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"Be The Change You Want To See In The World" ....... Mahatma Gandhi

Everything You Need to Know About Eating Fat

Or Are you Eating the Right Fat?

Or Worried you’ll Gain Weight from Eating Fat?

Or Are You Feeding Your Brain Enough Fat?

If you believe that eating fats and oils are a “no-no”, you might be in for a surprise. Fat is a vital component of a balanced diet and is required for the body to function properly. But eating TOO much fat or the WRONG kinds of fats can be a big problem. With all the information out there on what to eat and how to eat, it’s important to sort through the various fads, diets, and tips and understand what your body actually needs.

Given how many nutrition gurus purport the benefits of their protocols and eating lifestyles while dismissing the science of others, it can be tricky to figure out which combinations of foods are best for our own needs. In fact, it can feel like there’s always a new discovery about the best way to eat making us question if we’re ever ‘doing it right’!

Lately it’s all about Paleo and Keto diets, turning prevailing knowledge on its head, largely because of their emphasis on eating significant quantities of healthy fats.

No matter what eating lifestyle you follow, newer science is showing us that there are more benefits to eating higher quantities of healthy fats than we previously thought. In fact, research is showing that the body is built to use fats as a major source of energy - some evidence even suggests that fat is a better energy source than carbohydrates! It’s a fact that fat is also important to a wide variety of healthy functions in the body.

Good fats and what they do:

●      Help build strong cell membranes for individual cells as well as the sheaths surrounding nerves

●      Assist in blood clotting, in muscle movement, and in controlling inflammation

●      Are essential for absorbing certain vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, and calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, and zinc among others.

●      Can promote weight-loss

●      Help encourage blood sugar stability

●      Are a key factor in achieving hormonal balance

●      Play a critical role in brain function, memory, and attention span

●      Have a direct impact on the quality of hair, skin, and nail growth

These reasons should be enough for all of us to realize how important it is to include fats in our nutrition plans!

But I thought fats were bad?

For a long time that was a common way of thinking. The reality is that the reason fats have been stigmatized was because our understanding of how different fats work was still developing - and because we’d been eating too much of the wrong ones!

We understand now that not all fat sources are created equal - just like not all vegetables are equal (just compare iceberg lettuce with it’s dark, leafy counterparts, romaine and spinach). There are different kinds of fats and to make understanding them easier, I like to think of fats as being on a continuum. On one end of the continuum are good fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and on the other end are bad fats like industrial-made trans fats in processed foods. Saturated fats fall somewhere in the middle.

So which fats should you be eating?

Choosing mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats most, followed by a moderate amount of naturally present saturated fats in foods is your best strategy. Bad fats should obviously be avoided - which will probably be easier than you think because they’re mostly present in treats and junk foods that you wouldn’t want to rely on anyway!

Recent studies on Coconut Oil have found it to be useful in the reduction of body fat in the belly as well as helping to reduce Body Mass index (BMI). Just like any other nutrient, consuming a variety of fat sources is key to finding balance in your nutrition. Not only because variety is important in any diet, but because different foods are more than just a kind of fat, they offer different beneficial vitamins, minerals, and fibre too!

10 Source of Healthy Dietary Fat

1. Avocado

2. Cheese

3. Dark Chocolate

4. Whole Eggs

5. Fatty Fish

6. Raw nuts and seeds

7. Chia Seeds

8. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

9. Coconut & Coconut Oil

10. Full Fat Yogurt

recommend adding fats into your diet slowly, especially if you’ve been avoiding them until now. Digesting anything well requires that the body has certain underlying requirements met including healthy gut flora and enzyme production. This is true in the case of fats as well. I’ve talked about gut flora at length, but enzymes (like lipase, the enzyme that helps break down and digest fats) are also a vital part of healthy digestion - and are the subject for another time. Also, I may not recommend dairy for everyone, and direct my patients to healthy animal fats and proteins. 

Are you eating right for your mind, hormone production, your metabolism? Get out of the “fat free” cycle and into a healthier diet that includes good fats. Allow me to assess your body’s nutrient needs to help you experience optimal health every day through nutrition that’s ideal for you. Call me at 416-919-1914.

Dr. Amita Sachdev ND

Naturopathic Doctor






Posted 159 weeks ago

Lectins - What Are They? Love Them or Leave Them?

We’re all familiar with that schoolyard rhyme: “beans, beans, they’re good for your heart….” As adults we roll our eyes, but have you ever wondered where the rest of that rhyme came from, or why foods like legumes are so tough to digest?

Turns out that most of our foods contain certain compounds that, by nature, are difficult on our digestive systems - because they’re not really meant for our digestive systems. Now, that doesn’t mean we can’t tolerate them but more and more research is helping us learn the reasons why some foods can be tough on our systems, and what the implications are of consuming them. In the case of beans and legumes, amongst other foods, the main culprit we’re learning more about is lectins.

Lectins are a kind of protein that’s found in a variety of plant- and animal-based foods. In fact, almost all plant and animal substances contain them in small amounts.

We know proteins are the building blocks of muscles and are critical to our health so the question for most of us is: if lectins are just proteins, how could they be bad for us?

Simply put, lectins bind cells together, and in particular, they bind to sugars. Their ability to lessen the body’s ability to properly absorb nutrients puts lectins in a special category known as ‘antinutrients’. Because we can’t digest lectins, they tend to pass through our systems unnoticed which, for most people, means antinutrients like lectins don’t pose much of a problem. In fact, in small amounts, lectins can have numerous health benefits. They’ve been shown to have an important role in immune function, cell growth, and might even be helpful in cancer therapy.

However, lectins can wreak havoc for people who consume a diet with lots of high lectin foods and for those who suffer from GI disorders or immune deficiencies. In more severe instances where GI disorders and immunity dysfunction are at play, lectins can have quite a serious effect on the gut lining and tight junctions that keep the intestines functioning well.

If they’re not meant to be digested, what purpose do  lectins serve?
 Lectins have a distinct and important purpose in nature - it’s just that the  purpose is for the organism’s survival, and not for human consumption! The  most important function lectins have in the plant world is to act as a  natural insecticide, protecting plants, grains, and legumes from natural  predators. And they’re great at it too! When predatory insects come in  contact with them, the lectins completely disrupt insect metabolism,  preventing invasions and attacks on the plants. Part of a plant’s defense  mechanisms, lectins are a natural way to strengthen crops against common  pests!

To update that schoolyard rhyme: the more lectins you consume the more discomfort, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, flatulence, and importantly, malabsorption of nutrients you might experience.

If these sound like familiar symptoms, that could be because the 30% of foods that have high levels of lectins are ones we commonly eat such as dairy, nightshades (like tomatoes and peppers), whole grains, seeds, GMO foods, and yes - beans and legumes.

Some experts have suggested that removing all lectins from your diet can help the gut to recover from antinutrient-caused distress and that this could be critical to treating GI and immunity disorders. Still, many others have pointed to the various preparation techniques that people have used around the globe to help weaken and eliminate lectin proteins, making these staple foods much easier to enjoy!

We caution against removing whole categories of foods unless truly necessary, especially because foods high in lectins also have other essential benefits such as fibre and minerals, that our bodies need. Instead, we want to provide you with a variety of methods you can use to prepare high lectins foods that are centuries old, and globally trusted to make these foods easier to digest.

These are our favourite four ways of preparing legumes, grains, and seeds so you can keep them in your diet without worrying about the negative effects of lectin protein. Prepare them mindfully, and with the help of a few tried and true techniques to get the most out of them:

1. Soak
Beans (canned or dried) in particular benefit from soaking, as do many harder grains and pseudograins like oats, rye, barley, wheat, and quinoa. Soaking and rinsing legumes and grains help to shake free starches, acids, and proteins, making minerals more bioavailable as well as make them easier to digest. Put yours in a larger bowl and cover with water by about 2 inches. Allow them to soak for a few hours up to overnight. Drain fully and rinse again until the water runs clear. As an extra tip: we like to add a 1” piece of kombu or dulse seaweed to the water when soaking beans - it further helps to break down lectins and make beans easier to digest!

For most beans and seeds sprouting deactivates lectins completely. Why? Because you’re no longer eating them in their contained form. Rather, since they’ve begun the initial stages of germination, they’ve evolved from that seed state. The nutrients are even more available when you sprout, and it’s a lot of fun for the family when you have a hand in ‘growing’ your own food.

This works for almost all legumes except for alfalfa in which, interestingly, lectins increase when sprouted!

3. Boil or Pressure Cook
It seems obvious that if you were going to eat legumes or grains that you would boil or pressure cook them first - but these techniques actually have many benefits and ridding beans of lectins is one of them. Studies show that boiling soybeans, red beans, and many others at 212°F/ 100°C for a minimum of 10 minutes reduces lectins to negligible amounts.

4. Ferment
Fermenting foods is the act of allowing good bacteria to grow in the food. The new good bacteria break down and convert would-be harmful proteins including lectins. This is an ancient and common approach across many cultures to consuming foods that are otherwise difficult to digest. In fact, fermented foods are great for you for many reasons because that good bacteria is also known as probiotics - one of the most important factors in overall gut health. Just think of tofu, tempeh, miso, kefir, and natto as great examples of fermented foods that would contain high levels of lectins prior to fermentation and you can see why this technique is so far-reaching!

Dr. Amita Sachdev ND wants to see you and your family on a path towards your optimal health, and we have the tools to help make that journey clearer and easier. If you’re curious to learn more about how reducing or removing lectins from your diet could be beneficial to you, please visit me at www.DrSachdevND.com and we will be happy to have a detailed consultation with you.  

Yours in good health,

Dr. Amita Sachdev ND

416 – 497 – CARE (2273)


Rhodes, Jonathan M. Genetically modified foods and the Pusztai affair. BMJ. 1999 May 8; 318(7193): 1284.

Miyake K, Tanaka T, McNeil PL, 2007 Lectin-Based Food Poisoning: A New Mechanism of Protein Toxicity. PLoS ONE 2(8): e687. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000687

DeMarco, Vincent G., et al. Glutamine and Barrier Function in Cultured Caco-2 Epithelial Cell Monolayers. J. Nutr. July 1, 2003 vol. 133 no. 7 2176-2179.



Posted 163 weeks ago
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Posted 167 weeks ago

Are Heavy Metals Weighing You Down?

As you know, our bodies need a variety of essential minerals and vitamins to thrive and function optimally. For example, zinc, copper, and selenium are essential for proper functioning of the thyroid gland, and can be disproportionate in hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, while calcium and magnesium are essential for building and maintaining strong healthy bones.

But, what about heavy metals, what are those and how do they affect us? Heavy metals, also known as toxic elements, disrupt the normal functioning of our bodies and block the beneficial effects of essential minerals. For example, lead can replace calcium in bone, causing osteoporosis, making bones brittle and more susceptible to fractures.

A single large exposure to a toxic element is rare and generally considered a medical emergency. However, small amounts of toxic elements can easily accumulate over time through exposure to our environment, prescription drugs, dental/surgical examinations and procedures, drinking water, food, and lifestyle habits such as smoking. Even herbs and supplements that are made without good manufacturing practices (GMPs) can expose us to toxic elements.

Toxic elements can also be found in common household products and may contribute to a variety of symptoms. Here are some examples:

· Aluminum is found in cooking utensils, antiperspirants, some pickled foods, toothpaste, nasal spray, automotive exhausts, ceramics and baking powder. Signs of toxicity may include impaired memory & increased risk of heart disease.

· Arsenic is found in pressure-treated wood used in decks and playground equipment. Early signs of arsenic toxicity may include headaches, fatigue, restlessness, insomnia, drowsiness, dizziness, stomach aches, and pain.

· Cadmium is found in cigarette smoke, some paint pigments, and in a variety of industrial products. Fatigue may be an early sign of cadmium toxicity.

· Lead is still around from the days when we used leaded gasoline in cars, lead solder in plumbing and leaded paints. Lead exposure may contribute to mood and personality problems.

· Mercury is found in dental fillings, fluorescent lights, and some electronics. Chronic exposure to mercury primarily affects the brain and nervous system. Symptoms like: weakness, fatigue, numbness in fingers and toes, weight loss and gastrointestinal disturbances are common with ongoing exposure to mercury.

· Tin is found in canned foods. If acidic foods are sealed in an un-lined tin can, significant absorption of tin can occur. Excess absorption of tin may contribute to gastrointestinal symptoms.

You might be looking at this list and wondering if you or a loved one has been exposed to heavy metals and are planning to ask if your doctor can test you. Although your doctor can certainly test your blood for single large exposures of lead or mercury, the results are often normal because most of us are not generally exposed in this way.

However, when the body is exposed to small amounts of toxic metals over time, they may not remain accumulated in the blood and may be undetectable using a blood sample. Since the body has such a strong need to maintain homeostasis, or equilibrium, these toxic elements are often quickly removed from the blood and moved to storage into tissues and bone where they cause less direct threat to critical organs such as the brain and heart.

If you are concerned about your exposure to toxic elements, ask if your naturopathic doctor can perform a urine test to determine your body’s excretion of these elements and assess your toxic burden. If you are diagnosed with toxic heavy metal accumulation, a treatment plan using gentle oral and intravenous chelating agents, and follow up testing may be recommended.

Stay tuned for my next article talking about oral and intravenous chelating agents to reduce your toxic element burden and alleviate symptoms caused by heavy metals.

Dr. Amita Sachdev BScN, ND has been in health care for over 20 years, and provides family health and cancer support using naturopathic medicine in Kleinburg and Maple, Ontario. www.DrSachdevND.com

Check out Max Water Flow reverse osmosis water systems http://www.maxwaterflow.com/Are-Heavy-Metals-Weighing-You-Down_b_20.html
Posted 250 weeks ago
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Posted 343 weeks ago

Summer Rays and Tempting Trays

Schools are out, teachers are enjoying well deserved time off, and you and I are ready to kick back and make the most of those sunny weekends and long summer nights after work. It’s time to enjoy cottaging, BBQs, patio lounging, and endless summer parties with friends and family.

I can already feel myself grooving to my favourite beats enjoying the sun’s rays while food and drink float by on tempting trays (some of which I may be carrying around myself!).

But, what am I going to eat and drink?? I know I am suppose to drink more water and eat my fresh fruit and vegetables. But, those jalapeño poppers look so good! How about I have just one and promise to sandwich it between the thirst quenching water and life giving fresh fruit and vegetables. That might just work!

These are the negotiations we should constantly be having with ourselves over summer indulgences. Fat and calories add up fast. That one sugary iced tea, that one chocolate ice cream bar, that one bite sized cupcake, that one little samosa, that one lite beer … oops … that was all in one day! Before you know it, your pants feel tight monday morning when you’re getting dressed for work ready to show off that glowing tan.

This summer I promise to enjoy summer rays and think twice about what I’m reaching for in those tempting trays, cause I don’t want to buy new pants ;)

In Health,

Dr. Amita Sachdev ND



Posted 354 weeks ago

Breathing Easy this Season

Looks like this winter is finally behind us (although I did see some patches of snow at the Harbour Front this past Easter weekend!), but it most certainly will melt too. Along with the welcome warm weather, so returns our beloved Canada Geese, ducks, and critters with the budding of leaves, grass, and pollen.

Many of my patients have already been in the office to see me to treat their beginning seasonal allergies. My approach involves simple and effective therapies to help minimize ithcy/watery eyes, stuffy nose, sneezing, and sinus pressure and reduce need for prescription and/or over the counter anti-histamine medications.

Did you know that vitamin C (given in therapeutic doses, such as in IntraVenous Therapy) is a powerful anti-histamine? One of my most effective applications of IntraVenous vitamin C is as an anti-histamine to treat allergies. Or perhaps you need a medicated inhalation treatment using a mask. Have you thought about allergy testing? We can help.

Meet with Amita to develop your plan to Breathing Easy this Season.

Dr. Amita Sachdev BScN, RN, ND


Posted 365 weeks ago

Will Asparagus Cure Cancer?

It is generally known among patients that seek natural cancer therapies, that eating plenty of green leafy vegetables helps support the fight against cancer. In fact, several studies prove anti-cancer effects of many vegetables.

Recently there has been a lot of discussion about the benefits of asparagus among cancer patients. However, upon reviewing the available research, it is clear that there have been no published studies showing positive results from feeding asparagus to animals or humans with cancer.

In contrast, certain cancers may grow and worsen with the consumption of asparagus, such as in patients with ALL, lymphoma, or multiple myeloma. Always talk with your Naturopathic Doctor specializing in cancer care before starting any natural therapies.

For more information: visit me at www.DrSachdevND.com 

Posted 446 weeks ago

Why IV Therapy?

IntraVenous (IV) therapy is a unique therapy that uses high doses of vitamins and minerals administered directly into the blood circulation to achieve concentrations not possible through oral supplementation to treat a variety of conditions such as: alzheimer’s, dementia, asthma, allergies, lung disorders, auto-immune disorders, cardiovascular disease, fatigue, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, narcotic withdrawal, AND cancer, heavy metal toxicity, pain control, hyperthyroidism, anti-aging, and more.

Each formula is individually prescribed to meet the needs of each patient to meet their health goals.

Speak with me about this exciting therapy.

Posted 459 weeks ago
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Posted 478 weeks ago