kale chips #EatRightForYourSight
True story: Scott and I were at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival in 2013, staying at the Loews hotel on Miami Beach. It was pricey, but that’s where all the celebrity chefs stay and we figured we’d have a better chance to meet some of them if we were there, too. We did. One of the most affable and down-to-earth celebri-chefs that we met was Robert Irvine.
We had just finished our morning run and afterwards, stopped in the lobby for a cup of coffee — there he was. I approached him — feeling a little like a stalker — and we struck up a conversation. He noticed our sweaty (and probably smelly) appearance and commented on the importance of staying in shape — words he obviously lives by. But then he said something that surprised us both. “Take care of your eyes.”
Though logical, most people overlook the fact that good nutrition is vital to good eye health. So when I was recently asked to review a cookbook dedicated to preventing the onset of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) (a condition which runs in my own family), by eating tasty and good for you foods, I jumped at the chance.
For the uninitiated, AMD doesn’t create total blindness, it affects the central vision. The peripheral vision remains intact, but without being able to focus on what is right in front of you, many every day tasks would be difficult if not impossible. It is the leading cause of blindness in people over age 55, affecting 10 million in the US. With our aging baby-boom population, those numbers will only increase.
In the book Eat Right For Your Sight, authors, Jennifer Trainer Thompson and Johanna M. Seddon, MD, ScM present their case: Certain nutrients are vital to eye growth and development –Vitamin A and Carotenoids — as well as selenium, vitamin C, Omega-3 fatty acids — and a bevy of others… The thing is, these essential nutrients are found in many foods — we just have to EAT them!
That’s where this cookbook can assist. Its recipes call for specific, wholesome ingredients which have been found to delay the onset and progression of AMD. The book is divided into categories: Small Bites, Soups, Salads, Mains, Sides, Desserts and Healthy Drinks. Each recipe provides a complete nutritional breakdown.
The best part to me, are the the beautiful photographs on every page and most of the recipes have pictures of the finished dish — as a person obsessed with photographing her food, I appreciate that.
The easy to follow recipes included things like Three Pepper Quesadillas, Salmon with Peppered Balsamic Strawberries (I bookmarked that one), Mini Meatloaves, Alice Waters’ Cannellini Beans and Wilted Greens, White Bean Soup with Kale (I think I have my own recipe for this), Spiced Almonds with Cinnamon and enough smoothies to make my Jamba-Juice-loving daughter, grin!
You can’t review a cookbook without making some of the dishes – so I did. Emily asked for the Kale Chips. Funny – we eat a lot of kale, but I’ve never tried them like this. They were airy, like a feather, with a light crunch and seasoned so that I kept going back for more. I swear, I ate a cup of these chips as I was photographing them. Addictive — in a good way. I believe they may be my new achilles heel.
Actually, these are a snack that Robert (can I be on a first-name basis with him?) makes for his own family.
- 8 cups kale tough stems removed, loosely packed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. freshly ground
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Wash and dry the kale and tear it into large pieces.
- Place the dried kale in a bowl and toss to coat with oil. Spread it out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (I used two baking sheets and didn't use parchment paper and it worked fine - just had to clean the pan).
- Bake until crispy but not burnt, 20-25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle the seasoning over the kale chips. Toss gently with your hands to coat the chips. Serve.
Note: If you are taking anticoagulant medication, check with your doctor about intake of green, leafy vegetables and eat them in small to moderate amounts at regular intervals rather than irregularly in large amounts.
Serving size: 1 cup
Protein: 2 g
Fiber: 5 g
Fat: 8 g
Saturated fat: 1 g
Sodium: 363 mg
Vitamin A: 2,954 IU
Vitamin C: 50 mg
Vitamin E: 2 IU
Beta-carotene: 1,768 mg
Lutein and zeaxanthin: 1,633 mg
Omega-3 fatty acids: 1 g
Credit line: Recipe from Eat Right For Your Sight: Simple Tasty Recipes That Help Reduce the Risk of Vision Loss from Macular Degeneration, copyright © American Macular Degeneration Foundation, 2014. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold.