Every Monday, I pull out a meaningful quote from one of the great books or articles I'm reading and share it with you. I invite you to look for inspirational words in what you read and share them each week in the comments.
We've been wanting to know which foods are richest with enzymes – so as to include them in meals, ensuring that most or all of the digestive enzymes necessary to digest that meal are present. The significance of this is huge. If we would consume enough digestive enzymes, we free the body from doing so, and allow it to manufacture a full measure of disease-preventing metabolic enzymes.
Surprisingly, a typical vegetable salad provides an abundance of minerals and vitamins, but not enough food enzymes (“though every little bit helps” according to Dr. Howell) to help the body in digesting the main part of the meal, such as cooked meat, potatoes, and bread.
What foods are endowed with enzymes? This is what he tells us:
Examples … are bananas, avocados, grapes, mangoes, olives from the tree, fresh raw dates, fresh raw figs, raw honey, raw butter, and unpasteurized milk; germinated, inhibitor-free raw cereal grains and seeds; and germinated, inhibitor-free raw tree nuts.
I would add cultured dairy (kefir, yogurt, raw cheese, etc.) and lacto-fermented foods to this list – they supply digestive enzymes, too. But I don't know how much compared to the foods listed by Dr. Howell.
Now, what about these terms – “germinated, inhibitor-free raw cereal grains and seeds” and “germinated, inhibitor-free raw tree nuts”? This has to do with proper preparation. And the following quote will show you why this is essential.
Tree nuts and other palatable seeds, beans, and grains contain superb protein and fat intended by nature for the perpetuation of their own species. To fulfill this duty, seeds must be endowed with a relatively rich enzyme heritage, far more than other parts such as leaves. But because enzymes are restless, active entities, nature had to put a rein on them and make them dormant until such a time as the seed could fall to the ground and be adequately covered with soil. These reins are called enzyme inhibitors and are inactivated by the seed's enzymes when moisture from rain is absorbed by the seed as it finds a suitable niche in soil and begins germinating (sprouting) to form a seedling.
It is obvious the enzyme inhibitors are needed only in the seeds and not in other parts of a plant. But what is required for the well-being of seeds poses problems for animals and humans wanting to eat the seeds for food. … It was determined that germination (sprouting) of seeds neutralizes or inactivates enzyme inhibitors.
So, as-is, all seeds (grains, beans, nuts and what we think of as seeds, like sunflower seeds) contain enzyme inhibitors. Germination neutralizes these. If we consume them when raw, but germinated, they offer significant amounts of enzymes to aid with our digestion, as well as calories to fill us up.
Nourishing Traditions teaches how to make crispy nuts and seeds; nuts and seeds that are soaked in salt water and then dehydrated. The soaking (but not the salt, which is for taste) starts germination, which neutralizes enzyme inhibitors. The dehydrating at low temperatures allows us to return the nuts to a crispy, yummy state for eating. These can also be used in recipes this way, or ground into nut/seed butters.
For grains, when we intend to eat them raw, they should be germinated (sprouted) to neutralize the enzyme inhibitors. Sprouting also takes care of neutralizing the phytic acid, which would interfere will mineral absorption if unchecked.
Germination (sprouting) is not necessary if we intend to cook our grains, as we often do. We lose any enzyme benefits, but the cooking does eliminate the enzyme inhibitors. However, unsprouted grains still contain phytic acid – a mineral absorption blocker – and must be properly soaked or fermented (with an acid medium or by sourdough) prior to cooking to neutralize the phytic acid.
So… here's my mission: include enzyme-rich foods with every meal. In addition to that, I want to come up with enzyme-rich portable foods. They'll be easy to grab and go, while supplying enzymes, calories and dense nutrition.
What do you think? Are you surprised as I was, about vegetables not offering that many enzymes? Have you read anything interesting lately?
Note: The book link in this post is an affiliate link to Amazon.com. If you choose to buy the book via my link, I'll earn a commission. But I don't care about that too much. The point of this post is for us to share inspirational words. That's my sincere disclaimer. Thanks for reading.
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