The single biggest fascination that drove me to pursue naturopathic medicine was when my own ND asked me about how my body has historically responded to food and stress. The acute illness I was managing at the time, was, in his opinion, likely congruent with lifelong patterns and habits that my body had displayed with respect to food, stress and genetics?. This approach to unlocking an individual’s health made so much intuitive sense that no matter how hard I tried, naturopathic medicine kept calling me back.

In my own practice, understanding the historical patterns of one’s body has always provided insight regarding susceptibilities and easy avenues to feeling well quickly. All too frequently, getting people back on track does not require elaborate protocols, but rather, simple lifestyle and dietary adjustments. Rather than debating the role that food may or may not play in your own health, why not just try making some simple changes.

Chronic Ear infections – while health and social history are always important (frequent swimming, day care, short Eustachian tubes, etc…), chronic ear infections are frequently and consistently correlated with food sensitivities. Most conservative estimates suggest that 40% of chronic ear infections are related to food sensitivities.  Dairy and in some cases wheat (but usually dairy), is one of the easier foods to remove when kids (or adults) are presenting with ongoing infections.

Eczema, Allergies and Asthma – These three conditions represent the classic ‘atopic triad’ (huh?) Atopy refers to a class of autoimmune reaction where a person is essentially hyperallergic. The classic triad of eczema, asthma and then seasonal allergies typically starts as a baby with initial manifestations of eczema. Treatments are provided that usually address the symptoms versus the cause and the body continues to respond to an unresolved trigger. As children get older, they often begin to develop seasonal or exercise induced asthma and then seasonal allergies into adulthood. Sound familiar? Drop the dairy, (all cow dairy) and book a food sensitivity test to ensure you are not chronically reacting to another frequently consumed food.

Urinary tract infections – Yes, I know, bacteria is the most common cause of urinary tract infections. The question, beyond identifying the type of bacteria contributing to a chronic UTI is ‘why’ the body is susceptible in the first place. In my experience, wheat (not necessarily gluten) is a frequent contributor to an ongoing susceptibility to those irritating UTIs.

Frequent infections – People who ‘always get sick’ are usually fulfilling a pattern that has been present for most of their lives. While you may have expected that I would be citing food sensitivities as the cause, stress and processed food consumption (with a slant towards sugar) make frequent appearances in the diets of those managing ongoing challenges to their immune system. Drop the ‘crapacious’ consumption of fake food and increase your exercise to 4 times weekly. It will do wonders for your immune health.

Reflux – wheat, dairy, coffee and sugar (alcohol is sugar). Let them go and report back to me on how you are doing. As an added assistance, stop drinking water while you eat. Keep your drinking away from meals by 30 minutes. Sipping while eating is ok, but stop diluting the important digestive juices that are critical to breaking down your meals.

Food is not the only reason people get and stay sick, but it is an essential upstream consideration for any chronic health manifestation. Removing the most commonly aggravating foods (wheat, dairy, sugar, soy and coffee) is a great place to start. If you are not finding it helpful, robust food sensitivity testing and additional health investigations are the next important step.

Let’s chat soon.



Sun Dammage

The year I graduated from high school there was a popular song on the radio, Everybody is Free to Wear Sunscreen. It was a feel good poem that espoused Pinterest worthy injunctions and an “above all else” warning that if the author could provide just one piece of advice “sunscreen would be it.” I agree.

When it comes to someone’s health, the things I am most interested in understanding are the habits and exposures that happen on a daily basis. By now, we are familiar with the dangers that ongoing exposure will have on our skin. Burns, accelerated aging and skin cancer are the three most motivating reasons to cover up under the sun. In the last 4 years I have treated 3 patients, under 30, who had been diagnosed with melanoma, the most dangerous and frequently deadly form of skin cancer. One of these individuals, sadly, succumbed to their disease. Sun exposure is no joke. It is not to be taken lightly. Tanning salons and oils irk me with the same intensity as marketing fast food to children. Since 1970, the incidence of Melanoma has nearly tripled, while most other cancers are in retreat.

Selecting a sunscreen should be as simple as choosing an appropriate SPF and slathering your skin. Unfortunately, as the market has grown, so too has the plethora of novelty applications and unhealthy ingredients. Here is a breakdown of what you should know.

  1. Wear sunscreen. I really don’t care if you look better with a healthy glow, I promise, your will look worse with saggy face wrinkles.
  2. Don’t be fooled by high SPF sunscreen. SPF refers to Sun Protection Factor. Specifically, SPF denotes the protection afforded against UVB rays, the ones responsible for burning. Burn protection starts with an SPF of 15 and basically maxes out with an SPF of 50. SPF sunscreens high than 50 offer a very small incremental benefit and are being studied for safety in many European countries. If you need an SPF greater than 50, you need to cover up and stay out of the sun.
  3. Buy “Broad Spectrum” Sunscreen. UVB rays are responsible for burns, but have less of a roll in penetrating deeper into the skin, contributing to aging, immune dysfunction and possibly cancer. The deeper penetrating rays are UVA rays. Look for a sunscreen that offers “broad spectrum coverage,” meaning, both UVA and UVB protection.
  4. Avoid Aerosol Sunscreen. I am famous for missing significant areas of my arms and legs while applying sunscreen and I was hoping that aerosol options would solve this challenge. Nope. The problem with aerosols is not with their coverage, but with their ingredients. The sun protection technology that prevents sunscreen from looking white on your skin is not the safest concoction of chemicals – especially when they reach your blood stream.  Aerosol sunscreen results in the inhalation of these dangerous ingredients. This is especially problematic in kids.
  5. Omit Oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is a chemical that helps absorb UV rays. According the Environmental Working Group, 56% of sunscreens contain oxybenzone. EWG and many toxicology experts warn the oxybenzone can be absorbed through the skin and has been linked to hormone disruption (think BPA and plastics) and potential cellular damage that may lead to skin cancer (insert sad irony here).
  6. Sun and bug repellent should not go hand in hand. Effective sun care requires that you reapply sunscreen every few hours. Bug repellents should not be applied more than every 6 hours. Don’t expose yourself to unnecessary chemical more frequently than you need to.
  7. In a nutshell. Limit excess sun exposure at peak hours (10:30-3pm). Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen (UVA and UVB protection). Select an SPF product between 15 and 50. Don’t be skimpy with the slather. Reapply after bathing, sweating and generally, every 3 hours.  See how your sun care product rates on the EWG’s sun care guide. (A truly incredible resource).

We have waited and waited and… waited for our summer to arrive. Get out and enjoy this well deserved weather, just do it while practicing safe sun!

Find reading is too much work, head on over to my youtube channel to get the quick and dirty on sunscreen… then share with your friends…


Video. Safesun


Health & Wealth

I live and breathe health and wellness. In my practice and in my role at Bright Almond I am driven by the core belief that when people are well, they can change the world. As a naturopathic doctor I work with patients to remove the obstacles to one achieving good health. We work on diet, address hormonal imbalances, support healthy digestion and assess lifestyle influences that are detracting from health-related goals. Key, among the sources of stress impacting the daily lives and quality of life of my patients, is the unrelenting pressure of money management.

Financial stress has been identified on the intake forms of nearly 80% of my clients, most of whom are women. For a significant portion of these individuals, it is not that they don’t have adequate earnings; it is usually that their money is not managed in a manner that supports their lifestyle or long-term goals.

I am not a financial planner. I am not wealthy and I do not always make the best financial decisions – I am human. What I do have however, is a level of financial literacy that empowers me to understand when the decisions I am making are helping or hampering my long-term goals.

For as long as I can remember, my Dad has encouraged me to understand how money works. As an eight year old, my daily exposure to Disney was not the Mickey Mouse Club, but rather their stock price. We watched how it fluctuated, we talked about financial markets and he implored the concept of making your money ‘work for you.’ As I got older, my Dad crafted a more ingenious scheme to support his belief that children need a financial education – he tied my allowance directly to my acquisition of financial acumen. The Wealthy Barber, The Richest Man in Babylon and even One Up on Wall Street, became core tenants in his version of home schooling. I never had to read the books, but when I did, and when I was able to talk about the principles, my allowance increased accordingly. On a rare occasion, there was even a cash reward.

His belief that kids, and girls in particular, not only need but deserve to understand money management, is a value I have adopted for my daughters as well. This is not about having an obsession with money, it is about teaching responsibility and an empowered approach to investing in one’s hard-earned success. Perhaps even more profoundly, for daughters in particular, it is about knowing how to self-sustain should you ever find yourself alone or needing to walk away.

I often write about the top things people can do to influence their health. Drinking water, eating greens and sucking on smoothies are all important to maintaining a healthy vitality. Arguably, on par with the management of one’s gluten-free, paleo anti-aging smoothie regiment is addressing the most significant sources of one’s stress. Just as I provide my dad with the harsh reality that cheese and peanut butter are poor quality sources of protein (he calls me Dr. Kill-Joy), his commitment to my financial education have differentiated a path dedicated to my long-term success. Scoops of peanut butter or an extra-cookie always taste good in the moment but rarely provide the level of satisfaction you can derive from an hour at the gym (right dad?). Right up there with teaching me to ride my bike, thank you dad for instilling the principle of paying myself first. xo

West St., Annapolis: If you need this, you probably can't read this 

Control Alt Delete: a Fresh and Modern Detox

There is a universal shift that happens during spring – everyone is looking for a clean fresh start. Gardens are raked, closets are gutted and our bodies are just begging to get outside and play. In keeping with the theme of spring cleaning and in response to an overwhelming demand for ‘cleanse’ and detox advice, I am going to share an easy 7-day ‘Un-tox’ that I have affectionately named Control-Alt-Delete.

The purpose of this cleanse is to clean the closets and set a new course. It is not going to have you losing 20lbs in five days, it is not going to leave you starving and it is not going to require that you take 40+ pills per hour. If this has left you disappointed then I am sure that Dr. Google can offer some additional solutions. What you WILL feel is energized, healthy and ready to build your empire.

Materials Required:

  • Blender (any blender will do)
  • A place to plug-in your phone other than beside your bed
  • A good attitude
  • 1 hour of meal planning on Sunday night
  • Water bottle, not made of plastic (try glass or metal)

 Dietary Guidelines:

  • Foods to remove: sugar, caffeine, alcohol, red meat, processed anything.
  • Foods to Include: Organic, Non-GMO foods. Lots of natural colour and lean protein

Exercise Guidelines:

  • Move daily. Walk, Run, bike or workout like normal
  • You can still exercise like normal while you are detoxing.  If you feel like you have cut your calories significantly, adjust your exercise accordingly.



Daily Routine:

1st things first  – Hydrate 1 large glass of water with lemon. This can be hot or cold. (500mL)

Fiber blend: Combine 1 tbsp ground flax + 1 tbsp of chia seeds. Take with another glass of water.  (You need to keep your bowels moving during a cleanse. We are aiming for at least 1 bowel movement daily. Having trouble, add more water) (250mL)

Move: if exercise or movement is not normally part of your morning, enjoy it in the evening.

Breakfast: (Yes, you need to eat breakfast) – Green Smoothie with Vegan protein (Why vegan, I want your to avoid dairy. Whey is the protein found in milk.)

Green smoothie: Use this as an inspiration, 3 leaves of kale, 1 apple or pear, coconut water, a handful of spouts, dark red fruit and a banana. Adjust your quantities for taste and texture. Turn it up a notch and add coriander AND dandelion greens. (tried it? You are super hardcore)

Hydrate: 1 large glass of water with lemon. This can be hot or cold. (500mL)

Snack: Apple and almond butter

Lunch: Arugula or spinach salad with a lean protein (Non-GMO tofu, fish, chicken or nuts & seeds)

 Dark green leafy salads are rich in nutrients. The bitter nature of arugula and spinach are good for the liver.

Hydrate: 1 large glass of water with lemon. OR 1 large mug of detox tea (see above) (500mL)

Snack: Power bar from one of my favourite bloggers (www.elanaspantry.com)

Move: Have you moved yet today? For real? …in the very least, get outside and walk for 30 minutes. This is a great week to try something new. Yoga, Barre, think outside your box

Hydrate: 1 large glass of water with lemon. OR 1 large mug of detox tea (500mL)

Tweet: Detox Tea: 1 slice of lemon. ½ tsp raw honey. 2 thin shavings of ginger. A dash of cinnamon or cayenne pepper. @drmeghanwalker

Dinner: Quinoa or brown rice, chicken, steam greens with lemon (kale, collards, spinach, etc…). Check out some additional detox recipes at another favorite whole foods blog.

After dinner snack: try some berries. Or if you are really looking for some excitement, try freezing some blended berries and add them to Popsicle molds…

sleeping corander

Sleep Routine: Sleep is critical to rest and restoration. If you are already moving and eating well, creating a healthy sleep routine may end up being the most powerful element of your Un-tox week. Set a 30-minute routine prior to heading to bed. Be consistent with your routine all week. Ensure that your room is completely dark and that your phone is plugged in in another room.


Mindfulness Practice: If you are having trouble falling asleep. Try this cool FREE app (download the free version).  It will provide a 10 minute guided visualization to help you rest and relax.

Ok, now repeat. 7 days to go!

DELETE: ok, so we have controlled and altered some of your typical habits, now I challenge you to delete a habit that you know is dragging you down. Maybe it is afternoon candy, sugar in your coffee or excessive snacking after dinner. Un-tox is about choosing habits that help, not hamper. Share your deleted items below – it will likely serve as inspiration for others.

The best way to detoxify is to stop putting toxic things into the body.

Dr. Andrew Weil

Good luck this week. This is a gentle reset for spring. If you want something more specific, personalized or intense, let’s talk. We can create a tailored Un-tox experience that is right for you.

See you on the other side of clean!




Photo Credit: Earl via Compfight

Raspberry Smoothie

I have the deep privilege of getting to know people and their private lives in an intimate way and on a professional level. Over my years working in private practice I have come see that there are distinct decisions that “healthy” people tend to make over and over again. Their strategies are humbling and humanizing. I may have advice related to the fine-tuning of one’s lifestyle, but I am consistently inspired by people’s commitment to making their health a priority. These are the lifestyle commitments of the top 20% of people I see in my practice.

1. They eat real food, frequently – there will always be days when we don’t have time to eat well. But these people commit to trying. If you can’t make ‘real food’, order it. Just to be clear, real food generally does not come in a box. It may need to be washed and frequently you need to cook it. Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store, it will lessen the confusion. Try one new recipe each week and store healthy snacks in your bottom drawer at work.

2. They work (or have worked) with a therapist – We all know those people; they have presence, poise, wisdom… and a therapist. My most well adjusted clients either have a therapist or have worked with one in the past. We all have baggage. Acknowledge it, integrate the experience and walk away with a set of luggage that will serve you for the journey yet to come.

Tweet: We all have baggage. Acknowledge and Integrate to earn a set of luggage that will serve you for the journey yet to come @drmeghanwalker

3. They say no, politely – If you are going to find time to see a therapist and make real food, you need to start to say no. Prioritize. Lot’s of amazing things will come your way – that is just the talented kind of person that you are. Strategically decide which opportunities are the best for you and which ones you need to pass along to someone else. More than anything I appreciate when busy and talented people say no, and then direct me to an equally qualified alternative.

4. They listen to their body – There is a time and place for cold medication or Tylenol sleep aids… Actually, no, scratch that last one, that is a terrible idea. If you need to take a well-known pain killer simply to get to sleep, you need to take a step back and focus on what is really going on. Listening to you body does not mean overreacting to every ache and pain. It means acknowledging when your body needs a break. Recurring colds and pain that keeps you awake are reasons to speak to your healthcare provider. Pushing through symptoms over and over again does not make you a mommy martyr or a corporate icon. Get to the root of the problem.

5. They exercise – Yes that’s right, even the busiest of the multiple ball balancers find a way to move. Ride your bike to work, walk during your lunch hour or sit on a stability ball at your desk. Anything is better than nothing. You are designed to move. It will increase mental clarity, stimulate your immune system and make you a friendlier person. You can’t have health without movement and you definitely wont lose weight without finding a way to exercise. Start small. Get off the elevator two floors below your destination. See, that was easy!

6. They take probiotics and vitamin D – I am always curious to see what supplements someone has selected prior to our first meeting. Those who have self-prescribed have consistently gravitated towards probiotics and vitamin D. Their universal observation is that it helps their mood and keeps them regular. Who can argue with that?

7. They are good sleepers – For many, this has taken a lot of work. It is a talent to be a good sleeper. It requires practice and equally compliant children (mine have not read the memo on sleeping through the night). For the rest of us, it takes a commitment to good sleep hygiene. Create a sleep routine, avoid caffeine in the afternoon, keep your room dark and get to bed at a reasonable hour. Unless you are burning the candle at both ends, start by committing to increasing the quality, not necessarily the quantity of sleeping hours.

In my experience I have seen that one’s approach to health and their respect for wellbeing is a manifestation of their true self and sense of worth. When you have your health, you can achieve your life’s work. Raising kids, building empires, changing the laundry – everything is easier when your body has your back. You’ve got this, join the 20%.

What is you daily health commitment? Share it with us in the comment section below.

Photo Credit: madlyinlovewithlife via Compfight


I treat a lot of people who are managing  stress. Busy careers, kids, parents, goals – they are all balls in the air that require your attention. The balls are plentiful and important. As I explore the sources of one’s stress, there is one cause that I find both recurrent and infuriating; workplace bullying. This is not a one-time event. It is pervasive. If you are in a leadership position, you need to be aware of the profound impact this may having on your team. If you are a victim of workplace bullying, you need to read the wisdom of Seth Godin, outlined below.

Thank, as usual for your wisdom Seth Godin…

Bullies can’t be bullies when they are alone.

If you work with a bully, this is all you need to know. They need you.

A bully is someone who uses physical or psychological force to demean and demoralize someone else. A bully isn’t challenging your ideas, or working with you to find a better outcome. A bully is playing a game, one that he or she enjoys and needs. You’re welcome to play this game if it makes you happy, but for most people, it will make you miserable. So don’t.

The way to work with a bully is not to try to please her or to question the quality of your work or to appease her or to hide from her.

The way to work with a bully is to take the ball and go home. First time, every time.

When there’s no ball, there’s no game. Bullies hate that. So they’ll either behave so they can play with you or they’ll go bully someone else.

Call her on her behavior (not who she is, but what she does). “I’m sorry, but when you talk to me like that, I’m unable to do good work. I’ll be in my office if you need me.” Then walk out, not in a huff, but with a measure of respect for the person (not the behavior).

This is a shocking piece of advice. It might even get you fired. But it will probably save your job and your sanity. Most bullies are deeply unhappy and you might just save their skin. If you’re good at what you do, you deserve better than a bully.

When you experience a bully, take their ball and leave it in the garage. The other balls you are juggling are more important and worthy of your limited time and care.

I am off for a week of vacation. Yay! See you at the end of March





Photo credit: Creative Commons License woodleywonderworks via Compfight

Meghan Walker

It is March. It is -12 with a windchill of -20. I have already tweeted Mother Nature twice to remind her that things usually start to warm up this time of year.  She assured me that she will start the thaw next week. I suppose this is some form of progress.

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that this has been a particularly grueling winter. Much of my interaction with clients over the past few weeks has been in the development of a plan to help overcome and overwhelming feeling of blah.  Blah, by the way, is part of official medical vernacular. While diet, foundational supplements and a little exercise will likely keep you going, I think there is a lot to be said for simply adding some fun and colour to your world. Try some new foods, cut your hair, or add some funky new pillows to your bed (gentlemen, please forgive me for that).

Like tulips and other reminders of spring. Creating some purposeful change will shift your outlook and your physiology. Go try on something new!

In the spirit of spring makeovers, I have decided to revamp and update my website. The new branding, supplement line and YouTube Channel will be unfolding over the next few weeks.

Here is a sneak peak at the new look.


I am looking forward to seeing the bright new you very soon.


2014 is all about YOU

How are they coming, those resolutions, those goals, those big plans for 2014? As the snow and slush pile up once again it is sometimes difficult to upload the motivation that had inspired our newly sculpted New Year’s resolutions. Change, especially the kind that makes us healthier, is fraught with challenge. Healthy changes mean modifying routines, cooking new meals and enduring the initial discomfort of newly discovered muscles. We are all encouraged to change our lives for different reasons and we all have a different story we tell ourselves about how this year will be different.

For many of us, our most common excuse is not necessarily a lack of motivation, but a lack of resources. Insufficient time and funding top the list of cited causes for resolution meltdowns. The truth in managing the achievement of our goals is not necessarily by acquiring more resources, but in tapping into our ability to become more resourceful. Making change in 2014 is not dependent on the size of your bank account, or the brand of your shoes, your resolution destiny is entirely dependent on the resourcefulness of your spirit. 2014 is about YOU and can be the year that changes your life, not because you went to the gym, ate more green vegetables or endeavored to be more punctual, but because you resolved to make your life meaningful with what you have. Achievements of the human spirit do not usually start with the wealth of time or money, but rather with the resourcefulness that accompanies the emotion of determination.

With Kindness and wishes for success,




Finding the psychological state required for success and supporting the physiology that will keep you in your zone are pre-requisites to effective resource utilization. Need help with this? Check out this one-time offer. Valued at over $250, performance coach, Susan L Hobson and myself have teamed up to provide the ultimate in Resolution Solutions. Our workshop is completely free and limited to 10, highly motivated participants. Change the way you think, feel and achieve. The Resolution Solution Event is happening live, in Toronto, January 30th.

Check it out here or download this super groovy PDF version of the Resolution Solution Event  poster.


i am sick for the bazillionth time this year

This is a low point in my career. I pride myself in walking the talk and lately I feel like I have been treading in a soup of stress and tissue. I was warned that this would happen. I have two kids under two, work full time and frequently trade time with my pillow for a meaningful relationship with my inbox. I firmly believe I am living the dream; I have a beautiful family, a sense of purpose but lately, unrelenting disease.

I work with people everyday, sharing strategies for managing stress, reducing the physiological burden of over-commitment and devising strategies to ensure healthful nutrition in the face of hectic and relentless commitments. I believe in balance, checking-in and listening to your body, so how the heck did I get here? Six words: I took my health for granted!

In the face of a jam-packed Outlook calendar, I have always pushed on with the fundamental belief that my immune system is impenetrable. For as along as I can remember, it has been a consistent ally in my quest to manage it all. Two weeks ago when my slightly runny nose developed into a cough and then a sinus infection and then a cold and then a sinus infection, I was at a loss. This happens to other people, not me. I had failed to execute the most fundamental intervention in my arsenal, good sleep, good food and cuddles. No excuses, if your body is starting to tell you that it needs attention, proceed at your own risk.

We wouldn’t ignore the gas light for days or weeks at a time. In the very least, we wouldn’t be surprised if our ignorance of the warning light resulted in our car being side-lined because we had run out of fuel. So why do we treat our most precious asset, our health, with the disregard afforded to that old clunker, hand-me-down car.

With a little self-care and most importantly, self-awareness, I am back on track. I went to bed at a reasonable hour, took the time to prepare real, green, nutrient dense food and traded an out of office reply for a day of play with my girls. It was a start, and my body and spirit soaked it up.

When you gas light is flashing, you WILL run out of fuel without intervention. Check out my article in the Huffington Post for the complete list of immune serving interventions.

Photo credit: jamelah e. via Compfight

Zion and Tracy jumping

The final piece of the campaign was an epiphany for me.

Thanksgiving weekend marked the end of the campaign. I had started this journey on the bathroom scale at the cottage in the middle of July. Now, mid October, the leaves are crimson, the air is cooler and I am ready for the reading. I am quite confident as I step up to the device that I have missed my mark.

For the wrap-up installment of the Campaign for Personal Power, check out the complete article in the Huffington Post.

Thank you all for your support!



Photo credit:  Robert Conley via Compfight