Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (4/10 – 4/16)

This will be my last structured eating and exercise post for around a month, but I’ll start it up again once we’re settled in Mexico. There’s just going to be too much take out, too many microwaved meals, etc. as well as too much to do between now and when we arrive in San Miguel de Allende. The Monday posts have been very helpful for me, not only to track our eating and exercise but also for menu planning and helping us stay within our budget when food shopping, so they will return.

In the meantime we still plan to watch and count our calories, and choose healthy foods as much as possible. Both Brett and I have made too much progress over the past two years to throw out everything we’ve learned and changed. Being on the move for the next few weeks is going to be a challenge but we’re determined to eat as well as we can under the circumstances.

Last week’s meals almost completely cleaned out the freezer, and there’s only a very few items left in the pantry. Our standout meal for the week was the mabo tofu with beansprouts. The combination of tofu and mung bean sprouts in mabo tofu sauce was a happy accident when I neglected to add the bean sprouts to last week’s pad thai. I don’t think we’ll ever make it any other way again, it was that delicious. However, adding the rest of the bean sprouts to the vegetable soup was less than idea as they soft of overpowered all the other vegetables.

Sunday: Mabo tofu with beansprouts; rice

Monday: Vegetable & barley soup; toasted cheese sandwiches

Tuesday: Breakfast for dinner: waffle; vegan sausage patties; strawberry syrup

Wednesday: Thin crust margherita pizza

Thursday: Tofu burger; rice; cucumber spears

Friday: Bean, rice, and cheese burritos; coleslaw

Saturday: Mini cheese pizzas on artisan bread

We finished the chocolate-avocado ice cream this past week but still have a two more evenings of chocolate-filled crepes to enjoy. Our other dessert this week will be small bowls of Anahola Granola to finish that up. We plan to pick up something special at a local pastry shop to share for Brett’s birthday celebration on Friday, and will try to find something else for our regular evening dessert.

Next week’s meals will use up everything that’s left in the freezer and pantry. Once it’s all gone we’ll start getting takeout, mostly sandwiches and such. A whole deli sandwich easily feeds the two of us these days.

  • Tofu & pepper stir fry
  • Chili shrimp
  • Vegetable & barley soup
  • Vegetable spring rolls
  • Tofu & broccoli stir fry
  • Something from Konohiki Seafood
  • Take out
The dying grass was still visible after two days of rain.

We had to give up walking laps in the yard as we were killing the lawn, not something we want to do right before we move out of our apartment. Thankfully we’ve been getting lots of activity indoors with packing and other chores, but we sure miss our hikes and walks.

Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (4/3 – 4/9)

The next two weeks are going to be interesting as well as a challenge. Our car sold extremely quickly (we figured it would take a week or so, but it sold in a day), and now we are without transportation until the 22nd of the month and will be living off what we have in the house. The buyer was nice enough to take us over to our local Big Save to buy a few things before we handed over the keys, but we really didn’t have time to plan and hope we picked up enough to carry us through until we can get to a store again.

We bought lots of fruit and vegetable, a couple of packages of CookDo sauces, and a pad thai dinner kit, as well as a special treat to celebrate the sale of the car. We think we have enough on hand to carry us through until the 22nd, but while our meals will stay healthy they are going to get repetitive and there may be some weird combinations of things. The goal remains to use up everything we have on hand so that we can segue into sandwiches and other take-out meals our final week here, when we’ll have a car but no way left to prepare any meals other than heating things in a microwave (and we won’t have dishes to eat off of either other than paper plates and bowls and plastic cutlery).

We ate more carbs than usual last week or at least it seemed that way, but last week’s meals helped us get rid of several condiments and other items that were still in the fridge and the pantry. We finished up some barbecue sauce with the corn dogs; pickled ginger with the curry; soba noodles, soba tsuyu (dipping sauce), nori (seaweed), and katsuobushi (bonito flakes) for the zaru soba; and arborio rice in the risotto. We’re going to make an effort to use up more this coming week, but there are some thing we won’t be able to finish, including bottles of oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, and Worcestershire sauce from the fridge or red wine vinegar, sesame oil, and vanilla in the pantry. We keep trying though.

Sunday: Vegan corn dogs; coleslaw

Monday: Stouffer’s macaroni & cheese; roast vegetables

Tuesday: Vegetable curry; rice

Wednesday: Zaru soba; hayayakko; namasu

Thursday: Shrimp risotto; steamed green beans

Friday: Pad thai with shrimp

Saturday: Mini pizzas with roasted vegetables

We enjoyed chocolate filled crepes with a little whipped cream on top and the avocado chocolate ice cream for our desserts all week, with the exception of Japanese taiyaki ice cream treats, filled with green tea ice cream and sweet red beans, that we bought to celebrate the quick sale of the car.

The outer fish shell holds creamy ice cream inside, and is the same as a cake cup. The tai, or sea bream, symbolizes good luck or auspicious happenings in Japanese culture.

We have four containers of tofu that have to be used up in the next two weeks, so it will appearing in two different meals this week. Otherwise we’re continuing to use up what we have in the freezer and fridge. Our mabo tofu will include an unusual ingredient this week: bean sprouts. We bought some to go into the pad thai, and I completely forgot to add them!

  • Margherita pizza
  • Breakfast for dinner (pancakes, sausages, & fruit)
  • Tofu burgers
  • Mabo tofu
  • Bean, rice, & cheese burritos
  • Mini pizzas
  • Vegetable & barley soup

There was no hiking this past week and sadly won’t be any more for a couple more weeks. The first setback was my walking shoes giving out last weekend. They had been growing more and more uncomfortable but finally got so bad I said, “no more!” Next, the weather (rain and wind) conspired almost all of last week to keep us indoors, except for Wednesday when we took advantage of the sunshine to get our car ready for sale. That effort provided us with a LOT of exercise even if it wasn’t walking.

We’re grateful for the wonderful walking and hiking venues Kaua’i has provided for the past two years, helping us to lose weight and be in the best possible shape for our upcoming adventures.

Finally, with our car gone we are now stuck at our apartment for the next couple of weeks until it’s time to pick up our rental car. As necessity is the mother of invention, and we have no way to get anywhere except for calling Uber, we decided to try walking laps in our back yard for exercise, and try to do three sets a day of 30 laps. That has gone better than expected and provided good mileage and steps, so we will continue until we have a car again.

Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (3/27 – 4/2)

We ate well this past week, especially on Wednesday, our anniversary Day of No Cooking. We ate meat that day and on another couple of days in the Asian chicken wrap sandwiches we bought at Costco, and even though all was delicious we decided at the end of the week that we preferred not eating meat. We’re not ever going to go full vegetarian or vegan, and meat will appear again in the future, but only very occasionally. We just feel better overall when meat is not a part of our diet, even in small amounts.

Two small pieces of friend chicken and five small pork wontons each almost proved to be too much – we could barely finish.

I’ve also started thinking this past week about what we’ll take with us to the condo for our last eight days on Kaua’i. The condo comes equipped with a small refrigerator, microwave, toaster, and coffee maker. It would be easiest to take things like pastries and other quick items, but with some effort we can continue healthy eating in our temporary quarters. I see avocado toast and Kodiak protein toaster waffles with fruit in our future for breakfasts and sandwiches and vegan/vegetarian entrees for lunch and dinner. We’re determined to take along everything we will need when we move up to the condo and not spend on eating out (except for one meal out with a friend).

Since we no longer have a dining table we have to hold our plates in our laps these days. We picked up some healthy, vegan/organic, and easy options at Costco last week including bean, rice & cheese burritos, vegetable & barley soup, and our favorite vegetable spring rolls with edamame, so we’re mostly good to go for the next few weeks. It will be interesting to see how it goes when we have soup.

Below are our dinners last week. We each ate just one of the Asian chicken wraps, and had the other two halves for lunch another day. My vegan platter from The Beach House was the highlight of the week for me – the vegetable preparations were amazing.

Sunday: Chick’n pot pie

Monday: Vegetable spring rolls; rice; sweet & sour coleslaw

Tuesday: Costco Asian chicken wrap sandwiches

Wednesday: Local vegetable platter (Laura), and seared ahi; garlic mashed potatoes; and sautéed broccoli (Brett)

Thursday: Bean, rice, and cheese burritos; spicy coleslaw

Friday: Thai peanut mini pizzas

Saturday: Sweet & sour shrimp; rice

We finished the red velvet cupcakes and coconut cake last week, but Costco didn’t have any fudge cupcakes when we shopped so we instead bought some vegan chocolate ice cream made with avocado and a package of chocolate-filled crepes for our desserts for the next couple of weeks. Both are very yummy and both have fewer calories than the cupcake quarter or slice of coconut cake, an added bonus.

I’m looking forward to next week’s menu. None of it is difficult to fix and some of it will use more things up. It does sort of feel like we’re camping though.

  • Vegetable curry
  • Vegan corn dogs
  • Shrimp risotto
  • Mini pizzas
  • Macaroni & cheese
  • Vegetable & barley soup; toasted cheese sandwiches
  • Zaru soba; hayayakko

Hiking was once again a mixed bag last week. On Monday we did a full hike on the Old Hapa Road trail. It was a breezy day, and we went later than usual so that the sun wouldn’t beat down on us (there’s no shade out on the trail). That’s one thing I love about this time of year: the sun goes down later and we can walk later in the day. Tuesday we did our not-so-big shop at Costco and Walmart. It always involves a lot of walking, and although it’s not as brisk as a regular hike we’re always end up feeling more worn out and tired than we do from a regular hike.

There were lots of stunning views to take in around Nawiliwili Harbor. The various lava formations were also fascinating, but they made walking difficult at times.

Wednesday’s hike was on the east side shore path, around Nawiliwili Harbor and Ninini Bay. If not for Brett’s previous visits I would have never known the path was there as you have to drive through a golf course and resort to get to the parking area, and access to the trail is not well marked. There were LOTS of interesting lava formations to check out along the way, but they were also very difficult to climb/hike over – I was in constant fear of falling. The views were spectacular however so a good time was had. The weather that day was sunny and HUMID, a good preview of what summer will be like in Nashville!

There are two very small, private beaches on the shore of Ninini Bay (although swimming there would be dangerous). The rest of the shore is lava rock. Nene, endangered Hawaiian geese, were spotted on our walk down to the bay, always a happy sight.

Thursday we headed back to the Old Hapa Road, but had an early turn-around because it started to rain. Friday and Saturday were both very stormy, with lots of rain and very strong winds. Both were good days to stay indoors and read and accomplish other things. The week coming up doesn’t look so good either, but we’re hoping to get out as much as we can.

Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (3/20 – 3/26)

Can healthy eating and convenience or prepared foods co-exist? I think so . . . IF labels are carefully read and portion sizes are watched. Brett and I are continuing to try to follow Michael Pollen’s seven rules for healthy eating as much as we can, even as we add more prepared foods into our diet. We still are

  • Eating as much real food as we can
  • Trying not to eat too much of it
  • Trying to eat mostly plants
  • Not eating anything our great grandmothers wouldn’t recognize as food
  • Not eating anything with more than five ingredients, or ones we can’t pronounce
  • Staying out of the middle of the supermarket (impossible here as Asian food ingredients are right in the middle of supermarkets!)
  • Not eating anything that won’t eventually rot.

I admit to still being a work in progress when it comes to good eating, but I’ve made huge progress in the past couple of years. It’s sometimes difficult to find the right combinations of healthy ingredients, convenience, and economics when it comes to buying food but I do the best I can for us, and our efforts to eat better have paid off. I still cook with fresh ingredients, organic as much as I can, although I’m still quick to use sauces like CookDo or buy prepared desserts (especially since our current oven is less than ideal for baking). It’s also getting harder to avoid other prepared foods these days as we transition out of our apartment and live on the road again.

Anyway, we had some good meals last week. All easy to prepare and healthy. The surprise favorite was the Japanese seafood pancakes – they were very yummy. We’ve got our fingers crossed they’ll still be in stock at Walmart next time we shop.

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner (plant-based sausage patties; protein waffles; spiced apples

Monday: Broccoli & tofu stir fry in spicy peanut sauce; rice

Tuesday: Margherita pizza

Wednesday: Japanese seafood pancakes; rice; cucumber slices

Thursday: Coconut dal with squash; rice; roasted zucchini with Indian spices

Friday: Mini pizzas with masala & leftover spice-roasted squash

Saturday: Tofu with Thai red curry sauce; rice; sweet & sour coleslaw

Desserts this past week have been quarter pieces of Costco’s giant red velvet cupcakes or slices of Pepperidge Farm coconut cake. We’re trying to come up with some new dessert ideas for the next couple of weeks, but will probably pick up another package of Costco’s fudge cupcakes – they’re delicious and reasonably priced.

We’ll be shopping again tomorrow and are thinking about maybe getting a casserole at Costco (if there’s a vegetarian one), or possibly some soup, and who knows what we’ll find at Walmart – it’s always a mystery about what will be in stock. We have a pretty good idea of what we’ll be having on our Day of No Cooking (Wednesday) though, and meat will be eaten.

  • Chick’n pot pie
  • Macaroni & cheese
  • Vegetable spring rolls
  • ?? Shrimp fried rice
  • ?? Bean & rice burritos
  • ?? Sweet & sour shrimp
  • Mini pizzas
  • Day of No Cooking

Clockwise from the top left: Historic San Raphael church on Thursday, before the rain started; fat cows grazing among the cactus; Haupa Mountain (Black Mountain) from the trail; San Raphael in the sunshine; some of Old Hapa Road’s original lava rock paving.

This was not the best week for hiking, at least for me. I was under the weather on Monday, so Brett headed out on his own. It rained all day Tuesday, but it was cool and breezy on Wednesday so we decided to hike the Old Hapa Road. Rain threatened the entire way, but luckily didn’t show up while we were on the trail. Thursday was overcast and very windy, so we decided to hike the Old Hapa Road again. We were five minutes down the trail when the heavens opened up, pouring sheets of rain, and we were thoroughly soaked by the time we made it back to the car. However, the sun was out on Friday (still very windy though) so we hiked the Hapa Road trail again. Saturday was furniture moving day, and Brett and I both got a workout, Brett especially because he turned out to be the only help the buyer had to get the furniture out of our apartment and into their home. We enjoyed our day off yesterday, and are hoping for better hiking weather this week.

Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (3/13 – 3/19)

I noticed this past week that it’s been keeping a food diary for nearly two years, tracking what I eat, the calories, and my exercise on MyFitnessPal. I still plan my meals the day before and pretty much stick with what I’ve planned. I’m going to continue to the best of my ability while we’re traveling as keeping a diary (as well as continuing to measure every portion) has been a big contributor to my weight loss.

One issue we’re facing now is we’re running out of ingredients and don’t want to replace them before we leave unless absolutely necessary. For example, we no longer have any sugar other than a little bit of brown. We use very little sugar as it is, but it’s a necessary ingredient in namasu or three bean salad, for example, so I’m no longer making those salads. We also only had a very little oil left, both vegetable and olive. We really didn’t want to buy more of these ingredients as we know we won’t finish them but we decided vegetable oil at the least was a necessity and picked up a small bottle last week. We’ll have to toss anything that’s left over, which may or may not be most of a container, but we know we’re coming to a place where we’ll be using even more prepared foods which don’t require separate ingredients.

Pickings were somewhat slim at the stores last week. We bought sushi at Costco for our dinner on Monday, but the quality has gone w-a-y down and it was disappointing. Walmart’s vegan selections were also very picked over. Between what we found and already had on hand, we still managed to come up with some tasty, healthy meals last week.

Sunday: Chick’n pot pie

Monday: Sushi; cucumber slices; apple slices

Tuesday: Cacio & pepe; roasted zucchini

Wednesday: Tofu & pepper stir fry; rice

Thursday: Zaru soba; hayayakko (chilled tofu); cucumber slices

Friday: Mini pizzas with roasted vegetables

Saturday: Shrimp risotto; roasted zucchini & peppers

There won’t be a lot of cooking going on next week. Everything other than the tofu and broccoli stir fry requires little preparation.

  • Breakfast for dinner: waffles & vegan sausage
  • Mini pizzas
  • Tofu & broccoli in spicy peanut sauce
  • Margherita pizza
  • Japanese seafood pancake with shrimp & squid
  • Indian coconut squash dal
  • Tofu with Thai red curry sauce
Matcha Swiss roll

We had matcha roll cake for dessert a couple of evenings last week. We hadn’t seen it in the stores for a while, so when we spotted it at Times Market we picked one up. Otherwise we’ve been alternating between red velvet cupcakes and coconut cake for our dessert each evening. We should be thoroughly tired of each by the time we finish them and be ready to move on to something different.

We’re always finding interesting things to stop and look at out on the Maha’ulepu Trail. This past week we spotted a cairn made by other hikers, a lone sea grape plant, strange orange mushrooms, and a giant curving root (from the side it looks like a giant iguana crossing the trail).

We got in four good walks this past week. Although not as strenuous as our hikes, we always get in more than an hour’s worth of walking on our food shopping day, and it’s always far more tiring than our hikes. We did our regular Maha’ulepu hikes Wednesday through Friday. We spent two days at the beach (Brett still hiked the trail) on Tuesday and Saturday, and took our regular day off on Sunday. The ocean was very rough on Thursday and Friday, and as always we paused along the way on our hikes to watch the waves pound the cliffs, sending spray up and over the top. The sight is always breathtaking.

I didn’t carry my phone last week, but caught this shot of a wave sending spray over the top of the cliff a couple of weeks ago. Brett and I have become pretty good judges of whether a wave will hit the rocks in such a way to create spray, and the ones on Thursday and Friday last week pretty much all created massive displays. It was mesmerizing.

Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (2/28 – 3/5)

I initially had decided to fold this post into the weekly Sunday one, but over the last month I received so many likes on these posts that I decided it was worth keeping as a regular Monday feature.

We are slowly moving toward eating more prepared foods as our goal the next two months is to use up as much as possible so very little has to be thrown away when we move out of apartment. Our pantry grows more empty every day, and we’re slowly using up the many condiments in our refrigerator. There will obviously be things that we won’t be able to finish (like a jar of hot peppers or a jar of YaYu’s spicy chili crisp that she left behind), but we’re going to try our best. Anyway, vegan entrees and such are filling in a lot of slots in our menu these days and will continue to do so until we leave.

We had lots of tasty dinners this week. The California roll salad helped us almost finish our remaining rice (once it’s gone we’re going to use Japanese microwave cooked rice). I used quinoa this past week to make fried “rice” which used up the remainders of a bag of quinoa, and our chicken patty sandwiches used up some barbecue sauce (and we ate the last of some corn chips that we had gotten for the girls and then forgotten about – they were “refreshed” in the microwave). There were of course mini pizzas one evening – we have two jars of pizza sauce to use up – and otherwise meals were made from items in the freezer or the pantry.

Sunday: Vegan chick’n pot pie (with added black pepper)

Monday: California roll salad

Tuesday: Chick’n patty sandwiches with barbecue sauce; corn chips

Wednesday: Shrimp fried quinoa

Thursday: Roasted poblano enchiladas; cilantro rice; cucumber spears

Friday: Cheese mini pizzas with pepper and onion

Saturday: Breakfast for dinner (pancakes; plant-based sausage patties; fresh blueberry syrup; vegan sausage patties)

Desserts this past week were either Girl Scout cookies (four Thin Mints and two Samoas, our favorites), a quarter piece of one of Costco’s jumbo fudge cupcakes, or two pieces of mochi ice cream. This week we’ll segue into Costco’s red velvet cupcakes, Pepperidge Farm coconut cake, and a little more mochi ice cream. Having a tiny dessert and sharing a cup of coffee after dinner has become one of our favorite rituals and keeps us away from sweets the rest of the day.

Next week’s menu will continue to include prepared foods or convenience items, like the chili shrimp sauce and tofu burger mix. I’m not cooking much at all these days.

  • Macaroni & cheese
  • Margherita pizza
  • Fried chick’n with mashed potatoes & country gravy
  • Corn dogs
  • Chili shrimp
  • Mini pizzas
  • Tofu burgers

There are so many fascinating rocks and rock formations out on the Maha’ulepu Trail, from volcanic basalt to lava rocks to sandstone with everything in between. Sometimes it feels like we’re walking on the moon. I would be in heaven if I were a geologist.

The good weather we’ve been having means more beach days which means fewer days for walking, but we still aim to get in a minimum of four days per week. The Maha’ulepu Trail is our hiking venue these days, but the trailhead sits right next to Shipwreck Beach, so if we go there to the beach Brett will take a solo hike while I stay back on the beach with our stuff. The trail has all sorts of different paths and detours coming off of it, and it took me almost all of last month to figure out and remember our route without getting lost. We always stop along the way for a few moment to watch if we spot whales or other sea creatures (sea turtles and giant manta rays!), or if the waves are crashing particularly high against the cliffs, but mostly we just walk out and back and enjoy the views along the way.

Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (1/16 – 1/22)

All the walking and hiking we’ve done over the past two years, and the changes we’ve made in what and how we eat in the last six months have made a real difference. Both Brett and my lab numbers this year were better than they’ve ever been and the doctor is very happy with our current weight as well. More than our appearance, the fact that our eating and exercise these days has made such a profound improvement in our health is what really matters to us. We feel like we’re heading overseas this time in our best shape ever, complete with vaccines, boosters, and our cholesterol and other numbers in a very good place. We’re determined to keep it going!

With the girls gone Brett and I are back to having to finish up lots of leftovers. The curry I made last week provided days of leftovers as did the broccoli & tofu stir fry. I guess it’s one of the curses of eating smaller portions these days. Other than the risotto we’re going to have next week though, everything this coming week is a one-and-done meal. Both Brett and I enjoy having leftovers available for our lunches, but day after day of the same thing is something we always hope to avoid.

We have once again using the dishes we bought when we arrived in 2020, before our storage shipment arrived. We had put them away for YaYu, but she doesn’t really want them and we figured it will cost us less to give her what we would have paid for shipping them and let her buy something she likes. We can either sell these dishes at our yard sale or take them to the thrift store. Anyway, photography has been a challenge. I miss our Japanese dishes but they have now either been packed for storage or sent on to Meiling and WenYu.

Sunday: Japanese curry with tofu & vegetable; brown rice

Monday: Chopped vegetable & barley soup; Parmesan toasted bread

Tuesday: Broccoli & tofu stir fry in spicy peanut sauce; brown rice

Wednesday: Chick’n pot pie; roasted zucchini

Thursday: Vegetable potsticker soup with spinach

Friday: Cheese mini pizzas

Saturday: Chili shrimp; brown rice; namasu

We enjoyed small pieces of the chocolate mini cakes all last week but finished them last night. This coming week we’re having lemon meringue pie again!

Next week’s menu goes around the world: We’re having Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Italian, and American dishes, all without a bit of meat!

  • Zaru soba & hiyayakko (chilled tofu)
  • Vegetable spring rolls with rice
  • Poblano enchiladas
  • Mini pizzas
  • Vegan corn dogs & onion rings
  • Turk’y cutlets with gravy
  • Risotto with peas
Farewell to Kukuiolono, our walking venue for nearly two years.

Monday through Wednesday we walked the perimeter of the golf course – the weather and temperature were perfect, and my foot barely hurt at all and was getting better. As we got near to finishing our walk on Wednesday though, the groundskeeper (not our favorite guy) rolled up to us in his golf cart and told us he would ignore our walking that day but going forward there would be NO further walking on the course allowed until after 6:00 p.m. and he would be enforcing the “new rule.” He was very unpleasant. There was not a golfer in sight at any hole on the course, and we don’t go out on the course if there is, so we’re not sure what changed or why, but Brett and I decided it was the last straw for us and we would walk elsewhere for the rest of our time on Kaua’i. We have loved walking at Kukuiolono, but we are not willing to get into it with some guy on a power trip (our favorite groundskeeper ignores the rule if there are no golfers out) and we’re not the types to sneak around. The park closes at 6:30, so there’s no longer a way to get in a perimeter walk in if we come at 6:00 either.

We enjoyed beautiful views from the Maha’ulepu trail on Wednesday.

So, on Thursday we headed over to the Maha’ulepu heritage trail. That hike didn’t go so well. We had come directly from my skin check appointment and my blood sugar was low, and we hadn’t brought a snack. It was also hot and humid, and I had forgotten my hat. Finally, we walked too far into some very rough terrain which set off the neuroma in my foot and the bursitis in my hips. By the time we got back to the car I was a wreck! Still, the views were beautiful and we decided to give it another try on Friday, this time equipped with snacks and hats. We turned around before we reached the rough part, ate our snack at the turn-around, drank a lot of water and we both felt great when we finished. Best of all, my foot and hips didn’t hurt at all. We thought rain might keep us from walking there on Saturday, but the trail was dry and although the humidity was a bit high, the temperature was cool and there was a nice breeze. The trailhead for Maha’ulepu is located fairly close to us, and as it’s a beautiful walk along the shore it’s where we’ll do our walking until we leave. We got in a full six days of walks/hikes this past week, something that hadn’t happened in a while.

Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (1/9 – 1/15)

While the girls were here there were an awful lot of snacks around, but now that it’s just Brett and me again they’ve disappeared. I didn’t go crazy snacking, but the macadamia nut caramel corn, mochi peanuts, the Kaua’i Kookies, and other Hawaii/Kaua’i treats were definitely a distraction, especially since they all were left out in a corner in the kitchen so the girls could easily grab something.

Brett and I do snack, but they are measured and in my case, recorded and limited to once a day. Our favorite afternoon treat these days are Nature’s Bakery fig bars (original, blueberry, or raspberry – 200 calories per pack), but I’ve also come to love Thinaddictive’s Cranberry-Almond Thins (100 calories per package). Both provide a nice boost in late afternoon when my blood sugar is dropping. Brett also eats a small dish of roasted peanuts every day, but we have stopped buying them and when the current container runs out, that’s it. Snacking has been our downfall in the past but over the past couple of years we’ve changed our ways and are counting on new habits to see us through while we travel.

Last week’s meals involved finishing up odds and ends of things we had on hand before YaYu left while making sure she got to enjoy things she loved, with Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese at the top of her list.

Sunday: Chopped vegetable & barley soup; toasted cheese sandwiches

Monday: Fried rice with surumi & vegetables

Tuesday: Vegetable egg rolls & potstickers; steamed rice; sweet & sour coleslaw

Wednesday: Macaroni & cheese; roasted mixed vegetables

Thursday: Crispy chick’n patty sandwiches; leftover namasu; fruit salad

Friday: Mini cheese pizzas

Saturday: Cheesy white bean-tomato bake with zucchini

We enjoyed three evenings of olive oil orange cake at the beginning of the week, and then I discovered a last six-pack pack of All-American fudge cake cupcakes at Costco and snapped those up. We have been having just a quarter of one of those for our dessert and it’s plenty – it’s almost too much chocolate, if that’s possible.

I cannot imagine eating half of one of these mini cakes, let alone a whole one. It makes my teeth hurt just to think about it. A fourth of one is just right!

Brett and I have returned to vegetarian/vegan meals and get to enjoy a few favorites this week, especially since Meiling brought us a few greatly-missed items from Trader Joe’s. We’re especially looking forward to the potsticker soup, made with TJ’s ginger-miso broth.

  • Vegan burgers
  • Chili shrimp
  • Curry with tofu, cauliflower, & carrots
  • Mini pizzas
  • Broccoli & tofu stir fry in spicy peanut sauce
  • Chick’n pot pie
  • Vegetable potsticker soup with bok choy

After a week off from walking for me, we walked every day this past week mostly around the perimeter of the golf course, approximately two and a half miles, and at a slightly slower pace than we do on pavement. I was happy to find that while my foot was a bit sore while I walked, it never really became outright painful, further proof (to me, anyway), that the uneven pavement and fast pace we had been walking were what brought on the Morton’s Neuroma. We avoided looking for golf balls unless we found them right under our feet, and only brought home six last week. Brett has cleaned them up and they’ll be given to our favorite groundskeeper next time we see him.

Scenes from around the golf course this week: a floral carpet after a windstorm; storm clouds in the distance; a air fern growing in the roots of a giant fiscus tree.

My walking shoes are also part of the problem with my foot – they are almost completely worn out – and if we were leaving in less than four months they would be replaced. But I’m not taking along walking shoes this time. I have two pairs of Sketchers, my Duckfeet boots, and my blue suede boots and red slip-ons and those should be enough for our usual walking. IF I feel I need some dedicated walking shoes while we’re overseas, I will buy them there.

Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (1/2 – 1/8)

I’ve really enjoyed cooking with YaYu these past few weeks. She and I make a good team: I create the mise en place (i.e. do all the chopping and other prep) and then she comes in and magically puts it all together and seasons everything perfectly. All three of our daughters have become good cooks, but YaYu is the one who enjoys it the most.

With YaYu leaving at the end of the week, Brett and my new motto going forward is “use it up.” We will still shop and continue to follow a vegetarian diet, but our main goal will be to finish up the many things we have on hand in the pantry and refrigerator, like condiments or baking supplies. There’s not a lot and it’s going to take some creativity, but hopefully we will be able to use everything and not have to replace anything. I doubt we’ll be buying much at Costco before we leave other than travel supplies, produce, and a couple of other things we use regularly, but I’m still hoping we can keep to a healthy well-balanced diet while not blowing up our food budget.

Meals last week were fairly simple. The spicy Singapore noodles YaYu made were amazing, and because she and I did it together it didn’t require as much effort as it would have for either one of us on our own. The cheeseburgers and grilled ahi tacos were also exceptionally good.

Sunday: Pasta with marinara & plant-based meatballs; roasted squash

Monday: Vegetarian cheeseburgers; 3-bean salad

Tuesday: Vegan corn dogs; onion rings’ 3-bean salad

Wednesday: Spicy Singapore noodles with shrimp

Thursday: Grilled ahi tacos with fresh mango salsa

Friday: Be’f pot pies; garlic roasted cabbage

Saturday: Vegetarian meatball mini pizzas

Our dessert almost all week was the remainder of the pecan pie we started the week before. It was very delicious, but also very sweet and sticky and it will be a l-o-n-g time before we need to have one of those again. We made s’mores outside one evening, and enjoyed a Pepperidge Farm coconut cake the rest of the week (the orange cake will get made this week).

Next week’s dinners will continue to be easy to put together, with YaYu making her yummy fried rice for us one more time. Brett and I will have the spring rolls and mini pizzas after she departs. We’re going to miss our girl and all her spicy concoctions (she adds lots of red pepper flakes, sriracha, or chili crisp to every on her plate, sometimes in combination. We don’t know how she does it, but she loves the heat.

  • Fried rice with imitation crab & vegetables
  • Chick’n patty sandwiches
  • Vegetable spring rolls with rice
  • Mini pizzas
  • Cheesy white bean & tomato bake
  • Macaroni & cheese
  • Vegetable barley soup & toasted cheese sandwiches

Breaks in the weather at the beginning of the week allowed us to walk up at the park last Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. By the time we finished walking on Tuesday though I knew something was seriously wrong with my right foot and took the rest of the week off to let it rest. We went to the beach on Wednesday, and on Thursday Brett and YaYu took a hike in Waimea Canyon while I stayed home and got things accomplished. On Friday we went back to the beach at Barking Sands, but all of us took a long walk on the sand versus using the Waiokapua Trail as usual. The sand was much easier on my foot, and sand walking burns at least half again the calories of walking on a hard surface. On Saturday Brett and YaYu went for another hike, this time on the Maha’ulepu Trail while I again stayed home and continued to rest my foot. It still hurts a bit, but nothing like it did last Tuesday.

Kukuiolono was beautiful on Tuesday after all the storms. Lots of interesting and pretty mushrooms had appeared in all the damp ground around the park.

Ever since Brett and I stopped hunting for golf balls and walking the perimeter of the golf course we have been quite literally pounding the pavement doing two pavilion loops and then up the road to the clubhouse and back down. Constant soreness in my hips returned, and I apparently also developed a Morton’s neuroma in my right foot. Toward the end of our walk last Tuesday the pain was excruciating, shooting through my foot and up my ankle as we walked down the road from the clubhouse to the car – I wasn’t sure if I could finish the walk or not. I want to continue walking though so we have decided to return to perimeter walks in the park later in the day as the soft terrain is easier on my foot. We will also walk at a slower pace as the brisker walks on the (very uneven) pavement were also part of the problem, even for all the calories burned. Hopefully my foot will improve as I’m not sure what can be done otherwise in the time we have left here other than possibly a cortisone injection.

Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (1/2 – 1/8)

We polished off all of the meat in the house last week and are happily returning to vegetarian/vegan meals this week. We did a Big Shop on Thursday and stocked up and the freezer is full. Brett and I didn’t mind eating meat again, but we much prefer not eating it so are looking forward to a return to our former ways. YaYu is also thankfully happy to eat vegetarian and helped me come up with some ideas for the new few weeks. We’ll still be eating seafood now and again.

Our goal for next year is to continue to eat healthy, mostly plant-based meals and manage our portions so that we can maintain our current weight. Another task will be to better manage food purchases going forward so we don’t end up with a lot of food that has to be thrown out when we leave. For example, I passed on a big bottle of olive oil at Costco last week because I knew we wouldn’t be able to finish it before May, and it was the same for a couple of other items. We did buy three Costco-sized packages of vegan items (chick’n patties, vegetable egg rolls, and plant-based burgers), but that’s probably it for Costco other than a few things like wine and such. The store has been a lifesaver for our budget, but we just won’t be able to use up any more of those big packages before we go.

We did a great job of cleaning out the refrigerator last week, using up odds and ends of things, eating leftovers, and so forth before we shopped on Thursday. Some of our meals look pretty uninspiring though. We had a last few meals with meat during the last week of the year: a meatloaf from Costco, one of YaYu’s favorites; Snake Alley noodles with ground pork and shrimp; and lumpia, which also is made with ground pork.d

We are selling the lamp that sat on our table up until the last couple of weeks – it provided such great lighting for food photos. The only place to take a photo now is in the kitchen and the light there is awful, so I apologize for the poor quality of the food photos these days.

Sunday: Ham & vegetable fried rice

Monday: Noodle bowls topped with ham, fish cake, kim chee turnip, onion, and bok choy

Tuesday: Tofu in Thai red curry sauce; steamed rice; kim chee coleslaw

Wednesday: Potstickers; steamed rice; roasted vegetables

Thursday: Meatloaf; mashed potatoes; roasted squash

Friday: Snake Alley noodles; namasu

Saturday: Pad thai & pork lumpia; leftover namasu

We had a Pepperidge Farm cake for dessert at the beginning of the week, and then picked up a pecan pie at Costco along with some lactose-free ice cream at Times Market for YaYu (we would have preferred having apple pie but all that was available were pecan or pumpkin). YaYu tried one serving of the pie and that was enough for her and she’s been enjoying a small bowl of ice cream every evening instead. Enough oranges should be ripe on our tree that I can make an olive oil orange cake after we finish the pie next week.

YaYu helped me come up with this week’s menu. She is going to make the noodle dish with shrimp using a recipe from the Padma Lakshmi cookbook she received for Christmas (Tangy Tart Hot and Sweet) and also asked for fish so we’ll have that later in the week in some tacos.

  • Spicy Singapore noodles with shrimp
  • Plant based burgers
  • Pasta with marinara & plant-based meatballs
  • Vegan corn dogs & onion rings
  • Be’f pot pie
  • Mini pizzas
  • Grilled fish tacos

The gloomy weather this past week kept us guessing each day whether we’d be able to get out for a walk or not and it turned out to be mostly not. Monday surprised us and we did our regular 4+-mile walk at the park, but there were storms on Tuesday and Wednesday that kept us at home. It was still stormy on Thursday, but we did our Big Shop at Costco and Walmart so got two and half miles of walking done that day, but were stuck inside again on Friday and New Year’s Day. We took advantage of a break in the storms yesterday afternoon though and got in a full walk.

Kukuiolono Park was a soggy mess, but it was great to get out for a walk again. Golfers were stacked up at every hole!

Brett keeps a spreadsheet of our walking distances, and by the skin of our teeth, we walked over 1100 miles last year. We were walking longer distances at the beginning of the year, but like the distance we do now, around four miles, and are going to stick with that until we leave. I have more aches and pains than I did at the beginning of the year, especially in my hips, but nothing that keeps me from doing anything. We see a lot of walking in our future this year and are excited about the walks coming up in France and the UK (and hopefully Japan by the end of the year).