Friday, May 29, 2015

Booming Hawaii Island - the off season that never came

It has been a strange Spring on the Big Island. Usually by this time of year it is very warm, the tourists are gone, and the residents that live full time on the island have the beaches and roads to themselves. This year the weather has been unusually cool, far cooler than it was this winter, and the tourists never left.  The island is the most crowded we have seen at this time of year.  The Mauna Kea Hotel is having a job fair this weekend, which is very surprising for this time of year.

In addition, new home construction seems to be booming on the island. On a drive to Kona yesterday, there was bumper to bumper traffic both directions with about half of the traffic construction trucks and  construction workers. Everywhere we look we see huge new projects being started. We are also seeing a lot  of older, presumably retired couples who appear to be setting up new households on the island. They are in Targets and K-Mart shopping for household supplies instead of souvenirs.

Our best guess is that what we are seeing is the result of lower oil prices which makes a Hawaii vacation more affordable than it has been in years by reducing gasoline expenses and air fares. We may also be seeing the first wave of the 77 million boomers starting to retire this year.

It is an interesting and exciting time ahead for Hawaii Island.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Amazing Apple Pectin

We recently discovered some amazing health benefits of taking apple pectin.  We have known for awhile about the benefits of malic acid found in tart green apples, which we take as a supplement for sore muscles and gout.  But we did not realize that the pectin in tart apples helps with digestion, colon health, lowering cholesterol, removing heavy metals from the blood, and keeping cancer from spreading.

Pectin is found in many fruits, however most of the health studies were done with apple pectin.  The most concentrated apple pectin is found in under-ripe, hard, green apples.  As the fruit ripens the pectin is destroyed and some varieties of apples have no pectin at all when they are ripe. Pectin is extracted by boiling the apples, skins and all, until it becomes a runny applesauce.  Some people just use apple cores and skins.  The thick slimy liquid that drips through the strainer is liquid pectin.

Pectin is a soluble fiber which has the benefit of attaching to LDL cholesterol and removing it.  Taking pectin as a supplement can lower levels of LDL in the blood and liver and improve the functioning of the gall bladder.  Pectin fiber has also been shown to remove heavy metals from the blood stream. Children with high levels of lead in their blood stream had a 50% reduction in lead levels by being on apple pectin for one month.  Ukrainian children exposed to uranium had success removing it from their bodies over a year with pectin. Pectin has also been used to remove cadmium and mercury. Like other nutritional fiber, pectin slows the rate of fat and carbohydrate absorption. If pectin is taken 30 minutes before a meal it can reduce your appetite. A study showed women taking it for a year lost an average of 12% of their body fat.  

Pectin increases the moisture in the intestines which increases the removal of old waste that can block the intestines from absorbing nutrition.  The increased moisture also makes it much easier for good probiotic bacteria to thrive in the intestines.  Pectin also appears to reduce the incidence of bowel cancer if consumed long term.

Pectin attaches to and destroys an enzyme that allows prostate cancer to metastasize. Laboratory studies show that contact with pectin causes the cancer cell rate of apoptosis (cell death) to increase by 40 times.  

Although we have only been taking Now Foods Apple Pectin  Capsules for only a month, it does seem to be helping our intestines and increasing our stamina and it is only about costs around $15 a month.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Surging Tourism on Hawaii Island

Hawaii Island tourists on a cruise
Merrie Monarch is over in Hilo and the spring break season has come to an end.  This time of year on Hawaii Island the beaches are mostly empty and the tourists and part-time residents are thinning out;  but not this year.  This year there has been no end to the crowds, traffic, and beaches packed with tourists.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) forecasted a record-setting year of visitor arrivals across Hawaii for 2015. They attribute the increase to more flights to the islands from the US mainland.  Hawaiian Airlines reported that they transported more than 887,000 people to Hawaii in March, a 7% increase from March of last year. HTA reports that visitors to Hawaii are up 8% from the West Coast and 9.8% from the East Coast. 

Usually our condo complex is empty by mid-April. This year it is as crowed as it was at Christmas time.  Every condo has a visiting family, the traffic is the heaviest we have ever seen, and the nearby stores and restaurants are packed.  Though we hear many visitors speaking German, Italian and eastern European languages, most of the visitors are from North America speaking English.  Surprisingly, the large number of Japanese tourists we see this time of year are not here.  Every evening we sit on the crowded beach and watch families, primarily from the US, throwing balls, snorkeling, running, playing in the sand, and enjoying the beach with seemingly endless energy. 

Having a huge surge of visitors is a boon to Hawaii Island.  The island has limited job opportunities and an improvement in the tourist industry on the island would not only provide more jobs but hopefully increase pay for the mostly minimum wage service workers.  On the other hand, the hotels, restaurants, and tour companies are not staffed for the current demand.   We are seeing overwhelmed workers having a difficult time keeping their cool with endless lines of impatient people wanting to get on with their vacations.

If visitors to Hawaii Island have a great time, they will likely return.  Hawaii Island is less densely populated per square mile than Oahu, Maui, and Kauai with average home prices 50% lower.  Returning visitors could ultimately increase island real estate prices which have taken a big dive since 2008 and improve the island economy.