SHARAN Newsletter - Issue #4 - June 2009

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • Special Feature: The Facts about Egg Production • What you can do •
Fact or Fiction? •  Recipe • News from SHARAN •

Special Feature: The facts about egg production

Most eggs come from factory-like battery farms which are designed to produce the maximum number of eggs at the lowest possible price. Male chicks are disposed of because they cannot lay eggs, while female hens are confined to dark, crowded cages. The hens live in their own filth and their beaks are cut off to prevent them from pecking at each other. Forced to live in crowded conditions and produce an unnatural size and number of eggs, many hens suffer from reproductive and other diseases. A chicken’s normal lifespan is 10 years but the productivity of egg-laying hens declines after 1 to 2 years when they are then killed or sold for meat.

How about free-range eggs?
Aren't they cruelty-free? See the
 Fact or Fiction section below for the answer.

The only way to prevent the suffering and early death of egg-laying hens is not to eat eggs. Besides, eggs are not a necessary part of the human diet. They are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Nutrients like iron, protein, and vitamin A found in eggs are easily available in other food sources. Many people suffer from egg allergies which makes you wonder whether we should be eating them in the first place. Eggs are also a potent vehicle for the spread of bacteria like salmonella.

We should also consider the environmental impacts of egg production. A byproduct of egg farms is chicken manure which finds its way into waterways, polluting the environment and contaminating local drinking water with nitrogen and phosphorus.
To learn more, see this article.
Above photo courtesy of Humane Society International  

What you can do

Try using alternatives to eggs.

Replacing eggs in recipes is much easier than you may think! In baking, eggs can be replaced with water, ground flax seeds, mashed bananas or apple sauce. If the function of the egg in the recipe is to add moisture, add two tablespoons of water for each egg. For binding, try using one tablespoon of ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons of water for each egg you want to replace. Baking powder can be used as a leavening agent. Other replacements for one egg include: half a banana; 1/4 cup of tofu, apple sauce, pureed pumpkin or squash; or one tablespoon of gram or soya flour mixed with one tablespoon of water. Try the recipe for eggless chocolate cake below. For breakfast, try a tofu scramble or pancakes! For these and other eggless recipe ideas, look at the recipes section on the SHARAN website.

Educate yourself and others about the facts of the egg industry.
Learn more about the egg industry by reading this article and this article. Forward this newsletter to others you care about so that they can also learn about the facts. Learn how to make great egg-free dishes and share them with your friends.


Go vegetarian, or better try vegan.
Try adopting a compassionate, cruelty-free diet which doesn't include animal foods like eggs.
A vegan diet based on plant-based whole foods is one of the best ways to save animals while helping yourself and the environment.
Above photo courtesy of Humane Society International  
Fact or Fiction?

Free-range eggs are healthier and more humane.

FICTION!

Although free-range conditions may be better than those in factory farms, they are not cruelty-free. Since only hens can lay eggs, male chicks are either killed or raised for food in inhumane conditions. The hens are then slaughtered when their production drops after only one or two years. Also, the term ‘free-range’ is ambiguous in many countries. Very often this may just mean they have access to the outdoors, but there are no criteria regarding the size of the outdoor area, the number of birds per square foot, etc. All too often free-range is more of a marketing gimmick than real freedom for the hens. Also, even so-called free-range eggs are still high in saturated fat and cholesterol. To learn more, see this article.
Photo courtesy of Peter Halasz

Recipe

CHOCOLATE CAKE

This recipe uses no eggs or dairy and is ridiculously easy to make! 

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups unbleached flour
3/4 cup sugar or other sweetener
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 cup cold water                                                                 Photo courtesy of Namratha

Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder in a bowl and stir with a fork until mixed. Make a well in the center and add the vanilla, oil, vinegar, and water. Stir with a fork until well mixed. Pour into a baking dish (or cupcake pan), and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

For more exciting recipe ideas, visit the recipes page on the SHARAN website!
News from SHARAN

The popular Peas vs. Pills workshops are designed to empower people to take responsibility for their own health. Participants learn how dietary changes can make a positive difference to their health and well-being.

In India, Peas vs Pills returned to Bangalore in April 2009. This was the 4th workshop held there, and included a second day of cooking demonstrations. 
Peas vs Pills also revisited Mumbai in March 2009, following the success of the two previous workshops held in 2008.



In May and June 2009 Dr Nandita Shah has been touring Europe and the US. She has had the opportunity to meet other like-minded organisations and learn about their work and also spread the message of a healthy vegan diet. She conducted 6 free talks (in Arezzo and Rome in Italy; London and Bristol in the UK; and Washington DC), 3 Peas vs Pills workshops (in Dublin, Ireland; London, England; and Florence and Rome, Italy) and a cooking class in Florence, Italy.


Upcoming Peas vs Pills workshops:
Acton, California, USA: 28 June 2009
Bangalore, India: 5 & 6 September 2009
Mumbai, India: 13 September 2009

For more information on the Peas vs Pills workshops, visit the events page on the SHARAN website. If you’re interested in hosting a workshop in your area or to keep informed of upcoming workshops and events, contact info@sharan-india.org

On 13 June 2009, Dr Nandita Shah gave a talk in Washington DC organised by the Humane Society International (HSI) on the health benefits of a vegan diet.

Organic farming workshops are taking place on SHARAN's farm in Madhya Pradesh to train people  interested in organic farming on how to get maximum output without any external inputs. People are welcome to visit the farm for short stays or for long-term training. Read more here. For those who don’t have a farm but do have a terrace or balcony, there are the city farming workshops in Mumbai. Read more here.

Vegan potlucks are a great way to meet other vegans in your area and share experiences and recipes. For information on monthly vegan potlucks in Mumbai and Bangalore, visit this link.

Visit also the Vegan Bangalore and Mumbai Vegans blog.





SHARAN is looking for an intern interested in working on education in the fields of natural health, animal rights and organic farming. Read more here.

Did you miss past issues of this newsletter? Have a look at the SHARAN newsletter archives.

Visit the
SHARAN website regularly to read about the latest news and upcoming events.

Join the SHARAN India group on Facebook to find out about upcoming events, join in the discussion board and share experiences, and meet other like-minded people!


What is SHARAN?

We are a non-profit organization with the goals of spreading holistic health awareness, and an ecologically sustainable compassionate lifestyle. We believe that all life on the planet is interconnected. By reconnecting we can heal ourselves and our earth.

Visit our website: www.sharan-india.org
Contact us: info@sharan-india.org


Copyright 2009 SHARAN