Sunday, November 29, 2015

2016 Year of the Fire Monkey Predictions

It is time for our annual predictions based on the Chinese lunar calendar for 2016, the Year of the Fire Monkey.  As we predicted, the current 2015 Wood Sheep year has seen some financial improvement of the economy and more jobs. Unfortunately, the strength of the hostility star overshadowed the normal calm and diplomacy that Sheep years can bring.

The Chinese Monkey New Year starts Feb 8, 2016. In contrast to the Sheep Year, the Monkey Year will be wild, crazy, and disorderly. Organizations and groups will find it hard to make progress during the constantly fluctuating Monkey Year; accomplishments and financial success will be through your individual efforts. This year will bring the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and a contentious U.S. presidential election in November.

During the last Fire Monkey Year, 60 years ago (1956), Eisenhower was reelected as the U.S. president and the Olympics were in Melbourne.  The Soviets invaded Hungary, Britain and France bombed Egypt to reopen the Suez Canal, Israel captured the Straits of Tiran, and there was a military coup in Sumatra. Racial tensions were high in the U.S. and the Supreme Court ruled that race separation on buses was unconstitutional. Morocco and Tunisia gained independence from France, Sudan became independent from Egypt, an Islamic republic was formed in Pakistan, and the last French troops left Vietnam.

The 2016 Monkey Year will go by at a fast pace with lots of communication, humor and wit. This is the year for new thinking, new ideas, and inventions. It is a time for taking risks and wild ideas, but watch out for monkey schemes and deception.

Unfortunately, the year will be dominated by the star of illness, so you should guard your health and energy. Extreme views and lawlessness will pervade the year and it will be more difficult for world leaders to keep control.  The Monkey Year will be a great  for money opportunities, but make sure to keep safe, healthy, and secure.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Life on Oahu versus the Big Island

We recently moved to Central Oahu from South Kohala on the Big Island. Though we are still in Hawaii with its great weather and aloha spirit, the differences between the two islands are dramatic. It is a lot like the difference between living in one stop-light town in the Midwest versus an apartment overlooking Central Park in Manhattan, NY.

Oahu is very crowded. On a recent Saturday night at Ala Moana Mall there were so many people we struggled to walk through the mall.  Less than half of them were speaking English. It felt more like being in Hong Kong or Tokyo than the US or anywhere else in Hawaii. Everywhere you look on Oahu there are houses, cars, and people which is a major contrast from the miles of desolate lava fields, acres of pastures, and empty beaches we are accustomed to on the Big Island. At our condo complex in central Oahu, cars come and go at all hours of the day and night,  a big change for us after years of living in a mostly empty (except around Christmas) condo complex in South Kohala.  All the people on Oahu keep things very lively and there are endless activities and events, but unlike the Big Island it is surprisingly more difficult to make friends.

Distances and Traffic
Everything on Oahu is only a short distance and if you are lucky and there is not much traffic, you can get anywhere quickly. On the Big Island, everything was a long drive.  It was a long drive for us to get to COSTCO and potlucks with friends in Kona from Kohala.   On Oahu we can drive to three grocery stores, Walmart, our bank, and 20 or more restaurants in our neighborhood in less than 5 minutes.  However, it recently took us 30 minutes to drive a little over a mile on a Saturday morning near Ala Moana mall when dropping someone off at the Convention Center. We rarely ran into traffic on the Big Island.  Occasionally, the traffic from the airport into Kona would jam up a bit and it was frustrating to get behind a slow moving truck, but Oahu has epic traffic jams which we just have to surrender to sitting in the car for a very long time.

Driving Style
Folks drive slower on Oahu than on the Big Island and the speed limits are lower. Honolulu police are out in force giving tickets to speeders, a rare sight on the Big Island. In our seven and half years on the Big Island we saw maybe a dozen people getting tickets, whereas, we see one or more cars getting pulled over every day on Oahu.  Driving in Oahu requires threading your car through tiny parking lots with tiny parking spaces. The freeways are massive in Oahu compared to the two lane roads throughout most of the Big Island, but the lanes are narrower and it feels like the cars are going to scratch the paint off your car as they pass.  Freeway driving takes a great deal of concentration on Oahu. There is just more room for cars and parking lots on the Big Island.

Shopping on Oahu is amazing. There are so many stores and malls it feels more like New York or Paris than Hawaii. On Oahu every neighborhood has a wide selection of stores and there are numerous malls.  The Big Island is just not the place to be if you like shopping, whereas Oahu has an amazing selection of things to buy and great prices.

Food shopping on Oahu is easy compared to the Big Island. There are numerous grocery stores with greater selection and lower prices than the Big Island stores. But Oahu does not compare to the Big Island for fruits and vegetables.  There are fewer Farmer’s markets on Oahu with limited selection compared to we had on the Big Island.  On Oahu, there is no place like Suisan or the Kona harbor with fresh fish and the amazing Big Island Beef is hard to find. Restaurants are abundant, excellent ,and affordable on Oahu, a very unfortunate thing for our waist lines. We never found a place on the Big Island that had consistently excellent food and service at an affordable price whereas on Oahu we have trouble deciding where to go among all the choices.

Weather and Vog
The weather on Oahu depends on where you live, just like the Big Island. We live in central Oahu where it is very rainy, similar to Hilo.  When we drive to west Oahu the weather is usually hot, dry and sunny, similar to Kohala. A bad Vog day on Oahu is like a no Vog day on the Big Island. We are happy to not have to deal with the Vog.

Rent and Jobs
Rents are substantially higher on Oahu than the Big Island.  We are paying $600 more a month in rent for a much smaller condo than we had on the Big Island. The same size and quality of rental on Oahu is about double the cost on the Big Island.  The driving factors for Oahu’s high rents seem to be the large number of soldiers who get a substantial housing allowance and the job market.  Getting a job on Oahu is fairly easy and although they pay better than Big Island jobs, the pay is still very low compared to the cost of housing.  The competition for housing can make it a challenge to even find a rental.

Beaches and Parks
The gorgeous white sand and black sand beaches on the Big Island are in a league of their own.  The famous North Shore beaches on Oahu are tiny with only a few places to  park along the road.  It is a big contrast to the Big Island’s long stretches of beach with large parking lots near many of them.  On Oahu, the malls are more accessible than the parks and trails and beaches.  We miss counting the turtles, talking to the eels, and enjoying the gorgeous scenery on our daily beach walks in Kohala.

We are enjoying our new life in central Oahu but we are missing the incredible outdoor lifestyle we had on the Big Island.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Surprising costs of an interisland move in Hawaii

Packing crates on the Big Island for Oahu
We always assumed that moving between islands in Hawaii would be much easier and cheaper than our move from California to Hawaii Island. The distance from Kawaihae harbor on the Big Island to Honolulu is only about 160 miles compared to 2300 miles from Oakland to Hilo, so we figured that the move would be less expensive and take less time. We were surprised to discover that the cost and complexity of an inter-island move is the same or more than our initial move to Hawaii from the mainland. 

The major expenses shipping between the islands include: 

  • the materials and labor to pack everything to survive an ocean trip, 
  • the labor to load a container or crates,
  • the cost of transporting the container or crates to the harbor,
  • the cost of shipping, 
  • and finally transporting the container to a residence and unloading. 

It turns out the fuel savings from shipping the shorter distance between islands versus from the mainland is only about $200.

In Hawaii, Young Brothers has a monopoly on all shipping routes between the islands. Young Brothers prices are based on weight with a set amount for different types of items such as cars, containers, cement, etc.. They publish their tariffs on their website. They do not offer the type of moving services Matson does, like dropping off a container at your residence and picking it up. 

So, to move personal effects you need, at a minimum, a moving company to deliver a container or  wooden crates and transport them to the harbor. The cost of loading a container or wooden crates (which have to be covered with plastic) and transporting them to the harbor is the same or more in Hawaii as on the mainland. In addition, the cost of packing everything for transportation, including the expense of boxes and wrapping material, is also the same or more on Hawaii as on the mainland. 

On the Big Island there are only six companies authorized to move between islands including Big Isle Moving, Royal Hawaiian, Kona Transportation, and Town and Country Moving. The moving companies provide door to door services including packing, loading, transporting to the harbor, pickup and unpacking. You can save some money by packing yourself. 

The moving companies send a person to estimate the total weight of your effects and overall moving costs. Regardless of their weight estimate, you are charged the actual weight of the container or crates weighed at the harbor for Young Brothers portion of the shipping costs. 

We had three local companies provide us an estimate and were shocked at the differences. Their  weight estimates ranged from 9300 pounds to 6100 pounds. Their cost estimates, after adding in packing, supplies, and delivery ranged from $10,000 to $4,621. 

Although all the moving companies use Young Brothers and their tariff rates are fixed, the actual rates they provided varied from $67 to $59 per 100 pounds.  Their moving estimates included only about 60 cents of insurance per pound. Additional insurance, which we required, was an added cost. 

The actual weight of the four crates was 6800 lbs. The crates took over a week to arrive in Honolulu from the Big Island, which was almost as long as our 20 foot Matson container took to get to Hilo from California. On the bright side, all of our things made it safely with no damage. 
Crates arriving in Oahu
Overall moving between islands in Hawaii was complicated, expensive, and time consuming.  Our  challenge now is getting all our stuff to fit into our much smaller apartment. 

In our next blog we will tell you about all the things, good and bad, that are different  living on Oahu than living on the Big Island.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Our Move to Oahu

Our Oahu Apartment
We loved living on Hawaii Island for the past 7 years.  We were able to experience the culture, climate, and life styles of Hilo, Kona, and Kohala.  The beaches, food, people, and amazing activities on the Big Island have been a constant source of entertainment and enjoyment for us.  Even so, our endless wanderlust, made us wonder what it would be like to live on the other islands in Hawaii.

Our son attended college on Oahu, so we visited the island many times.  Although the noise and congestion in Waikiki was too much for us, we marveled at the shops, restaurants and sights to see elsewhere on the island.   There is also the draw of jobs, particularly jobs requiring technical skills.  We started looking around and found a great job in West Oahu.  Last month, we moved from Hawaii Island to find out if living on Oahu is as much fun as it looks.  Our move kept us too busy and overwhelmed to blog; but we are back to it now.

Although we are in Oahu, we plan to continue to update our HiloLiving website and calendar.   We still own property on the Big Island and consider it our home. 

Our next blog will be about our move from Kohala on the Big Island to Oahu.  We always assumed that moving between islands in Hawaii would be  easier and cheaper than our move from California to Hilo.  We were very wrong.

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Big Island Independence Day weekend

Turtle Release Ceremony
If you are lucky enough to be on the Big Island for Independence Day, you may find it difficult to choose between all the amazing things to do on the fourth of July.

If you are in the Hilo area, the town is having a huge celebration on the bayfront called the Hilo Bay Blast on Independence Day.  The day’s finale will be a fireworks display provided by the Lehua Jaycee’s at 8 p.m. from Coconut Island. You can start early on Saturday, July 4th  by participating in "A Salute to Our Veterans" Hilo Bay 5K Run/Walk at Liliuokalani Gardens at 7 a.m..  There will be prizes for age groups for runners and walkers and special prizes for Fastest Male and Female, Most Patriotically Dressed, Best Decorated Wheelchair, Largest Group, Youngest/Oldest, and From Farthest Away. A donation of $25 includes a T-shirt, bag, bib, a chance to win one of 128 prizes and have lots of fun. Proceeds go to the building fund to build a commercial kitchen for VFW Post 3830. After the run, a “Hot Rides Expo” will start at 9 a.m. in the parking lots and soccer field makai of Kamehameha Avenue and will feature hundreds of vintage and modified classic cars. Games, cook-offs, and music will be happening along Hilo's bayfront throughout the day. The Hawaii County Band will perform in the Mo’oheau bandstand at 7 p.m right before the fireworks. Lihiwai Street will be closed throughout the day and Bayfront Highway will be closed from 6 to 10 p.m. Parking will be available at the Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium  and a  free shuttle service will take you to and from the bayfront area from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can call 961-8706 for more information.

If you are on the west side of the Big Island and want to see fireworks, there are two choices.  


Waikoloa Beach Resort is having a day-long family-friendly celebration with fireworks. The event starts at Queen’s marketplace at 11 a.m. with live entertainment. During the day there will be carnival games, face painting, balloon sculpting, and Zoo Choo train rides.  At 3 p.m. the 24th Annual Waikoloa Rubber Duckie Race will take place at the Kings’ Shops, which is a fund raiser for the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Hawaii. Adoption certificates for the rubber duckie race will be on sale until 3 p.m. on race day and offer a chance to win over $27,000 in prizes. Individual duckie adoptions are $5 each and Quack Packs are $25 each and include four duckie adoption certificates and one event T-shirt (while supplies last). There will be other festivities at the Kings’ Shops which start at 11 a.m. with a sidewalk sale, entertainment, and activities into the evening. At  4:30 p.m. the gates will open to Waikoloa Bowl at Queens' Gardens for the 4th of July Extravaganza. The free event will include live entertainment by Beyond Paradise and Johnny Shots. Bring a beach chair or blanket and enjoy a fun evening of music under the stars. Fireworks begin at 8 p.m.. This is a non-alcohol, non-smoking, and drug free event. 


In Kona, the 20th Annual Kailua-Kona Independence Day Parade will start at 6 p.m. at the Kekuaokalani Gym/Pool Complex.  The parade will proceed along Kuakini Highway to Palani Road, Alii Drive and end near Walua Road, just past Coconut Grove Marketplace. A fireworks show over Kailua Bay will start at 8 p.m.. 


Volcano Village will have a fourth of July parade and celebration starting a 9 a.m. at the Volcano Post Office and proceed along Old Volcano Road to Cooper Community Center on Wright Road.  The parade will feature the Hawaii County Band, floats, antique cars, fire engines, bicycles, horses, and animals in costume.  A Silent Auction Benefit will be held at Cooper Center from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m..  There is something for everyone at this event and the proceeds benefit the Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.  Music, games, food booths, a craft fair, and prizes will take place during the day in Volcano Village.  You can call 967-7800 for more information.


If you are looking for something more unique, you may find Turtle Independence Day at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel a perfect activity for the day.  Every year on July 4th, three and four year old turtles raised at the hotel are released into the ocean with big fanfare.  The beach in front of the hotel is gorgeous and everything is a celebration of the turtle.  The event will start at 10:30 a.m. and go until noon.  


A different sort of celebration takes place every year at Parker Ranch in Waimea at the Annual 4th Rodeo and Horse Races from 9 a.m. to noon. Big Island ranchers will participate in races and rodeo events with Parker Ranch cowboys. You will see ribbon mugging, ranch mugging, dally team roping, Po'o Wai U and more. Keiki activities including roping practice and pony rides. There will be lots of food and mementos for sale at the Parker Ranch Store booth. The events will take place at the Parker Ranch Rodeo Arena in Waimea. Tickets are $10 at the gate or available in advance at the Parker Ranch Store in Waimea (at Parker Ranch Square). 

If you want to extend the fun into Sunday, you can take the family to the 2nd Annual Sumerfest at the Shops at MaunaLani.  On Sunday, July 5th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the shops will host a 100 foot waterslide, games, and activities such as mini Kendama, carnival game booths, and Go Fish for kids. There will be free Billabong flash tattoos, free popcorn, and cotton candy, a balloon artist, a photo booth and more. You can visit specialty food booths such as Tommy Bahama Restaurant, Under the Bodhi Tree Restaurant, Sweet Eatz Gelato Truck, Kona Ice Truck and Cupcakes N Things. There will be music with DJ Ed Geer and fun games with great prizes from the Shops at Mauna Lani!  The event is free to the public. 

Even with so many events to choose from, our favorite activity is to go to the beach and enjoy the sun and surf. Happy Independence Day!!

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.  

Friday, March 13, 2015

Vog and Snow

Snow and clouds cover Mauna Kea
Like most of the world, the weather on the Big Island of Hawaii has been strange this year.  Two weeks ago the island was blanketed in vog from our constantly erupting volcano.  When the winds finally changed, it brought a thick blanket of clouds, rain and very cold temperatures

The heavy vog (volcanic smog) hung over us for over a week as a southern wind blew it north covering the west side of the island. When the vog gets thick, some people have a reaction in their lungs. The lung disease caused by inhaling very fine ash and sand from volcanoes, Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, is actually the longest word in the dictionary.  In our case, the vog lowers our energy and we feel like we are down with the flu.  Our only recourse is to stay inside and run the AC to get some of the sulfur dioxide out of our air. 

When the winds changed we got rain with record cold temperatures for March.  Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa are covered in snow with high winds and freezing fog. The huge Thirty Meter Telescope, under construction on Mauna Kea, was delayed from the blizzard.

While we bundle up in temperatures in the low 60’s (F), the ocean surrounding the Hawaiian Islands is not cooling down.  The water is warmer than normal by up to 3.6 degrees. Last week NOAA Climate Prediction Center predicted a 60% chance of El Nino conditions because of the unusual warm temperatures in the equatorial Pacific.  The effects of the El Nino last year produced 20 named storms in the Eastern Pacific, the most since 1992.

An El Nino means our cold weather will likely be followed by a dry summer and another active hurricane season.  

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 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. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Balmy arctic winter in Hawaii

Snow covered Mauna Kea
It has been a chilly winter on Hawaii Island this year.  It may be hard to believe that 61 degrees F is incredibly cold to us, but compared to our normal morning lows of 74 degrees, waking up in a room 13 degrees colder is quite a surprise.  On Oahu, temperatures in the 50’s were the coldest recorded in 122 years and far below the comfort level for those of us used to endless warm days.  Kauai and Maui have also broken temperature records in the 50’s this winter.

We have been bundling up in jackets for our chilly morning walks.  Visitors wearing shorts and tank tops give us funny looks as they walk by.  Mornings are the only time of day they are not overheated.   
View from Mauna Kea of the ocean below
Last year we had our warmest winter in Hawaii; most days the temperatures did not get below 81 degrees at night and it was over 100 degrees on our porch during the day in January.  This year is completely different with temperatures barely climbing to the mid-80’s during the heat of the day.

The cooler weather hasn’t dampened our enthusiasm for sitting on the beach to enjoy the ocean spray.  The whales have already arrived in Hawaii for the winter and we have seen them breaching.  It is unique to sit on the beach under palm trees and look up at snow covered Mauna Kea Volcano towering over us.   Where else in the world can you do that?