Vitamin See

About eight years ago, one of my most thoughtful clients gave me a book called The Program for Better Vision, How to See Better in Minutes a Day without Glasses or Contacts! by Martin Sussman. At the time, I was about 30 years old, which made it the most appropriate gift since she had corrected her vision using this very book when she was around thirty. It did take her a year and a half (not the eight weeks mentioned in the book), but a year and a half of doing a few eye exercises each day seemed like a small sacrifice for perfect vision (I was a habitual contact lens wearer). That was until the book strongly suggested not wearing contacts or even eyeglasses for much of the day! My client warned me that she felt threatened initially, afraid she would get mugged while commuting everyday through NYC. The forewarning did not help my cause. I hardly gave the book a chance after my first evening walking down Fifth Ave after work (I worked in NYC at the time) when all of the dizzying Christmas lights in the trees started blurring together. It felt like I was drunk and I could not imagine a year and a half of this! My will failed me, but above all, I failed to appreciate the importance of the nonphysical exercises in the book: affirmations, visualizations, staying present and less daydreaming.

What we choose to believe about our bodies ability (or inability) is so powerful that most clinical trials use a placebo (sugar pill) to test the efficacy of different medical therapies because many times, medications only work because the patient believed it would! So by the same token, our inner dialogue has the power to affect all areas of our health and well being. If you think your’e going to get the Corona Virus….guess what? Just kidding.

But seriously, I’ve been using this quarantine to pick back up on my eye exercises that I had actually resolved to start again last spring. I had already committed to not wearing my contact lens because the book stresses the importance of getting at least 30 minutes of natural sunlight directly on your eyeballs everyday and I also received an under-corrected prescription from a behavioral optometrist last year so that I can wear my eyeglasses when needed (mostly in the evening) while I improved my vision through these exercises. However, my eye exercise routine fell off pretty quickly last summer, which suddenly turned into fall/winter and here we are a year later. But I still made progress this past year acclimating to life legally blind without worry (about getting lost, not recognizing people, etc) or getting dizzy. Now, I am committed to practicing the actual exercises, which not only include physical exercises (self massage techniques to increase blood flow to the eyes, eye rolls, a fusion string to strengthen eye convergence, eye charts, “palming” etc), but also affirmations and visualizations/meditations designed to strengthen my outlook and acceptance of my vision.

According to the book that influenced Sussman, The Bates Method for Better Eyesight Without Glasses, Dr. William Bates writes “Some patients are so responsive to mental suggestion that you can relieve their discomfort or improve their sight with almost any glasses you like to put on them.” Not telling myself “I’m so blind” all the live long day and appreciating what I actually can see, which is surprisingly a lot especially in broad daylight is a powerful tool in relaxation. According to Dr. Bates, “the fact must be stressed that perfect sight can be obtained only by relaxation.”

I was only able to truly relax after visiting the behavioral optometrists because I was always a little worried that I could potentially worsen my vision if I was unintentionally straining versus accepting my vision. But when I visited the behavioral optometrist in NJ last year (and a second behavioral optometrist in NYC in the New Year because recommitting to bettering my vision naturally was supposed to be my 2020 New Years Resolution), I was shocked to see how well I could see through the under-corrected prescription (-1.75/-1.25). That prescription is almost as light as my very first prescription when I was about 14 years old! In fact, both doctors said they wouldn’t have prescribed the stronger prescription (-3.25) that I’d worn for years in the first place! It was so refreshing to work with optometrists that not only told me my eyesight wasn’t deteriorating, but performed a thorough eye exam involving exercises that demonstrate how well (or poorly) my eyes worked together and alone.

The Program for Better Vision debunks a lot of myths especially the widely accepted notion that eyes inevitably deteriorate with age. Sussman states, “The visual system – just like any other part of your body – can deteriorate with age. This is certainly true if nothing is done to retain its inherit youthfulness and flexibility, and if years of accumulated tension and rigidity are not released. But this decline is not inevitable and it is not irreversible. In fact, nothing is further from the truth.” Sussman explains throughout the book that we have programmed our eyes to unnaturally fixate on objects (television, book, computer, etc) without breaks, which changes the dynamic of our eye muscles. The comprehensive exercises in the book are designed to release both mental and physical tension from our overused eye muscles while increasing blood flow (nutrients, oxygen) to the eyes.

When I was little, my grandmother used to always try to get me to eat the cooked carrots in her cooking by telling me they are good for my eyes. I always thought that was a funny way to try and convince me to eat anything because what 10 year old gives a shit about their eyes? Now, of course, I look at nutrition differently especially with respect to my eyes. Sussman explains, “More than 25% of the nutrition your body absorbs goes to feed the visual system. The visual system consumes one third of all the oxygen that you take in. Metabolism in the eyes is faster than anywhere else in the body.” Many of the exercises in the book focus on relieving tension in the neck through self massage and neck rolls so that nutrition carried by the blood can flow without obstruction to the eyes. Sussman touches on the most important nutrients for the eyes such as Vitamin C.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant well known for its immune boosting properties, but did you know that it is critical for eye health and that our eyes have the heaviest concentration of vitamin C in the body? In fact, sufficient Vitamin C can help prevent cataracts (which “may require the intake of vitamin C at a level 15 times greater than the minimum daily requirement), strengthen the eyes and prevent pressure that results in visual fatigue. As long as you’re eating a balanced (mostly plant-based) diet complete with fruits and vegetables, you’re most likely getting your fill. And vitamin C is water soluble, so your body will shit out any excess as a bonus!

There are other vitamins and supplements recommended in the book as well, but in order for proper delivery to the eyes, there must be adequate blood flow. “Ginkgo biloba increases the blood flow to the brain. European studies demonstrate impressive results in the treatment of macular degeneration and this herb has also been shown to prevent free radical damage to the retina and macula.” In general, ginkgo biloba has been used for centuries especially in Asian countries for improved cognitive function, memory enhancement and performance. Metagenics carries a quality Ginkgo Biloba supplement I take regularly.

metagenics ginkgo discount

The hardest exercise for me to practice consistently is not daydreaming and staying present. I’ve been a daydreamer my entire life because I am a firm believer in creative visualization, essentially a manifestation technique where you just daydream the crap out of what you want your reality to look like. Sussman suggests doing that shit with your eyes closed rather than open because daydreaming creates a lot of stress on our visual system, essentially forcing it to focus on two realities at once.

To conclude this long ass thesis, I cannot recommend the The Program for Better Vision enough as just a means to alter your thinking and literally change your outlook. It is a little early for me to confirm whether or not the book has yielded any real improvement in my eyesight, but it has given me both a quarantine hobby and the confidence not to depend on visual crutches (contact lens or eyeglasses) for most of the day. I have, however, experienced one day recently where I forgot I wasn’t wearing my eyeglasses because I could read almost every sign and license plate in the near distance! That alone is enough validation for me since The Bates Method for Better Eyesight Without Glasses explains that vision is constantly changing all day and night depending on physical, emotional, and external factors. “One cannot see through them [eyeglasses] unless one produces the degree of refractive error which they are designed to correct. But refractive errors, in the eye which is left to itself, are never constant. If one secures good vision by the aid of concave, convex, or astigmatic lenses, therefore, it means that one is maintaining constantly a degree of refractive error which otherwise would not be maintained constantly. It is only expected that this should make this condition worse, and it is a matter of common experience that it does.” So your vision will be better on some days than others and better at certain times of the day than others. And while this may seem like a lot of work for something that potentially doesn’t work or only works some of the time, I currently ain’t got shit to do…

Doo Shit At Home! A Pilates & Poop Workshop…

You may already be aware that I am a big fan of Pilates…and especially its founder, Joseph Pilates. Literally a freak of nature, Joseph Pilates was a circus performer, bodybuilder, professional boxer and self defense trainer. Born in Germany, he moved to England in 1912 to box and teach self defense at police schools. When Britain entered World War I, British authorities sent Pilates and his fellow German colleagues to an internment camp (aka war prison) as enemy aliens, where he continued to study the body through his work with the other inmates. It was here that Pilates really advanced his body of work, rigging springs to hospital beds and creating all kinds of contraptions so that even bedridden inmates could rehabilitate and strengthen their bodies and thus, their immunity. Incredibly, none of his students succumbed to the 1918 influenza outbreak that took many lives around the world, especially those living in close quarters such as inmates of internment camps.

Joseph Pilates’ obsession with health began early in life. He suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. His father was an award winning gymnast and his mother a naturopath of sorts. So it only seemed natural that he obsessively studied anatomy, body conditioning and animals in the wild (okay, thats a little weird, but ironically forward-thinking nonetheless) as a means of restoring his health. He became completely obsessed with building both physical and mental strength, believing that modern lifestyle, poor posture and poor breathing were responsible for illness. The Pilates method of physical exercise incorporates attention to breath work, stretching and strengthening.

Lastly, and of utmost importance, Pilates had quite the figure well into his 80s. Nothing tones your core like the Pilates method and of course, a good poop…

I’m all about doing shit at home! Please join me at Power House Pilates just down the hallway from the Doody Free shop at the Brunswick Center on Sunday, April 30th for a two hour workshop beginning at 11am. There will be Pilates, poop and libations. It’s only $25 and filling up fast! You will leave with a simple, effective routine you can do at home, my favorite enema bag and a fun buzz…email me for bookings 🙂

boy doing pilates at home


Protein Makes You Constipated

Somewhere along the line, a cultural obsession with protein developed along with the desire to look like this:




Because that’s normal…

I know what bodybuilders go through to look like this and it involves a lot of dead chickens, food obsessing, no life outside the gym, fat burning pills, zero shits (but infinite fucks) and intentional dehydration. I don’t understand why this sounds appealing only to end up looking like The Hulk and forever shop in Plus Size (or not….)


Aside from thinking bodybuilding is some weird shit, I want to drive home the point that we are a protein-obsessed culture. Friends and clients alike ask me all the time how I get my protein since I don’t eat meat or fish. Vegans will always pose the argument that we get substantial, if not excess protein from plant food because a lot of our leafy greens contain the amino acids necessary to build complete proteins in our bodies. One cup of spinach has 7 grams of protein! I mean, have you seen the guns on Popeye!



Meat on the other hand, is a complete protein, which requires our bodies to break down the amino acids before assimilating it. Additionally, some of the proteins are destroyed from cooking. Heavy meat eating can also result in heart and kidney issues, so the healthiest way to get your protein is from your veggies.

So for all my protein-obsessed vegans, there are ways to get beefy without eating beef. My friend and idol, Mike Perrine (@EveryDayDetox), offers up his perfected protein shake recipe. Mike is the biggest fucking vegan hipster, foodie, health-nut kinda dude and yes ladies, he’ll make you some pickles (Tinder profile photo below. Popeye resemblance?).


Follow his Snapchat to learn some invaluable shit, including how to make smoothies the right way and where to find vintage graffiti in NYC. After weeks of begging, he finally produced this recipe chock full of protein derived from hemp seeds. Hemp seeds pack a whopping 5 grams of protein per tablespoon along with 6 times more omega-3s than tuna, plus they’re rich in fiber and trace minerals. It’s pretty much a perfect food.

protein shake vegan



3 T hemp protein
2 T Vitamineral Green
3 Medjool Dates
3 Dried Turkish Figs
Pinch of Celtic Sea Salt
3 C Fresh Almond Walnut Milk (wtf Mike! Who has time for this shit?!)
15 (16 is poisonous) Raw Cacao beans (optional)

  1. Check your dried fruits for bugs and pits.
  2. If you have the time, soak your dates and figs in the nut milk for twenty minutes to one hour.
  3. In a Vitamix blend the first six ingredients until smooth.
  4. Add the cacao beans and pulse for 5 seconds to create the chocolate chip effect.



Team Walker Ryde Tomorrow!

Across from the hallway from the Doody Free Girl studio at the Brunswick Center is Rush Cycling. Heidi, one of the owners, was a client of mine in Manhattan before I ever moved back to New Jersey from Brooklyn. She kept pressing me to open a space in Jersey, and after much resistance, I agreed to check out the Brunswick Center because she wouldn’t shut up about it. I immediately fell in love with the idea of working at an old Catholic school renovated into a community wellness center….and here I am.

Heidi is one of my dear friends who I respect and admire for her drive and encouraging attitude. I hope you will join me this Sunday as she, along with Not Lost JC (a direct-action animal rights kollectiv) has generously agreed to host two spin classes, the proceeds from which will benefit Team Walker. Team Walker is a local organization here in Jersey City dedicated to providing a healthy outlet for our inner city youth through after-school programs that build on community. When Andy Hertz, founder of Not Lost JC, heard that Rush Cycling was upgrading their bikes, he got in touch with Team Walker to see if they could use the old bikes. The only catch was that the pedals, seats, and handle bars/stems needed to be replaced. Real Ryder has generously agreed to offer these parts at wholesale, which will cost $1700.

So please come ride with us tomorrow. There will be drinks and brunch to follow down the street at the White Star Bar on Brunswick Street. I look forward to seeing you 🙂

Jersey City Spin

Open House!

If you’re a little shy about irrigating your ass and whatnot, please come by my open house this Saturday, June 6th from 12-3pm. I will be here to give you presents, show you around and answer all of your anal questions.

I am located on the third floor of The Brunswick Center (189 Brunswick Street, Jersey City, NJ 07302), which was formerly a Catholic school. The Brunswick Center is Jersey City’s first ever wellness and education center, comprised of mostly fitness studios (Power-house Pilates, Jersey City Ballet, Rush Cycling, Jersey City Kickboxing, Jersey City Ballroom Dancing) and colon cleansing (hehe).

Jersey City Ballet will be hosting a free 45 minute ballet bar workout at noon. I love this workout and hope you can come try it for yourself!

Bring your friends. Bring your enemies. There will be plenty of food and wine for all from Jersey City’s finest caterers and vendors on the main floor. Just make sure you bring an extra glass of wine up to the third floor 😉

xoxo jen


BC Ribbon Cutting Social Media Flyer

Strong Abs = Strong Poop

I am so excited that I found this abdominal workout video on YouTube! I have been a devotee to this particular 20 minute Winsor Pilates Ab Sculpting video since high school. I even got the football team in college into it because it’s that good! But due to recent DVD-player restraints (or lack there-of), I haven’t been able to get this abdominal workout in until my recent YouTube discovery!

Strong core muscles protect your crucial organs, specifically your bowels! Try to squeeze this workout in every other day.

Cover Or Hover?

Once again, my mother is to blame for my paranoia. She has had almost complete control of my bathroom habits for the first half of my life thus far. It was with her that I first experienced the luxury of a public restroom, but not without fear of contracting a life-threatening virus. She showed me the proper way to cover a toilet seat by creating a comfy toilet paper pillow (2 layers of toilet paper, quickly achieved by folding over the toilet paper) covering every inch of exposed porcelain. My sheer laziness has forced me to evolve into a hoverer. But as my dad says, “Lazy people work twice as hard.” And to his credit, hovering sure has (albeit inadvertently) given me some strong legs.

But for those who just don’t care, you won’t really catch anything from sitting on a public toilet seat unless there’s a contaminated needle sitting on it. I will always remember my college roommate plopping her perfect little bare booty directly on a public toilet seat at the football stadium. I could not believe my eyes. This girl, who I lived with for three years, is the biggest clean freak, but apparently not as anal retentive as I thought. She has not contracted gonorrhea, AIDS, crabs, or herpes, or hepatitis to date. Your kitchen sink is probably filthier than her butt cheeks.

Resources: Lauren, WebMD, Straight Dope