This week’s post was inspired by an amazing event that Hawaii Pacific Health held for female physicians.  It was an evening dedicated to restoring balance in our work, personal and family lives.  As a working mom, I know sometimes I feel completely overwhelmed by all of my responsibilities -work, motherhood, wifehood (is that even a word?).  I want to do it all and I feel guilty when I take a little time for myself.  Anyone else feel the same?  And, for my friends who stay at home –  they’re even in more desperate need for time for themselves.

So, Kapiolani organized this event which had an hour long yoga session, followed by a cooking demonstration by Chef Russell Sui of 3660 On the Rise.  The yoga was nice and relaxing.  Not hot yoga, where you’re getting all sweaty and trying to get in shape.  This was yoga at its purest – good breathing and stretching.  I felt invigorated afterwards.

OK, this shot was staged.  This is me in my backyard, but I forgot to take pics of the yoga session.  Don’t I wish I had the motivation to do yoga by myself in my yard?  I’m doing tree pose, but i look more like a leaning pine than a tall, stately oak.

Then, the the fun stuff — the food! Chef  Russell  Siu is extremely entertaining.  He prefaced the demo with the caveat that he was asked to prepare healthy meals. “So, if you are still hungry afterwards, its not my fault!” he said half-jokingly.  Throughout the demo, he mentioned places in the recipe he might otherwise want to use butter or cheese, but couldn’t because of the “healthy” limitation.  Hmmm…I got the sense he would have far preferred cooking without the healthy limitation.  But it was delicious nonetheless.

Here’s my friend, Dr. Deborah Yang, a dermatologist at Kaiser Permanente, and I eagerly awaiting our first course.


And, the Chef himself.

So, on to the meal.  Oops – I ate the soup without taking a pic first (I was very hungry after a one hour yoga session after all!).  But, here’s the recipe.  All recipes are courtesy of 3660 On the Rise.

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Chicken Soup

With Cilantro, Onion, Tortillas and Grilled Shrimp
Service for 6 people


  • 12 ounces chicken breast, small dice
  • 1 each onion, small dice
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes in juice
  • 48 ounces chicken stock
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • pinch of cumin
  • 1 each bay leaf
  • 4 wedges of lime on the side
  • 1 each 8 inch corn tortilla, fine julienne, fried
  • 6 each shrimp, 21-25, peeled and deveined
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. oil
  • 1/4 tsp. basil
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano


  • Sauté onion with 2 Tbsp. oil in a soup pot until transparent over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to pot and sauté for about 2 minutes.
  • Add garlic, oregano, cumin and bay leaf and sauté another 1 minute.
  • Add diced tomatoes and chicken stock and simmer for about 20 minutes over medium heat.
  • Season with salt and pepper


  • Marinate shrimp with 2 Tbsp. oil, basil, garlic and oregano for about 1 hour.
  • Season with salt and pepper and grill.


I did remember to take a pic of the second course, halfway through (I would be a lousy food blogger, I can’t restrain myself from eating before taking the photograph of the food!).  It was delicious as well, though I don’t like tomatoes.  I was surprised at how sweet the raw corn was in this meal.

And, here’s the recipe for the chicken pasta.

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Grilled Chicken Over Pasta Shells

With Slivered Onions, Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Kahuku Corn
Basil Vinaigrette
Service for 4 people


  • 12 ounces chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup slivered red onions
  • 12 each cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 each cucumbers, Japanese. Medium diced
  • 1 each kahuku corn, kernels only
  • 1 1/2 cups pasta shell, raw
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated


  • Marinate chicken breast with 1/2 of the basil vinaigrette for about 2 hours and grill until cooked.
  • Slice and reserve in a warm area.
  • Toss rest of ingredients with the basil vinaigrette with half of the parmesan cheese.
  • Top salad with balance of parmesan cheese and top with the sliced chicken.

Basil Vinaigrette


  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup onion, sweet, diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 8 leaves basil, fresh
  • 1/2 tsp. orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. honey


  • Blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  • For a sweeter sauce add more honey.


The next course was a pan seared salmon and was one of my favorites. I think this is easy enough that I could actually make this without a bunch of sous chefs. As you can tell, I enjoyed it and then remembered to take a picture.


But, luckily, a few physicians weren’t able to make it to the event, so there were leftovers, which I brought home for Jeff.  Here’s his plate and he just put everything on there at one time, so it has the chicken pasta and the salmon on it.  The recipe is below:


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Pan Seared Salmon

Orange Honey Jus, Parsley Red Potatoes
Service for 4 people


  • 4 each salmon fillet, skin off (6 ounces)
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 4 leaves basil, chiffonade
  • 1 Tbsp. black pepper, cracked


  • Marinate salmon in a ziplock back with above ingredients for about 1 to 2 hours.

Orange Honey Jus


  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 Tbsp. shallots, brunoise
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 5 leaves basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter, unsalted


  • In a sauce pot over medium heat, add orange juice, orange zest, white wine, shallots, honey and basil.
  • Reduce mixture by 25%.
  • Whisk in butter and season with salt and pepper.
  • Strain through a chinois and keep hot.


I mentioned that the salmon was one of my favorites and that’s because the dessert – a vanilla bean panna cotta was my absolute favorite.  Unfortunately, since this was not “healthy”, we were not given the recipe.  I don’t even like pannacotta and I thoroughly enjoyed this one.


I love my work – there is nothing I would rather do.  Every day I am rewarded. I love the relationship I am able to have with my patients here in Hawaii and I truly enjoy caring for them.  I love my boys – I am blessed with 2 wonderful, sweet and healthy sons.  But, I’m a firm believer that as a woman, I also need to take more time for myself – whether it’s doing yoga, going out to dinner with my girlfriends, reading, anything that recharges me.  When I’ve had that time, then I know I’m a better physician, mother and wife.  So, thank you Hawaii Pacific Health and all associated hospitals for such a wonderful event!


Anatomy of the eye


You may have friends that say “I have macula.”  What they mean is they have macular degeneration.  Symptoms include:

  • Shadows, blurriness, or holes in the center of vision.
  • Straight lines appear wavy.
  • Trouble seeing details both up close and at a distance.
  • Difficulty telling colors apart, especially ones close in hue.
  • Vision can be slow to come back after bright light exposure.
    People with severe macular degeneration lose their central vision and see the world as depicted below.

In macular degeneration, there is scarring and bleeding in the macula area of the retina.  There  is a spectrum of macular degeneration.  Some patients who have it do not have any visual symptoms at all.  There are two types – dry and wet.  The dry form of macular degeneration, is less severe, yet there’s also no real treatment for it.  It’s considered the early stage of macular degeneration and the only form of treatment is preventative (no smoking, take vitamins such as Ocuvite, which is available at Costco).  The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS for short) is one of the few studies which proves a beneficial effect of taking a combination of vitamins (Vitamin C, E, beta carotene, zinc and copper) in preventing the progression of macular degeneration.

The wet form, is the more advanced form of macular degeneration.  It’s called “wet” because the blood vessels leak and cause bleeding underneath the macula.

Though this is the worse form of macular degeneration to have, there is treatment for it.

  1. Laser treatment  used to seal off the leaky blood vessels.
  2. Anti-angiogenesis agents – The newest form of treatment are injections (anti-VEGF) which work by slowing the growth of the leaky blood vessels.  Examples of these injections include – Avastin and Lucentis.  Typically, these injections must be performed every 1-2 months or the blood vessels will regrow.

Now to the food part. Some research suggests that a diet rich in those antioxidants may be linked to a lower risk for eye diseases. One recent large study found that people whose diets were high in lutein and zeaxanthin were at lower risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and of progression to advanced AMD, the vision-threatening form.  Another large study found that people with high lutein and zeaxanthin dietary intake were at lower risk for cataracts.

Patients always ask if dietary changes will help improve cataracts and macular degeneration.  And, while a healthy diet cannot reverse these changes, it may be able to help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts from becoming significant.  Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in dark, green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and collard greens. The yolks of eggs also contain lutein. The antioxidants are also present in yellow and orange vegetables and fruits, like sweet potatoes, carrots and peaches. National health organizations recommend from five to 13 servings of vegetables and fruits per day, depending on age and gender. One serving equals one cup of salad greens, or one half a cup cooked vegetables or cut fruit, or one medium-size piece of fruit, or six ounces of juice.

So far, the jury is still out as to whether high dietary levels or supplements of these substances prevent or just slow the progression of age-related eye diseases.  More than one study has shown that vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients found in food offer advantages that are not available in pill form.  Still, eating fresh, whole foods supports a person’s general health, and taking a balanced multivitamin supplement is usually considered a good general health “insurance” practice.

Below are a couple recipes from our family to yours, to maximize your intake of spinach, kale and collard greens.

Now, I am not a huge kale fan, or at least I wasn’t.  But, my mother-in-law made this salad and it fast became one of my favorites.  The recipe is originally from her friend Joan Namkoong.

print recipeKale Salad


  • Fresh kale
  • Sliced red onion
  • Kalamata or picholine olives, pitted and halved
  • Dried cranberries
  • Walnuts, broken into pieces
  • Balsamic dressing


Use a mixture of regular kale, Red Russian kale, lacinato or other varieties and try to get young (small leaves) kale which is more tender.  Remove the leaves from the stems as you wash it; discard stems.  Stack the leaves and cut into fine shreds.  Use about 1 cup of shredded leaves per person.  Place in a salad bowl.

Add the onion, olives, cranberries and walnuts; toss with dressing.  You can toss this ahead of time and let it sit – the kale won’t wilt like other salad greens, making this a great salad for a buffet

Balsamic dressing


  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey or sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


Whisk all the ingredients together

Note:  3:1    oil : acid

Below is a recipe for a popular Indian dish you may have tried in an Indian restaurants.  This recipe is from my mother.

print recipeSaag Paneer (Indian spinach-cheese curry)



  • 1 bag fresh spinach (frozen spinach can be substituted)
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 medium tomato, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1/3 package of paneer, cut into cubes.  (Paneer is simply home made cheese and can be bought frozen in any Indian grocery store, if you don’t want to go through the trouble of making it yourself.  There’s even one here in Hawaii.  Click here for the address.


Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Once warm, add the ginger and garlic and cook for one minute.  Add the onion and reduce the heat to low, cooking for 5 minutes.  Then, add the salt, cumin, coriander, and turmeric to the onion-garlic mixture, cooking for about 2-3 minutes.  Next, add the tomato, cooking it for an additional 2-3 minutes until the tomato begins to soften.  Add garam masala along with 1/4 cup water and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the spinach with 1 cup of water and saute until the spinach begins to wilt, turning off the heat.  Puree the spinach mixture with a hand held blender or remove from heat and blend in a food processor.

In a separate saucepan, heat the butter and paneer, turning constantly so it does not stick to the pan.  Add a pinch of turmeric, garam masala and salt to the paneer while frying.  When golden brown, turn off the heat and combine the paneer with the spinach mixture.


print recipeKale Smoothie (Our 2 year old drinks this!)


  • 2 stems of kale
  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • 1 cup of frozen peaches
  • 1 cup of frozen pineapples
  • 1 6 ounce cup of yogurt (we use blueberry because it was in the fridge)
  • 5 ice cubes


Blend together and serve

And, see, even our 2 year old likes it!


© 2011 Honolulu Eye Doctor & Mom Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha