This is part 2 of a discussion of ketogenic diets, antioxidants, and why herbal infusions and herbs in general are a wonderful thing to incorporate.
Going back to the two reasons we don’t need to be too concerned about missing out on antioxidants through minimizing carbohydrate intake:
1 Some of the lowest-carbohydrate vegetables are also some of the best sources of antioxidants. In other words, the best carb choices on this limited-carb program will also tend to maximize antioxidant consumption.
2 When a metabolism is running on free fatty acids/ketones instead of glucose, the process by which mitochondria convert these into ATP for cellular fuel appears to involve less oxidative stress, thus reducing our overall need for antioxidants (although today’s levels of toxin exposure means we’re still wise to get plenty, although “antioxidants” might not be the best way to think about it, see below).
1. Nourishing Herbal/Long Infusions
5% carbohydrate, what we’re aiming for with the therapeutic ketogenic diet, is such a low percentage, some people find it hard to wrap their minds around. Compared to standard diets since the birth of agriculture, it’s a drastic intervention to say the least. But if minimizing carbs promotes brain calm, what’s the tradeoff? Some people raise the concern that carbohydrates, particularly fruits and vegetables, are prime sources of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and as-yet unidentified cofactors crucial to nutrient absorption, and that we may not get enough of those..
In this post, I’m going to mention two big reasons why this concern is less serious than it might first appear (and these deserve a whole post of their own, coming up next). Nearer and dearer to my heart as an herbalist, I also share how you can utilize herbs in the form of infusions and teas to get those same antioxidants and micronutrients without adding carbohydrate calories.
Indeed, infusions prepared by long steeping of nutritive herbs are the antithesis of empty calories--they contain no calories, and they are full of highly absorbable nutrition.
first of many posts on this
A strict ketogenic diet has taken me:
From a near-constant state of brain pain and agitation (ranging from irritability/anxiety to outright psychosis, from suicidal depression to suicidal mania) to ambient calm and peacefulness.
From a near-constant state of severe gut pain to occasional lower levels of pain, and still improving.
From a near-constant obsessive preoccupation with food, calories, diet, body image to conviction that I know what I need to do and can focus on more important things.
How, how, HOW?! (lots to say about this in posts to come)
And--how ironic that food obsession has been cured by what really is a strict diet, given that most eating-disorder treatment focuses on getting patients to give up strict rules. When I explain why/how the ketogenic diet is working, you’ll see the beauty of this: it’s likely that even the anorexia, as destructive as it has undoubtedly been, was a subconscious effort at self-regulation and healing. Nothing has been wasted…