“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”
–Sir Edmund Hillary
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Optimal health and snowshoeing performance depend on the appropriate levels of quality enzymes.

Temperatures of only 116 degrees Fahrenheit begin to destroy one of the least understood yet invaluable components of nutrition.

Every form of cooking destroys the enzymes in food. Think about that the next time you prepare or eat a meal, DNF a race, or simply feel like crap.

Enzymes are typically complex proteins at the cellular level that act as catalysts to facilitate a biomechanical or biological reaction such as digestion, nerve impulse transmissions, help muscles function, and so forth.

The importance of enzymes as a matter of health cannot be overstated. It is possible to incur sickness and disease associated with malnutrition despite what appears to be a healthy diet.

Enzymes and nutrients in food allow efficient digestion of said food and provide fuel for your body. Kill the enzymes in your food; sabotage your snowshoeing performance (and wellness). Thousands of specific functions within your body are performed by enzymes with digestion on center stage.

No bodily process can repair the damage done to enzymes and nutrients once food has been scorched. Since these valuable components have been rendered useless the body must work overtime to create enzymes in order to digest the food. This vicious cycle will lead to nutritional bankruptcy.

Enzyme production in the body diminishes with age which will force you to pay even more attention to what you eat, when you eat, and how it is prepared – which ought to be standard practice at any age. SM27

Depleted enzyme levels will adversely affect bodily functions long before the advent of nutritional bankruptcy. Poor dietary habits and stress are the roots of this poisonous tree. Evidence suggests that prolonged consumption of cooked and processed foods akin to the Standard American Diet (SAD) will lead to poor assimilation, absorption, and digestion sooner than later down the path.

The pancreas is known primarily for its endocrine function – the secretion of insulin. It also secretes a number of other substances that are vital to the proper digestion of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Sodium bicarbonate reduces the acid in the chyme from the stomach. The benefits of maintaining your body in an alkaline state cannot be over-emphasized. Reduction of the level of acid is imperative because enzymes properly function when the mixture of chyme and the pancreatic juices is neutral.

Plant-based whole foods provide a plethora of advantages respective to assimilation, bioavailability, and digestion. Whole plant foods readily assist in keeping the body in an alkaline state – strive for a pH (potential of hydrogen) balance of 7.35. Fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, among other whole plant foods contain the enzymes necessary to quickly extract nutrients and hasten digestion.

The rate and quality of cellular regeneration after snowshoeing depend partly on enzyme levels in your body. No matter how much fun it is your body considers snowshoeing a form of stress. Low enzymatic levels imply a prolonged repair window in which additional stress can sabotage the process. Proper enzyme levels are vital to hasten regeneration and mitigate the aging process.

Optimal enzyme health in a perfect world would mandate that each of us consume only raw, organic food on the day it is harvested and live life stress-free.

The best we can do to enhance the levels of quality enzymes in our body is to incorporate as often as possible organic, raw, fresh fruits and vegetables to our menus while avoiding enzyme-depleting foods.

You do not need to know which enzyme targets which nutrient and its resultant ratio or structural breakdown.The most healthful way to ensure proper levels of quality enzymes in your body is to commit to a diet rich in whole plant-based foods. The vitamins and minerals of plant-based whole foods are far superior to their lab-concocted counterparts.

Consume enzyme-rich foods and snowshoe as much as possible – your body will thank you.
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Sources

* “On Nutrition and Physical Performance: A Handbook for Athletes and Fitness Enthusiasts” by Dr. Douglas N. Graham http://www.foodnsport.com
* “Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life” by Brendan Brazier http://www.myvega.com
* Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine http://www.pcrm.org
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Jeff Kildahl

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Jeff Kildahl is a writer, author, educator, researcher, and wellness consultant advancing preventive health care by synthesizing primary source nutrition and fitness as the principal components of the practice of medicine.

Kildahl is a sponsored vegan ultra-endurance athlete credentialed in bioenergetics, biomechanics, metabolic efficiency™ testing, sport nutrition, and natural medicine. He is a dynamic member of CUBE™ ~ a professional speakers group ~ empowering others to harmonize the "Keys to Living in the Song of Life."

He is the wellness editor at Snowshoe Magazine, United States Snowshoe Association columnist, and contributor to health, fitness and wellness sites, blogs and publications.

Kildahl is the creator and president of The Wholistic Edge® ~ a visionary firm providing synergistic solutions to transcend health, performance, and potential in life and sport from the inside out via the principles of Performance Medicine™ ~ http://thewholisticedge.com.