February 2023


Mo`olelo: Moana Alo

7 Strategies to Help You Live a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

Forest Bathing

Nutrition Resources from the ADA

Recipe: Beef Luau and Lomi Tomato 

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Native Hawaiians & Pacific Islanders have higher rates of heart disease, stroke and congestive heart failure.


These statistics can be scary & overwhelming, but it’s important that we understand what it means & actively work towards strengthening our heart and body.


You can turn these statistics around for you and your family! 

Mo'olelo: Moana Alo

Welina mai Kakou! ‘O Moana ko’u inoa. Noho na kama. Noho pa’a San Diego, Kaleponi.

Greetings everyone, my name is Moana, I live with my children in San Diego, California. My mountain is that of Cowles Mountain to the west and my ocean is that of the Pacific.

As a mother, student, community leader, aunty, published author, mentor, role model, health advocate and friend I am grateful

for the many lived experiences I have had the pleasure of having. Of being able to walk in the footsteps of many great leaders before me. I am who I am because of where I have come from. I come from a line of warriors, of survivors, of practitioners, and of healers. Those who have come before me are the reason I am able to do what I can today.

I am blessed beyond measure because I am able to wake up every day, knowing that I have purpose and that I have support and that when I call upon them I have a network of family and friends who will answer my kahea.

When I am not at my best, I know that I don’t need to carry the load on my own, that I have just to reach out and someone will share it with me. And when my health and mental capacity has been reached, those who love me for

me, not for what I can provide for them, are willing and available because the relationship we have nurtured transcends material things. I know that I am in good hands. It is because of my communal relationships that I am able to share my mana’o, my ‘ike, my mana with not only my own na kaikamahine, but all na keiki of my San Diego community. 

As a community leader it is my kuleana to open their minds to possibilities, to inspire their potential, and to advocate for their growth. I consistently expose our youth to situations and experiences that they might not have considered. To share with them opportunities to use their voice in spaces where we are not. To push them to be vulnerable and overcome those feelings.

My favorite way to move my body is mostly through hula. I have had the immense honor to be ho’opa’pa to my halau and watching my daughters become immersed in our culture through this vehicle has been awe-inspiring. 

A quote that I consistently use and live by is a Hawaiian proverb. “A’ohe hana nui ke ‘alu i’a”, No task is too great when done together by all. This is the mindset I have and will continue to perpetuate in all facets of my life from my professional persona to my personal relationships. There is no greater joy than to know that collectively, we as a people can overcome when we do it together.

As I reflect on the healthy food options my ohana partakes in I have to say that it has to be this simple dish of tofu and ginger. Such a simple snack that takes literally seconds but is refreshing. Cube a block of firm tofu of your choice, grate fresh ginger over the top, and splash a bit of shoyu.

7 Strategies to Help You Live a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle:


1.  Learn your Health History: Know your risks and talk to your family and doctor about your health history.

2.  Eat a Healthy Diet: Make healthy food choices like more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products. Eat less salt, saturated fat, and added sugar.

3.  Move More, Sit Less: Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, plus muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days a week.

4.  Quit Smoking: Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free help and take the first step on your journey to quit.

5.  Take Medicines as Directed: If you take medicine to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes, follow your doctor's instructions carefully. Always ask questions if you don't understand something. Never stop taking your medicine without talking to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.

6.  Choose Your Drinks Wisely: Substitute water for sugary drinks to reduce calories. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation by limiting consumption to no more than 1 drink a day for women (2 for men) on days that alcohol is consumed.

7.  Monitor Your Blood Pressure at Home: Self-measured blood pressure monitors are easy and safe to use, and your doctor can show you how to use one if you need help.

Excerpt from the CDC: (7 Strategies to Live a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle | CDC)

What is Forest Bathing?

“Forest bathing is the practice of immersing yourself in nature, engaging all of your senses in the present moment,” Braden says.

This concept was popularized by Japanese doctors, who wrote prescriptions for patients to go into a forest to sit, lie down, observe surroundings, breathe, and leave technology and worry behind. There are so many healthy benefits from being outside in nature, moving and rejuvenating.

Braden recommends taking a walk in the woods, discovering texture by picking up rocks or touching tree bark, using your five senses, sitting against a tree or taking off your shoes to feel the earth.

5 fun winter ideas from ‘52 Ways to Nature: Washington’ author Lauren Braden | The Seattle Times

Nutrition Resources:

American Diabetes Association (ADA)

Keep your weight loss goals and healthy eating resolutions in mind—it’s never too late to take steps to reach them. We want you to succeed and reach your goals. If you have diabetes or trying to prevent it, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has a series of nutrition-related videos and handouts you can read while watching them.

Healthy Ways to Cook

You don’t have to give up your favorite foods to eat healthy! Learn new ways to cook and prepare your meals so you get the right portions of different types of food. Cooking foods in a healthy way doesn’t mean sacrificing taste or time. Learn about time savers and flavorful substitutes!

  • Learn healthy ways to add flavor to food.
  • Instead of frying, try alternative methods of cooking.
  • Learn about the fat content in the foods you’re cooking

Knowing how to read a food label is essential to eating healthy.

  •  Serving size
  •  Carbs and added sugars
  •  Calories per serving 
  •  Sodium content
  •  Healthy fats vs. unhealthy fats

Food Label Know How

Food Groups and Portion Sizes

Understanding how food groups work together can help you work toward your goals and be healthier. Learn about saturated fat, added sugar, and sodium.

  • Vegetables: Many non-starchy vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber
  • Protein: Helps manage blood glucose (blood sugar) and weight  
  • Carbohydrates: Bread, pastas, cereals, and fruit affect blood glucose
  • Dairy: Contains protein, calcium, and vitamin D
  • Fats: Avocado, olives, nuts, and seeds support heart health 
  • Extras: Desserts can be consumed in moderation

Plan Your Plate

Portion size is another important way to ensure healthy eating. What does your plate look like? The ADA has developed the Diabetes Plate Method to help you navigate portion sizes. Your plate should follow these guidelines:

  • Fill 1/2 of the plate with non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli or green beans.
  • Fill 1/4 of the plate with grains, starchy vegetables, or beans and lentils.
  • Fill 1/4 of the plate with protein such as lean chicken.

Overall, include an appropriate portion of the five food groups that are the foundation for healthy eating: vegetables, grains, protein, dairy, and fruit.

We hope these resources help your healthy habits and lifestyle choices stay on track to meet your 2023 goals! 

Get Help with New Nutrition Resources | ADA (diabetes.org)

February is designated as American Heart Month to raise awareness of the importance of keeping your heart healthy and strong; reducing the risk of heart disease.

It’s also an important time to reflect on how we can build a healthier heart and body.

Recipe: Beef Luau and Lomi Tomato

"One of my favorite dishes to cook and perfect for sharing with family and friends. It's especially 'ono topped with our lomi tomato." - Chef Keoni Chang, Chief Food Officer

Makes 4 servings

Beef Luau 

  • 2 pounds fresh luau leaves, stems removed and stemless leaves coarsely chopped (you may sub with frozen luau leaves) 
  • 2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2″ cubes (short ribs or stew meat also works) 
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
  • 1-pound yellow onion, sliced 1/2 inch 
  • Hawaiian salt, to taste 

1. Heat a heavy-bottomed pot on the stove on high. Season the beef with Hawaiian salt. 

2. Add just enough oil to the pot to lightly coat the bottom. When the oil is hot enough to shimmer and gives off wisps of steam, add the beef in small batches to avoid overcrowding and brown well. Remove browned beef, add next batch and continue until all beef is browned. 

3. Pour out most of the rendered fat from the pot, leaving just enough to coat the bottom. Add onions, lower heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are sweet and translucent. 

4. Layer the luau leaves on top of onion. Add browned beef on top of the luau leaves to weigh them down, add water, cover. Bring up to a boil, then lower to very low, and simmer until the beef is very tender and the luau leaves are very soft. Taste and adjust with salt, chili pepper water and water if needed.

Note: Alternatively, you may pre-blanch and drain the luau leaves in a separate pot of salted water to speed up the cooking and help to wilt the greens so they fit in the pot with the beef more easily. 

Lomi Tomato (Optional) 

  • 2 ripe tomatoes, diced into ¼-inch pieces 
  • 1⁄2 tennis ball sized sweet onion, finely minced 
  • 1⁄4 cup green onions, finely sliced 
  • 1 pinch Hawaiian salt

1. Combine ingredients, add in a few ice cubes to chill down and add to sauce. 

2. Serve. 

Chili Pepper Water (Optional)

  • 2 cups water 
  • 2 cloves garlic 
  • 5 fresh chilies (Hawaiian or Thai Chili Peppers work best) 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • Vinegar, to taste

1. Combine water, garlic, chilies and salt and bring to a boil. 

2. Boil until all ingredients are soft and mushy, then remove from heat and puree. 

3. Adjust seasoning if needed, then add vinegar to taste.


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