Kau Kau Kitchen
by Leilehua Yuen

Health - 60 x 60

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*60x60 - A Health Journey
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December 15 - Ka Wai Ola

-by Leilehua Yuen

My goal for today? Drink more water! When we diet, we are burning off the fat, and creating a lot of byproducts. They need to be flushed out of our bodies, and to do that, we need to drink water.

Back in the 90s, when I was a cultural demonstrator at Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, we sometimes used to enjoy mildly teasing visitors who asked us if there was a place they could find traditional Hawaiian beverages. “Oh, yes,” we’d tell them. “It’s even free! The water fountain is right over there!” Indeed, water, wai, is the most widespread traditional Hawaiian beverage, and  is so important that it is extolled in chants and offered to the gods.


Click image for purchase link for lehua wine glasses.

E ulu, e ulu kini o ke Akua
Ulu Kāne me Kanaloa
Ulu ʻōhiʻalaukoa me ka ʻieʻie
Aʻe mai a noho i kou kuahu
Eia ka wai la, he wai e ola
E ola nō e!

O, grow, O grow multitude of Gods
Grow Kāne and Kanaloa
Grow forest forms of of the gods

Dwell here in your altar
Here is the water, the water of life
Life, indeed!

Our bodies are 60% water, and we use it in many ways. We use it to regulate our body temperature; lubricate joints, tendons, and muscles; dissolve minerals and other nutrients so they may be transported throughout the body, along with oxygen, to our cells; carry waste products, toxins, and gasses from our cells to our lungs, kidneys, liver, and skin for removal from the body; moisten tissues of our eyes, lips, mouth, and digestive system; and remove waste products from our digestive tract. We drink water, we clean ourselves and our environment with it, and we even breathe small amounts of it as vapor in the air. Dehydration, the lack of water, can lead to fatigue, impared thinking, and other problems. Human life is dependant on water.

In ancient Hawaiʻi, this dependance on water was recognized in a number of sayings. The folk etymology that waiwai, “wealth,” is a reduplication of the word for water is probably inaccurate, with the word being more closely related to wai meaning “retain,” as retaining goods or property. But it is a good memonic to remember the importance of water to our kino, our bodies.

Mary Kawena Pukui recorded a number of sayings about water in her book, Olelo Noeau: Hawaiian Proverbs and Poetical Sayings:

Ola i ka wai a ka ʻōpua - There is life in the water from the clouds.

Uē ka lani, ola ka honua - When heaven cries, the land lives.

Huʻea na kai i pihaʻā moe wai o uka - Washed to the sea is debris of upland streams.

Ka lepo ke kumu wai, e huaʻi ana ka lepo kai - When the source of water is dirty, the dirt is carried to the sea.

What lessons do these things have for us today? Just as the earth must have adequite clean water to maintain the health of the land, rivers, and sea, we must drink adequite clean water to maintain the health of our bodies.

On the macro scale, we must all work for the health of the land by supporting the health of the water. On the micro scale, we can support our own health by drinking clean, pure water.

Just as we can tell the health of a stream by how much silt and contaminents are spilling into the ocean from it, we can look at our own mimi (urine) to get some gauge of our health. It should be clear or pale yellow. If it is dark or cloudy, we need to adjust our intake of water, and if that does not clear it up, to see a doctor.

Just how much water does a person need to drink? That varies a great deal. In general six to eight eight ounce glasses of water per day are recommended for adults. But if a person is doing activities that cause heavy perspiration, more water will be needed. Pregnant and nursing women need more water. People who are ill need more water.

While vitamin water is popular, doctors are starting to express concers that we are overdosing on vitamins, which can lead to a variety of symptoms, depending on the overabundant vitamin. For example, overdosing on B1 (thiamine) can cause weakness, headache, irregular heartbeat, and low blood pressure. Overdosing on vitamin E can cause symptoms ranging from nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, fatigue, weakness, headache, blurred vision, rash, to bruising and bleeding. A bottle of vitamin water every so often probably won’t cause problems, but frequent consumption, especially when taking vitamin supplements, can add up. Many of these drinks also have a lot of sugar, or have artificial sweeteners.

As long as we eat a variety of foods, unless we are working our muscles to fatigue on a regular basis, tasty as they are, we probably don’t need supplemented beverages.

Eia ka wai la, he wai e ola. E ola nō e!

AM Numbers:
Blood Pressure - 150 / 99
Blood Glucose - 100
Yesterday's Steps - 7868 / 3.6 miles

PM Numbers
Steps - 12,579 / 4.5 miles

Not so good on the blood pressure, today. I didn't get much walking in. So, Friday, I will add more steps. Also, I found some wonderful inspirational women on youtube! Check it out!

Using Apps

I use the Pacer app to keep track and motivate me. It's really quite accurate, and has a number of different exercise routines and challenges to spice things up and keep you motivated.

I also use the iHealth app, which is pretty complicated for me, but fortunately there are some good resources for learning to maximize its usefulness.

AND, I use the NPR 1 app a lot! While I walk, I can listen to local, national, and global news, and my favorite podcasts.

I even use my phone for a phone, and call my Mama and other people I want to stay in touch with!

Resource Links

iHealth app gives you multifunction health tracking

Pacer pedometer app tracks your steps, blood pressure, etc.

Mayo Clinic: mayoclinic.org

Riverside Online: http://www.riversideonline.com/health_reference/Questions-Answers/AN01734.cfm

Hawaiʻi Dept. Of Health: http://health.hawaii.gov/cwb/site-map/clean-water-branch-home-page/polluted-runoff-control-program/prc-hawaiis-implementation-plan/agriculture/

Pukui: ʻŌlelo Noʻeau