Monday, December 30, 2013

A Hot December in Hawaii

During the past three months the trade winds in Hawaii have been constantly blocked by storms from the south.  Without the cooling trade winds, we have been having hot winter days on Hawaii Island and have had to run the AC during scorching afternoons. Recently we found a thermometer gadget that is keeping us cooler and saving us money on electricity.

Temperature differences from afternoon to evening in Hawaii are usually 10 to 20 degrees, which is more than the day time differences between seasons. 

During these windless days, the tropical sun causes the temperature in the house to climb over 90 degrees and fans no longer are enough to keep us comfortable.  We close the windows and turn on the AC to get the temperature down to the lower 80’s.  Once the sun sets, the temperature outside falls quickly, but we were never sure when it had cooled down enough outside to turn off the AC and open the windows.  Our new thermometer gadget lets us know when the temperature outside is cooler than inside which has greatly reduced the time we run the AC.
86 degrees outside with day's range of 70 to 111 degrees
84 degrees inside

The Acurite wireless thermometer gadget displays the inside and outside temperatures as well as the temperature range for the day.  The outdoor thermometer on our porch shows us how quickly the temperature is rising outside and as soon as we see that it is hotter outside than inside, we close the door and pull the blinds.   This temperature switch often happens by 9 A.M., even in December.   We were very surprised to see how hot it was actually getting outside without the trade winds – the thermometer often displays temperatures of 110 degrees or more on our porch.  With the door closed and the sunlight blocked, the house stays cool sometimes for the entire day.  Only during excessively hot afternoons when the inside temperature rises to the high 80’s, do we turn on the AC.   The super heated air outside quickly cools down after sun set, up to 1 degree a minute.  As soon as the temperature is several degrees cooler outside than inside, we open the windows.  With this approach, we turn the AC off hours earlier than we used to and are able to keep the house cooler longer by blocking the sun earlier. 

We were delighted to find that our electric bill was much lower than the month before, even though it was the hottest month we have ever had in Hawaii.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Wheat Free Diet Update

We started a wheat free diet last November and although we had some great results weight loss was not one of them.  In July we happened to watch a documentary, “The Perfect Human Diet”, that tells about the original human diet and health issues with grains.  The movie presented a radically different view of the ideal human diet when compared to the currently accepted “healthy” diet and foods. 

Citing research on the skeletal remains of pre-agriculture societies in Europe, the movie concludes that the human body is designed to flourish on the diet of northern European hunter gatherers.  The film makes a lot of assumptions such as the reason all skeletal remains are all tall and disease free is because of diet; it may be that environmental challenges at the time led to a minimum size and food requirement to survive rather than diet alone.  And there is the even greater assumption that a diet ideal for people from northern Europe is good for all humans.  Even so, the journalist CJ Hunt made a very convincing argument that modern grains are a major cause of obesity and diet related illnesses and we were intrigued at his proposal for ancestral eating.

Since becoming wheat-free 8 months earlier, we had come to rely heavily on rice in our diet.  Not eating wheat, spelt, rye, and oats, had just changed, and not reduced, the grains in our diet.  We decided to remove all grains from our diet after watching the movie because our ancestors are northern European and since we had seen beneficial results from taking wheat out of our diet (in particular ending gout flare ups) it seemed possible that removing all grains would offer even more benefits.  We had already stopped eating what we considered “unhealthy” foods years ago like sugar, corn, GMO foods, etc. and although we had lost weight and felt much better, we were still struggling with losing the last pounds.

Going on the diet was fairly simple for us, we just stopped eating rice, which was much easier than removing wheat and bread from our diet a year earlier.  To replace rice at our meals, we added  more vegetables (carrots, kale, sweet potatoes, romaine lettuce, avocados, green beans) more nuts (macadamia nuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans) and hunter gather fruits (dates, figs, cherries, bananas).  We realize  the  availability of the foods on the “perfect diet” is one of the many gifts of living on Hawaii Island and we doubt we could have made the diet change as easily and inexpensively on the mainland.

Within weeks we started to lose weight and had a major reduction in our hunger.  We noticed that a meal of beef heated us up and we were more physically active during the day.  At night we are sore and more tired than we used to be from our additional activity.   Within three months we had both lost 10 pounds without having to count calories or be hungry.  Even better, our weight has stopped fluctuating so much and seems stabilized.  We plan to get our blood tested to verify the effect of this new diet.

Although the non-grain diet has been positive for us, we are not sure this diet is for everyone. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

How a Hawaii Christmas vacation became a Hawaii move

While relaxing on the beach today, we enjoyed watching the Christmas vacationers revel in the warm sunshine and splash in the ocean.  It reminded us of  how our 2006 Christmas in Hawaii led to moving to Hawaii.  

Before that fateful Christmas, we had been coming to Hawaii more and more frequently to escape the unrelenting stress in our life. We always felt better the day after we arrived in Hawaii, our aches and pains would subside, and our energy would slowly return.  The sun felt like it had magical healing powers and the local food satisfied our deep hunger.  Before we knew it, we found ourselves sitting sadly at the airport waiting to board the plane back to our rat race life.  At the end of every vacation, we were determined to find fruits, fish and beef from Hawaii and to exercise every day.  But the freezing, rainy, grey days kept us huddled inside and we could never find a steady supply of the foods we could easily get in Hawaii. 

In 2006, we rented a condo in Hilo for the month of December and we discovered how wonderful and affordable living in Hilo could be.   That Christmas we decided that going back to the mainland after our Hawaii vacation was just too painful.  Having to return to the cold, the aches, the pains, and lose all the energy we had gained had become unthinkable.  The only way we were able to convince ourselves to get back on a plane to the mainland that year was our decision to move to Hawaii as soon as possible.  It took 10 months to make it happen, but we moved by Thanksgiving 2007.  

We are constantly surprised by the island’s incredible coastline, parks, beaches, towns, and historic sites.  There are so many varieties of trees, flowers, climates, and so many beautiful places to explore the island seems like a continent to us. We have never felt island fever and cannot imagine living anywhere else.
 We believe we made the best decision of our lives on that Christmas vacation in Hawaii. 

Every year since moving to Hawaii, we feel better, stronger, and happier.  We have lost weight, gotten fit, sleep better, and have more energy.  Every year we enjoy living on the island more and find more things to love about it.  Every day we feel blessed to be living on Hawaii Island.