The Unexpected Journey Of Dr Tori Hudson

Dr Tori Hudson reveals her journey to becoming one of our most groundbreaking and beloved physicians and educators. She shares her secrets to staying happy, healthy and true to her values with host E Brian Johnson.

Dr Tori Hudson has been in practice for 38 years. She is the medical director of her clinic,  A Woman’s Time, in Portland. She is also the founder and co-director of the Naturopathic Education and Research Consortium, a nonprofit for accredited naturopathic residencies. Dr Hudson has been a Professor, Medical Director and Academic Dean. She is also a published author with numerous educational and research publications to her credit.

In 2012, she was inducted into the NCNM Hall of Fame and in 2016 the Oregon Association of Naturopathic Physicians awarded her the Living Legend Award.

But once upon a time there was a different Tori Hudson. 

Tori grew up in a small town in 1960’s America. She was a natural athlete who competed in national competitions. Folks were kind and neighborly and if they thought Tori was a little different, they’d put it down to her being a tomboy. The teachers and coaches  who comforted her mom said they were sure she’d soon settle down with a nice boy. 

But Tori had her own ideas.

The winds of the counterculture were blowing in from the West Coast, scattering new ideas about civil rights, peace and feminism all the way up Main Street. One day those winds swept Tori up and carried her aloft all the way to… Portland, Oregon.

And her long unexpected  journey had begun.

Key Take-Aways


Dr Tori Joins a Commune
By the early 1970’s the Back-To-The-Land movement had taken root in Southern Oregon and Tori joined a rural Women’s Collective. She learned to be a carpenter, build cabins, grow food, repair cars, log dead trees for firewood. The commune embraced differences and worked collectively.  To earn extra money, Tori became a roofer, carpenter and tool sharpener in town.

Dr Tori’s Rooftop Epiphany
It was a scorching August day in Portland, Oregon and Tori was carrying endless bags of heavy asphalt shingles up and down a ladder.  That is when she had an epiphany. “Do I really want to be doing this for the rest of my life?”. 

So Tori said goodbye to her friends at the commune and went back to college. She finished pre-med and then one day when she was wondering what she should do next, she discovered naturopathic medical school.

Dr Tori meets Dr Bastyr
Dr Bastyr was an early champion of science-based natural medicine and a renowned Seattle-area naturopathic physician and midwife. In addition to running a full-time practice, Dr Bastyr played an instrumental role in the development of National College of Naturopathic Medicine (NCNM). And that was where Tori met Dr Bastyr and naturopathic students in a small night school in Seattle.  She  realized that was the right path for her. 

And that was how Tori became Dr Tori Hudson ND.

Dr Tori’s Secrets to a Long & Productive Life

Secret #1: Outsource Your Stress
Stress is a killer. We feel stress when we are out of sync with our values and our purpose or we find ourselves overloaded and overwhelmed. We can also feel stress when we find ourselves forced to perform in roles we are not good at or comfortable with. 

Dr Tori makes sure to focus on those things that are in sync with her talents, interests and values. She “outsources” the rest. She outsourced Office Management to her sister. The same for technology, which otherwise would drive her crazy.

Focusing on her strengths helps Dr Tori manage her stress levels. It also frees up her time and energy to maximize her positive impact on her patients and family.

Secret #2: Get Outside
Dr Tori tells her patients that there's no drug or vitamin or herb that accomplishes as much as daily exercise.  Dr Tori lives on 12 acres sharing her boundaries with a 5000 acre forested park. She takes a daily walk amongst the massive Douglas firs, Hemlocks and Cedar trees. 

Spending time in a forest can reduce stress, anxiety, depression and anger; strengthen the immune system; improve cardiovascular and metabolic health; and boost overall well-being. Dr Tori says she is a living example of the positive health benefits to taking daily activities outside.


Secret #3: Keep Some Cheetos In The Mix
Over the years Dr Tori has tried numerous diet regimens but in recent years she’s become an omnivore, and settled into a whole food Mediterranean diet. She also enjoys regular cups of strong, black tea and squares of dark chocolate. She keeps alcohol to a minimum but she does admit to keeping a scattering of Cheetos in the mix. 

In the spring, summer and fall, Dr Tori can be found tending her vegetable garden. It’s a wonderful way to relax and a source of the fresh fruits and veggies that are the cornerstone to her diet.

Secret #4: Walk in Beauty
To walk in beauty refers to being in balance and conscious relationship with a natural way of life. Dr Tori learned about this spiritual practice from a Navaho family who are close to her heart.  For Dr Tori, to walk in beauty is to live in conscious alignment with our values.

Today I will walk out, today everything negative will leave me
I will be as I was before, I will have a cool breeze over my body.
I will have a light body, I will be happy forever, nothing will hinder me.
I walk with beauty before me. I walk with beauty behind me.
I walk with beauty below me. I walk with beauty above me.
I walk with beauty around me. My words will be beautiful.

(Exerted from Walk In Beauty: Prayer From The Navajo People by Robert S. Drake, for Tom Holm, PhD, University of Arizona American Indian Graduate Studies Program, Native American Religions and Spirituality).

Dr Tori believes that everything we do is based on agreements we have made - agreements with ourselves, with other people, with a higher power and the natural world.  Daily agreements with ourselves are key to healthy relationships and our professional life. 

The Four Agreements are: be impeccable with your word, don't take anything personally, don't make assumptions and always do your best.

Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements were first expressed in a book by don Miguel Ruiz. Dr Tori uses the Four Agreements to ensure she stays strong when things go wrong and is able to live in conscious alignment with her values.

Secret #5: Fun & The Art Of Finding Joy In The Unexpected
Five years ago Dr Tori became an unexpected parent to a young boy. Her life is now filled with Nerf gun fights and skateboard parks and swimming in the river. Which suits Dr Tori just fine. Ask any of her patients, Dr Tori puts FUN at the center of everything she does. It’s another of her secrets to a long and productive life.


Key Quotes  

“My way of connecting with people is by way of having fun and laughing. I make it a priority to have fun with patients. I look for those moments when I can make them laugh.  It’s part of my personal recipe. I feel like that is part of my 70-year-old sustainability!”
Dr Tori Hudson ND

For me, growing up in a small town and being secretly, you know, a gay child, and then finding out it didn’t have to be so secret once I found my people.  There were alternative lifestyle opportunities! It was an immense relief. You shift from some version of insecurity and sort of self-loathing to the possibility of feeling positive, feeling good and feeling happy.  I learned that I could live in a situation with others that were like me and comfortable.  Women that were learning all these skills that were previously only available only to men”.
Dr Tori Hudson ND

“The community of naturopathic physicians is, I find, a very progressive, open minded and forgiving group of individuals.  Even on different political spectrums, there is a certain cohesive safety and comfort and a mutual respect. When you look at the “do no harm”, you know, it includes “do no harm to each other”. I think that includes our beliefs.  We must allow everyone to be true to their own inner nature”.
Dr Tori Hudson ND



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