juice cleanseJuice cleanses are very popular these days for many reasons. Juice cleanses can be a great way to “kickstart” healthier eating habits, give your digestive system a break, clear out toxins, and introduce your body to cleaner eating. Overall a juice cleanse can be a great way to detox from poor diet choices and help you get serious about the decision to live healthier.

But, since one of the benefits often touted is to give your digestive system a “break,” then most people might think they don’t need digestive enzymes while on a cleanse. All that raw juice has enzymes, right? And your body doesn’t really need extra enzyme supplements since you aren’t eating solid foods, right? Wrong.

Why? Digestive enzymes can be a great way to support and enhance a juice cleanse by assisting with breakdown and removal of toxins in your body. Systemic protease enzymes found in our PureZyme product can support flushing your system since the enzymes enter the bloodstream and help improve circulation and assist with clearing toxins. See our blog entry and video about how protease enzymes support detoxification.

Lisa Helffrich, RD, author of The Ripple Effect of Toxicity, explains why systemic protease enzymes are such a key component in immune system and detox support:

“..I talked about protease enzymes for digestion of protein, but proteases can also be taken between meals for other health benefits. These additional benefits are called “systemic benefits” because they help the circulatory system, the immune system, and the detoxifying organs.

Remember how I explained that the circulatory and lymphatic systems are very important to detoxification because they are the transportation systems? Well proteases improve circulation and the better the blood flow, the better the detox. Also, proteolytic enzymes are very effective at helping reduce and control chronic inflammation, the underlying cause of most degenerative diseases. Taking proteases regularly is very proactive and supports your body’s natural recovery and healing processes.

My experience and results have been with using fungal proteases that are acid, neutral and alkaline, and also require no coating for protection. Taken between meals (morning, mid-afternoon and at bedtime) they absorb into the blood stream very easily. My clients have told me they noticed:

  • Improved circulation, better energy and concentration
  • Less pain, inflammation and reduced stiffness in joints
  • Much faster recovery and healing after injury or surgery
  • Improved resistance to allergies, colds and infections
  • Clear and healthy skin and hair”

So while you are giving your digestive system a “break” with a juice cleanse, be sure to help your immune system clear out the toxins and improve circulation with systemic protease enzymes like PureZyme. We suggest taking 2 PureZyme capsules 3 times per day during a cleanse or any time between meals to help support immune health, improve circulation, and assist with toxin removal.

Thinking about a juice cleanse? I want to give quick, unsolicited (i.e., I’m not being paid for this!) plug for a great local business, Skinny Limits, that makes super tasty juices and offers a few different cleanse options. The owners, Cary and Joanie, live in our neighborhood and are really nice folks who are small business owners like myself! They ship nationwide too!

Probiotics are everywhere these days. I’ve even seen them as an ingredient in tortillas! With digestive disorders affecting one out of every four Americans, the demand has never been greater for probiotic supplementation to help with regular elimination, promote GI health and support a healthy immune system.

Let’s answer some common questions many people have about probiotics and probiotic supplements.

What exactly is intestinal flora?
In the scientific literature, flora is defined as the microorganisms that normally inhabit a bodily organ. The natural flora found in the human intestines is referred to as native microbiotica. Microbiota are unique to each individual and affected by diet, lifestyle, and environment.

How are probiotics different than enzymes, and why do so many people get them confused?Probiotics and enzymes are similar in that they both support healthy digestion and a healthy immune system.

  • Digestive enzymes are proteins that help breakdown (digest) food into nutrients for absorption into the blood stream.
  • Probiotics are live supplemental microorganisms that support the native microbiota. 
Many probiotic strains are also known for their ability to secrete enzymes and/or metabolize food in the intestines, thereby assisting the digestive process.

What are probiotics?
“Probiotics” refers to a group of microorganisms that colonize the GI tract, where they live in symbiosis with their host. Within that symbiotic relationship, they provide several benefits to the host, including the synthesis of several important molecules and nutrients as well as the control of potentially pathogenic organisms.

The human gastrointestinal tract hosts over 400 species of mircroorganisms. Some of these are friendly to the human host as mentioned above, whereas others are potentially harmful, should they be allowed to grow uncontrollably.

Why do I need probiotics? 
Taking probiotics, like our Plantadophilus, offers many health benefits such as improved digestion, immunity, and elimination.

  • Digestion – Probiotics produce enzymes such as protease, lipase, and lactase to further assist with protein and fat digestion as well as reduce problems associated with lactose intolerance. Probiotics also produce B vitamins, particularly folic acid and B12, which are biocatalysts in food digestion.
  • Immunity – Intestinal microbes are a key factor in the development of the post-natal immune system and in acquired immune response and inflammation. Probiotics produce the natural antibiotic-like substance acidophilin and inhibit the growth of opportunistic microorganisms.
  • Elimination – Probiotics act as natural stool softeners and facilitate the healthy and timely elimination of waste.

Are most probiotics lactose free?
Lactobacillus denotes ”lactic acid producing” or “acid loving.” The term “Lacto” does not indicate a relation to lactose or dairy, as is commonly misunderstood. Lactose may be used in the medium to grow the probiotic culture; however, this is completely removed from the final product. Our probiotic formula, Plantadophilus, is lactose-free, and prefers a pH of 6.5 to 6.8.

Are Enzyme Essentials’ probiotics GI tract stable? 
Lactobacilli probiotics are GI tract stable by nature. That is a given according to an understanding of digestion and the nature of probiotics. Some of the bacteria will be lost in transit, but the vast majority survive the GI tract. This is especially true when taken during times when the digestive system is dormant, such as first thing in the morning or at bedtime. When digestion is not in progress, the stomach pH is closer to neutral. Only in the peak of digestion does it hit 2.0 – 3.0, and even then some probiotics survive.

Enzyme Essentials’ Plantadophilus probiotic is live bacteria and is assigned a one-year shelf life. The probiotics are manufactured under refrigeration and inventoried under refrigeration prior to shipment. The products are not shipped on ice as it has been determined unnecessary for short periods of time. However, to help preserve maximum activity for the longest amount of time, we strongly recommend that the customer refrigerate our probiotics to maintain activity once they have been received. You may occasionally come across some probiotics that use an enteric coating. We believe this is used to increase shelf life, and it may improve gastric survival but is not absolutely necessary. Enzyme Essentials prefers refrigeration over enteric coating to avoid the use of additives that provide no nutritional value.

When traveling, it is recommended to only take with you only the amount needed, perhaps in a separate container or pillbox. For short periods of time, non-refrigeration is acceptable. The probiotics may lose a slight amount of activity but do not go “bad” if left in warmer environments.

Why isn’t eating yogurt enough for probiotic repopulation?
Yogurt and fermented foods contain “live cultures” that can be beneficial, but they should not be compared to probiotics. Probiotics are specific genera, species, and strains of bacteria that have been isolated and identified with certain characteristics. The live cultures in most fermented foods have not been isolated and are not the same as probiotics. Additionally, the colony forming units (cfu) in a supplement are often much more concentrated than in food.

With so many probiotics on the market, how can I choose a good one for my family’s own situation?
We recommend you review the research available on the specific species and strain. The manufacturer and/or your health professional should be able to provide this information to you. There are many books that list which strains are helpful for specific conditions.

What is the difference between a pre-biotic and a probiotic?
Pre-biotics are carbohydrates that serve as food for the probiotics. Examples of pre-biotics are inulin or foods containing inulin such as chicory root and Jerusalem or Globe Artichoke. Some individuals can be sensitive to inulin and so this may be something to look to avoid in a probiotic supplement. Our Plantadophilus is inulin-free and FOS-free and consists of a single strain of L. Plantarum.

Do I need to take a probiotic for life?
Yes. Taking supplemental probiotics confers health benefits to the host by improving the environment and supporting the existing microbiota. The most current research is showing that the native microbiota is quite hardy and well established, however the probiotics are mainly transient (adhere to intestinal cells temporarily), giving rise to the need for continual supplementation.

If I am on an antibiotic, is it pointless to take a probiotic?
No. In fact, it is very beneficial to take probiotics while on antibiotics. They support the growth and maintenance of the native microbiota, and many of the strains being studied are actually resistant to antibiotics. Several studies show the beneficial effects of probiotic supplementation, in particular its ability to reduce antibiotic diarrhea.

Can I take too many probiotics?
The general answer is no, however the species, strains, and activity per dose should be suited to the individual’s health needs.

 Some health studies about probiotics health benefits:

Probiotics’ Potential — Research Suggests Beneficial Bacteria May Support Immune Health

Probiotics Help Lower High Cholesterol


This is wonderful recipe that is hearty, full of delicious vegetables and makes a great week-day meal for your family. It’s a great twist on the usual pasta with marinara. I’ve been meaning to try it over quinoa too!

2 cans (14.5oz) Italian-seasons diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy)
2 lbs bone-in country style pork ribs
1/2 lb zucchini, diced (about 2 zucchini)
1 lb whole wheat bow-tie or rotini pasta
1 cup shredded reduced fat Italian cheese blend or grated parmesan (whatever you prefer).

1. Coat slow cooker with non stick cooking spray. Add UNDRAINED tomatoes, onion, carrots, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, oregano and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.

3. Add ribs and spoon tomato mixture over them to cover. Nestle into the sauce. Scatter zucchini over the top.

4. Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 8 hours.

5. Remove ribs and shred the meat. Discard the bones and stir shredded meat back into sauce and add remaining salt and pepper to taste.

6. Cook pasta according to directions and serve pork ragu over pasta with a sprinkle of cheese on top and a side salad.

Enjoy! Let us know what you think!

Makes about 6-8 servings and you should have sauce left to freeze for a second meal later.

Four pints milkA few weeks ago, the story blew up on blogs and social media that the dairy industry, namely the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), was petitioning the FDA to allow them to put aspartame along with other artificial sweeteners in milk. And while my family buys organic milk, which wouldn’t be affected by this request, I was right there in the mix and headed straight to the petition at Change.org to add my name to the protest list about adding “hidden” sweeteners to milk. I was doing a little reading recently and found out there is a BIT more to the story than was originally reported. (Isn’t there always?)

Here’s the real issue – and some surprising facts. Apparently, dairy manufacturers currently have the ability to add these artificial sweeteners to milk. AND, they have always had to reveal all ingredients. So no “hidden” aspartame, really. But, the change they want now is to remove the marketing labels on the front such as “Reduced calorie” or “Low Sugar” primarily because the dairy manufacturers think kids buying milk at school will not opt for these products. It’s a marketing request, not a “hidden ingredient” request.

But it brings up the interesting fact of “buyer beware” in our food industry. Wouldn’t you be more likely to look at the ingredients in a “low calorie” or “low fat” item? I choose fresh foods but can’t get around buying lots of packaged items and if any nutritional claims are made on those items, I do look at the labels more carefully. If I pick up milk or yogurt that is simply labeled as milk or yogurt, then it wouldn’t likely occur to me to check the ingredients label. This is the crux of the problem in my opinion. They want to remove the “clues” that the product I’m buying has been altered or added to in a way I might not like. Will “low-calorie yogurts” that often contain aspartame now simply say “yogurt” and it will be up to me to stand in the yogurt aisle amongst the dizzying array of choices and read every label? And yes, ice cream, yogurt, cream, and many other dairy products are included in the FDA Petition Request, so get ready to spend a little more time reading labels at the grocery store if this request is granted by the FDA.

So, even though the facts are a little more complex on the aspartame in milk issue, ultimately most consumers want transparency. Let’s make it easier for people to make the best nutritional choices instead of trying to confuse them by removing these “clues” to artificial ingredients in our food.

Here are a few other great blog articles and links about this issue as well:
The Lunch Tray

Change.org petition – which makes some wrong statements since this is not a “new” thing to allow artificial sweeteners, but simply a change in the way they can be labeled (or not labeled as the dairy industry prefers).

Go to the FDA site where you can leave a comment on the proposed rule.

I will preface this by saying this story is completely true! I promise. It was just too cute not to share and shows how much our children really do pay attention to all they see and hear. The other day my youngest daughter, who is 7, asked me what I would do if she became a famous singer like Taylor Swift and went on tour. I said, well, of course, your dad and I would hop on that big tour bus and go with you. I said something along the lines of I wouldn’t sell enzymes and I could be your tour manager. And she was having none of that. She said “Mama, you can’t stop selling enzymes. People love your enzymes and they help people.” And I realized how wonderful it is that she does see that this business is important to people. So, I told her I would bring my laptop on tour and could keep selling enzymes and she seemed satisfied with this response. So, to all my customers, you’ll be happy to know I won’t throw you under the proverbial (and in this case) “tour bus” when my daughter’s singing career takes off as I am now required by her to keep selling enzymes to help people. Just made my day.