InSight

“The eye is the jewel of the body.”  Henry David Thoreau

                     Spinach Salad with Dates Recipe, bon appetit

                    Spinach Salad with Dates Recipe, bon appetit

While writing this I am temporarily sporting a pair of Dollar Store readers as I wait, 7 – 10 long days, for my new eyeglass prescription.  Only 5 days into the wait and it’s been a struggle.  I know there will be relief soon but declining eye health is a part of the aging process and, like so many aspects of aging, I would like to do it gracefully.

While visiting my Ophthalmologist I was able to ask if there were ways, other than healthy diet and wearing sunglasses, to protect my vision.  In return he stated that I was on the right track and if I continued to add an annual eye exam to this equation he saw no reason that I would have to use supplements for my eye health.

Let’s start with the eye exam.  Your Ophthalmologist will be able to check your vision as well as uncover the signs of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, and other health related problems through the use of eye fundus screening.  Early detection and treatment can greatly improve the quality of life so this screening process is worth asking your doctor about.

Second, eating a diet rich in color is a fabulous way to protect your eyes.   “Studies show that people who eat more foods that are high in lutein and zeaxanthin are less likely to have cataracts or age related macular degeneration (ARMD).”   Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard, as well as other vegetables rich in yellows, orange, and reds.  Another source of lutein and zeaxanthin is found in egg yolks.   While you are planning that beautiful rainbow of foods into your weekly menu, don’t forget to include foods that are rich in omega 3’s.  You can do this by adding wild-caught, cold water seafood to your diet.  Salmon is a great source of omega 3’s and also contains astaxanthin, another super antioxidant for your eyes.     

And before you head out, don’t forget your sunglasses!  Sunlight can damage the lens of the eyes which allows free radicals to enter and cause damage to healthy cells.  This weakening of the lens leads to cataracts, retina damage, and macular degeneration.  All of this can be prevented by wearing a good pair of sunglasses with UV blocker lens.  Look for sunglasses that have been approved by the American National Standards Institute to be sure they have met the guidelines to block ultraviolet light.

To ensure the health of your eyes, regardless of age, it is important to see an Ophthalmologist regularly, eat a healthy diet, and protect your eyes from ultraviolet light.  Even though I am suffering through the waiting process for my new prescription, I am thankful that my eye exam was thorough and I have no signs of macula melanoma or other serious health conditions. 

Get started now and see how great your future looks!

Sears, William, and Martha Sears. "Chapter 6 Improve Your Eye-Q." Prime-time Health: A Scientifically Proven Plan for Feeling Young and Living Longer. New York: Little, Brown, 2010. N. pag. Print.

 

 

If you would like more science-based information about maintaining and preserving healthy vision, visit  www.allaboutvision.com.   Visit The World's Healthiest Foods for more sources of omega 3 rich foods.

Mediterranean Frittata

Ok, it's the middle of the week and you are already thinking about the weekend!  This Mediterranean frittata is one of my go to favorites that can be prepared ahead so more time is spent having fun with family and friends.  Not that cooking on the weekends isn't fun, but it is spring and there's a lot to be done!

Several of the items for this recipe were purchased at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market.  This frittata was made with fresh eggs from Meadows Family Farms and hothouse tomatoes from Mindenhill Farms.  I always feel good knowing that I am supporting local farms and cooking with super fresh foods!

This Mediterranean frittata is a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition!  Artichokes, Kalamata Olives, tomatoes, and  olive oil are all high in antioxidants, anti inflammatories, and all have shown to have a negative effect on cancer cell growth.  Eggs contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which are powerful protectors of the eyes and are known to reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.  Eggs are also a great form of protein that can keep you feeling full longer which is beneficial in weight loss.  

This recipe can be served for lunch or dinner, just add a fresh salad!  

There, your weekend made easy!  And healthy!

                                               Printable Recipe

                                              Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 ½ cup chopped onion

1 tsp. chopped garlic

¼ tsp. Cayenne pepper

Salt & pepper to taste

1 can (13.75 oz.) artichokes, drained and chopped

8 large eggs

¾ cup sliced Kalamata olives

1 medium fresh tomato, about 5-6 slices

6 oz. thinly sliced sharp white cheddar cheese

 

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°

Heat the olive oil, onions, garlic, and Cayenne pepper in a 12 inch cast iron pan, or oven safe skillet, until onions are opaque 

Add artichokes and sauté for several minutes; level all ingredients and slightly press firmly in pan

Beat eggs and pour into pan

Spread olives evenly on top of the eggs followed by tomato slices

Top with cheese

Bake for 30 minutes; for a crispier topping broil for 1-3 minutes until slightly brown­­­

Cool, slice, & serve!

 

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Dark Chocolate Covered Caramels

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup unsalted, roasted sunflower seeds

2 cups dates

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

3/4 cup dark chocolate

Dash of sea salt

Line an 8 x 8 pan with wax paper.  Place first three ingredients in a food processor and blend until dough like. Press date/nut mixture evenly throughout pan.  

Melt dark chocolate in a double boiler.  Once chocolate is melted, pour onto the date/nut mixture and spread evenly.  Sprinkle with a dash of sea salt.  

Let chocolate cool at room temperature until firm.  Slice to desired portions and place in the refrigerator.  Chill for 15 minutes.  Caramels can then be removed easily and placed in airtight container.   

Stays fresh up to two weeks-if they last that long!  Enjoy!

Printable Recipe