ERFYS Cover Credit Jason Houston

Do You Eat Right For Your Sight?

I'm Blogging for Eye Health, #EatRightforYourSight

Today I am blogging to raise awareness of Macular Degeneration. This is a guest post from Mina Fies. She’s my best best friend for over 35 years and Macular Degeneration has affected her life first-hand. Here’s her story.

When I started seeing small dark spots I thought it was the beginning of the end for my sight. I’ve always worried about my eyes. I constantly look for changes in my vision and get exams like clockwork. What’s strange is that I’m not a worrier. I’m pretty good at taking what life dishes out and rolling with it. But when it comes to my sight, all bets are off. I have reason to worry.

My grandmother raised me. All we had was each other and we were thick as thieves. Her favorite thing to do was garden. She’d spend hours and hours in the hot sun tending to her beautiful flowers. As a teenager I would mumble and grumble when spring would arrive because it meant I had to get her bag after bag after bag of hardwood shredded mulch. Those bags were heavy!When she wasn’t tending to her garden you could find her sitting in her favorite chair, knitting her latest quilt. Everyone in the family had a quilt from Grandma. Whenever there was a new great grandchild on the way, she’d get busy making her special gift. Her other interests included baking up delicious treats, reading the latest mystery novel, and watching TV.


In her mid-80’s she started seeing spots in her vision. Shortly after she was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration. In true Grandma fashion she wouldn’t let on how much it affected her. But I know it was devastating. At a time in her life where all she had were her favorite things she was unable to do any the things she loved to do. The hardest part of Macular Degeneration for me was watching the decline in her independence. She was a fiercely independent woman. She was never one to ask her help. She lived alone up until her diagnosis and was proud that she was able to take care of herself. Having to rely on others and not being able to do the things she loved was a double blow. I can’t tell you how many times she’d ask me to take her back to the eye doctor, hoping there was another set of eyeglasses that would help bring things back into focus. We both left those appointments defeated and disappointed.

Eventually Grandma came to terms with her disease, as did I. We made the most of her later years, and she always kept a sense of humor about her no matter what the circumstances. I am forever grateful to have had such an incredibly loving and sensitive woman to raise me and guide me in my life.

As the clock continues to turn on my own life, I often fear the same fate awaits me. I wonder if I will wake up one day to the realization that I may lose my vision and live out my later years suffering the same way Grandma did.

Thankfully, the dark spots I saw that day were nothing to be concerned about and eventually went away. They were not early signs of Macular Degeneration and I have extremely healthy eyes. I am vigilant about my eyes these days. I wear protective sunglasses whenever I’m out in the sun, I eat salmon and leafy greens like they’re medicine, I exercise and take antioxidant supplements. I also stay educated on how to prevent MD. I do this in part for myself and in part in honor of Granny. She would expect nothing less.

Mina Fies is a speaker, writer, business owner, loving friend and wife. You can learn more about her here.

To learn more about MD, visit the American Macular Degeneration Foundation. Macular degeneration is an incurable eye disease and the leading cause of vision loss for those aged 55 and older in the United States. It affects more than 10 million Americans. Age-related macular degeneration is damage to or breakdown of the central part of the retina, called the macula. The macula allows us to see clearly and can result in the complete loss of central vision.

Here are three tips to keeping your eyes healthy:

  • Go for color! Darker is better when it comes to your eyes. When you can, choose blueberries, orange peppers, pomegranates, beets, cranberries and purple grapes.

  • Think leafy and dark green. Spinach and collard greens are possibly the most beneficial vegetables for eye health. They are rich in carotenoids, the yellowish pigments that include precursors of Vitamin A, which may delay the onset and progression of age-related macular degeneration.

  • Don’t skip the yolk. The dark yellow egg yolk is packed with nutrients you need to protect your eyes: protein, vitamins, and minerals and those powerhouse carotenoids for eye health lutein and zeaxanthin.

The recipe below is included in the cookbook, Eat Right For Your Sight. This cookbook contains simple and delicious recipes using basic ingredients that you very likely have in your kitchen right now.

ERFYS Cover Credit Jason Houston

Recipe from Eat Right For Your Sight: Simple Tasty Recipes That Help Reduce the Risk of Vision Loss from Macular Degeneration, By Jennifer Trainer Thompson and Johanna M. Seddon, copyright © American Macular Degeneration Foundation, 2014. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold.

roasted butternut squash and cranberry salad Credit Jason Houston


Roasted Butternut Squash and Cranberry Salad

Serving Size: 4-6

A good source of carotenoids, vitamins A, B6, C, and folate, butternut squash is also rich in phytochemicals, which convert into antioxidants, thought not only to help prevent macular degeneration, but also to reduce the risk for certain cancers and cardiovascular problems. This is a pretty salad that offers a colorful change of pace with its roasted squash, goat cheese, pecans, and cranberries.


  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into
  • 1/2-inch chunks (about 2 cups)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1¼ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • One 5-ounce bag baby greens
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup pecan halves, lightly chopped
  • ¼ cup crumbled goat
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon freshly snipped chives


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a mixing bowl, toss the butternut squash with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the agave nectar, and 1 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake until tender and golden, 20 to 25 minutes, tossing after 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Assemble the baby greens, cranberries, pecans, and goat cheese in a salad bowl. Top with the butternut squash. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, vinegar, mustard, chives, ¼ teaspoon salt, and extra pepper into a vinaigrette and toss with the salad. Serve immediately.

I'm Blogging for Eye Health, #EatRightforYourSight

Does Every Food We Love Become An Addiction?


It all started when I was running late for Norah’s ice skating lesson. I told her I needed to make every green light for us to be there on time. She quickly replied that she “knew” we weren’t going to make it. Upon hearing the confidence in her voice that it would not happen, I knew I had to tell her a secret that could possibly change her life forever.

You Become What You Believe.

I explained there was no faking allowed. She had to believe, beyond any question, that we would hit all the green lights. As we discussed the possibility of our minds creating only green lights, I could see her in the rearview mirror, giving me that look that says “I want to trust you because you are my all-knowing mother, but I don’t understand the concept.”

I’ve seen that look before.

Just replace the word Mother with Nutritionist and you might see where I’m going with this. So often my clients tell me they are addicted to a certain food, they cannot have it in the house, or they can’t stop eating it once they start. They often believe this is unique to their chemistry, that it’s their biological destiny to be addicted to the foods they love. Why do some people feel this way and others do not?

Do we create this reality for ourselves simply by believing it to be true? Or is it totally out of our control and predetermined by our genes?

Dr. Christiane Northrup, a leading authority in the field of women’s health, believes that our personal wellness (or lack thereof) is dictated far more by our beliefs than by our biology. She says our “belief trumps genes” and that what we think and how we feel about ourselves effects every organ of our body, influencing our long-term health. I wonder what my clients are thinking in those moments they feel powerless around food?

What would happen if you changed your language around food? What if you decided there were no foods more powerful than you? If you believed it so much you could stare down any pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream with discipline, resistance, and strength? How would your life change?

As I’m writing this it sounds very much like The Secret, but what I’m saying goes far beyond the laws of attraction. I’m talking about affecting your physiology just by the way you think. It’s possible. This study illustrates beautifully the power our perception has over our body composition.

So the next time you find yourself using negative or unempowering words to describe your relationship with a particular food, remember that your mindset creates your reality. The power is in the moment, so try to catch yourself doing it as it happens and then allow yourself to change course. I truly believe we can think ourselves healthy, if we start to really pay attention.

I will have to work a bit harder on creating only green lights when I’m running late. Ultimately we didn’t make it on time for her skate lesson. But I think it was worth it.


10 Things You Didn’t Know About Nourish

taglinenourishYou’re skeptical. I get it. I would be, too. What can my program do for you that you haven’t already done yourself? You’ve tried it all and nothing seems to work. It’s time for a change! If you think you know what my Nourish program is about, here’s what you might not know:

1: It’s Not a Diet

At all. It’s a way to learn a ton about your body and how it reacts to the food you are eating. Yes, we give up stuff…but not for the reasons you think. We give up the foods that are probably making you sick, tired, and unable to lose weight. We do this so you can figure out if these foods are messing with your digestion. Once you know this, you can start to heal. It’s not about following a strict plan or eating like I eat, it’s about learning to eat the way your body wants to eat.

2: You Can Do Anything For 21 Days

That’s right. You are more powerful than you think. Once you get off refined food, stimulants, and sugar  you’ll be surprised how easy it is and you will love how awesome you feel. You’ll even save money because you won’t be relying on other people to cook your food. No more fast food or take-out to feed yourself.  You know what your current diet is doing for you, give me just 21 days and discover a new way of eating.

3: What You Put In is More Important Then What You Take Out

I don’t care as much about what you’re not eating as I do what you are. Removing entire food groups is easy. Of course you’ll lose weight that way, you end up eating less calories. But is it sustainable? Should you do this long-term? What’s the health benefit? And most importantly, what are you replacing these foods with?

4: You Won’t Die Without Your Coffee

You really won’t, I promise. You might even discover that coffee is not for you. Especially if you have IBS, leaky gut, or reflux. Learn how you feel without your daily cup of Joe and then make an informed decision about it. Still not convinced? See #2.

5: Vegetables Can Taste Good

If your daily repertoire consists of a small side of steamed broccoli, I’m talking to you. You can expand your horizons and learn how to prepare crave-worthy veggie dishes. By learning a few chef-inspired tips and tricks, vegetables can be delicious! Beyond taste, veggies are your secret weapon to living a healthy life in a body you love.

6: You Don’t Have to Count Calories to Lose Weight

When you’re eating clean, calorie counting is often not necessary. When you choose clean, nutrient-rich food you will rely less on will power. Why? Because nutrients in your food signal satiety in your brain. Highly refined and processed foods lack these signaling nutrients. You know this because you can eat serving after serving of them and never feel satisfied. Calorie rich food does not always equal fullness, but nutrient rich food does!

7: You Don’t Need All That Protein

Protein is important but we try way too hard to get it. Guess what? If you’re eating enough, you’re likely getting enough. Let’s put that same effort toward getting in leafy greens and vegetables and see what amazing things happen.

8: Fruit Doesn’t Make You Fat

Let me just say this, fruit is not your problem.

9: Carbs Are Not Evil. And Neither Is Gluten (well maybe…)

Poor carbs, they are such an easy target. And yes, they can be devoid of nutrients and full of empty calories. They can also be so high in gluten they are making you sick. But this is not the case for everyone. In fact, it’s not the case for most people. Most of us can eat the heck out of carbs and feel perfectly fine. Can you? It’s worth the effort to find out.

10: It Could Change Your Life, If You Let It

What you feed yourself day to day might be the most important decisions you make in your life. These choices can have profound effects. They can make you sick or keep you well. Changing your diet changes your outlook and that can change your life. If you let it.

Are you ready?

Prep week starts September 14th. Learn more and get all the details right here.

Early bird pricing in effect until Sunday at midnight. Join us here.

Remember, you can participate from anywhere in the world, on your time.



fall clean eating detox program