EMBRACING SINGLE PARENTHOOD 

As a single mom, it is painful to come to terms that I am unable to raise my son without a father or in an incomplete family set-up. It becomes more painful when my son, Dylan, gets to see his friends with their Dads and finds himself comparing his life with theirs. When Dylan was about 2 or 3 years old, I faced the inevitable, hard questions every single mother dreads to hear about: “How come everyone has a Dad and I don’t?”, “How come Dad is not home?”, “I want my Dad, where is he?” Hearing these questions and remembering them are always heartbreaking. But it is important that these questions are addressed; that the children are made to understand the situation—however difficult or painful it may be. Never lie or sugar-coat the truth. Be calm and sensitive to the feelings of the child.

In my case, I held Dylan and explained calmly to him why his Dad is not around: “I wanted to be with your Dad, and I wanted to have a family that you could grow up with. However, your Dad made his choice not to be a part in our lives—and I made a choice to have you in my life. He has his reasons and I would like him to tell you those himself in time. It is okay to feel sad about it—I do, too. But always remember that your Dad loves you just as much as I love you. Life may not be perfect for everyone; if you see others are perfect, be happy for them and be thankful for what you have.” Saying these words made me cry. I did not hide this emotional burst to Dylan. I wanted him to see me being vulnerable but strong, at the same time. “Are you sad, Mom?” he asked before giving me a hug and a kiss. He went on to say, “Everything is going to be okay.” With those words, I knew he understood that I was there for him. I know he will grow up to be a gentleman and a good person.

As a single parent, we can feel vulnerable sometimes. But it is okay to feel vulnerable; it is okay to show vulnerabilities to children because it gives them an opportunity to see you as a person with emotions—someone who can get hurt and needs comforting. In doing so, we develop in them a sense of compassion at an early age. It makes them realize that parents are not just authority figures but persons they can relate to and share their emotions with. Most importantly, it cultivates their ability to care and show genuine concern for others.

Posted by Lola Wei Friday, April 18, 2014 12:00:00 PM Categories: healthy lifestyle

Chase your dream, it is never too late.. 

Ice Skating

I grew up in China in a remote small town with very little resources. Children then did not have afterschool programs to attend or iPads and video games to keep them busy. We preoccupied ourselves with street games and anything we could creatively build or make from dirt and dust. Occasionally, we get a hold of a fairytale book and everybody will take turns reading it like sponges soaked in water, recreating the story and re-telling it in the most creative way possible. Times were simple then for children, unaware of the great possibilities life could offer such as dancing, playing the piano, becoming a ballerina, or learning how to skate on ice.

Education brings these possibilities closer to one’s thought process. For me, it was in College when I learned about and took interest in ice skating. I had the chance to see the documentary film about ice skating and world champion/ Olympic figure skater Peggy Fleming. I was drawn to her beauty and gracefulness—totally blown-away by her ice skating skills and prowess. She was so good, she appeared to me as a fairy on skates—flying freely and gracefully dancing on ice. At that moment, I knew I wanted to ice skate.

Two decades later—at 42 years old—in cosmopolitan Reno, Nevada, I heard the news that the city was building an ice skating rink downtown. Once completed, the facility would offer classes for parents and children living in the community. With this news, memories came rushing back to me and that interest to skate on ice like Page Fleming brought sparks in my head. I did not think twice to sign up. Sure, I am in my 40s but I felt excited and took on the challenge to learn how to skate.

After taking several classes, bruised knees, and countless falls, I can confidently say I am a good skater—enjoying my new skill and living my dream to be able to skate on ice. I still cannot jump and land as graceful as figure skaters do. Nor can I make those ridiculous spins and turns like professional skaters impress people with, but that is okay with me. The important lessons that I could impart to anyone is this: chase your goals and learn new skills. Live your life without regrets and enjoy it to the fullest.

Posted by Lola Wei Tuesday, April 15, 2014 3:38:00 PM

Ancient Wisdom from Traditional Chinese Medicine 

Lola’s Way: DRINK WARM WATER FOR A HEALTHIER YOU

America prefers to drink cool or ice-cold water. This is mainly brought about by the early introduction of and adaption to refrigeration in the US. Cold water and beverages make Americans feel more refreshed—like drinking ice-cold beer or soda on a hot summer day. In other parts of the world, especially in China, drinking hot or warm water and beverages is the norm, mainly because of the health benefits associated with it.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the warmth is the most important thing dictating all physiological functions in our body. This warmth is called Qi. The Spleen Qi is the most important that manifests how our entire body functions and keeps our body alive. Once your stomach receives the food, it is the Spleen Qi that starts to transform the essence of that food into useful energy. When we constantly drink iced or refrigerated fluids, the cold causes the energy, or your Spleen Qi to slow down and harden, creating the basis for unwanted symptoms such as pain and chronic diseases to develop. While these symptoms do not manifest immediately, they develop over time initially affecting our metabolism and digestion before spreading to other organs of the body. These block the meridian channels, slow down blood circulation, and compromise organ functions to less than optimal ability.

Our body organs cannot immediately metabolize fluids that are below 37 degree Celsius core body temperature. This includes 22 degrees room temperature water. So the body is forced to work harder, wasting energy in order to make cold drinks warm enough for the body to use. This energy could have been better spent on healing illness, increasing immunity, etc.

Your body gets all of its energy and nutrition from the process that begins in the spleen and stomach. It is crucial to keep the Spleen Qi energy to flow smoothly and drinking warm water and/or beverages will help ensure that.

Fitness tip: Never drink cold drink immediately after an exercise. Drinking cold water immediately after an exercise tends to shock the organs and does not aid in helping the body to properly and naturally cool down. This is because during exercise, internal body heat moves to the body’s surface causing sweating and hot exterior sensations, while in fact the interior has become cooler. So drinking cold water or beverage aggravates the already-cold interior. Drinking warm water will help body’s surface cool down naturally.

When eating out, start with a cup of hot water with a few slices of lemon in it. This will ready the stomach for the food intake. Slowly incorporate drinking warm water in your daily routine. Try it the first thing when you wake up in the morning, before you eat, and between your daily activities. Do this for a week and experience the health benefits. You will likely see some changes in your digestion, mood and energy levels. You can also see some improvements from many chronic problems that you may be dealing with, like a decrease in menstrual pain or alleviation from mood swings or anxieties.

Posted by Lola Wei Monday, April 14, 2014 3:04:00 PM

LOLA’S WAY: BE GRATEFUL & FEEL BLESSED 

How to be happy every day, try this very simple thing for the next 4 weeks, and share with us your experience

Americans are wired to pursue happiness—it is, after all, written in the Declaration of Independence, making it a central mandate of one’s character. Because of this, it is easy to view life as unfair by most people, especially when one doesn’t get his or her way—making them feel upset or down. Harboring these negative feelings, we often forget to see the value of people and opportunities that come our way. So, here’s a challenge to you: Each week, send a thank you note to someone that brought happiness—big or small—to you. It can be for your spouse, a friend, an office co-worker, or someone you just met. Show your appreciation and expect nothing in return. Finding something to be thankful about and communicating that to someone may boost your mood and make you happy.

Posted by Lola Wei Monday, April 14, 2014 8:05:00 AM

Lola’s Way: 3 simple ways to jump start your day to have endless vitality 

1. Drink a glass of warm water first thing in the morning

As soon as I wake up in the morning and before doing anything else—yes, even before brushing teeth—I drink a full glass of warm water with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and a tablespoon of honey. This gently warms up the spleen and awakens the digestive and kidney system and helps cleanse all the wastes that the body processed overnight.

Why Honey? In Traditional Chinese Medicine, honey is a great nutritious food with essential micronutrients such as vitamins, iron, calcium and copper and key enzymes that help relieve heat, clear away toxins, relieve pain and combat dehydration. It also helps nourish the energy (Yin) and strengthens the body’s spleen, sharpens eyesight and brings out those healthy, rosy cheeks. By simply taking a tablespoon every morning, honey can help prevent constipation as well. Additional tip: if you are suffering from allergy, substitute commercially-available honey with local, unprocessed honey. It will work wonders in helping to address allergy symptoms.

Adding apple cider vinegar helps regulate the body’s PH to create a more balanced inner environment for energy to flow better. It is also proven to help maintain a healthy digestion.

2. Stretch. Move. Exercise

Maintaining the body’s flexibility as we age can be challenging, especially if we spend long hours at work mostly motionless like sitting on a chair in front of a computer. Doing daily simple stretches or short exercises that forces the body to move for 7-15 minutes in the morning helps us hurdle such flexibility challenges. I do Yoga stretches for 10 minutes. This is a part of my morning routine for years because stretching or exercising helps the energy (Chi) flow smoothly and charges the body for the work ahead—preventing possible stress or symptoms resulting to it, such as backache or muscle pain.

3. Eat a healthy power breakfast, ASAP:

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But eating food with empty calories—high on fats and low in nutrition— and doing so hours later after waking up defeats the importance and purpose of breakfast. Breakfast jump-starts the body’s metabolism in the morning, so eating soon after waking up can raise the body’s energy level right away and encourage the body to be more active throughout the morning and into the afternoon.

Stay away from sugar-laden pastries and cereals. Eat an egg, whole wheat bread, and fruits. For active individuals, think of quick and healthy alternatives that let you eat breakfast AND walk out the door on time. For me, Guacamole spread on a whole wheat toast (or sometimes indulging myself with a slice of Walnut Cranberry bread) is my usual breakfast. I like avocado, and a delicious and healthy Guacamole with just salt and freshly squeezed lime as ingredients make this an ideal and easy breakfast for me. Guacamole is very rich in high density cholesterol and high quality fat, which are all needed by our body to produce hormone. For women, hormone balance dictates not only how we feel but also how we perform. There is a lot of misconception about fat. Some newly published research already proves that low-fat diet does NOT work well with how the body functions. The body needs fat—good fat, that is—for healthy joints and for producing essential hormones. Apart from avocado, olive oil and even butter (Ghee or grass-fed natural butter) are also ideal sources of good fat.

Another easy, quick, healthy and power breakfast is a smoothie. I’ve been making this delicious homemade breakfast for years with a mix of freshly frozen fruit chunks. Buy organic fruits in season, rinse, take out the leaves and stems, and then store in bag inside the freezer.

Here’s my nutrient-packed and antioxidant-rich recipe, The Lola Way Smoothie:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pineapple chunk
  • 1 Cup of blueberry
  • 2 Organic strawberries
  • 1 Banana 1 Tablespoon of Greek yogurt
  • 1 Cup of freshly squeezed pineapple juice

 

Directions: Put all ingredients in blender. Blend well for 1-2 minutes. Enjoy!

Posted by Lola Wei Friday, April 11, 2014 3:12:00 PM