Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Where have I been??

Update and why I'm so busy these days ( and not blogging as much )

Back in July I got sick. Some sort of cold that severely inflamed my tonsils enough to scare the shit out of me. After my "cold" symptoms passed I was left with what looked like a "cyst" inside one of my tonsils. 3 rounds of antibiotics and 2 doctors later it was still there and I still didn't have an answer to what the bump actually was? I live on Maui and the earliest I could get into see the only ear/nose and throat doctor on island was mid November ( WTF right? It was JULY! ). My heath insurance would allow me to fly to Honolulu ( or the Mainland ) to see a doctor if need be but all my blood tests came out great so my local doctors didn't seem very concerned. So before jumping on an airplane, I decided to try something...

From what I could gather from many many different sources it looked like the "bump" in my tonsil could actually be just be a benign "cyst". A Tonsil Cyst caused by sinus drainage that has settled inside the irritated node. I immediately decided to eliminate as many mucus causing allergens out of my diet like the little bit of dairy I was eating as well as gluten. I also decided to cut out any crap ( like wine and sugar ) and added some supplements like E, C and B vitamins + pro-biotics.

Then the strangest thing happened? My energy levels shot through roof. So much so I joined a small hotel gym and started working out 6 days a week in addition to surfing and paddling. I lost about 5-6 lbs within 2 weeks and my digestion was nearly perfect. Any bloating I use to consider normal was completely gone. My allergies? Gone. My cyst? Gone...( I still have my ENT appointment but now these is nothing for him to really look at). Another plus? My skin is looking really really good these days.

Age 37
Current weight: About 105-106 lbs ( I'm 5'5") down from ( 110-111 lbs )
I lost about 1.5" in my waist and about 1.5" in my hips.
25" to 23.5" waist
35" to 33.5" hips

Biggest physical changes: ( besides the cyst going away ) At 37, I can see abdominal muscles for the first time in my life. My shoulders, biceps, triceps, quads and glutes are definitely a bit larger. And my surfing/paddling has greatly improved.

I have worked out and have eaten a "healthy" diet since a young teenager but never have I ever seen results like this in such a short amount of time? I'm not sure if it's mostly my new improved diet or the increased cardio/weight training?  Most likely it's a combination of both.

Big note: I have been consistent. Like crazy consistent. No matter how tired I am or how busy I get I make sure to get to the gym 6 days a week. I also make sure I have loads of quinoa or rice already made and plenty of healthy local greens and salad dressings already washed and prepared so I always have something to grab when I get home from a work. THIS IS HUGE. The one or two times I didn't have my fridge prepped I ended up going out and slipping. One time I had bread, another time a "healthy" goat cheese pizza and ended up feeling stuffed and bloated until the next day.

I didn't plan this. This wasn't a New Years Resolution or a prep for my 20 year reunion ( although good timing! ) or some other major event. I truly made this change because I was worried about my chronic allergies/tonsil issues and my general health. The physical changes were completely unexpected but they have been so profound that I'm sticking with this. Obviously vanity comes into play. The reality is, I'm rapidly heading towards 40 ( whoa ) and I still wear a bikini most days of the week ( and year round in Hawaii! ). I also surf big and powerful waves and I want to be in the absolute best physical condition to continue to do this as I get older. I know some pretty incredibly powerful athletes in Hawaii well into their 40s and 50s and beyond!

Lastly: The best part is that my partner, Carlos, has joined in after he saw how quickly my body and energy levels changed. After 7 years together, he has joined a gym for the first time and has been going with me several times a week.

What does my workout routine look like now?

60-75 minutes of Cardio - 3 times a week

This usually includes 30 minutes on the elliptical machine  ( Intervals of 2 minutes on level 5 and 10 ). I use the elliptical with the moving handle bars.

After the elliptical I immediately do a 30-45 minute run on the treadmill. My runs are hovering between speeds of 6.2 and 6.5 but sometimes I shoot up to 7.0 for quick sprint near the end. My runs are generally around 3.25 and 4.75 miles.

I include 100 weighted squats on these days

30 minutes of Cardio - 3 times a week.
On my short cardio days I generally do the elliptical routine ( or a run ) along with a 30-40 minute weight routine. I alternate my muscle groups on these days as well. I use weight machines as well as free weights.

Legs ( weight machines )

alternated with


I also do 100 reps of weighted squats ( 5 lbs in each hand ) and 100 weighted sumo squats ( 10 lbs ) followed by 3 sets of 20 weighted lunges ( 5 lbs in each hand )

I don't have a specific ab workout right now. However I make sure that I'm using proper posture and form when doing my cardio and weight training while concentrating on my core. I still truly believe that abs are made in the kitchen.

I still surf and SUP a few times a week depending on the conditions but this is on top of the routine above. I would like to find some time to incorporate yoga classes again. I have a planned "rest" 1 day a week however this week I surfed on that day. My rest day is usually on Sunday ( I also work Sunday mornings ) so I take the afternoon and night off to watch football and Anthony Bourdain's show on CNN :)

So what do you eat or don't eat now?

No dairy
No gluten
No animal proteins ( same as before ) my only exception have been an occasional organic local Maui egg
No refined sugar
Very little alcohol ( 1 or 2 times a week ) a big change for me. I used to have 1-2 glasses of wine daily.
Dining out has been narrowed down to mostly Asian food ( Thai and Japanese usually 1-2x a week ). Much easier to eat dairy, vegetarian/vegan and gluten free this way. Many sushi restaurants offer gluten free tamari in place of soy sauce as well. I also frequently eat at Choice Health Bar in Lahaina.

My meals revolve around...

Macro Bowls ( almost daily )
Big Salads
Acai Bowls
Veggie Sushi
Vietnamese Summer Rolls
Soups ( especially vegan posole, squash and vegan pho )
veggie tacos made with corn tortillas
Vegan Korean Bibimbap

I eat a ton of...

Seasonal Veggies 
Lettuce ( esp baby romaine )
Brussel Sprouts ( fav! )
mushrooms ( loving all a the local varieties from the Big Island )
Sweet and hot peppers
Cilantro, Chives, Mint and Thai Basil

Sweet Potatoes
Butternut Squash
Rice ( all kinds )
Rice paper wraps
Corn Tortillas

Yummy Add-Ons
Sesame Seeds
Lemons and Limes
Korean Go Chu Jang sauce ( most contain some gluten )
Gluten Free Hoisin
Garlic, Ginger and all sorts of spices and fresh herbs

Chick Peas
Black Beans
White Kidney Beans
Sprouted Organic extra firm Tofu ( very occasionally like 1 or 2x a month )

Coconut milk
Sunflower oil, Safflower, Sesame and sometimes Olive Oil
Peanut and Almond butter
Virgin coconut oil/butter

All kinds of fruits ( esp. seasonal local tropicals and tons of berries and apples )
Green Juices
Almond Milk
Coconut Water

Fermented Foods ( this was a new and big addition to my diet )
Miso ( love love love! )
Kim Chi
several different kinds of vinegars

Snacks ( I'm not a big snacker but these help to have around )
rice cakes
rice crackers ( esp tamari seaweed flavors )
Raw Organic Food Bars
Almond Dream Ice "Cream" ( best vegan/gluten free ice cream I have tasted so far )

Daily Supplements
Vit E, C

Weekly Supplements ( probably 2-3x a week )

So there you have it. Hopefully this explains my absence these days ( oh I was travelling in November as well ). I would never recommend "self diagnosing" to anyone. Please see your doctor....I did go to my doctor(s), several times, and for several weeks in a row. I had all the necessary blood tests done and took my meds like I was told.  However at a certain point I realized that I'm responsible for my own health and I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I decided that I was not going to take another antibiotic without trying something else first. What followed was a total surprise. Did it have anything to do with the cyst disappearing? I don't know....but it's gone and THAT makes me happy.



  1. You are definitely an inspiration. I'm impressed that you even knew your measurements! I love that you are eating the fresh local produce and have cut out the dairy. I need to get back to the macro bowls etc.

  2. I admire you for being so disciplined with this diet! There is no WAY I could do this (I mean, I still eat meat, much less cheese and other dairy). But I learn so much from you regarding new food options- I'm going to try those miso dressings, they sound delish. Also, wanted to tell you, while in Maui last week we toured and tasted at Surfing Goat Dairy- such a great experience. Also visited, Star Noodle (roasted mushrooms?! addicted!) and a few others that you mention here. We stayed in Kahana so we visited Sea House for their yummy breakfast. Alas, we had our baby so we didn't get to partake in their great happy hour. Anyways, just happy to see that your back to feeling better and completely understand how with working a full-time job, exercising and just generally living life a blog could take the back seat!