A sponsored post for L&F Eyecare.
I can vividly remember the day that my big sister got glasses…big ol’ mid-90’s round brass rimmed beauties. Yikes.
And I was so jealous.
I’m fairly certain she was the only person in our tiny country primary school that had to wear glasses, it was a big deal. Louise had glasses. All fancy like! I promptly told my mum I most definitely needed glasses too, obviously. So off we trotted to our local friendly optometrist, Leunig & Farmer. Much to my delight (and astonishment!) I too needed glasses to see the blackboard. And ever since about age 9 I have needed my glasses, at first to just see the blackboard at school (remember blackboards? Ones where you had to take the dusters out to the play ground and bash them with a wooden ruler?!) Throughout my teens I needed my glasses more and more, by the time I was about 16 I was wearing them full time. Truth be told I should’ve been wearing them full time years earlier, but of course sometime between being that eager 9 year old and self-conscious 14 year old the novelty of my glasses had worn off (and my mouth had also exploded in metal, as if that wasn’t enough!)
These days, I’m as blind as a bat. Well, my sister is still worse, but my eyesight is poor enough to need a condition on my drivers license and I’m never without my glasses close to hand. I have considered laser surgery before, but I always come back to the fact that I love my glasses. They are a huge part of me. They’ve been with me longer than I’ve been without them. Nowadays I basically only wear contact lenses if I’m swimming or want to wear sunglasses.
Both my sister and I used to read incessantly at night under our covers in poor light, we devoured books in our dimly lit shared room until the wee hours. Our brains expanded, but our eyesight suffered. I’m not sure if this is entirely why both our eyesight is so poor, but I’m sure it contributed. As a result I’m now acutely aware of my eye health, and it’s something I will be instilling in Eleanor to take greater care with. I am fairly pedantic about my regular check ups at the optometrist to monitor my eye health, and since moving back home to Gippsland I get to go back to Leunig & Farmer, where it all began as a 9 year old! These days though they have this fancy pants machine that scans your eye, producing 3D images to assess your macular’s condition. In the Leunig & Farmer Drouin practice they have a ‘topographer’ which maps the surface of the cornea and is used in this very cool technique to re-shape your cornea using special contact lenses overnight. How amazing is that?! Blew my mind, very ‘Jetsons’ – the future is here!
Something I was not aware of until recently was the ability to lessen your risk of macular degeneration through the foods that you eat. And no it’s not carrots! Dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, silverbeet, beet and turnip tops) are all really high in beta carotene – meaning it’s good stuff for your eye health. Nuts like almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, cashews and hazelnuts are good too, chock full of Vitamin E. Studies have also shown that a high intake of foods stacked in zinc can be beneficial to your macular health: think oysters, salmon, pork tenderloin, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. All these leafy greens, nuts and oils had me thinking one thing: pesto. And with a glut of kale in the Brindabella veggie patch, there was only one thing for it…
Pasta with Kale and Cashew Pesto
50g kale, stems trimmed and ribs removed (I used about 4 big stems of my Tuscan kale)
Handful of mixed herbs (basil, rosemary, oregano, parsley)
50g cashews, unsalted
30g Parmesan cheese
50g olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of salt and pepper to taste
I blanch my kale first, to remove the bitter taste that can sometimes be kale’s undoing and give it a bad reputation! Have a bowl of iced water ready, and a pot of boiling water on the stove. Drop the trimmed kale leaves into the boiling water for about 1-2 minutes, before removing and plunging into the ice water bowl. Remove and pat dry with paper towel.
I basically then whack all of the ingredients in my Thermomix and blitz on speed 7 for 5 seconds, scrape down the sides and then blitz again (sp. 7, 5 seconds again). You can do exactly the same in a food processor, although you may have to use already grated Parmesan as it’s quite a hard cheese. I’ve also gradually poured the olive oil in whilst pulsing in a food processor or blender. Taste and adjust as you’d like, some like a more oily pesto, some prefer a drier pesto. Salt and pepper are essential (you can also used salted cashews if you’d prefer).
I use my pesto mainly on pasta and gnocchi, but I also spread it liberally on crusty bread, as a pizza base covering instead of tomato paste, in salad dressings or toss it through roast potatoes. Tonight we will be having a simple pesto spaghetti creation, with mushrooms and olives (my favourite). Getting some kale into your diet doesn’t have to mean loads of (gross tasting) green smoothies or raw kale salads.
A quick, easy and healthy meal which would also be helping your family’s eye health – a feast for your eyes! See what I did there? Bon appetit.
L&F Eyecare have practices in Pakenham, Drouin, Warragul and Moe. They are leaders in optometry and have been a part of the Gippsland medical scene since 1934, servicing generations of local families – including mine! For more information or to learn more about their state of the art technology available in regional Victoria (no need to travel to Melbourne!) you can visit their website.