Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (10/24 – 10/30)

I have always been someone who could pretty much eat anything I wanted. There are a few things I don’t care for, but otherwise I have never suffered from eating anything other than lettuce. I have no food allergies, no other intolerances.

That all seem to have changed this past week. Both Brett and I suffered from wonky tummies, and had other digestive issues. We’re weren’t sick, but we definitely didn’t feel good, and by the end of last week we were concerned about what could be causing the problems. We gave it a lot of thought and discussion, and decided the only thing that had changed was that we had been eating cream puffs and tiramisu for dessert, both new additions and filled with dairy. We each only had been having five of the mini puffs for dessert, less than the recommended serving, but along with the tiramisu they appeared to have stirred things up. We knew Brett was already slightly lactose intolerant, but after going months without any dairy other than cheese (which doesn’t bother us), it looks like I may have possibly developed a bit of lactose intolerance as well. As soon as we dropped the cream puffs for dessert, everything settled back down.

We still have about six evenings worth of cream puffs left to eat though, but will space them out between other non-dairy desserts going forward and see if we can avoid the issues we had last week. If not, we’ll have to start at zero again and try to figure out what’s going on. Growing older and stay healthy is indeed an adventure, and I honestly did not have another possible food intolerance on my scorecard.

Below is what we ate for dinner last week. Everything was easy to fix and delicious (as were the leftovers).

Sunday: Chick’n patty sandwiches; three-bean salad

Monday: Tikka masala with tofu & peas; steamed rice

Tuesday: Chick’n nuggets; onion rings; 3-bean salad

Wednesday: Vegetarian lasagna; roasted peppers

Thursday: Mini pizzas with roasted peppers and onion

Friday: Cheese board: Manchego, Brie, Irish Cheddar, and Boursin; crackers; apple slices; dried apricots; marinated artichoke hearts; sweet pickles

Saturday: CookDo tofu & pepper stir fry; steamed rice

We enjoyed both the mini cream puffs and the tiramisu cups last week (up until we figured out they were probably the cause of our stomach issues). We’d have a couple nights with the cream puffs, then a tiramisu, then back to cream puffs, but that won’t be happening again. We picked up a (vegan) apple pie at Costco on our shopping trip last week. They had a whole two of them out and we grabbed one, so this coming week’s dessert will be pie, pie, and more pie with one evening of cream puffs in there somewhere. We had honestly come to believe though that we’d never see those apple pies again.

In spite of the beautiful weather we’ve been enjoying, temperatures have cooled off a bit so we’re enjoying what goes for fall dishes this next week: soup and toasted cheese sandwiches, chili dogs, and risotto. A new thing we’re going to try this week is a chicken and butternut squash casserole, vegetarian style. Mavis posted the recipe on the 100 Dollars a Month blog week before last and I decided I would try it IF I could keep it vegetarian. Costco finally got butternut squash in, and we found grilled chick’n strips at Walmart. The Great Value chicken flavored stuffing mix has chicken flavor listed as its absolute last ingredient so we figured we were pretty safe with that as well so the casserole was on! We’ve still got a lot of spanakopita and falafel on hand that we’re going to enjoy that again as well.

  • Vegan chili dogs
  • Vegetarian chick’n & butternut squash casserole
  • Cheese board
  • Mini pizzas
  • Spanakopita & falafel
  • Risotto with peas
  • Split pea soup & toasted cheese sandwiches

Last week was our swan song for perimeter walks and golf ball hunting. We need/want to get rid of the golf balls we have, and want to get back to walking for exercise as our main focus versus hunting for golf balls, which sort of got in the way at times. One benefit of getting away from the perimeter walks is that we’ll once again be able to go to the park a bit earlier in the day, at 3:30 in the afternoon versus 4:30, and be home in time that I don’t have to segue right into fixing dinner. I can’t say we’ll never walk the perimeter again but we have other goals we need to focus on now. I know it’s going to feel strange not heading out onto the course but we’ll get back into our old routine in no time. Our walking total for October (66 miles) was our lowest for the year so far, but there were so many bad weather days where we either didn’t walk at all or had to shorten our walks.

The clouds were white when we started our walk, pink when we finished last Wednesday. We’ll once again be walking earlier in the day beginning this week.

We had a great final week for lost ball hunting though. We picked up 52 balls between Monday and Tuesday, then another 29 of them on Wednesday! We thought we’d picked the course clean when we started out on Thursday but found yet another 13 that day. The weather was too sketchy for us to walk on Friday and Saturday, but we went out again yesterday for one last round and found 42 (!!!) to give us our top weekly total ever: 136. We have quite a bit of sorting to do, but we hope to have everything listed by the second week of November and out of the house by the end of the month with some additional funds in our travel account!

The above is the most mysterious and creepy place we passed on our perimeter walks. These huge branches are near the top of a giant tree! Just past the small green plants at the bottom, the cliff suddenly drops off steeply into darkness and there’s no telling how far it goes down. Any balls that fall there can stay there, thank you.

Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (10/17 – 10/23)

Some of our Big Shop last week: there’s a case of oat milk under the cart, and more produce up in the seat. We’ll do a much smaller shop in another week to get us through until next month.

Is it costing us more to eat vegetarian or vegan? That’s a question we asked ourselves last week as the amount we spend on groceries really hasn’t gone done much since we stopped buying and eating meat.

The picture above is $252.27 worth of food from last week’s Big Shop at Costco. Everything in the cart is edible except for a Harry’s razor and blades set that we bought for Brett’s travel stash (it was on sale this month). We also purchased one item for the girls’ Christmas presents, but otherwise everything is for us and should last a while. The box of spanakopita in the lower right corner contains enough for eight meals; the box of organic falafel patties has enough for five meals. There are six meals in the box of frozen lasagna seen on the left side, and eight in a box of vegetable egg rolls we bought. A box of organic tofu buried somewhere in there contains four packs that will provide protein for four meals for less than $10. The big box of petite cream puffs will give us 12 desserts. The produce we bought – mixed colored peppers, green peppers, tomatoes; cucumbers, avocados, apples, bananas, and bag of frozen blueberries – will last for a couple of weeks and will be used in several dishes. There’s a pack of mini naan breads for our weekly pizzas, and two loaves of Dave’s 21-grain bread for sandwiches. We picked up snacks and treats as well for the next few weeks: trail mix, whole-grain fig bars, and a once a year splurge of Cretor’s Chicago Mix popcorn (cheddar cheese and caramel corn – so good!). $250 got us a lot of good, healthy food that’s going to last us for a while. We spent an additional $50 at Walmart, which included items like tissues, antacid, bubble wrap, and other non-food items.

We had planned to buy a piece of fish so we could have grilled fish tacos this week, but prices were through the roof so we said no thanks to that. Remembering what Costco-sized packages of meat used to cost, if we had bought the amount of meat needed to prepare as many meals as we otherwise bought we figured we would have added at least an additional 25% to our total if not more. So, what we buy costs less overall but by spending the same we’re getting more. I sometimes wish we weren’t so dependent on Costco, but it remains the best bang for our bucks when buying food on Kaua’i.

The only change we made to last week’s planned dinners was to substitute spanakopita and falafel for the fish tacos we originally had planned. We added Brie to our cheese board last week, but cut back on the amount of other cheeses so we didn’t overindulge (too much). It was all very, very good and we ate well while still keeping our calories under control.

Sunday: Risotto with peas and rosemary

Monday: Mini pizzas with red pepper and onion

Tuesday: Vegan sloppy joes; grape tomatoes

Wednesday: Pasta with marinara and meatless meatballs; roasted peppers

Thursday: Spanakopita; falafel patties; cucumber and tomato salad

Friday: Cheese board (Manchego, Irish cheddar; Brie) with guacamole, pickled beets, gherkins, apple, dried apricots, and crackers.

Saturday: Vegetable egg rolls; vegetable fried rice

We were hoping to find another apple pie at Costco to enjoy again for dessert, but once again none were available. We looked at the big custard pies that were in the cooler, but weren’t able to check the calories, etc. so instead bought a six-pack of tiramisu cups and the big box of mini cream puffs, both of which had calorie levels per serving that fit our calorie restrictions and will be a nice change for a while.

We have some new dishes to try next week: Amy’s vegetable lasagna and tikka masala made with tofu. Otherwise everything is something we’ve enjoyed before and that we’ve been looking forward to having again:

  • Vegetarian lasagna
  • Chick’n patty sandwiches
  • Tofu tikka masala
  • Tofu & pepper stir fry
  • Mini pizzas
  • Cheese board
  • Chick’n nuggets and onion rings

With last week’s (mostly) good weather we took lots of good walks including three perimeter walks at the golf course (we took a day off on Friday), a two-mile hike on the Waiokapua trail at Barking Sands, and our Big Shop walkathon. We didn’t push ourselves to hunt for golf balls this past week either, but still managed to find 87 of them! We have competition these days from other ball hunters, and with fewer golfers we had thought things would slow down, especially since we’re not actively hunting like we did earlier, but there were just lots of lost balls all over the course. We’re going to go back to our old walking route through the woods beginning in November though, and stay off of the golf course completely which will quickly bring finding golf balls to a halt.

Scenes along the Waiokapua Trail (clockwise from upper left): the beginning of the trail; ocean views; 2-inch thorns on a dead kiawe bush (pronounced key-ah-vay); 3-inch thorns forming on a young kiawe (yikes!); and parasitic orange dodder/hellweed covering (and killing) a plant on the side of the trail. We saw several plants covered with it, sad because once it gains a foothold it’s almost impossible to remove.

There was a nice breeze when we hiked the Waiokapua on Tuesday, so in spite of the sun I felt fairly comfortable the entire time we walked. I wore a hat to keep my face shaded, and kept myself well-hydrated but I somehow still ended up with symptoms of heat exhaustion (dizziness, nausea, weakness) by the time we finished and set up our chairs on the beach. I realized later I had forgotten to bring and wear a damp tenugui (Japanese hand towel) around my neck. I don’t know if overheating and the excessive perspiration I experience when I sometimes walk are symptoms of aging or if something else is going on, but that damp towel helps keep my body temperature regulated for some reason. I always wear one when we walk at the park, and always carry another dry one to wipe the perspiration off my face, but I forgot to do it when we were packing up for the beach. It was a good lesson though and how quickly I can became overheated, and something I need to remember when we’re out walking overseas, especially when it’s hot. After a short while in my beach chair under the umbrella and with a cool drink I was back to normal in short order, but it was a bit scary that I became overheated on a flat 2.25-mile hike even with sufficient hydration.

Healthcare On the Road

photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon/unsplash

When Brett and I begin traveling next May, we will leave the U.S. with no concrete plans to return. It’s not that we won’t return, but there are no calendar dates are set and no visits planned, at least for the first couple of years.

A big consequence of this is that we won’t be in the U.S. for regular doctor visits and prescriptions refills, or to have dental work taken care of. We are doing careful planning to make sure we can get prescriptions refilled as necessary, see a dentist at least once a year, and get our vision checked regularly as well.

As it is illegal to ship prescription medication into most other countries, we will begin our journey with a six-month supply of our medications. Our regular prescriptions are for 90 days, and we can get a one-time 90-day “emergency supply” as well to carry along with us. But what do we do when that runs out?

We have a few arrows in our quivers when it comes to prescription medication. First, as military retirees we can visit any U.S. military hospital in the world and get a prescription filled, so we will carry written prescriptions from our doctor with us that will get us through the first year as well as a letter explaining the reason we take the medication. When those supplies run out we will have to have a doctor’s visit at a military hospital or in the country we’re in to get a new prescription. Our military health insurance follows us world-wide so those costs can be reimbursed, but a visit to a physician overseas is not the wallet-emptying expense it is in the U.S. For example, we will need to visit a GP when we’re in the UK because it is against the law in there for a pharmacy to fill any prescription that’s not written by a British physician. The cost for the visit to see a GP at a same-day clinic is around $55, and we can get a check up as well as our prescription. The cost for a GP visit is even less in other countries such as France or Italy.

photo credit: Yusef Belek/unsplash

Dental care is another area where we’re doing some research so we know our options before departing. We have been reading a lot about “dental tourism,” or places where excellent dental treatment is available for a fraction of what it costs in the U.S. Two noted areas for quality dental work in Europe are Spain and the island nation of Malta. Having a crown procedure in Spain, for example, is around $500, the same cost as it is in the U.S. if you have good insurance. Thankfully, our dental insurance also travels with us throughout the world, but it’s good to know that if we need any sort of major procedure done we can get it done overseas without breaking the bank, and could even get a side visit to Spain or Malta! Cost comparisons for dental procedures overseas can be found online. Japan also offers good dental care at a lower cost than the U.S. although not as low as in Europe.

Vision care is currently the big unknown. For the past few years I’ve needed a new lens prescription almost every year; it’s been every other year for Brett. Since we have no idea of what an exam and new glasses might cost overseas, we plan to set up a separate vision savings account that will be dedicated to these potential costs, and hope that we estimate too high. I will be getting new glasses next month, and Brett will get new glasses next spring right before we depart, so hopefully this is something we won’t need to worry about for a while. I wouldn’t mind getting new glasses in Japan though – they honestly have the most stylish frames I’ve ever seen.

We’re doing our homework on what’s available where, how much it costs, and how we can keep up with our prescription, but know there are still going to be unknowns. We are extremely fortunate to have good health insurance to take along with us, and several options for care no matter where we are in the world, but the goal as always is to be proactive about staying healthy so that we can enjoy our time as much as possible as we travel.

Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (10/3 – 10/9)

Last week would have been a great one for cold weather dishes because it was unusually cold for this time of year. I have always loved fall, and one of my favorite things about it was always the transition to putting warmer, heartier dishes on the menu, things like soups and stews. We’re experiencing what passes for fall, and we’re seeing pumpkins, gourds, and other autumn motifs out in the stores (along with everything Halloween), but we’re mostly still wearing shorts and slippers, so it’s sort of hard to get excited about making or eating soups or other cool-weather dishes, vegetarian or otherwise.

One of the things I’ve realized recently is how little I use my InstantPot since we gave up meat. I would probably have it out at least a couple of times a week if we weren’t eating meatless, but I may only use it once a month or so these days, maybe to make risotto. It would probably be the same now with a slow cooker. The Instant Pot will get a workout when the girls are here at Christmas, but I’ll probably sell it shortly after as Brett and I return to a meatless diet. Funny to realize that something I wanted for so long doesn’t really work for me any more.

We had some tasty meals (and leftovers) last week. Everything was pretty easy to fix which made me happy too.

Sunday: Cheesy tomato, spinach, and white bean bake with baguette slices

Monday: Roasted vegetable ravioli with pesto; steamed broccoli

Tuesday: Tofu patties; steamed rice; namasu

Wednesday: Panzanella with feta cheese & chickpeas

Thursday: Mini pizzas with tomato, pepper, and onion

Friday: Cheese board

Saturday: Mini corn dogs; onion rings; apple slices; namasu

One the menu next week:

  • Chicken tenders; onion rings
  • Spicy black bean bake with corn chips
  • Vegetable yakisoba
  • Chick’n pot pie
  • Mini pizzas
  • Cheese board
  • Ina Garten’s summer garden pasta
1/20 of a Costco pumpkin pie is still very satisfying.

We finished off the mochi ice cream early in the week, and are now in the middle of a 10-day Costco pumpkin pie marathon. One-twentieth of the pie is less than 200 calories, and very affordable – the entire pie costs just $5.99, so our servings are just 30 cents a slice. I can barely buy a can of pumpkin on Kaua’i for less than $5! By having one pie now, we’ll be ready for another around Thanksgiving!

We always take one day off every week from walking (usually Sunday) to let our bodies rest, but this week we ended up with three days off due to rain and wind. In spite of some cold and unpredictable weather (walkers were wearing windbreakers and other jackets on Wednesday), we walked the perimeter Monday through Thursday. Friday’s weather was horrid but cleared right when it was time for our walk. However, it was still very windy and we decided a walk on the golf course would be a soggy mess and we’d end up wet and miserable. Saturday the rain was gone but wind was even worse (and louder) if that was possible, and we just didn’t feel like spending nearly an hour being out in it so we stayed home again. We still found 53 lost golf balls though in the four days we walked, an average of 13 balls per day.

Another one of those pesky dark clouds being led by a rainbow. This cloud thankfully headed out to sea and skipped the golf course.

The other day I climbed on the scale to weigh a package I was shipping, and was surprised by the weight of everything (me and the package) – it was much lower than I imagined, but very happy when I weighed solo as it was also much, much less than I imagined, especially for the middle of the afternoon and being fully clothed. Things are apparently still changing! I’ve been feeling more sore in new places following our walks recently and am not sure what’s going on with that – maybe more of a workout these days? – but getting two extra days off last week helped things repair and feel better again.

My Daruma

The little red guy above that’s missing his left eye used to sit front and center on my desk back in Portland. He watched over me in our bedroom when we moved to Kaua’i in 2014, and went into storage while we traveled. He’s spent most of our time since we arrived on Kaua’i in our bathroom, but recently was moved out to our dining room table. He’s a daruma, one I bought back in December 2008 from the Mitsukoshi store in the Japanese pavilion at EPCOT. Made of papier-mache with two blank eyes, daruma are a symbol of perseverance and good luck in Japan. They’re weighted at the bottom, and their roly poly shape allows them to get back up if they fall over.

Following tradition, I colored in one of his eyes in January 2009 when I gave myself a goal of losing 30 pounds and maintaining the weight loss for at least a year. The other eye would be filled in when and if I kept the lost weight off for a year. That, as always, was easier said than done. Maintaining a weight loss has always been my biggest challenge, and I’ve failed every time.

I am not a naturally thin person, but I am also not a naturally large person. I have a small bone structure, and I don’t carry extra weight well. My body lets me know when I’ve gained too much, and will fight any attempts to adjust to an increasing size. The extra 30 pounds I brought back from our travels felt like much more. The bursitis in my hips came back. I had trouble getting out of our car. I got winded easily. I had trouble rolling over in bed. It didn’t matter that I bought larger sizes of clothing, or was wearing baggy/loose styles; my clothes kept getting tighter and more uncomfortable. I was flat-out physically miserable every day.  I didn’t hate myself for being overweight but I hated the way my body felt, and knew I couldn’t blame it on getting older. In spite of lots of walking during our travels, I flat out overate . . . all the time, and had no one but myself to blame for the extra weight I carried around.

Following my doctor’s advice to lose 30 pounds, last year I once again buckled down. Brett and I begin walking daily. I also began keeping a diary of what I ate each day and planned my daily meals in advance. I counted calories, and my weight began to decrease. However, for some reason along the way, something completely new occurred: boredom and frustration never showed up. Following the rare times I did overeat, I got right back on the wagon. I’ve been able to stick with my new way of eating, and with the record keeping and exercise. The pounds that I lost last year have stayed off this time, for a year now. And my daruma has finally earned his second eye.

I am never going to be what anyone would call slender or skinny; I’m not built that way and it’s never been my goal. I’m not on some nutritional crusade, or have any great insights in what and how people should eat. I try to do what’s best for Brett and me; that’s all. My daruma looks at me now with his two eyes and reminds me every day that I changed how, why, and what I eat to feel good again. And, I stuck with it, I didn’t quit, and I reached my goal! I feel better than good these days. My bursitis hasn’t bothered me in ages. I have more energy, and no problems getting in and out of the car. I don’t even think about rolling over in bed, I just do it. My cholesterol level is a healthy 165. That I can wear a size small is nothing more than an added benefit; it was never the goal.

For most of this past year my daruma has sat at the top our shower entrance. I’ve looked up at him daily for the past year and asked myself, “Are you going to stick with this and finally give that little guy his other eye?” The answer this time was yes, and permanent changes have been made. And to my daruma I say, “thank you for hanging in there for so long.”

Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (9/27 – 10/2)

I don’t know when it happened, but eating out doesn’t seem all that exciting any more. Although I don’t like standing in front of a stove these days, I also dislike spending on restaurant meals. Portions are usually too big and too high calorie for the way we eat now, and prices often seem too high for what we get. And, besides the cost and calories, we’re not all that crazy about having to wait in long lines these days for a table.

Brett and I talked the other day whether there were any places we want to eat at again before leaving Kaua’i next year and ended up with a very short list: breakfast at the Tip Top, brunch at the Kountry Kitchen in Kapaa (their eggs Benedict are fantastic), and a burger at Street Burger in Wailua (where we have to share a burger because they’re so big). Those three restaurants are seriously the only ones we could come up with. We’re thinking we may visit all three for our anniversary Day of No Cooking next March!

Our evening meals were simple this past week, and didn’t involve a lot of time in the kitchen, but I did finally make the peanut stew on Sunday and it was delicious. The recipe made enough that we were able to freeze a container for a later meal and still have leftovers to enjoy last week. Nothing else we had required much prep work or time spent in the kitchen. I realized that not only do I feel too tired to cook after our walks, but I also do not particularly like working in our tiny kitchen. It’s efficient and has everything we need, but there’s just not a lot of room to do things without creating a huge mess.

Sunday: Vegan peanut stew; steamed rice

Monday: CookDo chili shrimp; steamed rice; namasu

Tuesday: Mini pizzas with pesto, feta cheese, and onion (we love this combination!)

Wednesday: Better Than Beef cheeseburgers; coleslaw

Thursday: Zaru soba; hiyayakko; cucumber spears

Friday: Cheese board (Manchego, feta, Irish cheddar, & Boursin with garlic & herbs)

Saturday: Broccoli & tofu stir fry with spicy peanut sauce; steamed rice

We’re continuing to use up what we have on hand, but we did pick up a bag of frozen onion rings (Alexia brand) the other day – we’re looking forward to enjoying a few of them with some chick’n tenders we already have. We’re also looking forward to having the Japanese tofu patties again – easy to fix and good! Sadly, there was no more of the roasted vegetable ravioli at Costco, as expected, but we saw they had both butternut squash and portobello mushroom ravioli so those are what will eventually be appearing on the menu.

  • Roasted vegetable ravioli with pesto
  • Chick’n tenders with onion rings
  • Panzanella with beans and feta cheese
  • Cheesy white bean bake
  • Mini pizzas
  • Cheese board
  • Tofu patties

We each enjoyed a microwave s’more for dessert last Sunday evening, then had Pepperidge Farm coconut cake for four days, and we’re now having some mochi ice cream again that we picked up at Costco. The ice cream flavors aren’t as exciting as Bubbie’s, but the mochi is much better. We also picked up a pumpkin pie, and will begin that next week. It’s time.

Last week was another of off and on walking, although mostly on thank goodness. We took our regular day off on Sunday, then walked on Monday but got caught in some rain toward the end. It rained hard enough on Tuesday that we stayed home, but we had a nice, full perimeter walk on Wednesday. It was a beautiful day, but sure enough, about halfway through our walk what should appear but a dark cloud preceded by a rainbow, a sure sign of rain approaching. Grrrrr! Thankfully the cloud moved off to the side and missed us. Thursday was our shopping day so we did our walking in Costco and Walmart, around two hours of it in total. We had lovely walks on Friday and Saturday, and got to talk with many friends we hadn’t seen for a while.

The weather was mostly beautiful at the golf course on Wednesday, although there was that dark cloud that wanted to spoil things. I sat outside on the course while Brett headed into the gully for a few minutes to hunt for balls – he found 7 that day!

The golf course is currently reconditioning several of the greens, and have temporary ones set up in the interim. This means some of our usual spots for locating lost balls are not in play for the time being, and we’re having to figure out new places where balls might end up. In spite of this and there being fewer golfers on the course, we still found a respectable 72 lost balls this past week. We also continue to pick up trash several days a week – there’s a lot less than there was earlier, but we still find stuff almost daily that people were just too lazy to dispose of properly.

I was also able to restart upper body strength training this past week. The bruised rib or whatever that pain was in my chest made it impossible for the past few weeks, but it feels good to be at it once again.

Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (9/19 – 9/25)

I hit a wall this week when it came to cooking. I had a vegan peanut stew on the menu this week but I just could not get myself motivated to make it. When we get home from walking in the late afternoon I just don’t feel like standing in the kitchen. The stew was instead switched over to yesterday when I felt relaxed and ready to slice, chop, measure and stir, and going forward new recipes will be reserved for our day off on Sunday. Otherwise we’re sticking to sandwiches and other easy but healthy dishes that don’t require a lot of effort. I’m feeling very grateful right now for the vegan entrees that we’ve picked up and stashed in the freezer.

I’ve also found myself “over-snacking” this past week. Everything has been healthy: nuts, whole grain fig bars, low salt/low fat chips, but when I’m eating too much of anything or having all three in a day then it’s not healthy any more. I had the most trouble with the chips – although they’re low calorie they are also just salty and crispy enough that I would finish a serving and be craving more and often ended up having two servings. No, no, no. Anyway, I am working on being more conscious of when and how much I snack now. I won’t buy the chips again – too tempting, and will instead stick with a small dish of nuts or a fig bar in the afternoon.

The chili dogs we ate last week were delicious and a fun treat, and we enjoyed our afternoon appetizer and wine along with some good conversation with Bob and Betty on Tuesday. Everything else was easy and satisfying as well, so I’m going to stick with easy-to-fix dishes during the week, and then do my “cooking” on Sundays.

Sunday: Vegan chili dogs; coleslaw

Monday: Roasted red pepper & tomato soup; toasted cheese sandwiches; cucumber pickles

Tuesday: Potstickers, California roll sushi, and a glass of pinot grigio (me) or beer (Brett)

Wednesday: Spicy black bean quesadillas; steamed broccoli

Thursday: Pesto, onion, and feta cheese mini pizzas

Friday: Cheese board

Saturday: Spaghetti with meatless meatballs; leftover vegetable odds & ends

We’ve enjoyed a matcha Swiss roll and small slices of two delicious pies (blueberry Pina colada and likikoi cheesecake this past week. The pies came from a nearby local pie shop and were very good, but also high-priced so it’s unlikely we’ll get any more from them.

I’m not making anything new next week as we want to use what we have in our freezer before we Big Shop again in October. Everything on next week’s menu is something easy to fix when we get home from our walk as well (as long as I remember to start the rice for the tofu & broccoli stir fry).

  • Grilled vegan burgers (Better than Burgers)
  • Vegan peanut stew
  • Chili shrimp
  • Cheese board
  • Mini pizzas
  • Broccoli & tofu in spicy peanut sauce
  • Zaru soba and chilled tofu (hiyayakko)

The weather was again against us for much of the week, but we did get in six walks. We usually take Sunday off, but walked last Sunday afternoon because we knew we wouldn’t be able to go on Tuesday. It rained most of the day though and whether the walk would happen was touch and go for most of the day, but it thankfully stopped in the late afternoon and off we went. We figured there would be no golf ball finds that day, but they were everywhere! People had apparently been playing before the rain and then abandoned balls out on the fairways when it started getting wet. The rain also caused several balls to roll out of hiding places. We ended our Sunday walk with 13 balls, most in very good condition. It was the same for most of the rest of the week: sketchy weather in the morning but clear enough in the afternoon that we could walk, although Saturday’s walk was cut shortened when it the rain started coming down in buckets about halfway through. Our ball total for the week was 97, tying our previous best week for lost ball finds.

There are more feral pigs on Kaua’i than there are people, and they can be pests. They live in the forests by the golf course but rarely come out in the open.

We did have a scary moment on Thursday: as we came around the edge of the forest on the perimeter of the course I heard the distinctive snort of a feral pig, and not a small one either, from just inside the trees. Brett wasn’t as close as I was and he heard it too. The pig continued to follow us along the edge, and although we couldn’t see it we could hear it and see the trees and brush moving as it traveled. This was just too close for comfort for us so after a few seconds we made a quick right turn and cut across the fairway to the other side of the course and watched the pig trample through the trees on the other side. We know better than get anywhere near a feral pig here!

Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (9/12 – 9/18)

Our freezer is stuffed once again, but other than a package of Italian sausages we’re saving for when the girls are here in December, all the meat we started out with a few months ago is gone. We used the last of the meat sauce on our mini pizzas and then cut up a remaining small pork chop for a pork and pepper stir fry. I’m pretty sure Brett and I will eat meat again while the girls are here, but for now we are meat free! So what’s in our freezer? We have a few vegan entrees that we’ve found at Costco and Walmart, including mini corn dogs (we loved them!), hot dogs, chick’n patties, Better Than Burgers, chick’n nuggets, meatballs, and ground meat substitute. There’s a bag of extra-large shrimp for next week’s menu as well as bags of frozen broccoli, bags of frozen blueberries, yakisoba noodles, some bread and rolls, a few frozen burritos and a bag of burrito filling that will get used this coming week. In other words, lots and lots of healthy things to put together tasty meals. Our freezer may be small but it is mighty!

Every inch is in use in our little freezer.

We now walk later in the afternoons than we did before, and when we get home these days the last thing I feel like doing is standing and cooking. In the past we would have purchased and used lots of processed foods, and although I’m finding myself reaching for some easier- or quick-to-prepare options included some processed vegan items, the foods we’re eating now overall are much healthier – less protein (but still enough), less gluten, less dairy – and we feel much better for it. We’re sticking to smaller portions as well – I still measure and/or weigh everything. I’ve also figured out that by fixing some dishes earlier in the day all I have to do is heat them when we get home. My biggest issue seems to be remembering to fix rice (if we’re having it) before we leave for our walk so that we don’t have to wait for it to finish later.

We didn’t try any new recipes this week except for the zucchini fries, which were so-so (I’m going to look for a different recipe next time). Everything tasted good, there were some leftovers for lunches, but best of all the meat is gone!

Sunday: Coconut squash dal with jasmine rice; cucumber spears

Monday: Chick’n nuggets; baked zucchini fries

Tuesday: Mini pizzas with meat sauce

Wednesday: Pork & pepper stir fry; steamed rice

Thursday: Quinoa salad with feta cheese

Friday: Cheese board

Saturday: Chick’n patty sandwiches; coleslaw

We’ve been enjoying a treat for dessert the past few days: Bubbie’s mochi ice cream balls, which are made in Hawaii. They have the best flavors (we’ve had green tea, passionfruit, chocolate peanut butter, strawberry with dark chocolate chips, and pistachio this week) and each one contains less than two tablespoons of ice cream, so there’s been no dairy overload. Calories are also fairly low: 180 for two. We finished them last night, so this week’s dessert will include thin slices of leftover pie (we’re picking up a couple of pies from our local shop tomorrow to have when Bob and Betty Lowry come over for dessert) and we also bought another coconut cake and another matcha cake to enjoy as well.

Strawberry with dark chocolate chips and chocolate peanut butter Bubbies. The ice cream flavors are always delicious, but Bubbies’ mochi has unfortunately often been hard and somewhat crumbly, not soft and chewy like mochi should be.

Cheese will feature in a few meals next week because we need to use it up: toasted cheese sandwiches, sprinkled on the chili dogs, on the mini pizzas, and of course on the cheese board. We’re looking forward to the chili dogs and found our favorite chili, Amy’s vegetarian, at Big Save. I’m trying one new recipe this week: vegan peanut stew with sweet potato. Everything except the peanut stew can be fixed in a short time after we get home from our walk but I’ll manage. Tomorrow evening we’ll be enjoying happy hour appetizers with Bob and Betty Lowry which will be enough to count as dinner (I hope).

  • Happy Hour appetizers
  • Vegan chili dogs
  • Tomato & roasted red pepper soup; toasted cheese sandwiches
  • Mini pizzas
  • Cheese board
  • Spicy black bean burritos
  • Vegan peanut stew

I must have fallen harder than I realized week before last because it feels like I have either bruised or cracked a rib or deeply pulled a muscle. The pain in my upper right chest has not let up, and while using my right arm can be painful depending on what I’m doing (and hard to avoid because I’m right handed), actions like coughing or sneezing are excruciating. I have been forbidden by Brett to enter the gully again so I’m now consigned to checking the edge. My shoes are too slippery for the slopes inside the gully, and because I have beginning osteoporosis, Brett is worried about my falling again and possible breaking my leg or hip (I am too frankly) but whatever I did to my chest is proving to be motivation enough to stay away.

We often pass by this old fountain during our walks. It must have been gorgeous in its day.

The weather this past week was mostly okay for walking with nice breezes and cooler temperatures once again. I remember having to cut our walks short this time last year because the humidity was so fierce and clouds of gnats were everywhere, but we really haven’t experienced those things at all this year. We walked the perimeter on Monday and Tuesday, got in a lot of steps on Wednesday during our Big Shop, but had to stay home on Thursday because of rain. We were almost rained out again on Friday, but the big clouds hanging over the park eventually changed direction, the rain stopped, and we got in a full perimeter walk (our feet got very wet though). Saturday’s weather was lovely and we once again got in another full walk. We found 50 lost balls this week, most in very good condition, and an overall decent number considering the weather, the reduced number of golfers, and only four days for us at the park. Our ball collecting also finally paid off this past week: we sold three packages of used golf balls in one day!

Staying Healthy: Eating and Exercise (9/5 – 9/11)

This coming week is a Big Shop week, but we’re fairly well stocked up for the time being, so it will be interesting to see what and how much we buy. Our shopping is so different now that we’re not buying meat. We’re still constrained by our small refrigerator/freezer (and can’t stuff the fridge, for example, because then things starts to freeze), but these days we’re on a constant look out for basic vegetarian ingredients we can use to create tasty meals. Hopefully Costco will have their six-packs of organic tofu back in stock, but the truth is we never know what we’ll find there. When we stopped in last Wednesday though we saw lots and lots of fresh produce again, so that will give us some more choices.

We enjoyed our dessert fling with the Costco apple pie and might do that again some day, but we’re otherwise tired of baked oatmeal and looked for some other options last week. I don’t want to go back to baking cakes again as they take up so much room in the refrigerator, and since we’re avoiding dairy as much as possible these days (except for cheese) ice cream is not a dessert option either (and non-dairy ice cream is unfortunately too expensive here). We checked out some different dessert things at Costco last week as they are the most cost effective but they didn’t have anything that worked for us – everything was either too high calorie or too much dairy (or both, like their cheesecakes), and the only pie they had available was pumpkin and it’s too early for that – maybe next month. We got luckier at Times Market and came home with a Pepperidge Farm coconut cake (one of the best cakes ever) and a Japanese matcha Swiss roll cake, another favorite. Costco used to make and sell haupia (coconut cream) cakes – so good – but we haven’t seem them since we arrived last year. Cookies would be a nice option except we know we’d eat too many too quickly. We love having a little bit of something sweet in the evening, but it’s getting a bit more challenging these days.

We ate well last week – the enchiladas and stuffed peppers were delicious as was the kabocha risotto. I love that by measuring and being careful about the amount we eat we can quite literally have our cake and eat it too!

Sunday: California roll salad

Monday: Kabocha pumpkin risotto; roasted zucchini

Tuesday: Stacked chicken & zucchini enchiladas

Wednesday: Mexican quinoa stuffed peppers; pickled cucumbers

Thursday: Mini pizzas with meat sauce

Friday: Cheese board

Saturday: Vegan orange chick’n & fried rice

We finished up the lemon-blueberry baked oatmeal on Monday and Tuesday, enjoyed a s’more on Tuesday, and Wednesday through Saturday ate a slice of Pepperidge Farm coconut cake for our dessert. It was every bit as delicious as we hoped.

Pepperidge Farm coconut cake is as delicious as ever.

The only things I see us needing to buy for this coming week are peppers, and feta cheese for the salad (and cheese boards). The pork chop I’ll use for the stir fry is the last piece of meat in our freezer! There was also a small bag of meat sauce but we used it up on the pizzas last week. Going forward, other than eating fish occasionally, it will be vegetarian/vegan all the time. We made it.

  • Coconut & squash dal with brown rice
  • Chick’n patty sandwiches
  • Pork & pepper stir fry
  • Cheese board
  • Mini pizzas
  • Chick’n nuggets with zucchini fries
  • Quinoa salad with feta cheese

Walking was sort of hit or miss for me this week. We did our regular perimeter walks on Monday and Tuesday, but I fell on Tuesday at the end of our walk when we went down a bit into the gully to look for balls. Actually, I slipped on a hillside, the branch I was hanging onto snapped, and I lost my footing which sent me tumbling. A couple of bushes thankfully stopped my fall, because there was another slope down just a few inches below the bushes. I was able to get back up the hill without any problems (and found four more golf balls!), but boy was I sore and more scratched up than I knew when I woke up on Wednesday. I stayed home that day – just didn’t feel good and was still too sore to walk – but Brett headed out and got in a good walk and found lots of balls. Thursday we went to Barking Sands and walked the Waiokapua Trail before spending a few hours out on the beach. Friday was quite rainy but it had mostly cleared in the afternoon so we headed up to the park. It was misting up there but not too wet to walk and we got in a full perimeter walk before the rain really started coming down. Saturday was lovely and I dared myself to go backing into the gully, although with an increased respect for its dangers.

Out on the Waiokaupa Trail. It was hot, but there was a somewhat decent breeze that kept it bearable.

We found a total of 77 lost balls last week. I’m still feeling somewhat sore from my tumble, but have added a regimen of Aleve to my daily meds along with stretching, and that’s been helping (and am picking up a softball this week per Anele’s suggestion). Brett got fairly scratched up on Saturday as well, and we commented on our way back to the car that our kids would be horrified to see what we’re doing these days. They approve the walking, but climbing down into a gully going after golf balls, no so much we think.

Staying Healthy: Exercise & Eating (8/29 – 9/4)

Brett tallied up the total miles walked in August last Tuesday: 87 miles walked in August. That made our total miles walked for the year 758, and if we keep up our current pace we will walk over 1000 miles by the end of the year! From the first of September last year to this year we walked a little over 1,263 miles. I honestly never, ever saw us walking this much when we arrived here, but here we are and we are so much better for it. Our little side gig of golf ball hunting has added to the enjoyment, and I have yet to get tired of the views out from Kukuiolono. Driving up to the park to check it out last year was one of the best things that ever happened to us.

Scenes from around the golf course on Thursday including wind through the palms, dramatic clouds and long views, a rainbow seen from the massive green at Hole 3, and the remains of a wall built by early Hawaiians.

I’m glad now we decided against doing a long distance walking tour, and I almost shudder to think of the distances we would have to be walking now to get in shape for one of those. We know we could do it, but our nearly four daily miles is enough, and when I finish our four miles now I am ready to stop. I am no where near needing a hip replacement, but my hips definitely let me know these days they are there – they’re sore after a walk. Same for my right foot – I have pains there now that weren’t there when we started all this walking. Brett has more aches in his ankles as well. None of it is enough to cause us to slow down, or keep us from walking or doing other things, but they are signs we are getting older, and we know if we weren’t getting as much exercise as we do we would be feeling a whole lot worse and be in much poorer shape.

We enjoyed another full six days of walking last week with five days at the golf course and one shopping day. Monday’s weather was sketchy, but we headed up to the golf course anyway. It wasn’t raining when we started out, but a light mist began about a third of the way though our walk and we were stuck out on the course. We didn’t get very wet except for our shoes, which got soaked in the wet grass and became very uncomfortable. In spite of the weather we still found eight lost balls. Tuesday afternoon we headed into Puhi/Lihue to shop at Costco and Walmart, and along with other errands got in all of our steps. Wednesday was breezy, cool, and overcast – perfect walking weather – and Thursday was still cool but quite humid as well and I felt like I was melting for much of the walk. I stumbled into another lost ball graveyard on Thursday, and walked away with 15 more balls in my pockets. Brett also found a bunch and we ended up bringing home 30 balls. We arrived at the course on Friday just after a storm has passed over and had another great walk, and found an astounding 37 lost balls that day! Saturday’s weather was supposed to be miserable but it cleared up in the afternoon so we got to walk again. We broke all previous lost ball records last week, finding another 97 lost balls to add to our stash!

I had to change up our meat dish this week and fix the basil beef stir fry instead of chicken enchiladas when Brett picked up not one but two bundles of basil at the farm stand for some reason. Basil doesn’t keep well but between Wednesday’s pasta and the stir fry I used all of it. The summer pasta recipe was super easy and delicious and as long as we can get fresh basil we’ll be making it fall, winter, and spring in spite of its name!

Sunday: Broccoli & tofu stir fry with spicy peanut sauce; steamed jasmine rice

Monday: Grilled vegetable ravioli w/ pesto; roasted green peppers

Tuesday: Mini vegetarian cheeseburger pizzas with ground be’f, onion, tomato, dill pickle, and cheddar

Wednesday: Ina Garten’s summer garden pasta

Thursday: Basil beef stir fry

Friday: Cheese board

Saturday: Vegetable yakisoba

Looking at the above photos, our pottery bowls sure got a lot of use this past week!

I’m trying our two new recipes next week: kabocha squash risotto in the InstantPot, and some Mexican-spiced quinoa stuffed peppers.

  • Kabocha squash risotto
  • California roll salad
  • Stacked chicken enchiladas
  • Orange chick’n & fried rice
  • Mini pizzas
  • Cheese board
  • Spicy quinoa stuffed peppers

Desserts this week have been microwave s’mores on a couple of evenings, but otherwise we’ve been enjoying lemon-blueberry baked oatmeal. The apple pie is greatly missed.