What Have You Done With My Mother???

It’s because I have an ophthalmologist who has such a positive outlook on what he is doing for my macular degeneration, or perhaps it’s because I don’t want to disappoint him in his belief in my continuing eye health But I have completely changed my diet and now think that I too am contributing towards not only living with AMD but helping it from becoming worse.

Once I tried radish leaves in salads and started talking about it to friends, I learned others, with and without AMD, who have tried leaves of other root vegetables.

One friend gave me a recipe for eggplant that makes this purple vegetable that is so great for eye health, simply delicious even if you think you don’t like eggplant!

She also prepares her beet leaves like spinach, washing the leaves well, slicing them a bit, then sauteing them in olive oil until soft. I tried it with feta cheese mixed in, she added cranberries to hers. Both are great treats.

Beet leaves, like beets themselves, are full of fiber, great for glaucoma because they lower intraocular eye pressure, and cranberries are loaded with vitamins A and C and we already know they’re great. Both are also good in combating cataracts.

Now try this: Eggplant Bacon. Don’t make those faces, read the recipe first, try it once, You’ll end up smiling!

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment.

Cut 1 medium sized eggplant into quarters, Slice each quarter into long, thin strips. (A mandolin is perfect, even a vegetable peeler will work. It’s thin slices you really want to achieve.) Place strips on sheets.

In a bowl, mix Tbsp. olive oil, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp maple syrup, ½ t. paprika., Brush on both sides of the eggplant strips. Season with freshly ground pepper to your taste.

Bake about 45 minutes, or until strips get to the crispiness you like in bacon. (Mine is great at about 50 minutes.)

Eggplant is extremely great for eyesight. It’s a purple vegetable which means lot of lutein, an antioxidant, always a good thing. It has one of the two carotenoids which protect the color pigments of your eyes, and they’re the filters that protect them, so it’s all a pretty darn good thing, even worth developing a taste for eggplant…just once anyway!

I’m not a great cook since I became a widow 15 years ago and ended my cooking with a loved one that added so much to any lunch or dinner. But I’ve developed some great short cuts I really like.

For instance, if I don’t want to cook beets, or can’t get them out of season, I simply buy canned beets, drain and wash them. I save the juice from jars of pickles, and when the pickles are gone, simply dump the beets, either whole or sliced, into the pickle juice, refrigerate, and voila! Within a week, I have pickled beets! And yes, they get better the longer they sit!

While I am having so much fun trying all these new vegetables and ways to prepare them, I’m causing a bit of good-natured consternation with my daughter, who, of course, never saw any of this action at home when she was growing up. Her question these days, with artificial laughter and inquiry? “Who is this woman, and what have you done with my mother?” But, like my son, she’s thrilled with the change!


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