Your Brain on Gluten and My Special Day Off

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Personal Note from Dr. Ritamarie

  April 4th, 2012 Volume 2, Issue 26


It's Time to Celebrate!

Celebration!I'm feeling especially happy today. It's my birthday, and I'm taking the day off.

No appointments, no phone calls, and maybe even no e-mail.

The weather promises to be warm with temperatures in the mid-eighties. My plan is to run, hike, eat and play. If the water's warm enough, I will even swim.

I've worked through many weekends and now it's time to take a break!

While I'm away, I have lots of resources for you to help you live life with celebration and joy.

Gluten-Free Is NOT just a FAD.

This week's article is about the effects of gluten on your brain.

On Thursday, we'll have Part 4 of our gluten-free radio series. I have received so many wonderful comments about the first two shows in the series.

The first two shows featured back-to-back interviews with Dr. Tom O'Bryan who's been researching the effects of gluten on health for over a decade. During the calls, he presents his findings in a very compelling and convincing manner. Click the links below to listen in to the recordings of those shows:

Part 1: Gluten-Free – Is it Just a Fad?
Part 2: The Gluten-Free Fad

The effects of gluten are real. It can cause problems in many areas of your body, not just your gut. Your brain is what we'll focus on today.

Gluten intolerance has been linked to Parkinson's, Autism, and many more neurological impairments as you'll find out in the feature article below.

This week and next week on the Vibrant Health Solutions Radio Show, I will be interviewing Debbie Sipowicz, one of my clients who panicked at the thought of going gluten-free. Once we got the tests that confirmed she was sensitive, she made the change.

Was it easy? No way.

But she made it through and wants to share her story and the tips and tricks for dealing with both the lifestyle adjustments and the emotions.

It should be a great show. You'll find the access details under “Radio Appearances” below.

Special Moments

Last night, just before my call with my B4 Be Gone Members, my husband Scott brought me a beautiful salad for dinner since he knew my schedule had been packed and I didn't have a break between my last VIP coaching client and the call.

Then my son Kevin came in and affectionately squeezed my shoulder and mouthed good night while I was still on the call. It's very special when almost-14-year-olds do things like that!  Then my almost-18-year-old shared a letter he wrote to apply for a scholarship, and it brought me to tears.

Moments like this are precious and few, and I so cherish and appreciate them.

Another very special time was spending the weekend with one of my VIP clients and launching her year of coaching with me. It was a joyful time, and I so look forward to watching her grow and flourish this year as she reaches her health goals. A lot can happen during a year of health coaching.

Enjoy the newsletter. I am off to play!

With much love and appreciation,

Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo

Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo

Creating Vibrant Health Feature Article

Your Brain on Gluten: It's Not a Pretty Picture – Part 1

By Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo

effects of gluten on the brainI first got seriously interested in the devastating effects of gluten on brain and behavior almost a decade ago after listening to a recording of a talk by Dr. Thomas O'Bryan at a meeting of the International and American Association of Certified Clinical Nutritionists (IAACCN).

Before that, I was aware of the dangers of wheat and had taken myself and many patients off it with great results. Later, I developed a free resource kit to help others wanting to free themselves:

Originally, many wheat-free enthusiasts still ate gluten in the form of kamut and spelt, including me. I would sprout kamut and make a delicious raw, dehydrated bread or pizza crust from it.

I didn't notice negative effects unless I ate too much, but I did notice that once I started eating these gluten-grains, I craved more beyond the satisfaction of my hunger.

After listening to Dr O'Bryan's talk and doing extensive research of my own on the neurodevelopmental effects of gluten, I personally gave it up. I didn't make a decision to give it up from my mind, though. It was a gut reaction and a loss of all desire for it. I had no cravings or remorse. I just stopped because once I understood the impact it had on me, I wanted no more of it.

There were several changes I did notice AFTER giving up gluten entirely.

My energy and stamina become extremely high. I could sleep less and feel more energized. I became more productive and clear about my business goals. I became more motivated to be successful and get known.

My brain seemed more clear and less unfocused.

Neurological Effects of Gluten

In 2006, my paper on gluten intolerance in regards to developmental disorders in children was published in the Journal of Nutritional Perspectives.

What follows is data I found while researching for that paper.

The neurological problems associate with gluten intolerance became known as early as 1908 in a book titled Sprue and its Treatment by Carnegie Brown. In it, Brown described two pa­tients who developed “peripheral neuri­tis”, which is inflammation of the nerves in the hands and feet. Later, in 1925, Elders reported the association between “sprue” and ataxia, which is a balance disorder.

Since then, gluten intolerance has been associated with a wide variety of neurological and psychiatric conditions, with or without intestinal problems.

The list of conditions associated with gluten includes:

  • gluten and neuroligical disorderscerebellar ataxia
  • peripheral neuropathy
  • epilepsy
  • dementia
  • schizophrenia
  • depression
  • migraine
  • seizures
  • encephalopathy
  • chorea
  • brain stem dysfunction
  • Parkinson's
  • Alzheimer's
  • myelopathy
  • mononeuritis multiplex
  • Guillain-Barre-like syndrome
  • Huntington's disease

Gluten is also associated with neurodevelopmental disorders including:

  • autism
  • ADHD
  • Aspersers and
  • PPD

Wow. That's some line up.

Changes to cells and blood supply in the central nervous system have also been associated with gluten intolerance.

Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain how gluten affects the neuromuscular systems. The mechanisms include autoimmune reaction and inflammation, malnutrition, and opioid excess.

Find Out More

Dr. Thomas O'BryanOn the interview with Dr. O'Bryan, we discussed many of these problems and how to determine if you are affected by gluten intolerance.

Part 1: Gluten-Free – Is it Just a Fad?
Part 2: The Gluten-Free Fad

I recommend that you listen to the recordings, come to the next show in the series to hear about the effects of gluten from a patient/health coach perspective and watch your inbox to learn more about the mechanisms by which gluten affects your brain.

Until then, try to go a week without gluten and post your experience to the blog. Use this free resource kit to help you go gluten-free:

If you'd like to comment on this article, please visit the blog here:


Events with Dr. Ritamarie

Dr. Ritamarie's Living Foods Potluck
and Information Night

Raw Food Potluck Austin TexasOnce a month, you can join us LIVE in Austin, Texas for a local raw food potluck where you can:

  • Meet like-minded people and make new friends.
  • Learn new and exciting recipes.
  • Gather valuable health and nutrition information.
  • Feel supported on your health quest.

Click HERE to learn more about the event and find out all the details on what to bring and what to expect.

Upcoming Dates (last Saturday of every month unless noted otherwise):

  • Saturday, April 28th, 6:30 p.m. central
  • Saturday, May 26th, 6:30 p.m. central 
  • Saturday, June 30th, 6:30 p.m. central

What our attendees have to say about recent potlucks:

  • “I had a great time meeting new people and gained new knowledge and wisdom regarding blood sugars and the importance of a clean, whole food diet. The food tasted amazing and the display of all the dishes looked wonderful. Thank you to Dr. Ritamarie, her husband and all of the people who contributed to make this connection possible. What a great experience.”
    — Bridget

  • “Incredible! The food was awesome. You won't leave hungry. Lots of very interesting people. Ritamarie was a wonderful host. She shared some extremely helpful information on health restoration. I wish now I had brought three more people to hear this information. She was so gracious, answering questions and sharing her knowledge with wit and compassion.”
    — Yvetta Myers

Click HERE to join and follow this Meeting Group.


Radio Shows with Dr. Ritamarie

Upcoming Vibrant Health Solutions Radio Shows:

Dr. Ritamarie's Vibrant Health Solutions Radio Show: combining experience, education, and practical advice to make healthful eating fun again! Click here to learn more.

Upcoming Radio Show and Special Guest

Emotional Changes When Going Gluten-Free

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Time: 8am PT / 9am MT / 10am CT / 11am ET

Attend Here:

Going gluten-free is extremely rewarding and life-changing. But it's not without its challenges. Finding gluten-free foods, withdrawal symptoms and emotions can make it very difficult to stay on a gluten-free diet.

Joining Dr. Ritamarie to give you some ideas, tips and guidance on the gluten-free path is Debbie Sipowicz.

Debbie SipowiczDebbie Sipowicz is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and a Natural Foods Cook specializing in helping women make the transition to a gluten-free life.

After personally experiencing cancer, asthma, gluten intolerance and leaky gut, Debbie has changed her own diet many times over the past twenty years, and has always managed to enjoy food and eat well. In her coaching practice, Debbie picks up where the “change-your-diet” diagnosis leaves off, and helps women get through the ‘tough-stuff', upgrade their food choices, and still enjoy eating!

Attend Here:

(If you can't attend live, the show will be recorded and available via the same link above).

Check out Debbie and her website:

Additional Resources:

Get Dr. Ritamarie's free guide to living gluten-free:

Make your own gluten-free snacks and comfort foods:

Recorded Show Replays for You to Enjoy


About Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo

Dr. Ritamarie LoscalzoDr. Ritamarie Loscalzo, MS, DC, CCN, DACBN, has been an integrative health care practitioner for over two decades, empowering her patients and students to overcome health challenges and lead a joyful and healthy life.

She's a Doctor of Chiropractic with Certifications in Acupuncture, Clinical Nutrition, HeartMath® and Herbal Medicine as well as a certified raw and living foods instructor, chef, and coach.

She's the author and co-author of several gluten-free vegan and raw foods recipe books including: Power Breakfast Ideas, Deliciously Quick Lunch and Dinner, Healthy Halloween Treats, Dessert: Making it Rich Without Oil and Dried and Gone to Heaven.

She's also the creator of many successful online courses designed to restore people to the health, energy, and vitality they need to live full and vibrant lives.

Dr. Ritamarie resides in Austin, Texas with her husband and sons. She can be reached at


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The Women's International Summit for Health (WISH):
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In celebration of International Women's Day, 40 of the world's leading health and wellness luminaries have gathered to share their knowledge and insights during WISH (Women's International Summit for Health). This 40-day online conference is exploring the key areas of interest for women, from food, beauty and fitness to relationships, abundance and sensuality.

WISH speakers - Women's International Summit for Health 2012The summit is underway, but you can still register HERE:

The list of distinguished experts participating in the Summit is worthy of a red carpet. Author of sixteen best-selling books, author SARK; Grethchen Rubin, creator of The Happiness Project; Carol Look, the phenomenal abundance coach and EFT Master; Bruce Lipton, author of Spontaneous Evolution; renowned pioneer in fertility education and genuine sexual liberation, Pamela Madsen; along with a who's who of inspirational thought leaders.

Program creator, Tera Warner, says that WISH is an invitation to the multitasking miracle workers in our society. She invites participants to put themselves on top of their to do list and prioritize the areas of their lives that are most out of balance. “The laundry and dishes can wait,” she says. “It's time for women to step forward and step up to the call of living life fully and improving conditions around them. It's not just a right, it's our responsibility.”

All “multitasking miracles” should register HERE:

WISH runs for 40 days, with each day of the event being dedicated to a different guest. WISH presenters address a range of 10 topics that are pertinent to women's health; sensuality, spirit, food, relationships, fitness, beauty, health, money, attitude and balance. Each day, participants will access one of the inspiring presentations which have been designed to get their most pressing questions answered.

With more than 40 interviews, there is something for women of all walks of life.

Register and join the world's biggest empowerment party for women here:

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Disclosure: Sometimes (but not always), when I share resources in my programs, newsletter, and on my website, I'm using an affiliate link, which means I do make money if you buy. My credibility is extremely important to me; therefore, I only endorse the products, services, and people I believe in. is independently owned and the opinions expressed here are my own.


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