Here Are My Favorite Health Finds For 2011. What Are Yours?

It’s the new year, which means it’s time for my annual tradition — filler blog posts! Yes, in between crazy-busy holidays I like to make a few easy-to-write “Top 10” pieces. Here’s my list of my favorite new products in 2011 which improved my health.

Metro’s Fish and Produce — My wife and I finally discovered Metro, the German hypermarket chain, this summer, and we’re really glad we did. It’s instantly become our favorite place to buy groceries. I’m especially impressed with their standards on two important food safety concerns: their frozen fish section, and their organic and traceable produce.

Water filters for shower and drinking — Every winter in Beijing, I have seriously itchy, dry skin mostly around the shins which drives me nuts. I’ve survived on thick moisturizers and baby oil — until this winter, when I’ve had zero problems with itchy skin. Not just a slight improvement; my shins have been completely itch-free, and I’m usually not even using any oils at all. What’s the big improvement? I’m happy to say that my theory about Beijing’s shower water having skin-irritating chemicals may actually be true! Last spring I bought and installed an Aquasana Shower Filter, and I’m actually shocked that I now have zero itchiness. Perhaps those of you who also complain of thinning hair in China may benefit? (This is obviously not a scientific study, just anecdotal, I just thought I’d share…)

Also, we installed an under-the-sink drinking water filter in our kitchen and we really love this as well. I never liked the water bottle idea, and I previously had used those 1 liter Brita-style countertop jugs which constantly needed refilling. But this installed version filters much more efficiently and is also extremely convenient.

Elderberry & Zinc lozenges for the common cold — In my desperate search for evidence-based treatments for the common cold, I’ve discovered some fairly strong evidence that both elderberry and zinc help to decrease the severity and length of the common cold. So I now take a chewable elderberry/zinc combo pill three times a day whenever I feel a regular cold starting, and I must admit that my colds last year were much shorter and less severe. I’m sure there are multiple products to buy, including syrups for kids: one great website to research and to order and deliver is at another of my 2011 discoveries:

bicycle exercise beijing healthAn 18-Speed Bicycle — Yes, people, I have now started to practice what I relentlessly preach: exercise! For the first time since coming to Beijing, I am getting routine exercise. And the best part is that it’s not purposeful “exercise” — it’s simply  real-life commuting 25 minutes a day on my new Giant Hunter 2.0 urban bicycle instead of my fun-but-lazy electric bike. I am now getting 250 minutes a week of moderate, cardio-burning exercise. The air pollution has been relatively good lately, but I have my N95 mask in my bag just in case. And of course, I usually wear my bike helmet — although it didn’t prevent my backside from throbbing after this morning’s tumble on black ice…ouch…

Men’s sunscreen face creams — Women have been far ahead than men when it comes to availability of daily facial moisturizers which also have built-in sunscreen. Finally this year, Watsons and all other major stores started to carry my favorite men’s version, Neutrogena Triple Protect face lotion. This has SPF20 and also is great post-shave, especially for acne-prone sensitive skin types like mine.

What were your major health breakthroughs in 2011?

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5 thoughts on “Here Are My Favorite Health Finds For 2011. What Are Yours?”

    1. I use Aquasana under the sink as well as in our shower. There are many companies, of course, but I like their service and quality.

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