Saturday, February 28, 2015

Hawaii Avocados

Hawaii Avocado Tree
Hawaii has over 300 varieties of avocados. The variations of shape, size, and taste are amazing. The avocado skins vary from pliable to woody, smooth to rough, and are green-yellow, reddish-purple, purple, or black in color. Some taste buttery and others are fibrous.

The majority of avocados found outside of Hawaii are the black-skinned 'Haas' which originally came from the Guatemala. 'Haas' do not grow well in Hawaii so we have numerous other varieties available in stores and Famer’s markets around the islands.  Over half of the commercial avocado acreage in Hawaii are 'Sharwil', a Mexican and Guatemalan cross.  'Sharwil' have small seeds and greenish-yellow flesh with a rich, nutty flavor which many consider far superior to ‘Haas’.


'Greengold' and 'Murashige' are other green-skinned avocados commercially raised in Hawaii.  However, 'Sharwil'  is the only Hawaii grown avocado authorized for shipment to Alaska and the US mainland in compliance with USDA requirements.

We love the many varieties of avocados and are happy that they are also a great source Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin E.   They also has Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and Vitamin B3 (Niacin).  The avocado is a great source of fiber which makes it good for the digestive system and very filling.  Unlike other fruits which are mostly carbohydrates, avocados are mostly fat, with oleic acid which is a healthy monounsaturated fatty acid.


The plentiful supply of highly nutritious avocados in Hawaii is one of the reasons people in Hawaii are so Healthy and Happy

Friday, February 20, 2015

East Hawaii Blue Zones Project

East Hawaii, which includes Hilo, was selected as one of 3 communities in the state of Hawaii as a Blue Zones project by HSMA, Blue Zones LLC, and Healthways Inc.  The Island of Kauai has been a Blue Zones Project pilot since 2013.

According to Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones, people in the Blue Zones he identified reach age 100 at 10 times the average rate.  Blue Zones LLC states that only 20% of how long a person lives is because of their genes; the other 80% is due to their lifestyle and environment. 

The Blue Zones project has best practices for communities to improve the lifestyle and environment for the residents. In Albert Lea, Minnesota, a Blue Zones project since 2009, the residents lost a total of 12,000 pounds, cut their health care costs, and added over 3 years to the residents’ average life expectancy.    

To be selected as a Blue Zones project, the community must have broad buy-in within the community including local leaders, schools, employers, restaurants, and grocery stores who agree to support the program.  In addition, at least 20% of the citizens must sign a personal pledge to take actions to improve their well-being which include eating wisely, moving naturally, making changes at home, connecting socially, and finding a purpose.

The personal pledges are based on 9 shared traits of the world’s longest lived people that Buettner identified.  Summaries of these traits listed on bluezones.com website include:

Move Naturally The world’s longest-lived people don’t pump iron or run marathons or join gyms. Their environments nudge them into moving without thinking about it.
Purpose Why do you wake up in the morning? Knowing your sense of purpose adds up to seven years of extra life expectancy.
Down Shift Stress leads to chronic inflammation, associated with every major age-related disease. The world’s longest-lived people have routines to reduce their stress.
80% Rule “Hara hachi bu” – the Okinawans say this mantra before meals as a reminder to stop eating when their stomachs are 80% full. That could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it.
Plant Slant The cornerstone of most centenarian diets are beans. They typically eat meat, mostly pork, only five times per month.
Wine  Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers, especially if they share those drinks with friends.
Belong Attending faith-based services four times a month adds 4 to 14 years of life expectancy.
Loved Ones First Centenarians put their families first. They keep aging parents and grandparents nearby, commit to a life partner, and invest time and love in their children.
Right Tribe They world’s longest lived people chose or were born into social circles that support healthy behaviors.


East Hawaii is the perfect place for a Blue Zone project as it already has many of the nine shared traits listed above. When we researched our book on “Why People in Hawaii are so Healthy and Happy” we found lots of reasons why people in Hawaii already live longer and have better health than the rest of the US. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Why are People in Hawaii so Healthy and Happy?

We moved to Hawaii seven years ago to escape our stressful life in California.  We were out of shape, exhausted, and obese.  Fortunately, just being in Hawaii improved our health and helped us lose weight.  We have watched many other people lose fat  and improve their health by spending  time in Hawaii. We have even seen people who arrived in Hawaii barely able to walk with a walker become more mobile every month; some were ultimately able to walk freely without any assistance.

After completing our Hawaii Island travel guide, a friend of ours insisted that our next book be about why people feel so much better when they are in Hawaii.   We agreed that it would be fasinating to research the mystery of why every year residents in Hawaii are ranked the healthiest and happiest in the US.

We were not prepared for the shocking answer. We found hundreds of medical studies that completely contradicted everything we had been taught about what is healthy to eat. The diet we thought was healthy was actually harming our health significantly according to the health studies.

Our weight loss and improved fitness in Hawaii were due to high levels of nutrients in Hawaii’s food and environment, not because of the foods we thought were healthy.  Just by living in Hawaii we had stumbled into better health. The miracle health improvements we saw in ourselves and others were because of critically missing essential nutrients abundant in Hawaii yet missing on the mainland.

Our new book, Your Ideal Hawaii Health: Why People in Hawaii are so Healthy and Happy, answers our friend’s question.  The book cites the health studies  and tells our personal experiences of the changes we made in our diet and lifestyle in Hawaii that allowed us to achieve our health goals, improve our fitness, and increase our happiness.


If you are struggling with your weight, depression, or health conditions you may want to read the book and find out why just living in Hawaii can make you healthier and happier.