Monday, April 29, 2013


There is a new post at Hawaii 2013 with more to come....

On Saturday we went to Otama Beach to support our daughter, Jane, in this year's Bush to Beach Half Marathon. This event has grown considerable and I guess there were about 1000 participants in spite of it being an off-road event with some very steep patches which would be muddy and very slippery. The weather wasn't perfect. It had rained through the night and during the day we had a mix of sunny blue sky and heavy showers.

Jane has been training for this for some time and expected to complete the 11 km in 2.5 to 3 hours. For her it was not a race but an accomplishment. There were obviously many serious sports people there for the 22 km and at least one experienced proper walker, (Olympic Style). There were a lot of families and I was amazed by the athletic and endurance ability of many of the children, If you want more detail you can have a look at the Kuaotuna Search and Rescue page for the Bush to Beach event.
The course is really tough. The first 3 km go straight up and there were all kinds of terrain to deal with

It was a most enjoyable day and we stood there clapping away as participants came in. The were probably four times the number of participants tospectators so I felt a "duty" toward those who did the hard yards to cheer them on at the finish line.

We got wet too but it wasn't too cold and we did have light jackets and umbrellas. I found it hard standing for nearly 3 hours. I often get dizzy if I cannot sit and rest for a while. I did get desperate enough to sit on wet grass for a little while. We were determined to be there when our daughter came up the track. It was such a proud moment. I am so thrilled for her. She was part of a small group who exercise together on the beach, unless the weather is too rough, then they go to a hall. Jane is now in her mid-forties and we all know how hard it is to get out and do things when we have been overweight for years.

Sunday I did my own marathon. I was in a good state of nutritional ketosis. I have missed a couple of days on the cross-trainer so that my re-set goal for the month was not looking so good. My original intention was to do the same 25 minutes I've been doing all week than add about 15 minutes in later in the day. I stooged along, feeling quite good, doing maths in my head until I began to think today would be a good day to go for 60 minutes on the cross-trainer. All I can hope is that I haven't blown myself up and I will continue with my planned routine over the coming week. In that 60 minutes I achieved 13.5 km, A half marathon is 11.5 km. Before you think I am an athlete in training to run the next marathon let me tell you two things. The cross-trainer enables me to cover a much greater distance than I would on the ground. I am not carrying my full weight on my feet because I use the handles and they also help me to not worry about my balance and the risk of stumbling. The cross-trainer is a bit of a work-out but I have mine on low resistance and I can get a nice steady swing going between my feet and arms. I seem to be well co-ordinated that way while John struggles with this aspect so he rarely uses the beast.

I am impressed with myself but not as proud as I am of our daughter who walked an off-road half marathon, up and down steep, slippery hills, through mud, along tracks and no tracks, beach, stream and hard paved road. 

I felt quite emotional when I saw her coming up the track and was very close to tears of joy as Jane finished.


Saturday, April 27, 2013


 Before I get into my main theme here is a photo of the amazing Volcano on Hawaii Island. This volcano has been continuously erupting for decades with eruptions being documented from 1883 to now. It's not often you can get this close to an active crater.

There is a new post at Hawaii 2013 with more to come....

Have I ever said I am a Blog reading junkie. Yesterday I was going through my email and found this link to Dietitian Cassie's latest post. I was intrigued and followed all the links on her page. What an eye-opener. We can go through life with our eyes closed to what is going on in the big world or we can get so absorbed in the astounding stories we become paranoid or we can look in every now and then and suddenly want to be an activist. Bringing this to the attention of my readers is my small way of being an activist advocate for not falling in the trap set by Big Food Manufacturers and their advertising.

Personally I prefer to live in my own small world where I can make everything safe. Sometimes I venture out, shocked by what is really going on and then I feel helpless to change things. Times like this I remember a saying by one of my favourite evangelists, You look for the ONE. We can only connect with one person at a time in a meaningful way and as we do who knows how the ripples from that pebble will fall. If one person reads this and begins to think differently about manufactured foods and uses that knowledge to better their life then I have been successful. Of course I hope that there will be more than one person who follows through on what they discover through this as they read.

Here is the article I stumbled on via Cassie's website yesterday. It helps to explain why we eat manufactured junk and why there is so much of it on the grocery shelves. The whole article is a long read but well worth the effort with gems like the following quote from a 2011 publication of the The New England Journal of Medicine about potato chips also known as crisps.

. “The starch is readily absorbed,” Eric Rimm, an associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health and one of the study’s authors, told me. “More quickly even than a similar amount of sugar. The starch, in turn, causes the glucose levels in the blood to spike” — which can result in a craving for more.

The Magazine article is adapted from a new book by Michael Moss which will be released soon. I think this is one book I might be looking for in the library if not buying for myself. The book is called Salt Sugar Fat: How the food Giants Hooked Us.


This plant is a Heliconia and I think I have found a description of the variety. The garden this plant was growing in is lava rock with a surface that became crumbled by the developer just over 5 years ago. The surface is being continuously mulched by decomposing plants in the moist tropical climate. This is a rain forest area.

Heliconia Caribaea - has large erect red bracts. This species can become very large under ideal conditions. It will even grpw in lava rock with mulch and fertilizer. It prefers full sun to light shade and is best where temperatures are above 55'F. I think we get a little bit cooler than that in winter so I will have to wait until we go back to Hawaii to enjoy these plants again. 

Friday, April 26, 2013


Top 5 Things You Didn't Know about Gluten!

This video is an absolute must for anyone who is concerned about the effects of wheat or any grain that contains gluten. While Sean Coxton and Dr. Thomas O'Bryan are addressing Coeliac Disease in particular this is of interest to everyone who might be dealing with unknown allergies or medical symptoms.

I don't believe in scaremongering about food sensitivities but Coeliac Disease is often taken lightly by the general population. I am fortunate in that I have been exposed on two different occasions to the reality of Coeliac Disease. The first time I heard about it was possibly 15 years ago when I met a man who thanked me for bringing plain cooked asparagus drizzled with a knob of butter, a few drops of lemon juice and seasoning, to a pot luck lunch. I'm sure we are all astounded by the amount of sweet and starchy food that is placed on a pot luck table.

My favourite way of eating fresh asparagus is to wash it and break off the tough ends of the stalk before placing in a microwaveable dish. I microwave the asparagus for 4-6 minutes according to how much I have put in the dish. I have to admit this is a trial and error procedure but I do try to keep the asparagus al dente rather than soft. You can pick my asparagus up in your fingers and eat just like that. Unless you have eaten plain, freshly harvested asparagus simply cooked until it still has a hint of crispness you have not lived.

Getting back to my friend. He told me he had been hospitalized a couple of years previously with a diagnosis of Coeliac Disease after collapsing. My friend was a fit, slim eighty year old. I was surprised that one could have this disease and not have serious symptoms for most of your life. Now I understand there is a cumulative effect of the damage gluten does in the intestines which goes on almost silently in some people until a crisis point is reached.

My second exposure was through a nursing colleague of my daughter. Jane was talking about going to a local Café for lunch and how the owners were always sensitive to Becky's needs. Becky is a 30-40 year old who is slim and at first glance looked healthy. When I met her I suggested she would have lost weight after eliminating gluten grains from her diet. She replied that was not so. The gluten had kept her gut in such a state that she was always unwell and never far from a bathroom. Her digestive system was a mess. By removing gluten she now could enjoy her food and had gained a little weight.

After reading Wheat Belly by Dr William Davis, I now understand some of the mechanics of how gluten damages the intestines. I also know from personal experience one does not need to be diagnosed Coeliac Disease to be sensitive to gluten. The current tests do not always catch the disease and there are levels of gluten sensitivity which may not be Coeliac Disease but definitely cause inflammation in the gut. Age onset of gluten sensitivity is very common in my experience, as I talk with friends. The trouble with waiting until you are old enough to have recognisable symptoms is that damage has been done. I can only hope that the gut repairs itself so long as I never eat gluten grains again. I was impressed by Dr. O'Bryan's statement that once a month exposure to the tiniest bit of gluten, ie that left in a salad after removing the croutons, causes damage.

It's not my place to say no-one should eat modern wheat or we should all steer clear of products containing gluten but I do think we should all be aware that for some people gluten is a serious poison. Everytime I think of gluten sensitivity and Coeliac Disease I remember reading about Shauna Ahern's experience as described in her Blog, Gluten Free Girl and the Chef. This recent post mentions how her little daughter knows to kiss her on the cheek, not the lips. A year or two back I remember reading how a kiss from her Chef husband, when he returned from work, caused quite a marked reaction.

It's sad that such a basic food has become a modern-day source of illness. As a Christian I often battle with the knowledge that Jesus described himself as the Bread Of Life, yet bread makes many of us sick. The only explanation must be that modern wheat is not true wheat and is light years away from the wheat used in Biblical days. Dr Davis does explain the difference in his book.

Personally, if I was setting up home and starting a family today with the knowledge I now have, I would treat wheat as a food to be avoided and you would not find any gluten grains in my pantry. There are so many alternative ways to replace wheat that it's not as difficult as it sounds at first. The hardest part is making the mental adjustment because wheat seems to be in everything you buy except meat, most dairy and veggies. There is hardly a processed product on the grocery shelf that does not contain wheat. We are fortunate to have the internet where we can connect with all the people who eschew wheat in their diet. There is a great volume of knowledge from creative people who share their experience freely. I have always enjoyed cooking and baking.

 It is fun to create a new way of eating for John and myself although at the moment I do very little baking. I'm finding that my weight loss comes to a grinding halt all too easily these days and I'm only a little past half way to goal. I will always eat the occasional treat but I am becoming more discerning with every piece of knowledge I gain. Jesus said that without knowledge my people perish. Certainly he was referring to the need to spread the Gospel Story and to learn how to live in the Kingdom of God, but the statement applies in other aspects of life too.

I hope you watch the video and maybe even go and have a read at Dr. O'Bryan's website. I certainly will be heading in that direction when I have time later today.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Statin Nation

I believe this movie should be seen by every person over 55 year at least.

We need to educate our friends and families. But I do know people I will not even mention this to. They are so died in the wool in their lifestyle and what their doctor is telling them that they will not respond to this information. It would confuse them and cause so many problems. Most of the people I am talking about are over 65 and have serious cardio-vascular problems. This information and the research into the damage wheat does to us has come too late to be of any great help to them. I see no purpose in destroying their peace of mind, such as it is, for information which has come too late for them. That makes me sad but I know only too well that some people do not want to know what is best for them. They do not want to make changes. They want to trust traditional systems no matter how faulty they may be.

I am concerned about my children and their generation. It does not look as though medicine is going to come to it's senses any time soon. My children need this information now before they reach their 50s.

On another more personal topic. I think I might need to get a proper bra fitting in the near future. Do any of my NZ readers have knowledge of a good place to go. My body shape is changing so much with age and weight loss that none of my existing bras feel right and then there is the matter of a body shaper to deal with all the wobbly bits and bulges. Back in the 50s and 60s I would not have needed to ask this question but since the days of women burning their bras, qualified fitters are thin on the ground.

It was amazing to me to see bromeliads growing wild

Monday, April 22, 2013


This post by Dr. Peter Attia included this video clip. Life in proper perspective.

 Dr Peter Attia is one of the founders, along with Garry Taubes, of NuSi. NuSi is a not for profit organisation dedicated to improving the research into the problems of obesity, personal, social and economically. I have been reading and following so much stuff that I have ignored these two people up till now. I think it's time I looked more closely at what they are doing. I'm also considering joining TED and dropping some of the other things I read and listen to.

Whatever I am doing right now seems to be working well. I have broken through my plateau and lost at least 2 kg/4.5 lbs. I will post my menu with recipes when the 10 days are complete and let you know how I feel and what I am going to do next. The modified fat fast is a challenge because ideally I should be eating about 14 gm carbohydrate per day but my lunch-time smoothie has 11 gm carbohydrate and I don't want to fiddle with it any further right now. I'm not starving, I'm never over full but I cannot say there are no moments when I would like to eat a little more. I must be close to my lowest weight since ....Oh I don't know! Maybe I have to go back to around the 1070s although I do think I weighed a little less for a time around 1990. Edit. I should leave this typo but I meant 1970s.

While in Hawaii I bought a dress without trying it on. I was certain it was too small and would not fit until next summer, 6 or 7 months away. Although it is autumn here we are still having quite warm days and I wanted a change from always wearing pants to church. I tried the dress on and it fits perfectly. I do have a problem with bulges and sagging and flabby fat. I don't think that is going to completely go away whatever I weigh. I need to look into a stretchy body suit thingy that holds all this a little more firmly but I've looked at the Trinny and Susannah stuff and not sure they are what I want. Anyway it's time to do some research on Under Garments. Maybe something like this or maybe this

Here's the photo John took yesterday.

I am really upset that my face remains so twisted from the Bells Palsy. Most of the time I can forget it but photos do not lie. I cannot remember wearing a skirt this short in eons. I am wearing clothes we bought at Hilo Hattie's in Honolulu. I twisted 3 shell leis to make the choker necklace. The sandals are one of the pairs my daughter brought back from Bali a couple of years ago. It is good to feel confident enough to experiment with clothes again.


Saturday, April 20, 2013


One of my time consuming hobbies is reading blogs. It all began after I chose a link to Margie's weight loss blog. Margie and her husband, Bruce were ful-ltime Rvers until their untimely death. I discovered a whole new world of travel and regularly read a number of travel blogs in the hope of gleaning information for a major tour in USA.

Today I am going to share this post with you of The Wave. It's not what you think but it has to be one of the most unique places to hike in the whole world. I hope you'll look in and enjoy Howard and Linda's photos. RV Dreams website is a great place to go if you want to travel off the beaten track in USA

My weight remained stable while we were away. Thanks to Dr Davis of Wheat Belly fame, I realised wheat was an issue for me and that means I am carbohydrate sensitive too. We ate mindfully but had many treats and things I would not eat at home but that's part of why we travel. I was very sick for about 40 hours and that affected me for days but apart from not being able to move from my bed except to the bathroom, for those 40 odd hours, it did no lasting harm. I have since put together the possible reason for such a horrible gasto-intestinal attack. I ate a green papaya salad, fresh ripe papaya, dried papaya, and fresh coconut milk straight from the coconut all within 48 or so hours. I have since learned that some people cannot handle papaya at all and coconut milk can have laxative properties.

Our last five days were in Honolulu at sea level and I suffered. The heat and humidity got to me although I would not call the temperatures excessive. It was very hot in direct sun but as soon as you moved into shade you got the benefit and there was usually a cool sea breeze as well. My feet began to swell until even my loose sandals were very uncomfortable and my feet hurt to walk on. This swelling has taken several day to subside, partly because our weather at home is quite warm and humid. Although autumn is well underway we are still wearing light summer clothes, no jersey and bare foot.

I have now weighed more or less the same for over six months, with small losses along the way. I tried nutritional ketosis after reading about Jimmy Moore's successful experiment and The Art of Low Carbohydrate Performance by Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek. I was only partially successful but was probably a little too loose with my food ratios, particularly carbohydrates. Now that we are home and I have recovered from travelling sufficiently to take stock of where I am and where I want to be, I decided to re-read Dana Carpender's book Fat Fast Cookbook. This book is a reasonably quick read with some good basic information and recipes which have helped me a lot.

On Thursday I decided to give some of her ideas a try. On my third morning I am in the fat burning zone. My Keto Coffee is different but palatable. I cannot say I have been fully sated by my meals but there is probably a good reason for that. The need to keep calories low and fat high and still eat My Food means that I don't have very many calories left for dinner. Another small glitch is that Dana used coconut milk in her Keto Coffee while I only had coconut cream in the pantry. Zillions of extra calories in coconut cream. Whatever my hunger button has been telling me these last two nights no harm has been done by eating a smaller meal in the evening. I have lost at least 1.5 kg/3.5 lbs. I know most of that is fluid and my feet are at last beginning to look normal.

I'm not going to detail my recipes because I can think of many people who will go into shock. That would never do.

I began each day with my version of Keto Coffee which is coconut flavoured coffee with cinnamon, unsweetened. My lunch or brunch is a smoothie I make with Greek yoghurt, frozen berries, cod liver oil, whey powder, cream and water. My evening meal has been 2 eggs on silverbeet/Swiss chard or about 100gm of meat with a small lettuce salad dressed with olive oil followed by a few almonds to munch on.

This is a modified version of a fat fast á la Dana so I think I am safe to do this for 10 days. I do not want to be restricting calories and worrying about the ratio of macro-nutrients or measuring and weighing for any longer than that. I do want to stay in nutritional ketosis. I have noticed a definite advantage mentally when there are plenty of ketones to feed my brain. I do want my daily food menus to be sustainable long term. getting it right makes maintenance a whole lot simpler when that time comes. How cool it is to feel positive about my future being in maintenance mode rather than weight loss. I feel as though I've been in weight loss mode forever and that is true in a way. I first became aware of my weight as a very young child, maybe 9 years old. The crazy thing is that I was never overweight until after our first child was born, in my mid twenties. It's been an uphill struggle until now. For 63 years my weight has been an issue. For about 45 years I was a yo-yo dieter. Here's to being in the final stages of learning how to become slim and stay that way.

I am back to keeping track and recording stats on my Tracker/Record Blog.

My Hawaiian Trip Blog is still active with several more posts to finish writing and posting.

My main Blog, Growing Older Gracefully, remains on the sidelines except for occasional posts. I am not up to keeping all my blogs active at the same time. I really want to lose more than 20 kg/44 lbs before I assess where to from here. Until that point this will be my writing residence.

I'm not sure how many people are reading now because this Blog is no longer showing on my profile. I will probably wait another couple of months before reorganising that detail. In the meantime I'm in a bit of a funk trying to work out what to do once Google close their Reader service. The alternatives that I've seen recommended do not seem to work well for me. I have been reluctant to get sucked into Google + but there may not be an alternative.

One thing that never stays the same for any length of time is technology. The older I grow the less I want to make changes. Change involves stress and learning opportunities neither of which I get very excited about. Perhaps some clever person will devise a network for those of us who want to keep it simple.

How do you feel about managing changes, especially the ones where you seem to have no choice?

Blessings all. It's good to be back.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Finally I have caught up with all our fun times in Hawaii. You can read here about our Golden Wedding Anniversary and some serendipitous times.

I can't say we have stayed perfectly to our food plan but what is travel without sampling the foods t he locals eat.

Today we drive to another beautiful area of Hawaii.