“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” ~ Jonathan Swift

Monday, November 23, 2009

Healthy Fall Soups

I have been celebrating Fall (or the little that's left of it) by cooking up some healthy soups.  Though the two soups look a lot alike, they are radically different in taste.  I need a new digital camera so everything seems to look yellow-orange these days.  

The first soup is a Curried Sweet Potato Soup.  I don't particularly care for sweet potatoes but begrudgingly bought some because they are touted for being anti-inflammatory.   This soup was excellent and very easy to prepare.  My only adjustment to the original recipe was in the way I roasted the potatoes.  I used the Cook's Illustrated method because the potatoes caramelize so well--trust me, you will eat these like candy.  The resulting soup was very flavorful with hints of curry that are balanced out by the sweetness of the potatoes and coconut milk.  Make sure you eat this soup with lots of bread or with another side; though delicious, it's not particularly filling.  My roommate has adapted the original recipe by substituting pureed pumpkin for the sweet potato.  She swears it's tastier than sweet potato.  I dislike pumpkin even more than sweet potato, so I'll just stick to the original.

The second picture, a pureed chickpea soup, was hearty and satisfying.  No need to strain the soup--it's still tasty.  Besides, who has time to strain hot soup?  From soaking to actual cooking time, this soup took an eternity to make.  I was too hungry to strain it!  Just make sure you stir the mixture when reheating as it tends to separate over time.  As you can see, I like to eat my soup with lots of bread (sssh. I am not supposed to eat too much refined white flour).  Whole Foods makes an affordable Artisan Ciabatta loaf that rings in at under $3.  I couldn't resist.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

S-L-O-W Reading

As promised, I have started to use my eye patch on a somewhat regular basis.  This is a way to keep my eye from a type of atrophy. Because the vision in my right eye is so compromised, a big concern is that my brain will "forget" I have two eyes.  Thus, even though I do still have some vision in the affected eye, there's a chance that my brain will get too tired trying to use a gimpy eye and just switch fully to my left, un-affected eye.  The result: full blindness--regardless of how much vascular or inflammatory activity I may actually be experiencing.

My goal is to finish reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson using only my right eye.  I have about 100 pages left to go, so this could take a long long while.  Why this book?  I actually started reading it a while ago but tend to put it down after a few pages because it makes me drowsy.  The book is actually not bad, just very quiet in tone so I tend to zone out.  I figured that I probably won't be able to read more than a couple pages with the eye patch on anyways, so it would be an ideal read.  Secondly, though the print is pretty standard (12 pt), the lines are double-spaced and much easier on the eyes---errr, eye.  

The other night I tried reading as much as I could before I became completely exhausted.  I survived only two pages before I thought my eyeball would fall out.  It took me about 10 minutes to piece together the two pages.  Afterward, I re-read the passages with both eyes to check my comprehension.  I discovered that I tend to have the greatest difficulty with the text near the margins of the center book binding.  This makes sense because I no longer have central vision in my right eye.  

All in all, not a bad experience I guess.  It was frustrating when I couldn't make out some letters no matter how hard I tried.  But it was comforting to know that I could read some text, even with a lot of effort.  Above all, it made me grateful that I still had one good eye.  What a difference it makes to still have one completely unaffected eye...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Two! Dos! Deux! Due!

2009 may have begun as the terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-year, but it looks like it may end on a positive note.  (Watch, my luck is gonna turn just because I said that.  Oh brother. No more of your tricks, Universe!)

Today marks the second successful eye appointment of the year!  These days, I define successful as walking out without any vascular activity and most importantly, injection-free.  I did not make gains on the eye chart, but at least things did not worsen.  I'm "holding steady" as Dr. B calls it.

Before checking out the situation, Dr. B asked me if I thought things had improved.  I told him honestly that I did not know.  Secretly, I feared that my eyes had worsened.  I've been eating a lot of junk lately and not really taking care of myself.  The heartache of the World Series meant that I treated myself to pizza and ale while staying up way past my bedtime.  A few weeks ago, I fought a nasty cold and graded an insane amount of student work.  Then Halloween happened, and I'm left staring at a cauldron of candy that smells good even through plastic wrappers.  I don't think the guilt really hit until last night, which was spent worrying over everything I had done the past three months.  This resulted in feeling bad about not sleeping and what that would do to my eye blah blah blah.  Basically, I worried about my worry.  Unproductive but it happens.

But ta-da!  Great eye appointment, and I'm not due to see the doc until February.  

So, I'm left with a couple questions:

* Is my diet truly working?
* Maybe my diet works...but not necessarily the whole  of it?  Do I really need to eliminate meat and flour?  Or are my pharmacy-grade fish oil capsules doing a great job?  Funny, I'm also asking these questions as I munch happily on my celebration snack of bread, cheese, and prosciutto.  Oh, I missed you prosciutto!  How great would it be if I could eat bread and meat as much as I wanted?!?
* Maybe the decreased stress levels are at work.
* Or, as Dr. B insists, Avastin and Lucentis are the true miracle workers here.