy reading, cooking and eating!

cookbook cover

Longevity – What does it take to have a long and good life?

When I decided to write about healthy living that day (August 18, 2012), I heard about the news that Hong Kong women now outlast Japanese women in the life expectancy in the world.  I was shocked! I wouldn’t believe that Hong Kong which is so crowded and polluted, can be a place where people would be expected to have a long life.

Today I  found this post from CBS with a documentary of interviewing seniors living in the community. I would like to share this with you.

Women of Hong Kong outliving us all

“As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, it’s hard to imagine how Hong Kong with its high intensity, stress and pollution could possibly add years to your life.

But it just so happens that its female residents have not only learned, but mastered the secret to aging.

At one of the city’s elderly community centers, 89 year old Lee Wai Fong defies age and gravity at a daily dance class. “From exercise and a healthy body,” she says.  “It should be this way”.

Mrs. Lee is not the exception, but the rule. A study by the Japanese government has found women in Hong Kong live the longest in the world with an average life expectancy of 86.7 years, overtaking japan which held the title for 25 years.

“That is good news for Hong Kong people! I think my observation is that female members are quite active,” Daisy Li, YWCA Supervisor.  “I think this is an important factor.”

Lee Suk Ching is testament to that.  At 101, she walks with a cane unaided, reads the newspaper with a magnifying glass and visits the center each day to catch up with friends and share a meal. “I’m healthy because I exercise”, she explains.  “it makes me happy!”

Dr. Bernard Kong, President of the Hong Kong Geriatric Society, is not surprised by the results, citing a good public health system that looks after its senior citizens. “For the last few decades we have very good scientific and medical advances in Hong Kong and also we are keeping our tradition as basic Chinese culture.”

But, Hong Kong men lag behind their women, with a life expectancy of 80 and this gap doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon.  “We depend on people who look after us, women! They are the ones who take care of us and when they disappear our chances of mortality are much higher,” says Dr. Kong.

Most of these women have outlived their husbands and for 94-year-old Yeung Wai Hing, the past is painful.  She lived through war and has loved and lost more times than she’d care to remember, but her positive attitude has gotten her through it.  “I live happy no matter what” she says.  “You will live each day, why not be happy?”

Whether it be diet, genetics or medical advances health professionals agree that one key factor that sets Hong Kong’s elderly apart is the importance of family within the Chinese culture.

An overwhelming majority live with their children or grandchildren, with only around 10% living on their own.”

 

It is nice to know that family is so important to our lives.  However, I believe apart from genetic factors, the lifestyle and diet of individuals are the most important factors that affect longevity.  My next post will be my encounter with two Japanese American elderly ladies last weekend and the Okinawa studies that I am very interested in.

Meanwhile, please enjoy these two pictures that my friends took during our trips to China.  The first one is a picture of seniors doing Tai Chi in a park in Shanghai.  The second one shows seniors hiking at Huang Shan.   We all should realize that exercises are very important to our health.

“Healthy and Happy” and the Symbolism of the Lotus Flower

Why “Healthy and Happy”? 

This is the sixth “active” blog that I have created since mid May, 2012.  The reason why I am interested in this subject  matter ” healthy and happy” is simple.  Like most people, I want to have a healthy and happy life.   Exploration and sharing are the motives behind this blog.

I am not an expert in this field but I do have some work related connections to this subject.  My curiosity to seek for knowledge to become healthier has driven me to create this blog. Whatever I write in this blog is what I have learned from friends or public information (like published researches) via the web or other sources.  If you are interested in similar topics, please read and participate.  I will refer to some researches that I have come across, and some evidence-based findings which may be of interest to you.  I sound academic here but truly I am not.  I am just an individual interested in exploring and sharing.  It happens that I have recently found a new hobby, which is… blogging!       

Most likely, the readers who are interested in this blog will be the mature group.  However, younger people should also be aware that a healthy life is the goal of everyone, of any age.   

What is the meaning of the lotus flower?  How does it relate to “Healthy and Happy”?

To celebrate the birth of this blog, I am posting a few beautiful pictures of the lotus flowers from my dear friend Terry. The beautiful picture on the header is also Terry’s.  

Although I am not a Buddhist, I love to study Buddhist art.   During my study (mostly self-study), I have come across the symbolism of the lotus flower in Buddhism.  I found it very meaningful and appropriate when we are discussing how to live a healthy life here.

Here’s an article I read in the most recent post of Buddhism.org, about the symbolism of the lotus flower in Buddhism:

http://buddhists.org/buddhist-symbols/the-meaning-of-the-lotus-flower-in-buddhism/

“The lotus flower represents one symbol of fortune in Buddhism. It   grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower’s first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.

The second meaning, which is related to the first is purification. It resembles the purifying of the spirit which is born into murkiness. The third meaning refers to faithfulness. Those who are working to rise above the muddy waters will need to be faithful followers. 

The color bears importance in the meaning of the lotus flower in Buddhism. A white lotus flower refers to purity of the mind and the spirit. If a lotus flower is red, it refers to compassion and love. The blue lotus flower refers to the common sense; it uses wisdom and logic to create enlightenment. The pink lotus flower represents the history of Buddha and the historical legends of the Buddha. A purple lotus flower speaks of spirituality and mysticism. Finally, the gold lotus flower represents all achievement of all enlightenment, especially in the Buddha.

The stage of growth the lotus flower is in represents a different stage of enlightenment. A closed lotus flower represents the time before a Buddhist follower found Buddha or enlightenment. A lotus flower fully bloomed and open represents full enlightenment and self-awareness.

The mud represents an importance in the meaning of the lotus flower in Buddhism. All humans are born in a world where there is suffering. This suffering is a vital part of the human experience; it makes us stronger and teaches us to resist the temptation of evil. When we banish evil thoughts from our mind we are able to break free of the muddy water and become one with the Buddha. The mud shows us who we are and teaches us to choose the right path over the easy one.

Finally, the lotus flower represents rebirth, both in a figurative and a literal sense. The rebirth can be a change of ideas, an acceptance of Buddha where there once was none, the dawn after one’s darkest day, a renaissance of beliefs or the ability to see past wrongs. In a literal sense, the meaning of the lotus flower in Buddhism represents rebirth as a reincarnation, such as in the Buddhist religion, when a soul leaves this world in its present form to be reborn in another.”

I do not intend to go into a big philosophical discussion of the symbolism of lotus flower, because I am not knowledgeable enough to lead such an intellectual discussion.   However, I would like to use the symbol of the lotus flower to  request you to consider this question:  ” how can we empower ourselves to grow out of the mud, but not be polluted by it?”