When I have patients come visit me, I begin our talks with digestion: everything from what they are eating, to chewing foods, how they feel before, during and after their meals, and then of course … elimination or pooping. I look for the truth, the whole truth, therefore, many times we chuckle a bit when everything is on the table.
I rarely over look enzymes when working with people. They are part of the first few steps in absorbing nutrients – if your enzymes are not present or not working optimally, your absorption of nutrients won’t be so great either leading to a myriad of health problems. Enzymes aid in breaking down foods into smaller pieces or nutrients to be readily absorbed in the body. These enzymes are found in saliva ( importance of chewing), the stomach ( hydrochloric acid) , the pancreas and the intestines. They all have similar missions; get the foods broken down small enough so the body can absorb the nutrients and fuel the body.
Unfortunately in the modern world we live in, many things make it challenging for our bodies to do all the work itself. For example:
- processed foods: the heating may destroy most enzymes in foods
- eating on the run: eating too fast and not fully chewing foods
- eating under stress – remember to enjoy your foods – every last bite
- poor diet: lack of whole colorful foods
- leading a stressful life ( stress 101 part 1 and part 2)
Some of the signs of poor enzyme activity:
- stomach pain – cramps, a tad flatulent
- heart burn and acid reflux
- muscle pain
- food sensitivities/leaky gut
This is what I suggest to my patients to help them get enhance their enzyme activity:
- place half to whole lemon into water and drink before each meal
- or, place a tsp to 1 tbsp of organic cider vinegar in a cup of water and drink before each meal
- eat more whole colorful foods: avoid processed foods
- eat in a peaceful environment: not driving or in front of the tv
- chew your foods … thoroughly
I am always quite amazed to see that it is the simplest changes that can make the biggest difference in one’s health. Although, if none of the above helps, then we move to supplements.
On a side note: Years ago, I read something from Deepak Choopra that made a profound difference in my view of eating and digesting. He said you could eat a beautiful whole fresh 10 course meal with your worse enemies and although the meal was considered healthy, you would not be able to digest it properly because you felt stressed. On the flip side, you could eat a fast food meal with your best friends, and digest it properly because you felt happy and relaxed. Now, whenever I eat a meal, I embrace every bite whether its something healthy or not so healthy.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will get back to you.