Sunday, October 23, 2011

Helianthus Tuberosus and Coffea Arabica



Our Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus Tuberosus)  is flowering.  It's a happy sight in the dreariness of fall.  These plants are in the sunflower family and the blossoms certainly show their kinship.  These flowers beg to brought indoors and admired.  Look at the happy little curliques coming up from the center.  Each is trying to be taller than the next!  I've been reading a great book that outlines American household botany from the time of the pilgrims on.

Did you know that the Jerusalem Artichoke has nothing to do with Jerusalem or Artichokes?  The italian word for sunflower sounds like jerusalem, and that's what early Italian immigrants called it.  The artichoke part comes from the flavor of the tubers.  This plant is native to eastern North America and was cultivated by indigenous peoples long before the pilgrims landed.  The root can be steamed and eaten, but apparently causes flatulence!  I haven't had the privilege of eating any yet, but I know it'll be a funny night at our house when we do partake!

Amazingly, this is the only worthwhile photo I have made in the last week.  I'm not quite sure why, other than the fact that many other things are on my mind.  The main one would be how to get my darn foot to heal so I can run again.

After I wrote my post about the damage that cortisone has done to my foot, I had a great conversation with a fellow mom at the co-op school my children attend.  She told me about a dog she was given who had 3 months to live.  He had been given cortisone shots every week and was riddled with pain and cancer.  She took him in and put him on a raw diet and stopped the cortisone, and he lived for 4 years very healthfully.  I only had two cortisone shots, but that scared me.  That stuff is nasty, and I feel like I need to put my body in the very best place it can be to heal itself of the damage it has sustained, whether from cortisone, or from a combination that and my diet, foot structure and running style.

I knew that I would not be successful if I tried to go to raw foods.  I talked to some friends, and my friend Jill told me it's much easier to add things into your diet than to remove them.  I decided to make three changes.  Dehydration is a huge problem at this time of year with being indoors with heating and with cool dry air outside.  I decided to be sure to drink a large glass of water at every meal.  Even though I grow lots of fruits and veggies, I often go for what's easy or comforting, and neglect them.  I decided to commit to adding 1 cup of fruit or veggies to every meal.  And finally, I would give up caffeine.  I have read that coffee (coffea arabica) interferes with calcium absorption and will even leach calcium from your bones.  Because I'm trying to heal my body, I decided I should probably kick out this most favorite vice of mine, at least for a time, in order to promote optimal healing.

So Monday morning I gave up caffeine and have not had my morning coffee...or my mid morning coffee...or my occasional afternoon coffee.. since then.  Have you ever tried to give up something, not realizing how hooked you are on it until you do?  I didn't realize that I got out of bed each morning primarily because of that cup of coffee waiting happily in the near future.  And I've only been drinking coffee regularly for 5 years!  It was easier to give up high fructose corn syrup and soda than this!

I have been really sleepy all week.  It's probably a combination of fall dreariness, hormones, caffeine withdrawal and the herbal tea I've been drinking.  This evening I feel very well but was dragging, depressed and grumpy this morning.  I'm praying that this is the turning point day and tomorrow will be amazing.  If not, I'll look at the sunflower cousin on my window sill and remember that soon, one of my cup size portions of veggies will consist of her tubers.  I will think of copious farting, and I will smile, and press on toward health.

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