Thank you for visiting! Walking the Walk is meant to be a source to assist you in your quest for a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Through my own lifestyle, I hope to give you creative ideas that make adopting a healthier, more holistic lifestyle as enjoyable and easy for you as possible!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Thank you and Goodnight


I finally did it-I became an ND and am practicing in Western Canada!

This blog was a wonderful release from the challenging and often stress-filled years of training as an ND.  I thank you all for your support through reading and I want you to know that I would not have made it through without your well-wishes.

The end of this blog signifies the beginning of a lifetime of practice.

Thank you all again.  I really appreciate your support.

Yours in health,

Friday, October 3, 2014

This Could Be Why Menopause Is Solely a Western Phenomena

I discovered TedTalks back in 2010 and have been impressed with all the lectures I have encountered thus far.

I recently came across the following TedTalk that made me think.  As a practitioner, I use nutrient therapy to help people feel well and function optimally. We're taught in school that lifestyle and diet are the fundamentals of health, however, these are becoming increasingly more difficult to nurture due to the pace of modern life.

As an intern in Toronto, ON where the women are all incredibly driven, I saw case after case of amenorrhea (women not getting a period) or oligomenorrhea (frequent menstrual bleeding, more than once a month) in young women and debilitating menopause in middle-aged women.  These patient numbers, however, paled in comparison to the number of young women seeking help with fertility after trying for years with no results.

Dr. Libby Weaver's description of "Rushing Women Syndrome" is an eye opener to why women's health issues are at an all time crisis in North America.  As a practitioner, part of my job is to empower my patients to take control of their health and Dr. Weaver's talk will inspire many that it is possible.

I also came across an interesting article in The Atlantic written by a woman who left a high-profile job to be with her children after finding that she just couldn't do both.  You can find this article by clicking here.

This goes back to a huge belief of mine that women should consider a career or motherhood to spare their health and to have happy lives.  This may sound anti-feminist but my opinion is formed entirely as a practitioner who cares about my female patients and places their health optimization above anything.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion-so what is yours?

What do you think about this? Does it strike true with you?  Does it explain a few things?

Some food for thought....

Yours in health,


Monday, September 22, 2014

What Does Fibromyalgia Look Like?

Often one can recognize themselves in someone else's story.  Here is a case study from Dr. Louise McCrindle and Dr. Alison Bested's book that describes a patient with fibromyalgia.

"Claire was 54 years old and working full time as a grade 7 teacher when she was rear-ended in a car accident.  This was the third time she had been in a car accident.  The next day, Claire had a headache and felt pain in her neck and shoulders.  She went to see her family doctor, who prescribed anti-inflammatory medication and recommended massage therapy.  Over the next few months, her pain worsened.  She rated the pain a 6 to 8 on a scale of 10 (with 0 as no pain and 10 as the worst pain).  She was unable to sleep.  She went to bed exhausted and she woke up exhausted the next morning.  Her pain spread to the rest of her body.  At work, she spoke with her principal about her situation.  She finally had to leave work when she couldn't remember how to teach a lesson to her students-one that she had taught many times previously.  She is now on medical leave, struggling to go out grocery shopping for 20 minutes."

Does this sound familiar?

Unfortunately, even though an estimated 6% of Canadians are suffering with Fibromyalgia, many Canadians are not being properly diagnosed or treated for this disease.  When looking for a health-care professional, make sure they are willing to learn about new conditions in medicine.  Everyday there are new discoveries in treating and diagnosing Fibromyalgia.  Although we do not have all the answers yet, we have learned enough to help you control your symptoms and begin to improve your daily life with fibromyalgia.

A great resource to understand more about Fibromyalgia is the following book:

Dr. McCrindle practices in Toronto, ON and Dr. Alison Bested practices in Vancouver, BC.  Dr. McCrindle practices functional medicine and uses therapeutic diets, nutrient therapy, and botanical medicine as a base for treatment of her patients with Fibromyalgia.

To find a healthcare practitioner in the Calgary area, visit this link and this link

Yours in health,

Scientists sniffing out the Western allergy epidemic

I've posted an interesting article from the BBC here for you to enjoy:

One in three of us is allergic. From grass pollen to latex, peanuts to pets, allergies send 20,000 of people in England to hospital every year.
But generations before did not suffer from this epidemic, so what is it that's making us so allergic in our modern world?
Many theories have come and gone over the years, but now scientists think they may have discovered what's to blame - and BBC Two's Horizon has put this theory to the test.
Every one of us is covered head to toe with bacteria, and intriguingly scientists believe these microscopic bugs are the key to explaining why we are becoming more allergic.
Families under the microscope
The bacteria that cover our skin, line our mouths and fill our guts not only outnumber our own cells by about 10 to one but may play a vital role in training our immune systems. Changes to our lifestyles are influencing these microorganisms, and allergies are the consequence.
To see if this theory played out in the real world, Horizon put the lives of two allergic families under the microscope.
In one of the families, eight-year-old Joe suffers from severe asthma, hay fever, eczema, and nut, pet and dust mite allergies.
In the other, four-year-old Morgan's list of allergies is seemingly endless. Along with severe eczema and hay fever, he is allergic to dairy products, nuts, soya, kiwi fruit, avocado, banana, latex, cats, dogs and horses.
Both families gamely agreed to provide bacterial swabs of their skin, guts and even their homes in the hope they might offer clues about why they suffer from allergies.
The results were incredible. Like most of us in the Western world, the families had far fewer types of bacteria living in and on them when compared with people in traditional tribes in parts of the developing world. One hunter-gatherer community was found to not only have a higher diversity of bacteria, but only one in 1,500 suffered from an allergy - compared with one in three in the UK.
Life in the West appears to be changing our bacteria and susceptibility to allergy. But what is it about the Western lifestyle that is to blame?
There are likely to be many culprits, but a big factor could be how we are bringing up our children.
Today a quarter of babies in the UK are born by Caesarean section. That is a significant statistic in light of a Norwegian study that found Caesarean babies were 52% more likely to suffer from asthma than those born vaginally.
Threat from antibiotics
Scientists believe the bacteria that babies are exposed to in the birth canal somehow help protect them from allergies, and the rise in Caesarean births may be making children more allergic.
But the assault on their bacteria appears to continue as they grow up. Breast milk is now known to contain up to 900 species of bacteria, possibly explaining why exclusively breast-fed babies are less likely to suffer from allergies.
One of the greatest threats to allergy-protecting bacteria comes from antibiotics. These medicines, meant to protect us, often severely reduce our harmless friendly bacteria.
Researchers at King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, together with the University of Nottingham and Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, found that the use of antibiotics in early life may increase the risk of developing eczema by 40%.
There is no doubt that children today are being exposed to fewer bacteria than they were in the past, and they are suffering more allergies.
But it is not just the way our children are born that impacts their bacteria. How they are brought up also makes a difference.
As Horizon tracked the movements of the two families over 24 hours, it discovered that they spent on average 91% of their days indoors - a pattern reflected across the UK. As our lives become increasingly sedentary we miss out on the vast array of bacteria that lurk in our gardens and waft through the air.
So, arguably, the easiest thing for all of us to do to reduce our chances of becoming allergic is to go outside. Whether it is walking the dog or strolling to school, the evidence suggests that being outside and taking a good deep breath of fresh air is good for you.
'Old friends'
One study has even found that if you have more plants and flowers around your house you are not only more likely to have a diverse array of bacteria on your skin, you are also less likely to be allergic.
Professor Graham Rook, of University College London, calls these bacteria our "old friends", and has no doubt of their importance to our health.
He says: "In a way, this realisation that humans are in fact ecosystems and that we depend so much on these microorganisms is probably the most important advance in medicine in the last hundred years."
The discovery that "friendly" bacteria shape our immune systems is revolutionary, and as Horizon explores the latest research in this field it will make you reconsider everything from what you eat to how your body works.
Yours in health,

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Paradoxes of Prescriptions

Adderall is a pharmaceutical that is prescribed for the management of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children.  

Side effects of Adderall include nervousness, restlessness, excitability, dizziness, headache, fear, anxiety, and tremor. Blood pressure and heart rate may increase, and patients may experience palpitations of the heart. Adderall is habit forming and chronic use may lead to dependence.

Interestingly enough, I also found this warning to nursing mothers who may be ingesting Adderall:
"Mothers taking Adderall should refrain from nursing because amphetamines are excreted in human milk and can have undesirable effects on the child." 
 Again, Adderall is being prescribed everyday by Medical Doctors to children to manage ADHD despite these terrifying side effects.

Luckily, there is a better way to manage this disease.  There are quite a number of positive studies that investigate the use of nutritional supplements in the treatment of children with ADHD.  These have included a combination of dietary modifications (such as an elimination diet, where gluten and dairy are excluded from the diet) in conjunction with supplementation (usually a combination of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids).

If you are in the Calgary area and are interested in effective nutritional interventions in the treatment of children's metal health, the Canadian Society for Orthomolecular Medicine is presenting a course on Integrative Medicine for Children's Mental Health at Mount Royal University on September 27, 2014.  To register, visit www.csom.org and click on the icon on the left.

Yours in health,

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

CME Seminar in Children's Mental Health

My dream is that healthcare in Canada will be more Integrative and that safe and effective treatments will be utilized by all healthcare professionals first, so that the patient experiences better health outcomes and a better quality of life.

Children suffering from Austism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are sometimes given pharmaceuticals like Risperidone, that can cause any number of the following:
  • Aggressive behavior
  • agitation
  • anxiety
  • changes in vision, including blurred vision
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty speaking or swallowing
  • inability to move the eyes
  • increase in amount of urine
  • loss of balance control
  • mask-like face
  • memory problems
  • muscle spasms of the face, neck, and back
  • problems with urination
  • restlessness or need to keep moving (severe)
  • shuffling walk
  • skin rash or itching
  • stiffness or weakness of the arms or legs
  • tic-like or twitching movements
  • trembling and shaking of the fingers and hands
  • trouble sleeping
  • twisting body movements
Some of these side effects are often irreversible, even when the medication is discontinued.  Sadly, these treatments offer far too little benefit for the amount of risk. 

Luckily, there is a MD in Markham, ON that treats children with ASD solely with nutrition and nutrient therapy.  And the amazing thing? These treatments alone are enough to reverse the symptoms associated with ASD in many of these children.

Dr. Gannage MD, CCFP is now teaching physicians across Canada his techniques and treatment protocols so that Canadian children with ASD can lead a better quality of life-including the ability to interact with their world.

If you are a Physician (ND, MD etc.) in Calgary, AB on September 27, 2014 you should register for the Integrative Medicine for Children's Mental Health Continuing Medical Education Seminar by visiting the website www.csom.ca and registering online.

  Yours in health,

Friday, September 5, 2014

Getting an X-ray? You need Vitamin C

I was recently at the dentist and given the option of having my teeth radiographed.  Although I visit the dentist annually, I do not always get my teeth radiographed for the simple fact that x-rays and gamma rays are known human carcinogens (cancer-causing agents).  You have the option of asking your dentist to X-ray your teeth every other year or perhaps as little as every 5 years.  Luckily, my dentist is very understanding when it comes to my concerns and, since I have never had a cavity under his care, is happy to space out my X-rays.

So, do X-rays cause cancer?  The American Cancer Society (at www.cancer.org) quotes on their website:

Yes. X-rays and gamma rays are known human carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). The evidence for this comes from many different sources, including studies of atomic bomb survivors in Japan, people exposed during the Chernobyl nuclear accident, people treated with high doses of radiation for cancer and other conditions, and people exposed to high levels of radiation at work, such as uranium miners.

Still, most scientists and regulatory agencies agree that even small doses of gamma and x-radiation increase cancer risk, although by a very small amount. In general, the risk of cancer from radiation exposure increases as the dose of radiation increases. Likewise, the lower the exposure is, the smaller the increase in risk. But there is no threshold below which this kind of radiation is thought to be totally safe.
What can we do to protect ourselves?  Other than spacing out voluntary exposure to X-rays, we can take vitamin C everyday.  A study from the Journal of Research Comminications in Molecular Pathology and Pharmacology [PMID:9029674] showed that mice, when given a diet high in vitamin C, were able to mitigate any free radical damage caused by the X-ray both in the initial stages of radical scavenging but also in the cellular redox processes.  This means that having high levels of vitamin C in the body can help protect you against both acute X-ray assault as well as long lasting oxidative stress.

Some dietary sources of vitamin C (in order of highest content to lowest)
  • Red bell peppers
  • Guavas (note: you may want to avoid this if you have Type 2 Diabetes due to its high sugar content)
  • Kale
  • Kiwi
  • Broccoli
  • Strawberries
  • Oranges
  • Tomatoes (cooked)
  • Papaya (note: you may want to avoid this if you have Type 2 Diabetes due to its high sugar content)
What about taking a Vitamin C supplement?

Due to modern day farming practices and longer food storage times, the vitamin C content was a lot higher in an orange picked in the 1950s compared to an orange picked in 2014.  With this being said, many people find it necessary to supplement their diets with vitamins and minerals.  When it comes to vitamin C, I'm happy to report that any brand will do.  The reason behind this is that ascorbic acid (the molecular name for vitamin C) is incredibly easy to compound, thus making it inexpensive for many companies to make.  Therefore, it's ok to buy this brand from any supplement company, not just a professional brand.  The only time I would look into buying vitamin C from a professional brand is if you have many food allergies or sensitivities, as generally only the professional brands ensure they make their products gluten, dairy, soy, corn and egg free.

If you are unsure about dosing, ask your Naturopathic Doctor or an Integrative Medical Doctor.  Click here to find a list of practitioners of Integrative MDs and NDs in Canada.

Yours in health,