“Did you have a kale salad with carrots, tomatoes, sprouts and oh are those whole almonds in there?” said the colon hydrotherapist to her client.
This is an example of a common scenario I see day in and day out during a colonic session = undigested food.
Yes, not all food completely breaks down (insoluble fiber) but I shouldn’t be able to identify the entire contents of what you had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
As mentioned in my previous post about low stomach acid, the digestion process is like an assembly line. If one part isn’t working properly it throws a wrench in the entire process from teeth to toilet. Besides stomach acid (HCl) we need digestive enzymes to help breakdown, absorb, and assimilate our food into nutrients.1
Quick fact: Enzymes play an essential role in every function in human body not just digestion – we need them to see, hear and breathe and more. With out enzymes we wouldn’t be alive.
While enzymes are present in raw, whole foods to assist with digestion, most people do not obtain enough enzymes with diet alone. The modern diet of cooked, heavily processed foods depletes the natural enzymes from food and leads to poor digestion, as the body may not be able to completely break down foods and obtain their valuable nutrients. Plus stress, aging, and the woes of modern living deplete our enzyme stores.
“Every ten years, your body’s production of enzymes decreases by 13 percent. So by age 40, your enzyme production could be 25 percent lower than it was when you were a child. And by the time you’re 70, you could be producing only ONE-THIRD of the enzymes you need.”2
Here’s how to tell you might have issues with your enzymes:
- Gas and bloating after meals.
- Feeling food sitting in your stomach, or feeling full after just a few bites of food.
- Undigested food in your stool or during a colonic.
- Floating stools (some floaters are fine but if your poop always floats, hmm not so good)
- Is that an “oil slick” in the toilet bowl? Nope it’s just undigested fat!
- Please read previous post on low stomach acid – many of the effects of low HCl are the same/related to low enzymes.
“Partially digested proteins can cause allergies, autoimmune reactions. A lot of essential vitamins, amino acids and minerals do not get absorbed, causing nutritional deficiencies. Maldigested carbohydrates get consumed by abnormal flora, which converts them into alcohol, acetaldehyde and a whole host of other toxins. Fats do not get digested which makes the person deficient in extremely important fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, essential fatty acids and gives the person pale floating stool or diarrhea. Undigested food simply rots in the digestive tract, poisoning the whole body.”3
Here are some top tips to energize your enzymes.
- Chew your food. I’m serious. It sounds stupid, but chew your bleeping food. I see it all around me people swallowing their food whole like it’s their last supper. Stop it. Stop it right now. You release important enzymes (amylase) in your mouth so chew and grind that food nice and slow before you swallow. Quick fact: Did you know that you produce about 1.7 liters of saliva each day?
- Don’t chew gum. It fools your body into thinking it’s digesting something and wastes your enzymes.
- Boost your stomach acid – once again read the previous post here, and follow the suggestions listed.
- Eat smaller portions.
- Consume more raw foods.
- Digestive enzyme supplements. Taking a supplement with a wide range of enzymes will help ease the burden on the body to digest food while you heal the digestive tract. Try to look for enzymes with HCl and bile to digest fats, especially if you consume animal protein. (Talk to your healthcare provider about which supplement is right for you)
- Come in for a colonic! Let’s see if I can identify the salad you had for lunch and we can talk more about enzymes
Note: Eat a mostly raw diet and still find you aren’t digesting properly? It could be low stomach acid, or you might not be assimilating enough protein from your food. We need adequate amino acids from protein to make enzymes!
1 Haas, M.D., E.M. (2006). Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine. Berkley, CA: Celestial Arts
3Campbell-McBride, Dr. Natasha (2004). Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Medinform Publishing.