I am on a mission. Improve our ocular health. You see, my mother-in-law, and her mother both have Macular Degeneration, a degenerative disease that destroys the central vision of the eye and is the leading cause of blindness in individuals over 60. It is also a hereditary condition which means Tina is at risk. I am a great believer in the power of taking one's health into your own hands, especially when there are specific things you can do to decrease risk. Interestingly, eye health is very connected to nutrition. Macular Degeneration, while it can not be prevented, can be tempered and the onset put off with the ingestion of certain nutrients. I am all for that, even if it means eating foods that I may not like.
So it turns out that lutein and zeaxanthin are the most powerful nutrients in treating or delaying the onset of Macular Degeneration and the American Optometry Association advocates taking both, daily. So of course I don't know anything about any of this. My expertise is the Gluten-Free diet, not the Macular diet. However, I am the most well resourced person on the earth so I turned to my trusty and generous friend Katrina, over at http://glutenfreegidget.blogspot.com/ for some help. Katrina sent me links to helpful articles and lists of foods to focus on. That was the good news. The bad news, there wasn't much on the list that Tina likes.
I started by adding spinach leaves into Tina's sandwiches, next week I am adding toasted walnuts to her lunch for a Macular power snack. At home I am trying to include greens, corn, including popcorn (yes rich in lutein and zeaxanthin) and more pork and lamb in our diet. I love greens but they aren't Tina's favorite. So Katrina has been working on some recipes for greens that might pass the test for those with a fussy palate. Tonight I am making Katrina's Drunken Swiss Chard and Mushrooms (http://glutenfreegidget.blogspot.com/2011/02/ive-joined-green-party.html). I have to make a few adjustments as I got confused and got mustard greens instead of swiss chard. I think Katrina would not only agree but would approve. Greens are greens as long as they are green, leafy and organic, completely interchangeable. I am not that fussy about my produce and don't always buy organic but greens, they are different, they harbor very special organisms of the fecal sort and pesticides that I don't want in my house. Green are one of those Dirty Dozen.
You can find the recipe over at Katrina's blog, http://glutenfreegidget.blogspot.com/2011/02/ive-joined-green-party.html . While you are there look through all her wonderful, healthy recipes. I am going to use a combination of mustard greens, collards and kale. Tina is going to have sloppy joe's along with her greens and I am going to have sweet potato fries which I wish I could get her to eat as they pack a Macular boost like nothing else. Maybe down the road. Here's to our eyes!