Our Eyes – The Windows to Our Soul

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Eyes NPP Tip blog - Windows to the Soul | NPP Webinars | Nutritional Preceptorship ProgramHow many of us take our eyes and our eyesight for granted? This is usually the case, until we are faced with limited vision, or are diagnosed with an eye condition, like conjunctivitis, night blindness, dry eyes, blurred vision, cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, or, most terrifying of all, blindness. Yet, the loss of our sight would impact our lives in countless ways.

 

Our aging population understands that vision disorders can limit us in terms of our mobility, independence, social interactions, activities such as reading, writing, and watching TV, and even the simple pleasure of enjoying a magnificent sunset or a clear blue sky. If our jobs centre around using a computer, we may no longer be able to work, thereby losing our primary income source.

 

As I notice changes in my own vision, I wonder if some are due to negative effects caused by the many hours that I spend on my computer, tablet, and/or smart phone each day. I definitely have experienced an increase in eye fatigue and eye strain.

 

Regular eye exams by qualified practitioners are essential. For me, it is important to know if any issues have surfaced so that I can jump into prevention mode, before a doctor tells me “I am sorry to say that you have….”.

 

I recently had an extremely thorough eye examination at a wonderful ophthalmology clinic near my home. They had renovated and added the latest eye testing equipment. I learned that I could benefit from different eye glass prescriptions depending on my activities. I don’t require glasses most of the time but, nevertheless, I now own four sets of glasses. These are not the drug store reading glasses that many of us have throughout our homes. Each pair has an individual prescription and/or a specific purpose.

 

For decades, I have had glasses for distance, necessary for driving my car or watching TV. Years later, I added a pair for attending seminars, so that I could look up at the PowerPoint presentation on the large screen and, at the same time, take notes. With these, the glass only covers my eyes when I look up or straight ahead. As I look down, I can clearly see my notebook or computer. Out of necessity, last year, reading glasses were added to my repertoire. But the real magic occurred when I recently purchased my fourth pair of glasses. This prescription is designed for use with my laptop, desktop, or tablet, while sitting further away than a book or closer than the television. I immediately noticed that my eyes no longer feel tired or strained while being online.

 

In order to protect these precious “windows to our soul”, there are many things that we can do, naturally.

 

Avoiding sugar, salt, saturated fat, fried foods, rancid foods and other sources of free radicals can decrease our risk of eye disease. Aging and environmental exposures are the usual culprits causing free radical damage in the body which can result in cell damage and a variety of eye diseases. They are caused by breathing in, being in contact with, and ingesting substances like cigarette smoke, chemicals, pesticides, household cleaners, cosmetics, and radiation from the sun itself.

 

Antioxidants, which protect us from free radical damage, have been shown in studies to prevent, or at least delay, age related macular degeneration and cataracts. Recommended foods would include leafy greens, yams, carrots, broccoli, a variety of highly coloured vegetables, fresh fruits, in particular citrus fruits and dark coloured berries. Primary antioxidants are Vitamins A, C, E, and the mineral, selenium.

 

Orange coloured fruit and vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and apricots are high in beta carotene which the body converts to Vitamin A and are important for the retina, the cornea, to enhance night vision and to prevent dry eyes. This conversion is more difficult with a sluggish thyroid so, in this case, Vitamin A supplementation could be very beneficial.

 

Vitamin C has been found to help strengthen the blood vessels in our eyes and may even lower our risk of cataracts. It is essential to help the body repair and grow new tissue. It is found in citrus fruits like oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, and lemons and, also, in peaches, tomatoes, strawberries, and bell peppers.

Vitamin E keeps our cells healthy. It has been shown to help prevent age related macular degeneration and some studies have found it helpful in lowering the risk of developing cataracts. It is found in avocados, almonds, sunflower seeds, leafy greens, and extra virgin olive oil.

 

Vitamin D has been studied and seen to protect against age related issues like cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. It helps to heal the cornea, in case of injury, and it can help increase tear production. Sources include cod liver oil, salmon, sardines, beef liver, and egg yolks.

 

Glutathione is found in the lens of the eye and plays an important role in keeping it healthy. Glutathione levels may be raised by increasing our intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly asparagus, avocados, broccoli, carrots, cucumber, okra, and squash, preferably organic.

 

Omega 3 fatty acids are good for tear production and may reduce the risk of eye diseases later in life. Good sources are found in cold water fish like salmon, sardines, halibut, and trout.

 

Lutein and Zeaxanthin (pronounced Zee-uh-zan-thin) protect the retina from oxidative changes caused by ultraviolet light. They are found in eggs, leafy green vegetables, spinach, kale, peas, and broccoli.

 

And finally, getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night will help renew our eye health. While our eyes are tightly shut, we get improved moisture and a well-needed rest from the bright lights and radiation that assault us throughout the day. Drinking 8-10 glasses of water daily will help to reduce irritation caused by dry eyes. Washing our hands before touching our eyes and avoiding splashing tap water directly into our eyes can prevent severe eye infections. Warm compresses, using boiled water, can be very soothing and restorative.

 

If we take care of our eyes, our eyes will take care of us.

 

Have you heard of the 20-20-20 rule? Every 20 minutes, take a break and shift your eyes to focus on an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds!

 

Blinking keeps our eyes moist and helps prevent dry eyes. Staring at a tablet, computer, or phone, and even when reading a book, our blink rate drops significantly from 17-18 times per minute to 4 or 5 times per minute. We are drying out our eyes. Take breaks!

 

The importance of taking care of my eyes was clearly brought home to me recently, after receiving this email:

 

“Can You Enhance Your Blog Page?

 

Hello, I’ve been a reader of your website for around 4 months and I would like first of all to say that I really enjoy it. I have recently started having some problems with my eyes which affects my reading ability. Therefore, I have a favour to ask. Is it possible for you to add podcast audio versions of your articles on your website? It would be very useful for people like me or others who like to listen to your content.” – Patricia H.

 

Thank you Patricia for that brilliant idea. This was something I never thought about, which could be beneficial for many. So, I have begun to add an audio version to each of the Blogs on our NPP Tip page.

 

Our eyes are a reflection of what we are feeling and often communicate to others what we are thinking; our story. But, when we meditate, we close our eyes and turn our gaze inwards. Each time, we learn a little more about who we truly are; the true essence of our beings.

Gilda Rovan Bio - Nutritional Preceptorship Program

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Organic Eggs

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Organic EggsEggs are referred to as one of the “most perfect” sources of protein – six grams of protein in just one large egg – and have even been called “superfoods”.  In Healthline, it reads that “an egg contains all the nutrients required to turn a single cell into a baby chicken” and that “eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet”.

 

They contain all of the essential amino acids – the body’s building blocks – in perfect ratios. Eggs are rich sources of Selenium and Vitamin D for the immune system; Choline for the brain and the heart, Iron for the blood, Folate for our Moms-to-be, B6 for energy, B12 for the blood, Zinc for healing, and Lutein and Zeaxanthin for the eyes. Most of the nutrients are found only in the yolk – not in the egg white, if eaten alone. Many people on weight loss and low cholesterol diets have turned to eating only egg whites, eliminating the yolk for all of their cooking and baking needs. Egg whites are high in protein and lower in calories, but contain fewer vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats than whole eggs. The precious yolks have been unfairly maligned for decades.

 

Although demonized in the past, recent studies have concluded that eggs do not cause heart disease and stroke. Low in calories, about 75 in total, eggs are filling, rich in healthy omega 3 fats, and make a nutritious and satisfying breakfast, even on a weight loss program. 

 

According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, eggs are one of the proteins that make up a healthy eating pattern. Research suggests that eating two to three eggs per day may have cardiovascular benefits”. That being said, we are unique. Although eggs will benefit HDL levels for most, for some whose LDL levels are too high, they could raise them a bit more. So, it is important to know your numbers and not to overdo if you are in this category.

 

Does colour matter? For the shell, the colour does not determine a difference in the nutritional value or taste. The colour of the yolk is a different story. It usually depends on the food that the hens are being fed. Rich, dark yolks contain more antioxidants than pale yellow ones. Pale or medium yellow yolks usually come from conventionally raised hens that are grain fed. The grains usually include corn, which is genetically modified so contains glyphosate. A darker, more orange coloured yolk is a result of carotenoids, particularly xanthophyllis, in the hens’ feed, which is organic with no added GMO ingredients.

 

Eggs should be organic, meaning they are totally free range. If not, you are probably eating eggs laid by chickens that have been raised crowded together in cages. “free range” or “cage free” label may describe chickens that are crowded, closely together, into hen houses with no fresh air or sunlight. Organic eggs are laid by chickens that are allowed to move freely through the outdoors into the sunshine. Which chickens, and therefore, which eggs, do you think will be healthier and contain more nutrients?

 

Happy and healthy chickens will lay healthier eggs. The vibrational energy of our food impacts our health and well-being. Ancient Greeks knew the importance of food having good energy and bringing unconditional love “agapi” to their families.  Also, many an Italian grandmother has announced that the most important ingredient in their food is “the love”.

 

Banana Blueberry Muffins
(Organic & Gluten-free)

 

INGREDIENTS: 

 

  • 2 organic bananas, mashed
  • 4 organic eggs, beaten
  • Fresh, or frozen, organic blueberries

 

Directions:

  1. Blend the mashed bananas with the eggs. 
  2. Oil the bottom of a muffin tin and/or line with paper cups
  3. Place blueberries into the bottom of each cup
  4. Fill each cup with the egg & banana mix 

 

 Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 12 minutes.

Enjoy!

Gilda By Line11

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Organic Chicken

NPP TIP Blog chicken soup

Organic Chicken Breasts are delicious – roasted, stir fried or as a soup. Chicken has become a staple dish for most non-vegetarians. It is one of the best sources of protein, necessary to build muscles and keep bones healthy. It is rich in minerals like phosphorus and calcium and also selenium which may cut the risk of arthritis. Containing tryptophan and B5, both having a calming effect on your body, Chicken can help relieve stress. With beneficial magnesium, it can also reduce PMS symptoms and muscle pain. It is rich in B Vitamins for heart health, particularly B6, helping to lower homocysteine levels and niacin helping to lower cholesterol. A great source of Omega 3, Chicken is low in saturated fat. The lowest fat content is found in the breast meat.

 

Why organic? If not, the chicken you are cooking may have been injected with antibiotics and/or hormones and grown with the use of toxic chemicals and pesticides. Organic chickens are also free range, meaning allowed to roam freely rather than crowded into cages, although free range does not necessarily indicate organic. Remember, we are what we eat!

 

A steaming bowl of chicken soup filled with vegetables and delicious chicken pieces has long been the secret health cure of mothers and grandmothers through the ages for colds, respiratory infections and flu and has often been referred to as “Jewish Penicillin”.

 

Years ago, I found a delicious recipe for an immune boosting Astragalus-Ginger Chicken Soup – my go to whenever I feel under the weather.

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large pot, 1/3 filled with filtered water, toss in some sea salt, ground pepper, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  2. Heat the water just below boiling. Add two split organic chicken breasts, bone in but fat and skin removed.
  3. Add a 3″ piece of ginger, cut into strips.
  4. Slice and add
    • 4 carrots,
    • 4 celery stalks,
    • 1/2 onion,
    • 2 garlic cloves,
    • 6 shitake mushrooms, and
    • 6 slices of astragalus root
    • Cook on low heat for 30 minutes.
    • Pull off the leaves of a large bunch of kale and set them aside.
    • Chop up the kale stems and throw these into the soup.
    • Continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes and then add the kale leaves.

Continue cooking (not boiling) for 30-60 more minutes. I recommend only organic ingredients, where possible. Add the sliced chicken, vegetables, salt and pepper to taste, and the delicious hot broth to your favourite bowl and enjoy! Yummy and filled with nutrients.

 

Gilda By Line11

 

Organic Cucumber

NPP TIP Blog cucumbersOrganic Cucumbers, actually members of the fruit family, have a high water content (95%) and are packed with  B vitamins, vitamin A, and antioxidants. They were once thought of only as a great addition to green salads, or a side to a meal, adding variety, colour, and a light, pleasant taste. They are now seen as helping with weight loss, constipation, blood pressure, skin, eyes, and bones while, at the same time, keeping you hydrated. You will derive even more benefits if you eat the entire cucumber, including the seeds and skin, after a thorough scrub and wash.

 

Cucumbers are rich in carotenoids and flavonoids that have been shown to help with blood sugar regulation. These, and other phytonutrients found in cucumbers, have also been studied with respect to their ability to lower chronic inflammation, decreasing the risk of many chronic diseases. Studies have suggested that the lignins found in cucumbers may help lower cardiovascular disease and prevent cancer. An anti-inflammatory substance, “fisetin”, found in cucumbers, are thought to have “the ability to reduce the impact of age-related neurological diseases on brain function” and may also help to “maintain cognitive function in people with Alzheimer’s Disease”.  

 

As a beauty treatment, cucumber slices have long been applied directly to the eyes to reduce puffiness. Spas feature cucumber slices floating in elegant carafes of water to help with water retention. In a YouTube video, a fellow, named Bryan, drank organic cucumber juice, skin and all, for seven days in a row. On day 1, he found that he was experiencing a huge diuretic effect. On day 2 & 3, he was feeling very hydrated. After day 4, he felt like he could run a marathon; full of energy.  At only 16 calories per cup, enjoy a snack of fresh, crisp slices of cucumber dipped into your favourite organic hummus.

 

Organic Cucumber, Goat Cheese, & Black Olive Salad

Organic Cucumber Recipe

  • 2 cups organic cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup organic goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup organic kalamata black olives
  • 2-3 tbsp organic cold pressed olive oil
  • sea salt & pepper to taste

 

  1. Slice the cucumbers, into rounds, skin on or off
  2. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half
  3. Place cucumbers & tomatoes into salad bowl
  4. Combine the other ingredients and toss with the veggies
  5. Sliced red onion may be added, if desired

                                             ENJOY!

 

Gilda By Line11

 

 

Organic Brussel Sprouts

NPP TIP Blog brusells sprouts

Organic Brussel Sprouts were actually named after their prominence in Belgium. They are cousins to cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, collard greens, and kale – all cruciferous vegetables said to help decrease belly fat.

 

High in Folic Acid and iron, they are perfect to support a healthy pregnancy. These miniature cabbages are also excellent sources of vitamins C, A, and K. One cup offers you 4 grams of protein, 4 grams of fibre, and 270 mg of ALA, so an excellent source of Omega 3 at a cost of merely 56 calories. Rich in kaempferol, an antioxidant, studied for its ability to reduce cancer cell growth and chronic inflammation, makes it also valuable in reducing cardiovascular disease. Alpha-lipoic acid, also found in this vegetable, has been studied for its effects on insulin levels.

 

Heart healthy Brussel sprouts help regulate blood sugar, support digestive health, and vision, and help feed the beneficial gut bacteria. They are important for mood, inflammation, and immunity. Their sulphur content helps reduce ulcer risk by limiting H. Pylori overgrowth. One of these sulphur compounds, glucosinolates, has been researched for its anti-cancer properties. Brussel sprouts have been shown to reduce the risk of many types of cancers, including breast, skin, and prostate.

 

Generally, in season during the fall and winter months, roasted, grilled, steamed, or stir fried in extra virgin olive oil with sea salt and garlic, they make a delicious addition to any meal. Avoid boiling or overcooking as this may release the sulphuric “rotten egg” smell. Try sautéing Brussel sprouts in butter. Add 1/2 of a fresh lime squeezed onto the cooked sprouts followed by salt & pepper and enjoy!

 

Roasted Balsamic and Honey Brussel Sprouts & Sweet PotatoOrganic Brussel Sprouts Reciepe

  • 1 lb organic Brussel sprouts, trimmed
  • 2-3 organic sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 5-6 organic extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt & pepper to taste

 

Combine: (to taste)

  • 2 tbsp of your favourite organic balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 tbsp organic honey
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Combine sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts, olive oil, salt & pepper; coat evenly
  3. Spread vegetables onto the baking sheet
  4. Roast in the preheated oven until browned, about 30-45 minutes
  5. Remove from oven and drizzle with honey & balsamic vinegar mixture

                                                        ENJOY!

Gilda By Line11