"Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table." -William Shakespeare

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I used to have a simpler idea of how food works, of how food was supposed to give me energy. The recipe included protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Keep them in balance, make sure the carbs are whole, and the recipe yeilds energy. Then I was diagnosed with extreme reactive hypoglycemia, and the recipe just needed tweaking, right? More protein, fewer carbs, and I'm supposed to be good to go.

But somewhere along the way I started hearing the word "enzyme" more and more. During my first pregnancy, to combat nausea, indigestion, and more nausea, I started chomping papaya enzyme tablets with all my food. But after giving birth, I stopped. Then some time later, an alternative healthcare provider suggested I use enzymes again to help keep my hypoglycemia under better control. So I did for awhile.

Over the years, I went through phases where I tried to eat 10 (yes 10) servings of fruits and vegetables a day. I definitely felt better on those days versus the days (especially after my second child was born and my husband was constantly travelling for work) when I gave in and ate 10, er, 2? servings of chocolate-covered almonds instead. Well, it WAS dark chocolate....

So. What is an enzyme? And why is it important?

Loaded questions!

An enzyme is a biochemical catalyst. It's like a spark that sets your tinder aflame. Without it, you're not going to get the fire going! It's the baking powder or yeast in your recipe. It makes the dough rise. Without it you don't end up with food on the cellular level, you end up with a brick- and a lot of waste it is. Scientifically speaking, an enzyme is a catalyst. Enzymes regulate the thousands of chemical reactions in your body. Without enough of the right enzymes, your body may make energy too slowly for you to feel really good.

Where do we get enzymes? From our food. What food? Raw food. Most foods that get cooked get their enzymes cooked right out of them. Sorry. You can't drink pasteurized juice or applesauce and get the same enzymes you'd get from eating a fresh apple. You can't deep-fat fry in extra-virgin olive oil and expect your health to be transformed. You can get enzymes from SOME cooked foods but they are found in abundance in raw foods.

Once you 'get' enzyme activity, you start to realize "calories, schmalories!" Your metabolism isn't going to work well on 1,500 calories a day or reward you for a starvation diet when you aren't getting the nutrients and other 'stuff' you need. You need plenty of real food that meets your body's need for calories, yes, but also enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. A McHamburger and a BIG homemade salad with homemade cold-pressed oil dressing may have the same calories and fat, but one is going to produce superior energy and make you feel really good tomorrow. And one's not.

Toddler enzymes:

An avacado has the same fat as how much butter (or *shudder* margarine)? A bowl of watermelon has the same sugar as how many Skittles? Hopefully you get the picture that IT DOESN"T MATTER! Equivalent calories does not mean equivalent nutrition. Not even close.

"In this way: give your a child a single valuable idea, and you have done more for his education than if you had laid upon his mind the burden of bushels of information."
-Charlotte Mason

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