Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (3/14 – 3/20)

“I get up in the morning because there will be coffee” is a guiding principle in my life.

As this week is our one-year anniversary of returning to Kaua’i, I’ve been reflecting on all the positive changes I’ve made this past year for my health. I exercise more, I eat less, I’ve given up Diet Coke (still miss it now and again though), and changed my coffee drinking habits. 

I love coffee. I’ve been drinking it since I was around five years old. My grandmother took a coffee break almost every afternoon, and when I was over at her house she would make me my own little pot of coffee (with more milk and sugar than coffee), and we would sit in her breakfast room and chat while we sipped from our cups. My mom also drank heavily sugared coffee with lots of milk, and was notorious for leaving half-finished cups around the house – I would also take sips from those whenever I could. As I grew older I ditched the sugar, and then the milk, and by the time I finished high school I was drinking my coffee black which is how I prefer it now. I am hooked – I can think of a hundred things that would be easier for me to give up than coffee.

A year ago I was drinking four or more cups of coffee per day, mostly half-caffeinated. Last year my new doctor here suggested I cut back to just one cup a day, and I did . . . for a while. A few months ago I added back a second cup in the morning and am finding that’s the perfect amount for the day although I occasionally also have a cup of fully decaffeinated coffee in the afternoon. One cup a day was just not enough for this girl but I don’t need four cups any more.

Hawaiian comfort food

Sunday: Loco moco; cucumber spears; pumpkin cake with whipped coconut cream

A half-cup of pasta, half cup of sauce; and some grated Parmesan = perfect.

Monday: Spaghetti with meat sauce; pumpkin cake with whipped coconut cream

The rosemary in this dish comes from our yard!

Tuesday: Chicken risotto; roasted vegetables; pumpkin cake with whipped coconut cream

A perfect meal on an evening when I didn’t feel like cooking.

Wednesday: Roasted red pepper & tomato soup; ham sandwich; pumpkin cake 

Mabo nasu is mabo tofu with eggplant instead of tofu.

Thursday: CookDo mabo nasu with steamed rice; pumpkin cake

No pineapple allowed.

Friday: Ham & green pepper mini pizzas; pumpkin cake

The “Mexican” coleslaw was dressed with olive oil, lime juice, pepper, salt, and chili powder.

Saturday: Chili pork burritos; coleslaw; pumpkin cake

On the menu for next week’s dinners are:

  • Guacamole salad and grilled chicken sausages
  • Cheese tortellini with roasted red pepper sauce
  • Broccoli quiche
  • Ham fried rice
  • Tom Colicchio’s one-pan pasta with ham and broccoli
  • Breakfast for dinner (sausages, pancakes, and fruit)
  • Mini pizzas

Mid-week I’ll be making a Bacardi rum cake for our dessert.

It’s been another very irregular, and at times difficult week for walking. We took our regular day off last Monday (the weather was sketchy anyway), Tuesday was literally a washout, but Wednesday was lovely and cool and we walked nearly five miles. Thursday we were back to blustery and wet throughout the day, but things cleared up enough in the afternoon for us to walk nearly five miles again. The wind was ferocious though – at times it felt like we were either being pushed down the path or were walking in place and getting nowhere depending on which direction we were headed. Friday looked OK, but rain started shortly after we arrived and forced us to stop after walking only around a mile. Saturday was very windy again, but otherwise seemed OK until the rain started 10 minutes before the end of a nearly five-mile walk – we were pretty wet by the time we made it back to the car. Yesterday was beautiful again and we got in one more long walk for the week. To say we are looking forward to some consistent good weather at this point would be an understatement! 

There were rainbows almost every day this past week.

One of the benefits of the current awful weather we’ve been having though is that there’s been a rainbow almost every day, either over by our house or up at the park. I don’t think I will ever get tired of seeing rainbows, especially not the big, beautiful full arches that appear here. They never fail to take my breath away.

My upper right arm was quite sore from the vaccine for a couple of days, but I did my strength training without the weights and got through it, and was able to use the weights on Thursday. I have a much better idea now of which muscles are being worked on with each exercise!

12 thoughts on “Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (3/14 – 3/20)

  1. I’ve started a journal to help me with eating less & moving more & too see where I need to improve. I know for sure – less sweets, smaller portions, drink more water & walk more. Don’t know if I have the courage to put my notes in a post, we’ll see how this 1st week goes. Just started yesterday, reading your stay healthy posts have been motivation & inspiration. Thanks & keep up your good works. The rainbow was a good picture. Tomato soup is my all time favorite soup. I craved it when I was pregnant.

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    1. Keeping track of how much I eat, drink, and exercise has made a BIG difference in my ability to change. I hated it at first but now it’s second nature. I am also having fun taking pictures of our meals, trying to make the food look good. It always looks like a lot of food but the portions are actually quite small (but satisfying).

      I am in love with Pacific Foods roasted red pepper and tomato soup. I get a case shipped to me from Amazon every few months.

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  2. Coffee in the morning is a must for me. When I need a fasting blood test, it’s a bad morning. Ha! I don’t drink it black though. And I never drank it until I was in my 30’s. Can’t really remember how I started, but now I’m hooked. That said, after my two morning cups, I’m done. If I drink any of it in the afternoon, I’m up until midnight wondering why I’m awake. 🤪

    A former co-worker just spent a week in Hawaii and posted a lot of really beautiful rainbow pics. She said the weather was iffy, but it meant lots of rainbows. And they golfed a lot. They were on Maui and also wanted to see sunrise on Haleakala, but it was not meant to be this time. Those pics are wet and gray but also included a rainbow. They go to Hawaii pretty much annually, so I’m sure they’ll be back.

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    1. Thankfully black coffee is allowed before a fasting blood draw because otherwise I’m not sure how I would manage. I get antsy when Brett doesn’t have the coffee ready to go when I wake up in the morning, and the saddest part of my day is when I finish that second cup.

      The weather has been miserable, but today is lovely and tomorrow is supposed to be even better. We have grown very, very weary though of the wind at night (sounds like a freight train moving through the yard) and the rain. I felt very sorry this past week for the visitors who were here. Kaua’i (and Hawaii) was not at its best.

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  3. Well done on all those positive changes. Wild or wet weather is nice for a change but after a couple of days it’s tedious, getting in the way of walks. We’ve had a week of heavy rain ( and flooding in parts of Sydney) and I haven’t been able to go for walks. Long for a sunny day or at least no rain so I can go for a walk. Don’t long for the end of rain as much as those who have been evacuated.

    Love your rainbow pics.

    Mr S and I don’t drink coffee. We’re tea drinkers. Lots and lots of tea.

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    1. The changes have taken me a while, like nearly a year, but they’re pretty much engrained now.

      The rain and wind last week was absolutely miserable. We’ve got a beautiful day today though, and tomorrow is predicted to be even nicer. However, evening temperatures have been low and are supposed to go lower. Since we have little to no insulation, the house gets very uncomfortable.

      Brett snapped that rainbow picture – I made him.

      I like tea, and have tried more than once to drop the coffee and switch to tea, but it’s never worked. The coffee craving and satisfaction is too strong.

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  4. I want to look at all of your recipes from this post. What’s the easiest way to do that?
    Thanks so much!

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    1. Here goes: The recipe for the meat sauce for pasta is on the blog. There’s no recipe for the soup (Pacific Foods Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato) or the sandwich (just sliced ham on whole wheat bread with lettuce, mayonnaise, and a little mustard). No recipe either for the pizza – I use mini naan breads for the crusts, top with pizza sauce, mozzarella, and this week added diced green pepper and ham. Loco moco is super easy: cooked rice topped with a hamburger patty and covered with brown gravy, and then topped with a sunny side up fried egg and some chopped green onion. You can make it as big or little as you like. The mabo nasu is ground pork and Chinese eggplant (I steam it first so it’s soft) that’s mixed with CookDo’s Mabo nasu sauce and then served with steamed rice. I will put the recipe for the chili pork burritos in a comment below this one.

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      1. CHILI PORK BURRITOS

        1 pound lean pork, cut into 1-inch pieces

        1 small onion, cut into thin slices

        1/4 cup all purpose flour

        2 TBSP vegetable or olive oil

        1 8-oz can of tomato sauce

        2 7-oz cans of diced green chilis (NOT jalapenos)

        salt & pepper to taste

        refried beans or steamed rice flavored lightly with taco seasoning (about 1 tsp of spice for 1 cup uncooked rice)

        large flour tortillas

        shredded cheese (optional)

        Put the flour into a bag; add pork pieces and shake until all pieces are coated (you can add a little salt and pepper to the flour if desired). Heat oil in a large, heavy saucepan; when the oil is hot add pork pieces and onion, and saute over medium-high heat until pork is browned and onion are semi-soft, being careful not to burn the pork. Add the can of tomato sauce and 3 cans of water; stir to bring up the “crunchy bits” from the bottom of the pan. Add the cans of diced chilis and salt & pepper to taste. Turn the heat to low and simmer for at least one hour, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and reduces by at least one-third to one-half.

        To make burritos, warm the flour tortillas. Place a small amount of refried beans or rice (or both if you want) near one side of the tortilla, top with approximately 1/4 cup of the sauce (and some grated cheese, if you are using it). Fold over the top, fold up the sides and then roll the tortilla to wrap everything up. Place on a plate and cover with another 1/4 cup of the sauce. The leftover sauce is wonderful over eggs for breakfast.

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  5. Happy one year back on Kaua’i! You may have addressed this before, but I have to ask: does anyone from Hawai’i actually eat Hawaiian pizza (e.g. ham and pineapple, with or without green peppers)? I know it is not original to your state!

    I am sorry to hear your islands have been inundated with tourists who are not following Covid protocols.

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    1. We’re feeling sort of stunned that we’ve been here a year – it doesn’t seem that long.

      I’m sure you can get a “Hawaiian pizza” here but I’m not sure it’s what I’d call a preference. It definitely did not originate here!

      A friend over on Oahu said there were loads of tourists not wearing masks. Cases of the virus have already started to climb again too and she’s afraid of another shutdown (she works at Waikiki).

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