July is Plastic-Free month

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From the desk of Dr Nandita Shah

Most of us are disturbed by the pandemic, and that’s largely because our routines are upset and we can no longer predict the future or make plans. We are stuck at home, the kids have no school, and perhaps we no longer have a job. It’s hard to see the advantages – no traffic jams, cleaner skies and more time to reflect on what is important and to rest.

But in all this, we may be missing the fact that the pandemic is less deadly than climate change, a direct result of environmental degradation. The pandemic affects many, but climate change affects us all. Thanks to the pandemic, disposable plastic is everywhere. By averting one disaster could we be inviting the next? What can we do?

Here is what I do – I do not use disposable masks, plastic gloves or buy sanitiser. I wash my hands instead. I avoid purchasing anything in single-use plastic. In Auroville, our store allows us to buy all dry ingredients on the basis of weight rather than prepackaged. Even household cleaners and soaps are available without packaging as are biscuits, snacks and other things. Fruits and vegetables come in their own packaging and don’t require plastic (and since I am vegan there are no plastic packaged animal parts or secretions in my basket). I make it a point to take my own reusable bottles and bags when I go shopping. I also think twice before I buy anything as to whether I really need it or not. I definitely avoid takeaways or straws. I carry my own water bottle so that I never need to buy a single-use one. I segregate my garbage and do not throw it out in a plastic bag. Instead, I compost the wet waste or collect it for the cows (who love banana peels, mango peels, corn greens etc).

July is plastic-free month. Will you join me in living as plastic-free as possible? Our collective future depends on our choices today.

Free Talk : Is there any connection between consuming meat and Covid-19? Find out this and more in our Meat, Protein & Covid-19 talk on 4th July which also happens to be Independence from Meat Day! To register pls click https://sharan-india.org/events/meat-protein-covid-19-free-talk/


Rosemary Parambi discovered a connection between plastic and her health issues

My love affair with plastic began when I was living abroad, where I purchased so-called ‘best’ and ‘safe’ brands. All those boxes were so convenient! They were recyclable too, which gave me the illusion that I was being a responsible inhabitant of planet Earth!

Being a very busy mom, I often used to buy a few ready meals to supplement what I cooked for the family. They came in plastic ‘microwaveable’ tubs, sealed with plastic film.

Slowly, health issues started developing. I continued to gain weight until I was moderately obese, was chronically sleepy and fatigued, had IBS and severe eczema. I consulted GPs because I felt that something was not quite right and I was convinced that it was something physical. The GPs could find nothing wrong with me at all.

I moved back to India and started developing severe perimenopausal symptoms. It was then that I started googling and came across the role of plastic in hormone disruption. That was when I started consciously replacing and reducing plastic. I did see improvements in symptoms as I commenced my journey towards better health. With the whole-hearted adoption of the SHARAN diet and lifestyle in September 2018, my life has been transformed! I have shed kilos, IBS is a thing of the past, the eczema is gone, I am no longer chronically fatigued and the journey continues…

My kids are now young adults – conscious and responsible. With them, I have adopted several measures. Some of them are:

  • Reusable glass and stainless steel food containers and water bottles, for home and travel
  • Parchment paper instead of cling wrap for wrapping food to go
  • Bamboo toothbrushes
  • Carrying own cutlery and toiletry items when travelling, to avoid using airlines and hotels ones
  • Carrying cloth bags for shopping, including fabric net bags for veggies
  • Shopping from farmers’ markets in pre-Covid days. Avoiding produce wrapped in plastic
  • Cooking food at home and having fruits for snacks means less plastic packaging
  • Using home-made soapnut liquid and coconut fibre for dishes
  • Use of menstrual cups by my daughter

Beetroot & Cucumber Salad  

Nature never uses plastic to cover its vegetables and fruits. When you buy natural produce in your cloth bags and make delicious meals, you are minimising plastic to a good extent. Try this simple yet delectable salad full of nature’s goodness.


  • 1 cup ½ inch unpeeled beetroot cubes
  • 1 cup ½ inch onion cubes
  • 1 cup ½ inch unpeeled cucumber cubes
  • 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice


Mix all the ingredients together, adjust the seasoning as per taste. Serve. 

Serves 3

Food for the mind


If you love Facebook, then join us to be supported on your plant based journey. we are offering two possibilities

1. SHARAN India This is SHARAN’s main Facebook page which you can like and follow for getting useful daily updates and news from the plant based health world. You will also get news about the latest SHARAN events, see testimonials, and more.

2. SHARAN’s Vegan Support Group This is an open support group to know more about vegan/plant-based lifestyle. Here you can ask questions and share inspiring stories, tips, recipes, etc.

All our doctors and presenters will be here to answer your questions and give you tips. If you have attended our events join this group to be a part of our family.

Please like the main SHARAN page and join the group(s) applicable to you.


Plastic: the ticking time bomb                                                                                                        

Large coastal metros like Mumbai will go under the sea by the year 2050. Alarmed? One should be, knowing that rampant use and abuse of plastic will play a major role in the causative global warming and ecological changes. Look around you. Try to spot anything that is not made of, or did not come wrapped in plastic. You can count these items on your fingertips, right? Plastic is firmly and truly entrenched in almost all aspects of our daily lives. So much so, we have almost forgotten that a disaster is waiting to happen.

Let us find out how plastic affects our health and our environment and why we need to use this cheap but versatile material with caution.

1. Plastic is a hormone disruptor

BPA (bisphenol A), a chemical used in plastic packaging, kitchenware and disposable cutlery comes into direct contact with food. BPA interacts with estrogen receptors resulting in several endocrine disorders, including female and male infertility, breast and prostate cancer, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Also, check the numbers at the bottom of plastic containers. Numbers 3, 6 and 7 are directly related to the chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system.

2. BPA replacements are equally bad

As BPA is proven to be toxic to human, plastic manufacturers are making BPA-free products with its replacement BPS which is equally toxic when ingested. 

3. More plastic has been produced in the last decade than in the entire century before that

Almost half of all plastic is used just once and thrown away. Something with a utility of 15 minutes remains on the earth for at least 450 years!

4. Choking oceans and marine life

Almost 9 million tons get discarded in the oceans every year. This in turn destroys marine life, which is so important for the ecosystem. One in 3 species of marine mammals have been found entangled in plastic litter!

5. Dumping of landfills

Simultaneously, billions of tons of plastic garbage are getting dumped in the landfills. Given the fact that plastic does not degrade for centuries, can you imagine what is in store? 

6.  Covid 19 has added to the plastic woes

The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically increased the use of plastic in the form of masks, gloves, sanitiser bottles, PPE suits, test kits, takeout containers, delivery packaging and other items in our current super-hygienic way of life – all single-use, all disposable!

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This newsletter was compiled by SHARAN Head of Mumbai, Reyna K Rupani, She facilitates the Six Weeks to Health Gain & Weight Loss program and also conducts health talks for schools, groups, corporates and more.

Edited by Seema Nayak, who has also benefited from the SHARAN programmes, and now spreads awareness of plant based lifestyle through her talks and cooking sessions.

Sanctuary for Health and Re-connection to Animals and Nature (SHARAN) is a social enterprise with the goal of spreading awareness about holistic health and an ecologically sustainable compassionate lifestyle.
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