Cleansing and Detoxification: Spring Cleansing Strategies

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green smoothie spring cleanse

Spring is the season of renewal and rebirth.

The earth comes to life again after a long winter off.

Flowers begin to bloom; trees begin to get leaves.

Your body begins to come alive and awake again after a winter of slow-down.

A great way to shed the sluggishness of winter and add some spring to your step is by doing a spring cleaning of your insides.

Reducing the Toxic Load

An effective cleansing plan must start with what I call “reducing the toxic load”.  No matter how many special detox teas you drink or potions or pills you take, if you don’t reduce the toxic load, both during the cleanse and afterward, your success will be short lived.

During a cleanse, you need to eliminate toxic chemicals in food, water and in the air.  If you decide to follow a cleanse regime that does not involve cleaning up your diet and environment, you are unlikely to see lasting results.  Once you stop the cleansing supplements, your body will soon return to the toxic state it was in when you started.

Foods to avoid while cleansing include all processed foods (just about everything that comes in a box, can, or bag); oils (with the exceptions perhaps of cold pressed olive, coconut, or flax oil); plus wheat, gluten, sugar, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, and peanuts. These last foods are all potential allergens or digestive irritants and thus can thwart the cleansing process.

An effective detox diet plan must also eliminate foods that are difficult to digest like high fat foods, starches, and complex recipes containing a combination of starch or sugar and fat.

Choose the Cleanse That's Right For You

green smoothieThere as many effective cleansing plans as there are cleansers. That's why on my Energy Recharge Green Cleanse I offer guidelines and ways to customize. Those who are ready to dive in head first follow Option A, which is the most rigorous plan, while others opt for some variation of B and C, which allow for more flexibility in meal planning.

When I first started my Energy Recharge Green Cleanse (ERGC) back in January 2008, there were very few online cleanses.

Now there are dozens, each one with its own special twist on the cleansing process. Some are food only; many involve a variety of products. A few, like my ERGC, are fully supported and include several support calls and a forum. My ERCG is one of the very few that includes daily journals that allow you to get feedback and support.

Regardless of how you get supported, I feel it's critical to the success of your cleanse to have a support system in place. It's a rare person that's so dedicated and disciplined as to be able to engage successfully in a cleanse and see it through to the end with its emotional ups and downs, temptations to quit, and unpredictable effects in terms of detoxification symptoms.

Learning More About Detox Symptoms

On my blog talk radio show episode, Cleansing and Detoxification Strategies for Spring I discuss the concept of “detox symptoms” — what they are, and why they happen.

I also talk about the pros and cons of a variety of cleansing methods, including fasting, juicing, blending, potions and pills, and just eating whole fresh foods for cleansing so you can determine what's right for you.

There are some foods that are especially good for cleansing. On the show, I went into detail about my top 5 favorite detox foods. These are described below.

There are many cleanses on the market today. There are potions and pills and herbal remedies. While these sorts of cleanses can be very effective, they can also be complicated and expensive.

I personally prefer food based cleanses.

On my blog talk radio show episode, Cleansing and Detoxification Strategies for Spring I discuss the concept of “detox symptoms”, what they are and why they happen.

I also talk about the pros and cons of a variety of cleansing methods, including fasting, juicing, blending, potions and pills and just eating whole fresh foods for cleansing so you can determine what’s right for you.  There are some foods that are especially good for cleansing.  On the show, I went into detail about my top 5 favorites.  These are also described below.

There are many cleanses on the market today. There are potions and pills and herbal remedies. While these sorts of cleanses can be very effective, they can also be complicated and expensive.

I personally prefer food based cleanses.

My Top 5 Cleansing Foods


detox foods - dandelionDandelion is a common “weed” that grows abundantly on lawns, in fields and along highways.  It’s known for the wispy sprays that top the stem after the flower dies away.  As I kid, I loved to blow on them.  It was said to be good luck if you could blow all the wisps away with one breath.

I later came to discover that dandelions are one of nature’s most powerful plants.  They are part of the sunflower family, another of my favorite plants growing up.

There are about 100 species of dandelion.  The entire plant is an effective cleanser.

The root is a common ingredient in detox teas and it stimulates the bile and liver.  It also acts as a diuretic and stimulates the release of toxins via your urine.

The leaves are cleansing and nourishing additions to salads, smoothies and soups.  A little goes a long way.  The bitter flavor stimulates the release of stomach acid and bile, which is why herbalists call dandelion a hepatic.

It’s also considered an aperient (gently moves the bowels), diuretic (makes you pee), tonic, and stomachic. It is useful with all kinds of conditions involving kidney, liver, gallbladder and inflammation of the bowels. The fresh root is good for helping with gallstones, jaundice, alcoholism, hepatitis, scurvy, and especially enlargement of the liver and spleen. Dandelion is also a tonic for female reproductive congestion.

 Burdock Root (Arctium lappa)

detox foods - Burdock rootBurdock is a powerful detoxifier. It’s also a delicious food that can be added to soups, salads, stews, smoothies and stir-fries.

It’s considered by herbalists to be a deep cleaner for it stimulates the release of toxins through sweat, urine and feces.   It can also help lower your blood pressure.  In Healing with Whole Foods Paul Pitchford writes, “(Burdock) is a virtual cure-all for conditions of excess, and significantly purifies the blood while reducing fat and regulating blood sugar.”

In the West, burdock is known to cleanse the blood, and is useful in situations such as exposure to environmental toxins such as cigarette smoke or air pollution, heavy metals such as mercury, lead or arsenic, and chronic bacterial or viral infections.

In macrobiotic tradition, a popular way to use burdock is cut into match stick sized pieces with equal parts carrot and sautéed in sesame oil.  The resulting dish, called kinpura, is considered a deeply cleansing food.


detox foods - avocadoWe rarely think of avocados as a cleansing food but these nutritional powerhouses lower cholesterol and dilate blood vessels while blocking artery-destroying toxicity.

Avocados contain a nutrient called “glutathione”, a potent antioxidant enzyme that is used by your liver in phase 2 detoxification reactions.

According to the human genome project research, glutathione tends to be low due to genetics in almost 50% of the population due to a single nucleotide polymorphism (an alteration in a gene).  The enzyme glutathione-S-transferase, responsible for making glutathione, is missing or deficient in close to 50% of the population.

Glutathione is a master antioxidant that’s important for detoxification of synthetic chemicals, for blocking at least thirty different carcinogens and for increasing the activity of the most important aspect of liver detoxification, the phase 2 cytochrome P450 system.

 Cruciferous Vegetables and Leafy Greens

detox foods - cruciferous vegetables and leafy greensThe foods in this detox category include kale, collard greens, dandelion, arugula, spinach, chard, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, broccoli sprouts and Brussels sprouts and many more.

Green foods are powerful allies in cleansing your liver by providing a plethora of minerals, antioxidants and cofactors that support liver detox pathways.  Greens are abundant in chlorophyll which has the ability to suck up environmental toxins from your blood stream and neutralize heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides. They are also cleansing to your colon as they provide an abundance of fiber to “sweep” your digestive tract clean.

Crucifers and leafy greens can be eaten raw, cooked or juiced. They can be blended to make smoothies, soups and salad dressings, marinated, processed with nuts and seeds to make crackers and bread, and eaten whole, dipped in guacamole or a healthy dip.  Leafy greens make tasty wraps, a cleansing alternative to tortillas, pita bread, sandwich bread and other popular grain based processed wraps and tortilla shells.

Bitter greens like arugula, dandelion greens, mustard greens and chicory help increase the creation and flow of bile and aid in the removal of waste from your organs and blood.


detox foods - turmericTurmeric is a bitter spice used extensively in East Indian cooking.  It contains a chemical constituent called “curcumin” that helps cleanse your liver, purify your blood, and promote good digestion and elimination. It stimulates your gallbladder to produce bile and scavenges free radicals. The spice is aromatic and has a bitter taste. The plant, which grows five to six feet tall, is found in tropical regions throughout Southern Asia; its fingerlike stalk contains the spice's healing agents.

Turmeric has been shown to be a potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agent.  It has been shown to increase two very important liver detoxification enzymes, UDP glucuronyl transferase and glutathione-S-transferase.  Turmeric has also been found to inhibit free radical damage of fats and, prevent the formation of the inflammatory chemical cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2).

When rats were fed curcumin, the active constituent of turmeric, for 14 days, glutathione-S-transferase production increased by 16%, and a marker of free radical damage called malondialdehyde decreased by 36%.

Turmeric looks similar to ginger, except that it’s bright orange and the roots are smaller.  It’s what gives curry its characteristic bright yellow color.

The Energy Recharge Green Cleanse

My Energy Recharge Green Cleanse is a food based cleanse, although you can supplement with detox herbs and formulas if desired, but it's not required.

Whether you live in a small town in the Midwest or a bustling metropolitan area, you have access to grocery stores and can get an abundance of fresh produce. That's all you need, along with a blender, to do my Energy Recharge Green Cleanse.

We currently have over 100 people ready to begin their cleanse on Monday. They've been busily preparing by simplifying their food choices and increasing their green foods.

It's not too late to join!Energy Recharge Green Cleanse Program

The spring 2012 Energy Recharge Green Cleanse begins on Monday, April 23rd.

It includes recipes, menu plans, recordings and support calls for guidance and detailed instructions.  There’s a community forum to provide support and accountability, as well as a sharing of recipes and resources.

Click HERE for details and to decide if the Energy Recharge Green Cleanse is just what you need to sweep out the cobwebs and jumpstart your body into vibrant health.  And a side benefit is a flatter belly, a clearer mind and enough energy for all the things you love.

I look forward to getting to know you during the next Energy Recharge Green Cleanse.

Love, Health and Joy,

Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo

Dr. Ritamarie

P.S.  As a bonus when you register for the Energy Recharge Green Cleanse you’ll also get three months of ongoing support from me through our Eat Green be Lean Community.

Click HERE to get details and join in.

Super Cleanse Smoothie

detox foods - kaleIngredients:

  • 3/4 bunch of parsley with some stems
  • 1 handful arugula
  • 1 handful kale
  • 1 handful broccoli sprouts
  • 3 leaves dandelion greens
  • 1/4-inch slice turmeric
  • 1/2-inch slice ginger
  • 1-inch slice burdock root
  • 1/2 – 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1 green apple, cored (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 teaspoon milk thistle seed powder (optional)
  • enough water to blend


Blend and enjoy.

Hot and Cleansing Liver Juice

detox foods - dandelion greensIngredients:

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 3 leaves dandelion
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 small sliver of fresh turmeric (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 green onions (scallions)
  • 1 handful broccoli sprouts
  • 1 pinch cayenne
  • 3-inch piece of burdock root


Run all the ingredients above through a juicer.

Benefits to the Body:

This juice is the ideal liver cleanser.  It’s stimulating and does powerful work to keep your liver functioning at its best.

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  1. andreas moritz liver cleanse

    You could definitely see your enthusiasm in the
    article you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they
    believe. All the time follow your heart.

  2. Darnell Gantz

    The liver is the largest organ in the body and one of the most vital. To a large extent, life, health, and well-being depend on the liver. The health of the liver is the health of entire body. The liver is a unique chemical factory that converts everything we eat and drink into life-sustaining substances. On the other hand, the liver is the main detoxification organ. Unfortunately, the common American diet is high in empty calories, bad fats, simple sugars, and big amounts of toxins from heavy metals, preservatives, pesticides, antibiotics, and other unknown chemicals that poison the human body. Alcohol, some medications, recreational drugs, solvents, viral infection, and parasites destroy the liver causing many disorders. Overall, it overwhelms the liver, an organ that is greatly involved in the cleansing process. No wonder almost everybody has some degree of liver injury and malfunction. Research recently presented at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases ranks mortality related to chronic liver disease and end stage of the liver cirrhosis as the eighth leading cause of death in the U.S. After heart disease and cancer, cirrhosis is the third most common cause of death for people who are in between 45-65 years old in the United States.

    There is no cure for cirrhosis, but removing the cause can slow down the disease. If the damage is not too severe, the liver can heal itself over time. A number of conditions including long-standing inflammation, poisons, infections, and heart disease can cause cirrhosis, as well as, chronic alcoholism. For 30-50 percent of cirrhosis cases, however, no cause can be found. By comparison with other diseases, many people with the liver disease do not have symptoms such as pain that can bring them to the doctors until they have really advanced the disease. People with the weight issues’ suffer with non-alcohol fatty liver that diminish liver functions and lead to cirrhosis as well. A healthy liver can deal with a wide range of toxic chemicals and has amazing rejuvenate powers, continuing to function when as many as 65% of its cells are damaged. Even more remarkable, the liver can regenerate its own damaged tissue. Health problems often occur after many years of abuse, when the liver is so exhausted it loses the ability to detoxify itself. Cleansing the liver is the most powerful procedure that can be done to improve body’s health.



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