On Tuesday I experienced one of the most profound medical appointments I have ever sat through. It was not with a fellow ND or MD, but it could easily have been. My appointment was with a medical geneticist, Dr. Mansoor Mohammed of Younique Genomics. Two weeks prior I submitted a blood sample to test 14 genetic markers. These markers were not for specific diseases, such as with the “breast cancer gene” (BRCA1,2), but rather, for functional genes, genes who’s blueprint lays out instructions to manufacture ingredients that support pathways related to detoxification, heart health, metabolism and the neurobiology of performance, anxiety and depression.

Many of you have heard me say that I will never run testing unless it changes the course of treatment. This test was a game changer for me in this way. In the category related to neurobiology, I showed markers associated with balanced stress management. In the cardiovascular category, an area for which I have a strong family history, my markers suggest optimal lipid metabolism and oxygen utilization in cardiac cells. While I did inherit one of 2 genes that predispose me to excessive weight gain, I learned that my metabolism favours cardiovascular exercise over lifting weights. The implications for those looking to lose weight, in this respect are profound. In the detoxification category however, I did receive a surprise, a big one. Two critical genes blueprint the manufacturing something called glutathione. Glutathione is an important antioxidant and a vital ingredient involved in the detoxification of innumerable toxins. While several backup pathways can produce small amounts, the glutathione produced via the two primary paths is responsible for removing the oxidative stress and chemicals implicated in aging and many cancers. In my case, I am missing the genetic information that codes for glutathione in not one, but both of these pathways.

The results of this test were a game changer for me. Today, I started supplementing glutathione as well as nutrients involved in the synthesis of glutathione. I have chosen to include substances that support adjacent pathways and it has allowed me to practice preventative medicine in its truest and most individualized capacity. It has provided me with insight, not only into my own health and risk factors, but potentially, my children as well.

I have been using aspects of genetic testing in my practice for some time, but this particular panel changes everything. Of all the information and resources I have had the opportunity to access, I feel that this one has the potential to help more people in a most profound way.

I have testing kits in my office. If you would like to learn more, please let me know.

I am off to drink a green smoothie, wishing you a fabulous week,

Dr.MegsSignature

 

I am hoping that the drop in temperature on the first day of October is just a coincidence. Until now, the sky, trees and temperatures have been making up for Mother’s Nature’s lackluster performance this summer.  Despite my optimism however, I know that cooler days are just around the corner. The change in temperature means that routines and physical requirements change as well. In many cultures, the change of season marks an important transition of the body from a warmer to cooler state. Foods correspondingly become warmer and the body begins to thrive with heartier offerings. It is interesting to observe that this time of year frequently correlates with an increased number of bookings from my vegan and raw clients. Uncooked foods are considered “cool” foods according to some healing traditions such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, and the digestive system tends to thrive when your food does not compound external conditions. With an increase in patient visits related to digestive health and back-to-work routines in full-swing, I thought I would use the transition to October, to point out some helpful changes that you may want to consider.

Change of Season Check-List

Include “warmer” foods. Cold, raw foods frequently cause increased bloating and discomfort this time of year. Soups, stews, stir-frys and steaming are great ways of warming vegetables prior to eating. (Microwaving is not an ideal option. There is increasing evidence that it destroys many of the important nutrients in your foods).

Start taking vitamin D3. Adults should be supplementing at least 1000i.u of liquid (or gelcap) vitamin D3 daily. You should be supplementing vitamin D from the time the leaves fall until they come out in the spring. You cannot get sufficient D3 from food or winter sunbathing. D3 is vitally important to support mood, immune health, bones and hormonal systems throughout your body.

Get some sleep. Not all the time, but in accordance with a good routine. The body thrives on routine. Set a series of pre-bed activities that you do every night. Even if you know you will be sleeping less or differently due to work or travel, keep your pre-bed routine the same. If you have trouble turning off your head, try (among other things) reading fiction before you go to sleep. Unless you are truly gifted at shutting off your head before bed, absolutely avoid ‘work’ related reading before you sleep.

Start on a multivitamin. There is much debate about whether you NEED a multivitamin. Studies that look at requirements for multivitamins are not looking a cold-dwelling Canadians and are not focused on markers of performance. I do not recommend a multi-vitamin to keep you from acquiring scurvy, your diet is more than capable of doing that. I am looking at the role that a high-potency multivitamin can play in optimizing your lifestyle performance. My interest in this respect is around providing you with an advantage when it comes to your physiology and performance related to mental focus, stress resilience and physical stamina. (More on this in the coming weeks).

For many, Fall is a time of renewed productivity, excitement and positive change. When you create a strong foundation, you can take on your world as a parent, creator, student and empire builder. Now go make it happen.

What do you add to your routine now that the days are getting cooler? I’d love to hear what you are up to. Share in the comment section below.

EoM_FBCoverPhoto_Speakers1

As published earlier this week in the Huffington Post

In my walk through the woods long ago, I chose the road less travelled. At first it was bumpy, over-grown and scarcely populated. People who noticed my path, smiled and whispered to one another – invariably they felt my choice was ill informed. The rest of the world was building a super-highway, straight through the forest; clearly that was the faster and more innovative form of transportation.

Alejandro Junger wrote a book called Clean Gut. In it, he described the skill of his childhood gardener. “He never worried about the leaves” Junger explained, “my gardener was always concerned about the roots.” When you address the roots, you needn’t be painting the leaves green and taping them back on for effect. The delivery of medicine, in its current iteration needs to take notice.

“Healthcare”, north and south of the border, has hit its breaking point. We have advanced the capacity to rescue, resuscitate and release drowning citizens so that they can continue about their lives. We pride ourselves on the precision with which we can dilate vessels in the heart, replace parts of the knee and suppress the symptoms of chronic acid reflux. We can pop a pill to manage the pain of divorce and repurpose cholesterol medications to control the increasing challenge of children with hypertension and high cholesterol. This is not sophisticated healthcare; this is a system of disease management that every morsel of evidence has demonstrated to be utterly unsustainable. Our obsession with proving the myopic nuances of medicine has left us with a system that has turned it’s back on the insurmountable literature suggesting that the current paradigm of disease-care is not working. This is not to suggest that research is not vital to the forward momentum of medicine, rather, our preoccupation with treatment at the expense of prevention is an astounding testament to our collective predilection for attending to the leaves at the expense of the roots.

My walk in the woods has not been easy. I frequently look at the superhighway with great envy. My discoveries however have been life altering. Up-stream and around the bend, away from the site of the drowning citizens, myself and many others have made an important observation. Not only is the water calmer, but we are able to see how people have come to fall into the river in the first place. Our role is not to resuscitate necessarily, but to educate people about how to live and navigate close to the stream without falling victim to it’s current.

Medicine is evolving. The lack of sustainability associated with resuscitation is driving a demand for healthcare that leverages technology to assist in communication, compliance and curation of lifestyle options to prevent and reverse chronic disease. Food and movement are poised to become as vital a prescription to the evolved system as beta-blockers and proton pump inhibitors are today. This evolving model does not focus on the narrow window afforded through sub-specialization, but views the whole body as a system that functions intelligently and in partnership with our environment. Mapping the human genome has enabled us to understand that our health and our predisposition to disease can be turned on and off, in many cases by the choices we make on a daily basis.

Chronic disease is considered by the World Economic Forum to be one of the most significant threats to global economic productivity. Collaboration, conversation, technology and lifestyle medicine have the power to prevent and reverse some of the most common chronic diseases we pay for collectively as a society. The Evolution of Medicine, Functional Medicine if you will, is not about curing disease through procedures and drugs. It is about understanding our health and bodies as dynamic systems that can be altered by the choices we are empowered to make. This new medicine will shift the focus from procedures to patients, reserving the limited healthcare resources for research and resuscitation to the most seriously ill.

Next week, some of the brightest, most progressive minds in medicine will be presenting at the free online summit, the Evolution of Medicine. It is an exciting glimpse into the potential for a healthcare system defined by patient-centric approaches that are poised to put the power of healthcare back into the hands of those paying for it; you and I.

I believe that when people have their health, they have the capacity to change their lives and the lives of those around them. I can’t wait to see the potential of ‘up-stream’ medicine to lessen the burden of wait lists and procedural costs, not because of better management, but because we will no longer need them in the first place. Are you ready to see where medicine has the potential go?

Change your life and the life of your family. Register here. The Summit starts today.

School Bus

I don’t think it will ever go away. There is an emotional stirring that happens for me at the end of August that is the perfect combination of summer grief and the renewed potential of fall. The aroma of this esoteric smoothie is the delightful combination of sunscreen and the vinyl off-gassing of new binders and plastic pencil cases. For just a moment I remember that smell from the state of ignorance I once had regarding its health and environmental implications, but I digress. This is not a rant about how bad plastic binders are for the environment (they are awful), this is a call to action, adult version, for finding an excuse to stock our lives with a few simple tools to make the fall a renewed opportunity to take on the world, support good health and keep vinyl-high kids from running us wrangled.

Back to Life Supplies

Mason Jars – I don’t ‘can’ anything, yet, every fall we toddle off to the grocery store for an updated collection of mason jars. We use them for everything; leftovers, smoothies, “mason jar lunches,” you name it we’ve tried it. Much cheaper than other glass counterparts, these jars are small enough to fit in your bag and strong enough to be carried to school. Join the craze. 

A Decent Blender – We have one “convenience appliance” in our kitchen, our Vita-Mix blender. While this may be an over-kill investment for many, we use our blender for at least 2-3 meals per day. Smoothies for breakfast and soup for dinner, this high-powered beast has enabled us to have sufficient creativity that we have long since rid ourselves of other counter clogging devices such as a microwave. If a Vita-Mix is not in your need or price range (it took me a while to prioritize this purchase myself), Consumer Reports has pulled together a comprehensive list of blending options. Remember, you need to look for something that can manage ice, vegetables and fruit, ideally without you having to chop it all first.

Little Life Box  – Health has to be fun. If hitting the gym and baking kale chips sounds like a task rather than a joy, Little Life Box, may be just the thing for you. Started last year by a mother-daughter team from Montreal, LLB sends along a monthly box of healthy food, cosmetics and intriguing new products to get you and your family excited about healthy living. Opening our LLB has become a family affair, with my three-year-old eager to see what items will be coming next. It has been a great way to try things we may not otherwise have selected and challenge ourselves to substitute ingredients we had not previously used.

Coconut spread – With almond butter hitting the headlines with a recent recall, I thought it was a good time to infuse some variety into the world of healthy butters. Coconut spread, not to be confused with coconut oil, is a sweet version of its healthy counterpart. The spread tastes like coconut, contains less fat and is a healthy addition to toast or smoothies. I tend to keep a jar in my office and spread a spoonful onto rice cakes when I am craving something sweet in the afternoon. It is an excellent choice for anyone managing chronic digestive concerns as the medium chain fatty acids in the coconut, are very helpful in assisting in the repair of the cells lining the digestive tract.

A glass water bottle – It is hard to keep up with the toxins found in the latest and greatest consumer plastics. I’ve got a suggestion, just stick to glass. Glass water bottles are easy to clean and now, much easier to transport. Silicone cases and even water bottle socks are making this time-tested option one the most popular fall health accessories.

Zombie Run – Technology has changed the way we go back to school. Forget the books, let’s talk about apps. I am not a zombie fan, but this little pearl has the capacity to making running WAY more fun. Zombie Run 3 (yes, it is actually popular enough to have reached a 3rd version) is a fun way to combine a run with, well, a zombie attack. If you find that fun and games are requisites to getting you moving, this may be just the app for you.

Goodbye pencils, paper and penny-loafers, back to school has taken on a whole new meaning. Get back to your healthy habits and renewed focus with some well-deserved supplies and a few options to help make it a little easier on your body to chase down the bus. Funny isn’t it, how some things never change.

Do you have some great back to school lifestyle suggestions, share them in the comment section below or join the discussion on Facebook.

Photo Credit: drp via Compfight cc

 

kale

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.

Dr.MegsSignature

 

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.

 

kale

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!

Dr.MegsSignature

 

 

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

juggler

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

Dr.MegsSignature

 

 

 

Photo credit: Creative Commons License woodleywonderworks via Compfight