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.
in which I compare myself to a fridge in hot weather
High heat is here. High, dry heat.
Elsewhere, gardeners favor raised beds. Here, contrariwise, we sink them. Cooler, shadier, hold moisture better. I take sacks with me into the river wash and bring home plant debris, horse poop, bat poop, as mulch that is also shade.
What's alive so easily parches to death; what's already dead doesn't compost because it's just too dry. I love heat, but when it's so high above my body temperature, it makes me wonder if there is after all a "too hot."
context and system can be more than the object itself
There are at least two more things I didn't mention in comparing the "herb" system and the "drug" system of using substances to bring about healing in bodies.
The two I have in mind both turn out to be relevant to today's specific example. These are:
money and tradition of use.
a throwback post
In this spell so far, "it is what it is" is not the whole story, and a chiasmus, like that phrase, is an arrangement in the shape of the Greek letter chi χ, or of the cross.
Nice timing, yes? We're looking at the shape of the cross on Easter. Easter which coincides with Pesach this year, unusually but perhaps unsurprisingly in a year already so replete with astrological coincidences and cooccurrences.
plants and movement, feet and tails
Riddle me this: how can I write an herb post that fits in with the theme of moment/momentum?
When people talk about plant toxins, it's become somewhat a cliche to say "a plant can't run away from you, so it poisons you instead." Not much movement there, is the implication.
And riddle me this: when you think of silica, one of the first associations you might have is glass, which is about as brittle as it gets, but the mineral silica is essential to healthy skin, hair, and joints, all about flexibility.
Let's talk about horsetail.
journeying in a single place
When I lived in Alaska, I observed the first year that living there was like traveling continuously while staying in the same place. Which is what we're all doing, all the time anyway, of course, traveling around the sun; but close to the poles, it's palpable. Parts of the year are almost punitively lush, the view foreshortened, all bower, arbor, marsh. And then the months of stark snowscape, and the gray-brown in betweens.
Moving to a place where day and night give and take more evenly around the year has clearly been kind to me and my mercurial moods. But this is the desert; this is also a place of extremes.