Archive for February, 2010

Garlic and Detox – Can Insomnia Be a Side Effect?


Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo, MS, DC, CCN, DACBN

A question was brought up on our support call about garlic and I thought I’d share some information about this amazing food.

Garlic is a useful adjunct to detoxification, because it conserves antioxidant levels, particularly glutathione, protects  against liver damage from acetaminophen, and can increase the intestinal activity levels of phase II detoxification enzymes, in particular quinine reductase and glutathione transferase, used by the body to eliminate toxins.

Garlic protects your liver and heart from damage, and improves your ability to combat potentially fatal conditions like cancer and heart disease. Garlic may also help protect you from heavy-metal accumulation, smog and air pollution. It appears to be the sulfur compounds in garlic, especially allicin, that are most protective.

As we’ve been talking about this week in the 6 week detox teleseminars, glutathione is one of the most important substances for detoxification.  It supports phase 2 liver detox, the more complicated of the two phases.  Because antioxidants get “used up” in the process of protecting you, exposure to toxic substances lowers glutathione levels.

A study was conducted to see if garlic could be helpful in preserving glutathione levels by exposing a group of laboratory rats to a chemical known as bromobenzene. One group of rats was given garlic before being exposed, and their glutathione levels were tested both before and after exposing them to bromobenzene. When compared to agroup of rats who were not pre-treated with garlic, the animals treated with garlic before exposure to bromobenzene had higher levels of glutathione after exposure than did the untreated group.

Great, but what if you are among the small but significant people who have adverse effects to garlic?  This question was posed during the support call.  According to, large doses of garlic can lead to  upset stomach, facial flushing, rapid pulse, dizziness, allergies or insomnia, and can affect the mind and concentration.  Our question came from someone who has some of these reactions to garlic.

According to Chinese Medicine, garlic is  a warming and drying herb, so people with a hot constitution should use it cautiously, as it can create the side effects mentioned above.   People who have an angry temperament or reddish complexion would be classified as having a hot constitution and should proceed cautiously with garlic.

As a substitute for garlic, scallions or spring onions can be just as effective as garlic, with less pungency.

Other foods and herbs, like broccoli sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables, dill, caraway, turmeric,oranges and tangerines, dandelion, burdock root, apples,  basil and jerusalem artichoke also support phase 2 liver detox and can be used to support a successful detoxification program.

So enjoy the benefits of garlic if you can and if not, know that there’s more than one way to detox a liver, and choose enjoyable foods and herbs that assist in the removal of toxins, leaving you light, strong and energetic.

Happy Detoxing,

Dr. Ritamarie

P.S.  You might enjoy this video about the role of glutathione in health and illness, and the research supporting the use of herbs, especially turmeric,  to support glutathione and reverse major disease.

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Valentines Day Detox Survival Skills

by Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo, MS, DC, CCN, DACBN

Happy Valentines Day, Detoxing Divas.

Just ’cause you’re on a detox doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy Valentine’s Day.

Liquid only may not be your top choice or the day, unless it suits your highest good and feels right. Personally, I chose to enjoy holiday traditions in as detox friendly a way as possible –not perfect…but close.

One of our local living foods cafes, Beets served a special gourmet candle-lit 4 course romantic raw dinner on Saturday night.  While the menu was not strict detox, it was upscale and very healthy.

We started with a spritzer, made with cranberry, ginger, apple and lime. It was light and refreshing as well as packing an anti-inflammatory punch with the ginger.

The appetizer was a dolma – stuffed grape leaf– filled with sprouted wild rice and a variety of herbs, several of which are on our detox enhancing herbs list. It was topped with a warm marinara sauce.

Next up—the salad. It was arugula and romaine with a light vinaigrette, topped with cashew carrot croutons and macadamia Parmesan. Definitely richer than anything I’ve eaten in the past few weeks, but still, mostly green.

The main course was rawvioli… made from zucchini, coconut flesh, flax and herbs, dehydrated and cut into squares, then stuffed with a macadamia nut spinach “cheese” and set atop a light macadamia nut cream sauce. The side was Italian parsley with a pine nut pistachio dressing.

All portions were small and each course had a lot of green.

It was all very close to detox appropriate, although a bit higher in fat than what I’ve been eating for the past 4 weeks.

The dessert is where I really blew it. I could have been a “good girl” and skipped it, or taken it home and saved it for after the detox, but it was, afterall, a romantic date with my husband of almost 25 years, and the mood was right for indulging in some ……raw chocolate.

The portion sizes of the main meal dishes was small. The dessert plate was enormous. They brought us a sampler plate to share.  It had 2 of each item….chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate covered pecans, an “ice cream cake” with raspberries and a chocolate cake layer, and a “pinwheel ice cream cake” slice. Wow. It was all quite good.

I ate with gusto, slowly and carefully, savoring each and every bite, chewing until liquid and breathing as I did. I optimized the conditions for digestion, even though the food was a bit more complex than I’d normally eat on a detox.

To add to the mix, after dinner we went to another local raw cafe, where they had a chocolate party and dance. For a flat entrance fee, we got to eat as many raw chocolate covered bananas and strawberries as we desired, and 2 thick solid chocolate squares and 2 chocolate elixirs. We took all but 1 of the chocolate squares home to our kids…we did share one of them, and i tried the chocolate mushroom elixir. I enjoyed a few strawberries and banana slices, as well as a few pieces of fresh fruit, danced, socialized and had a wonderful evening.

I had a few small bites of chocolate again today…my kids offered, what could I say? Other than that, I enjoyed green smoothies, 3 bowls of salad with a detox friendly dressing which I’ll share below, and a few delicious pieces of fresh fruit.

I’ll be back on track tomorrow and plan to start a 3 day liquid only cleanse. My juicer and blender are readyand raring to go.

Valentine’s day is a day to express love…for others and for yourself. Self love is that oft-times overlooked,and oh so important ingredient for successful detox ana a healthy, vibrant life.  I am in bed as I write this…before 11PM!  That’s a record for me, and an act of self love.

I wrote an inspiring blog post earlier today, called “3 Keys to a Vibrantly Healthy Valentine’s Day”.

In the post I  stress the importance of self love, and offer ideas and motivation, and access to a Valentines Day Recipe Sampler.  Do check it out – “3 Keys to a Vibrantly Healthy Valentine’s Day”.

Ready for a spicy hot cleansing salad dressing?

Here goes:

Southwest Blast Salad Enlivener

  • 2 organic roma tomatoes
  • 1 large organic red bell pepper
  • 1/4 jalapeno pepper
  • 1/8 – 1/4  cup lime juice (or lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons Mexican seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/8 cup “Go Raw” brand spicy seed mix (sprouted and dehydrated pumpkin and sunflower seeds, with cilantro, salt and cayenne)
  • 1 teaspoon kelp powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon while unrefined salt (optional)
  • water (I didn’t measure…enough to make it the consistency you desire…start with 1/2 cup)

Blend and enjoy over your favorite greens.

I’m off to sleep to continue my self love regime….it’s been fun.

Love, Health and Sweet Detox Dreams,

Dr. Ritamarie

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Pregnancy and Detox

One of the great things about sending us questions is that it gives us an opportunity to not only answer you, but also to share the answer with many who might be wondering the same things!  I’d like to share with you an important question I received and our reply concerning pregnancy and detox.

Last week I found out that I am pregnant, and I am not sure that it is safe to continue
[the detox program].  All of my supplements say not to take if pregnant.  What should I do?

Hi Chrystal,

Congratulations on your pregnancy.

You’ve given your baby a good start by cleaning up your diet and providing a rich source of nutrition during the program so far.

While intense cleansing is not recommended during pregnancy, there are many principles and practices of the 6-week detox that you can continue and that will help you to deliver a healthy baby.

Here are some guidelines:

1-      Avoid undereating.  Now’s not the time to drop unwanted pounds.

2-      Avoid intense cleanse days – juice  or water fasts are not a good idea during pregnancy, but continuing to drink lots of fresh veggie juice and green smoothies  is a great way to provide nutrition for your baby and for you.

3-      Avoid strong detox herbs and supplements and anything that stimulates intestinal movement —i.e. intestinal movement, intestinal draw.  I’ve listed all the things to stop down below.

4-      Use the general menu guidelines and supplement your diet with slightly more fat – i.e. larger servings of chia, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds (excellent due to your higher need for zinc), along with soaked almonds, avocado, and coconut – this will slow the detox and provide fuel for your growing baby.  Limit yourself to only one smoothie as one of your meals per day, unless you have nausea or indigestion, so that you keep up your calorie needs.

5-      Continue to exercise, engage in emotional detox, stay hydrated, and eat lots of greens.

Here are the things that are safe to continue:

1-      Smoothies

2-      Juices

3-      The “foods to avoid” list

4-      The “foods that enhance detox” list  – the actual foods available in the grocery store..not things like licorice

5-      Slippery elm

6-      Vitamineral green

7-      Blue green algae

8-      Sun warrior or warrior food  protein powder

9-      Glutamine

10-    Probiotics

11-     Enzymes

12-    Marshmallow

13-    Chia and all the rest of the omega 3 fats

14-    Spirulina

15-    Chlorella

16-    Quercitin

17-    Pomegranate or any other fruit powders

Herbs and culinary herbs in the 6-week detox HELPFUL during pregnancy, especially during the early stages:

1-      Burdock Root – has a high concentration of vitamins and minerals and is a liver booster

2-      Chamomile – lifts the spirits and calms the nerves, used for digestive disorders during pregnancy, is combined with ginger to help morning sickness, and has a high calcium content as well as an anti-inflammatory aid

3-      Dandelion – greens and root – a high source of vitamins and minerals, aids digestion, nourishes and tones the system, diuretic, useful for fatigue and exhaustion, liver booster

4-      Ginger Root – used for morning sickness and digestive problems, safe during pregnancy for treating colds, sore throats, and congestion

5-      Kelp – high in vitamins and minerals, aids thyroid

6-      Nettle Leaf – rich in many vitamins and minerals, especially iron, so it is very useful for those suffering from chronic fatigue and exhaustion due to low iron, aids in enriching and stimulating flow of milk; good for use throughout all stages of the pregnancy

7-      Spirulina – high in vitamins and nutrients

Things to stop:

1-      Intestinal draw

2-      Intestinal movement

3-      Parasite cleanse

4-      Earth

5-      Ultraclear products

6-      Aloe

7-      Any other intestinal stimulants

8-      Enemas

A general “Avoid during Pregnancy “ and “Limit”  list

We hope you feel comfortable moving forward on a stable and healthy path as you enjoy the excitement of your pregnancy!

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