The Road to Hana and back, with a fruit feast in between. (The last pics from Maui!)

Over the last four posts centered around my brother’s wedding, I’ve shared my Mom’s hometown, a beach workout, a black sand beach, a volcano crater, and a passage of text on an airline agricultural declaration form advising against smuggling snakes on the plane. Whether you’ve enjoyed or merely tolerated this onslaught of photo-documentation, I’m back with the last few pics. Okay, the last 25 or so. At the risk of sounding like a vacation destination brochure for Maui, I want to share a little more of the island’s diverse geographic character. What else would I do with my evidence that there’s more to Maui than beaches and volcanos?

Our drive up to Hana and back took us through lush rainforest and a barren, desert-like environment, respectively, landscapes so opposite that it’s a wonder they’re along the same road in fairly close proximity. In Arizona, we have canyons and forests, snow country and lakes, and, of course, our vast expanse of the Sonoran desert, festooned with its indigenous and characteristic Saguaro cactus… but you don’t get all of that variation within a two-hour drive along the same road!

Hana Highway (aka the Road to Hana) takes you from Kahului to the east side of the island, ending at the town of Hana. The trek is a must-do when you’re on Maui. (Again, sorry about the brochure-speak; there’s no other way to put it.)

The narrow, winding road up to Hana is infamous for being a risky drive, but it’s also a treasure hunt, so you want to have a map of the treasures along the way. One of these is Ono Organic Farms. My brother had arranged for us to do a fruit-tasting and a tour through the gardens there. It was like stepping into Avatar. Have I mentioned that my brother is all kinds of awesome?

We couldn’t visit the Seven Sacred Pools this time, but that’s what future visits are for! I loved the Seven Sacred Pools the one time I went, and I look forward to going back and showing Callaghan its sparkling pools and waterfalls.

Going home, rather than backtracking the way we came, we continued along our path. Hana Highway loops around Paia toward Pukalani, and the terrain changes dramatically. This is where you’ll see landscape that looks more like the mainland than an island.

Other than mongoose and nene, we didn’t see too much in the way of critters… you’ll find a darling little brown spider in one of the pics below, though. I’d included a nene pic from the cemetery a few posts back, but the mongoose is just too fast to photograph. He’s a famous emblem of Hawaii for a reason, that mongoose. He’s too busy opening cans of whoop-ass on snakes to be sitting for portraits.

Here’s a mongoose who posed for someone else:

 

Portrait of a mongoose as stolen from bikemaui dot com

Portrait of a mongoose as stolen from bikemaui dot com

 

And here are a few pics from the road to Hana (Hana Highway):

 

We got an early start up the road, ascending under the brightening day.

We got an early start up the road, ascending under the brightening day.

 

It’s best to start up the road early in the morning, when there’s less traffic, but it’s highly advisable to avoid going when it’s dark.

 

Legend has it that the waters of Kane can heal disease and preserve youth

Legend has it that the waters of Kane can heal disease and preserve youth

 

There are many waterfalls along the way.

 

A waterfall seen from the road

A waterfall seen from the road

 

So many little waterfalls.

So many little waterfalls.

 

The rainforest is beautiful. How could it not be?

 

Sunbeams in the rainforest

Sunbeams in the rainforest

 

Rainforest vegetation

Rainforest vegetation

 

Spiders make me happy, so you know I had to grab a pic of this little guy!

 

Little spider!

Little spider!

 

After visiting the black sand beach, we headed to Ono Organic Farms for the fruit-tasting and tour my brother had arranged.

 

Ono Organic Farms

Ono Organic Farms

 

Starfruit

Starfruit

 

Fallen avocados

Fallen avocados

 

The avocados in Hawaii grow to be enormous. The specimens pictured here are some of the smaller ones!

 

I'm holding this avocado like it's a grenade, but I'm just trying to gauge its weight.

I’m holding this avocado like it’s a grenade, but I’m just trying to gauge its weight.

 

Nutmeg

Nutmeg

 

Coffee beans

Coffee beans

 

Cacao (chocolate)

Cacao (chocolate)

 

Bananas, maybe (unfortunately, I didn't take enough care to remember which plants were what)

Bananas, maybe (unfortunately, I didn’t take enough care to remember which plants were what)

 

Another shot of the banana part of the farm...?

Another shot of the banana part of the farm…?

 

Here’s a sneak peek at Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Bananas are Next

 

Banana House of Horrors

Banana House of Horrors

 

Then the drive back to Kihei, also on the Hana Highway. Here’s where you’ll see Maui looking more like the mainland than an island.

 

Coming back from Hana

Coming back from Hana

 

Not too many miles away from the rainforest!

Not too many miles away from the rainforest!

 

Returning from Hana

Returning from Hana

 

Desert-like land meeting the ocean... the opposite of the rainforest meeting the ocean at the black sand beach

Desert-like land meeting the ocean… the opposite of the rainforest meeting the ocean at the black sand beach

 

This almost looks like Iraq.

This almost looks like Iraq.

 

I wouldn't guess I was on a tropical island!

I wouldn’t guess I was on a tropical island!

 

The highway back from Hana

The highway back from Hana

 

Windmills

Windmills

 

The End.

And now we’ve been back for a week, and it’s Thanksgiving week already. Next time I post, we’ll be somewhere else yet again. More family shenanigans afoot! The best kind of shenanigans.

Typical Food.

Several friends have been asking me what I typically eat, and I find it difficult to answer on the spot, because, I guess, I don’t put all that much thought into food… so the last time I was asked, I decided to do a food journal over the next two days, which happened to be Sunday and Monday (yesterday). The timing was great for the experiment because my documentation captured a weekend day and a weekday that also happened to be a gym day. It covers a pretty good idea of the average food picture in my life. I’m sharing the results here this morning, for anyone who may be curious.

Since this was a spontaneous decision, I didn’t premeditate it or go shopping for it or anything. That’s my excuse for not exhibiting dishes prepared from scratch. Some weekends, I cook food to feed us for a few days, if not for the week, and some weekends, I don’t… and this last weekend, I didn’t.

Here are a few generalities:

1). Water is key to starting my day right. First thing in the morning, I drink three big glasses of chilled water, and I continue drinking water all day long. I have a little idiosyncrasy about water: I prefer very cold water, except I like to drink room-temperature water when I’m eating.

Water is the only thing I drink besides coffee and the occasional cup of tea or iced tea. (I stopped drinking grapefruit juice last year… I used to have it with breakfast.) I’ll sometimes squeeze fresh lemon juice into my water when I’m at home. I’m hyper-vigilant about keeping myself hydrated – I also drink a big glass of water right before going to sleep. I’m just really into water. Fun fact!

2). You’ll notice a lot of carbs on both days, since that’s my favorite food group. I prefer complex carbs and actually avoid simple carbs (white bread, white pasta, white rice, white potatoes, refined sugar, and alcohol… I think my last glass of wine was back in either October or November). (Oh wait, did I have champagne with my in-laws when they were here visiting from France for New Year’s? Yes, I believe did! December 31 was the last time I drank alcohol, then.)

3). I’m in the habit of waiting until 9:00am to eat breakfast, even though my alarm goes off at 5:00-5:30am in the morning five days a week. I get up and drink the three glasses of water with my thyroid medication, and then I wait 30 minutes before consuming anything else, because that’s how thyroid medication works. (I have Hashimoto’s disease – hypothyroidism. In my case, it’s autoimmune thyroiditis.) When the 30 minutes has passed, I take my other morning meds, and I have my first of two mugs of coffee.

4). I take supplements twice a day (different ones with my morning and evening meals).

5). I tend to cycle through certain foods. For instance, for a few weeks recently, I was having a Trader Joe’s blueberry-bran muffin for breakfast every weekday. Then I moved on to waffles and berries. I change it up every two to three weeks.

6). While there’s almost always some overlap in the things we eat (like salads, guacamole, fruit, etc.), Callaghan and I eat different meals about half of the time, I’d say. He’ll incorporate non-vegan elements into his.

7). Have I mentioned that as of about a month and a half ago, I’m back to 100% vegan, 100% of the time? It feels good. I’m my old self again.

So all that said, let’s jump in! Here’s what I ate over the last two days:

Sunday

Breakfast: Bear Naked Honey Almond Granola (10g protein!) with plain, unsweetened almond milk, blueberries and raspberries; coffee with stevia and the same almond milk; whole wheat toast with Earth Balance buttery spread.

 

Granola with a generous topping of fresh berries and almond milk, and whole wheat toast - and Sumatra coffee, of course (my favorite)!

Granola with a generous topping of fresh berries and almond milk, and whole wheat toast – and Sumatra coffee, of course (my favorite)!

 

Lunch: Sandwich with vegan lunch slices in turkey and ham flavor with fresh spinach, Roma tomato, Dijon mustard (that Callaghan brought back from France!) and grapeseed-oil Veganaise on whole wheat bread; a nectarine.

 

I usually default to sandwiches for lunch, which is fine, because I love them. I usually have fruit, too.

I usually default to sandwiches for lunch, which is fine, because I love them. I usually have fruit, too.

 

Snack: Kind Healthy Grains Maple Quinoa Clusters with Chia Seeds (1/3 cup), dry.

 

A handful of dry granola for a crunchy, sweet afternoon snack - one of my favorites! This is Kind Healthy Grains Maple Quinoa Clusters with Chia Seeds. YUM.

A handful of dry granola for a crunchy, sweet afternoon snack – one of my favorites! This is Kind Healthy Grains Maple Quinoa Clusters with Chia Seeds. YUM.

 

Dinner: Black beans and brown rice with HOT salsa; sliced avocado; a side salad of mixed baby spring greens and tomato with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, coarsely ground black pepper and oregano.

 

This was a quick and easy dinner of brown rice, black beans, salsa, and avocado, with a salad on the side.

This was a quick and easy dinner of brown rice, black beans, salsa, and avocado, with a salad on the side.

 

Dessert: Justin’s organic dark chocolate peanut butter cups.

 

Justin's organic dark chocolate peanut butter cups are my favorite vegan treat!

Justin’s organic dark chocolate peanut butter cups are my favorite vegan treat!

 

Monday

(The standard two mugs of coffee with stevia and plain, unsweetened almond milk)

Breakfast: Two of Van’s Multigrain 8 Whole Grains waffles with Earth Balance buttery spread; blueberries and raspberries.

 

I toast and "butter" (it's Earth Balance) the waffles at home and bring them to work loosely wrapped in foil. Van’s Multigrain 8 Whole Grains waffles, blueberries and raspberries.

I toast and “butter” (it’s Earth Balance) the waffles at home and bring them to work loosely wrapped in foil. Van’s Multigrain 8 Whole Grains waffles, blueberries and raspberries.

 

Lunch: Sandwich with Trader Joe’s Mediterranean hummus, fresh spinach and Roma tomato on whole wheat bread; a nectarine.

(On gym days, I’ll usually have peanut butter and jelly for lunch, but lately I’ve been alternating with hummus for the savory goodness of it. It’s still a great high protein/healthy fat sandwich spread.)

 

I ate lunch at my desk yesterday: Sandwich with Trader Joe’s Mediterranean hummus, fresh spinach and Roma tomato on whole wheat bread... and a heavenly nectarine for dessert!

I ate lunch at my desk yesterday: Sandwich with Trader Joe’s Mediterranean hummus, fresh spinach and Roma tomato on whole wheat bread… and a heavenly nectarine for dessert!

 

Snack: Small handful of roasted, unsalted almonds; a mini chocolate chip Clif bar.

(Workout fuel! I like a combination of protein, healthy fats, carbs, and a little unrefined sugar an hour or two before going to Body Combat.)

 

A small handful of roasted, unsalted almonds and a mini chocolate chip Clif bar fueled my workout after work. That mini Clif bar is so tiny! It's exactly the right size.

A small handful of roasted, unsalted almonds and a mini chocolate chip Clif bar fueled my workout after work. That mini Clif bar is so tiny! It’s exactly the right size.

 

Dinner: Homemade guacamole and an Amy’s Sonoma veggie burger (organic vegetables, quinoa and walnuts) on whole wheat toast; side salad of spinach, mixed baby spring greens and tomato with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, coarsely ground black pepper and oregano.

(Post-workout delicious combination of complex carbs, plant-based protein and healthy fats.)

 

Callaghan made his guacamole to go with our dinner, and it was fabulous, as usual! Homemade guacamole and an Amy’s Sonoma veggie burger on whole wheat toast, plus a side salad.

Callaghan made his guacamole to go with our dinner, and it was fabulous, as usual! Homemade guacamole and an Amy’s Sonoma veggie burger on whole wheat toast, plus a side salad.

 

Dessert: Fresh strawberries.

 

Fresh strawberries for dessert.

Fresh strawberries for dessert.

 

The strawberries look kind of weird in the picture, somehow, but they were wonderful.

Not pictured: I had a cup of Celestial Seasoning’s Honey Vanilla Chamomile tea last night before bed. It’s my favorite nighttime tea.

Et voilà! Two typical days.

My favorite thing to eat besides carbs is seasonal produce. The nectarines are fantastic right now. You know they’re a June favorite!