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Maui Sugar Babe Blog

  • My Enzyme Story

    My Enzyme Story

    We live in beautiful Waihe’e, Maui, Hawaii. Our home is about an acre with many fruit plants. I wanted to take advantage of this fortunate opportunity and came up with an idea of making my Sugar Scrubs.


    I had a chance to try a high-end cosmetic brand’s sugar scrub on my hands at my friend’s party. It smelled so good and made my hands so soft and smooth, even after the party. I kept touching my hands all day. When I came home, I Googled “How to make sugar scrubs”. There are many easy recipes of homemade sugar scrubs. I was wondering if I could make it with the fruits from our yard. And, I came up with a great idea!


    A few months before that, my Japanese monk friend, Professor Machida and his girlfriend Chisato, visited us and they talked about their Fasting Seminars they offer in Japan. The seminar is one weekend long, over 2 nights on their property, they do meditations, light physical exercises and talk stories without any meals. However, they provide homemade natural enzyme juice throughout the seminar. Chisato makes this enzyme juice from a variety of vegetable and seaweeds. The fermentation process enhances the veggie and seaweed’s nutrition. The enzyme works perfectly to cleanse internal organs. After 2 days fasting, the participants start their first meal at the salad bar in the restaurant. It totally cleans their bodies, totally. Chisato stirs the enzyme jars every day with her hands and she noticed that her hands were very soft and always moist.

    I was born and grew up in Japan. I am very familiar with all the unique, fermented foods that seems weird to people from other countries. And, I know those foods are very good for our health and for our skin. To make Sake, we need fermented rice that called Koji. The Koji is also used for a diet supplement, since it works to cleanse your bodies. Also, there are many skin care products made from Koji. The Koji enzyme works to exfoliate and moisturize your skin. In Japan, we all know Sake brewers always have beautiful hands!

    Nuka is fermented rice bran. It looks like miso paste. To make Nukazuke, Nuka Pickles, place your vegetables in the Nuka Bed and wait. This unique pickling method requires to stir the Nuka Bed every day with your hands because Nuka is a live yeast that helps fermenting the vegetable. The people who do this job always have beautiful soft, smooth hands. There are many Japanese natural skin care products with Nuka for whitening and moisturizing as well.


    I decided to make enzymes from my fruits, instead of using fresh juice. This process also helps extend the shelf life. The fermentation process is used for preserving food, as you know, and, it enhances the fruit aroma. The fruits just before getting bad are always maximum aroma, right? I stop fermentation process just before the enzyme turns to alcohol. I stir my fruit enzyme jars every day with my hands, so my hands are always soft and hydrated!

    Fruits Enzymes

    I knew enzymes are great for your skin. Enzymes work to break down keratin protein that is contained on your dead skin cells on the upper layer of your skin. The natural exfoliation without acid or any chemicals is perfect for people who has dry, sensitive skin, even for people who has eczema. All ingredients of my Farm Made Sugar Scrubs are 100% natural. No chemicals, artificial fragrances or colors added. The tropical, sweet aroma is all from our fruits! Gentle for all skin types, even sensitive skin, and it works great for exfoliating and moisturizing your skin.

    Try my Farm Made Sugar Scrubs, I’m sure your skin will love you!

  • The Miracle Bilimbi

    The Miracle Bilimbi

    I have lived on Maui for 18 years. When I moved to Wihe’e from West Maui 2 years ago, I found some unfamiliar plants on the property, such as Bilimbi, Soursop, Sweetsop, Jack Fruit, and Moringa Tree, etc. When I started researching those plants, I was amazed by discovering the numerous health benefits those plants provide us!

    Bilimbi - this extraordinary looking plant was my very first “unfamiliar plant” that I encountered in my yard. My landlord told me that it’s a “pickle tree” – yeah, they do look exactly like bunch of pickles on the tree! The fruit is green/yellow in color, small cucumber shape, and the skin is waxy when it’s young, and when it gets ripe it becomes very thin and tender, which barely holds the juice of the fruit.  

    Bilimbi Fruits

    When I saw the abundant amount of fruit on the tree and ground, the first thing I thought was “can I eat them”??? Google says yes, so I tried one. It was very, very tart, sour, and I almost had tears in my eyes! I gave up eating the fresh fruit and went back to the research- burp! Oh my…excuse me!

    Bilimbi fruit are used for cooking and as medicine in South East Asia and India. I found out Bilimbi juice is used for cough syrup. When I was coughing for a few days, I decided to try this syrup. Squeeze fresh bilimbi juice and add same amount of water and heat it in a pot on low heat for about 40 minutes, or until the juice gets a little thicker and reduced to about ¼ of amount. I mixed the syrup with Maui Bees Raw Honey and diluted with 5-10 parts of water. Most of the tart and sour flavor was gone through heating. It tastes like lemonade, and the slight acidic and citrusy liquid soothed my dry and itchy throat. It worked great! Bilimbi syrup stopped my cough immediately, for 3-4 hours!

    bilimbi syrup

    Bilimbi contains Oxalic Acid- which is about same amount of acid that spinach has. Excessive amounts of internal consumption causes kidney issues and other health issues, but, it is just about same amount as spinach. Basically, Bilimbi syrup/juice is great source of Vitamin A and C.

    How about Bilimbi for skin? Bilimbi has great nutrients for your skin, Vitamin A, C, Lignan – a good source of Omega-3, flavonoid – a great antioxidant, and amino acids – a collagen builder! Why not try it?

    I had an experience of chemical peeling several years ago. I surfed, paddled and ran almost every day without sunscreens for long time, actually too long. My skin looked like 10 years older than my age at that time. I visited a dermatologist and tried chemical peeling. It was painful for 3-4 weeks, feeling burnt, irritation, had redness, my face gets extremely dried and peeled off constantly, like after a terrible sunburn. However, I loved the result! My brown spots were much lighter, my skin tone became close to even, my soft and smooth skin was back. My dermatologist recommended to keep using Obagi Nu Derm cosmetic line for after care to keep enhancing my skin turn overs - chemically. It worked. It took off the dead skins on my face and neck constantly - chemically.

    I decided to give a shot to Bilimbi’s Acid Power. I used fresh juice for masks. It makes my face a little irritated, itchy, slight burning feel, redness for a short time from the fruit acid, like a very mild version of chemical peeling. After a couple times of trial, I got similar result as Obagi or Retinol Creams did. My old dead skin around eyes, cheekbones, mouth and chin/neck area came off, when I washed my face in a shower. My skin looked 1-2 tones brighter and less fine lines around eyes. It feels like took off one layer of skin from my face. Feel great!

    I use my Bilimbi Mask about every other week, when I feel my skin gets dull. Bilimbi helps my skin turn-over naturally, not chemically! And, I don’t have to spend money for cosmetic line anymore. I am so lucky to have this miracle fruit in my backyard!

    bilimbi on the tree

    My experience may not be standard. Some people may get stronger reactions on their skin from the acid, or don’t get the same results as I did. If you are brave enough, please try it at your own risk. Or, let me know if you have any questions.

    Bilimbi is interesting plants. I continue to research about this plant and want to find how to use it more, since I still have tons of fruits on the tree and ground. :)

  • Why Do My Lilikoi Plants Have No Fruit?

    It is very easy to grow Lilikoi – “Passion Fruit” plants in Hawaii. The flowers are beautiful and the fruit are delicious! However, sometimes I hear “my lilikoi plants have no fruit?” Basically, it takes about 1 year to start producing fruit. Just be patient- if your plants have many flowers but no fruit, in that case, the plants may need your help. It might be just a lack of nutrition so the plants simply need some fertilizer. Before you purchase fertilizer, please check around your lilikoi plants first. Do you see any bees or butterflies? As you know, most of plants need to be pollinated to produce fruit. If you don’t see many fruits on your lilikoi plants, you may not see any bees or butterflies around?

    lilikoi fruit

    We have two 25-foot long lilikoi hedges, and they are full of flowers in spring through the fall. When this flowering season started, we didn’t see any bees around. So, I decided to be a bee! I walked around the hedges with a couple of Q-tips and collected pollen from the stamen and gently place it on the stigma. It worked, and now we have so many flowers and fruit, and getting more and more- all we needed were bees!


    The last season, we had no problem to have many bees come around our lilikoi plants. But maybe they forgot about our delicious lilikoi plants during the winter? We had to help the bees find our delicious lilikoi again. Bees are guided by a small group of workers who are always looking for a good source of pollen, and we needed to attract them. Lilikoi has a beautiful flower with white and purple colors in the center. Maybe, that’s not bright enough to attract bees far from the sky? We thought they needed some bright colors.

    Bee on flower

    We got several bright colored fake flower leis from Target (a dollar a lei), and placed them on top of the lilikoi hedges. Within 2 days, we started seeing many honey bees and butterflies around our lilikoi hedges again! It worked! It worked perfectly with very low cost. Now, we are waiting to harvest our delicious lilikoi fruit, and love watching the bees working hard for us!

    Fake lei

    My Lilikoi Bliss Sugar Scrub is made from our lilikoi hedges in our yard. It smells and tastes sweet and delicious!