No perfect solutions; Tough lessons on due diligence
All the way back in early March, I reported that I’d had a root-canaled front tooth extracted. Almost half a year on, we’re well overdue for an update.
Summary: getting the tooth yanked was definitely a good idea. Root canals have no blood supply to bring oxygen and carry away toxins, but they are perfectly placed to pick up and harbor infections and, again, no blood supply means no white blood cells to deal with infections. Mine didn’t smell bad like some people report, but there were visible signs of infection.
However, the “thereafter” portion of missing a front lateral incisor, the cosmetic aspect, how to fill the gap… that’s been a much bigger issue than I was prepared for. In retrospect, I wish I had done a lot more research and acquired more of a roadmap for what I was getting into. I have something to fill the gap right now, but the story is far from over.
Once the tooth is gone, no replacement is going to be perfect, and I ran into unexpected issues with effects on my neurological functioning.
what it is, how to make it, and what to eat it with
In my last post, I talked about how the most nutrient-dense, high-antioxidant vegetables (i.e. the vegetables closest to their wild/weedy/herbal state) tend to be the lowest in carbohydrate, and most of their carbohydrate is fiber. I suggested this makes them ideal ketogenic diet foods for many people, partly because they are great fat-delivery vehicles.
"I mean that both from the culinary perspective, in that oily dressings or sauces combine beautifully with vegetables, and from the nutritional perspective, in that many of the micronutrients in vegetables are fat-soluble (notably vitamins A and K1 and the carotenoid antioxidants), while the vegetables themselves aid in the breakdown of fat (the acid in sour vegetables helps to emulsify the fat; bitter compounds in vegetables prepare the liver to break the fat down into its constituent parts)."
So--pesto! A perfectly ketogenic application of herby vegetables combined with the well-structured oils that form the basis of our body’s fuel.
An Interlude (sort of)
My “monastic cell” abode is a little cement box. As a friend put it, “the Tucson broiler is now on.” 100+-degree days for over a month and to be continued through perhaps October, with occasional monsoon reprieves. I don’t turn my cooler on during the day, and it’s not a very effective cooler anyway. Even with blackout curtains on the windows, it’s often in the 90s in my home. Outside, suburbia stretches its grid, curvaceous and eccentric and still a grid. I walk. I miss the easy reach of the Rillito wash I had from my old place, a small strip of wildness and growth to walk to and poke around almost every day.
I lift up mine eyes unto the hills.
This sprawl of city is surrounded by mountains--the Catalinas, the Rincons, the Tucsons, the Santa Ritas. If you drive up to the 9000ft summit of Mount Lemmon, you pass through the range of bioregions you would traverse between Mexico and Canada--all that latitude compressed into contours. There’s even a spring at the top.
And finally, I head for the hills.
This post is not about ketogenic matters, except in a way it is.
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.
OFF all meds, OUT of pain, GRATEFUL to be alive
For those of you who might be thinking of working with me, and for anyone who’s known me for a while, it’s time I went into detail about all this wonderful self healing I’ve been bragging about for the past month.
In short, I’m off all meds, I’m not in pain, I’m appreciating my body, and I believe I’m alive for a great purpose.
doing the work, naming the spells/spelling the name
So, once again you found me looking at words, using word alchemy to transform “running in circles” into “course concentration,” wondering at the fact that so often, no matter where we start, we end up back there again. What’s in it for you?
Give me a few words about cycles, and then I’ll tell you.
"Physician, Heal Thyself"--sine qua non
Given that I learned to honor and take care of myself in the thick of working all day long helping others with their health, I was aware of the danger of falling back into old habits once that structure and motivation were gone. My intention was and is that the clinic experience was transformational for me in this respect; although I’m not working at that pace right now, I’m holding the space and entrainment to continue to work with people, at that degree of intensity when necessary.
So here are some of the ways I’ve been continuing to take care of the sacred vessel; many of these will merit follow-up posts of their own.