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Canyon Ranch's Spa Baklava + Eat Right For Your Sight book tour

Canyon Ranch's Spa Baklava
"Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is damage to or breakdown of the central part of the retina, called the macula, which allows us to see details clearly."

Like many others, I grew up with the adage that carrots were good for my eyes, so I'd better eat them up. Turns out, that wasn't just something our parents said to get us to eat our carrots. But, they also could have told us that eating sweet potatoes, broccoli, mackerel, oysters, walnuts, raspberries, olive oil, and so many other things were good for our eyes. Also, it's not just the foods, but also the way we eat them together that makes a difference in preventing and slowing down the progression of eye diseases.

Eye diseases weren't really on my radar until I read Eat Right For Your Sight. But now, seeing how simple it is to work the nutrients needed by our bodies into our everyday routine, it's something I'll take into consideration. If I can serve my family delicious meals, snacks, drinks, and even desserts packed with the colors of the rainbow (which we already know is good for so many aspects of our health) and look out for our eye health at the same time, I say that's a win-win.

I recommend reading the nitty-gritty at the beginning of the book before diving into the recipes. Not only will you learn a little more about AMD and who is susceptible, but you'll also find a chart of Healthy Foods for Your Eyes, a Nutrients Table, a handy list of Foods to Have in Your Pantry, and tips for Getting Started with your healthy eye diet (in the sense of nutrition, not weight loss).

"Proper nutrition is critical to eye health, and it's important to know not only what to eat, but also how much."

Isn't it also nice to know that desserts like this baklava are included in a nutrition plan? The omega-3's in walnuts are the star in this sweet treat. This cookbook is great for everybody to own, because eye health is something we should all be diligent in protecting.

Canyon Ranch's Spa Baklava
This baklava from Canyon Ranch is light and delicious, with walnuts providing linolenic acid, a type of omega-3.
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Canyon Ranch's Spa Baklava
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.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35-40 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert vegetarian soy-free Greek

Ingredients (serves 12)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 8 sheets phyllo dough, cut in half
lemon simple syrup:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cinnamon stick
Combine the walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves in a small bowl. Set it aside.

In another bowl, combine the melted butter and oil.

Unfold the phyllo sheets and cover them with plastic to keep moist. Lightly spray the bottom of a 9 by 9-inch square baking pan or cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Lightly brush 4 sheets of phyllo with the butter mixture. Lay them in the pan, allowing them to fold upward at the sides of the pan, if necessary. Top with half of the nut mixture. Brush 4 more phyllo sheets with the butter mixture and lay them over the nut mixture. Spread the remaining nut mixture over the phyllo sheets. Brush the remaining sheets with the butter mixture and place them over the nut mixture, folding the sides of the phyllo inward when necessary.

Chill until the butter is hardened. Score the baklava diagonally to make 12 triangles.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.

In a small sauté pan, combine the ingredients for the simple syrup and bring to a boil. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the mixture evenly over the baked baklava. Cool and slice.

Nutritional Profile:
Serving size: 1 triangle
Calories: 144
Protein: 2 g
Fiber: 1 g
Fat: 8 g
Saturated fat: 2 g
Sodium: 62 mg
Vitamin A: 60 IU
Vitamin D: 1 IU
Vitamin E: 1 IU
Beta-carotene: 5 μg
Lutein and zeaxanthin: 2 μg
Omega-3 fatty acids: 1 g

at Right For Your Sight by Jennifer Trainer Thompson and Johanna M. Seddon, MD, ScM

Eat Right For Your Sight

authors: Jennifer Trainer Thompson and Johanna M. Seddon, MD, ScM
publisher: The Experiment
photos: yes
soft cover: 240 pages

chapters/sections: Small Bites | Soups | Salads | Main Courses | Side Dishes | Desserts | Healthy Drinks

fascinating features: I knew nothing about Macular Degeneration before picking up this book. Thirteen pages later, I have not only an understanding of what it is, but also what essential nutrients, antioxidants, and polyphenols help combat it, what foods to find them in, and USDA recommendations for daily intake. Each recipe features ingredients and combinations for eye health, and includes a nutritional profile.

(a few of the many) recipes destined for my kitchen: Grilled Oysters | Sweet Pea Guacamole | Smoked Mackerel Dip | Succotash Ragout | Salmon with Peppered Balsamic Strawberries | Rice Paper Salmon with Satay Drizzle | Sardine Sandwiches | Broccoli with Sundried Tomatoes and Pine Nuts | Peach Frozen Yogurt | Pear-Raspberry Galette | Power Juice

about the authors: Jennifer Trainer Thompson is the author or coauthor of 16 books, including three James Beard Award-nominated cookbooks. A journalist for over 20 years, Jennifer has written about science, food, art, and lifestyle for The New York Times, Travel & Leisure, Omni, Discover, and more. She excels at making complex scientific information accessible for the general reader.

Johanna M. Seddon, MD, ScM, is a professor of ophthalmology at Tufts University School of Medicine, and the founding director of the Ophthalmic Epidemiology and Genetics Service at the New England Eye Center, Tufts Medical Center. Her research has earned numerous awards and honors.

The American Macular Degeneration Foundation is a nonprofit, publicly supported organization working to prevent AMD and discover a cure.

connect with the AMDF: website | facebook

recipes I have already tried: Sardine Sandwiches, Spa Baklava

Canyon Ranch's Spa Baklava
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.