September is PCOS Awareness Month

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From the desk of Dr Nandita Shah

When I graduated as a doctor, almost four decades ago, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS or PCOD) was relatively rare. In fact, most hormonal problems were barely known. But now hormonal problems such as PCOS, hypothyroid, menstrual problems, prostate enlargement, diabetes and infertility are heard of everywhere. What has changed?

In the last 40 years our consumption of animal products has grown exponentially. In the past when refrigeration was less available, non-vegetarian food was consumed mainly on Sundays. Milk was used in small quantities and concentrated forms of milk like cheese, paneer and dairy sweets were reserved for special occasions. Now animal products are on every table in every meal. What vegetarians miss in the form of meat, fish and chicken is more than made up with dairy and dairy products. Meat and milk have the same properties – high protein, high fat and no fibre. The result – the same diseases across the population.

Further, we have more and more chemicals – hormone disruptors – in our food since we eat more restaurant foods, packaged and pre-prepared foods. Then, there is the ubiquitous plastic.

The good news is that most hormonal diseases can be reversed, and the power is in our hands. All that is required of us is to be better informed and make prudent dietary choices.

An estimated amount of 1.13 billion people in the world have Hypertension and 422 million people worldwide have Diabetes. These can be so easily reversed! Join Dr Nandita Shah in her revolutionary workshop Reversing Diabetes & Hypertension LIVE + Online this weekend. For details, click here (The timing is suitable for UK & US (EST) participants too)

‘I realised the wrong steps I was taking earlier’

23 year old Radhika Handa, who had PCOD and migraine issues, decided to give healthy veganism a try. In a few weeks, she noticed a difference.

About a year back I had decided to turn vegan (due to ethical reasons) and slowly started transitioning from my non-vegetarian diet. But I could feel that all the efforts that I was taking weren’t working very well, as my health started taking a hit. I had major stomach issues, loss of energy, and weakness in general. I already had PCOD and migraine, and adding the other issues I started to question the vegan diet. During the Covid-19 lockdown I came across the SHARAN Instagram page, and the 2 months personalized weight loss program, and immediately decided to give it a try.

My nutritionist was Shalu Nijhawan and she gave some amazing insights into veganism and a great diet plan. She made me realise all the wrong steps I was taking earlier that were deteriorating my health and gave me solutions to fix them. Just a couple weeks into the program I started noticing changes in my body. Within only 2 weeks, most of my stomach issues were gone. I was no longer having severe bloating or acidity. I had much more energy than before, and within a month, my migraine headaches were completely gone. (Earlier I used to get migraines every 2nd week and had to take medicines).

I have lost 4 kgs, but more than the weight loss, I’m grateful for all the other changes that I can see & feel in my body. My skin is also looking much healthier than before. Seeing all these changes in me, even my mother decided to turn vegan and now follows the same diet as me. I’m very happy with the results of this program and excited to see how much more veganism can improve my lifestyle.

Munching Munchies

One of the biggest reasons of most lifestyle diseases including PCOD is packaged foods. During our Health week, our facilitator Veena Thakker from Dubai showed how to make some healthy munchies at home. Try them out!

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.

Coping with PCOS

In simple words, PCOS is a hormonal imbalance amongst women of child-bearing age. Basically, in addition to making estrogen, women also make a small amount of testosterone. And in the case of PCOS, a little extra testosterone is produced that results in irregular or heavy menstrual cycles, extra hair growth on unwanted areas like face or chest, thinning of hair, fertility issues and weight gain. PCOS is particularly common amongst teenage girls. The medicines used to treat it can have serious side effects.

So what is the main cause of hormonal imbalance? Hormones and chemicals! Many chemicals are hormone disruptors resulting in various hormonal issues. Find out how you can easily reverse or prevent any hormonal imbalance….

1. Go Plant-based 

Meat and milk products contain both natural and injected hormones that disrupt our own hormonal system. Avoid the trigger itself by going plant based.

2. Go Organic

PCBs and dioxins found in pesticides are hormone disruptors. Buy naturally grown produce and save your health and the environment too.

3. Stop Processed Foods

Preservatives are nothing but chemicals and do nothing to preserve our health. They cause a hormonal havoc in our system.

4. Go for Natural Cleansing Products

Household products (floor cleaner, dish-washing bars, detergents) and personal care products (cosmetics, sun-screens, shampoos, soaps) are full of chemicals. Make that little effort to source natural products, it will be well worth your time.

5. Opt for Steel Cookware

Non-stick coating has chemicals that manipulate our hormones. Invest in heavy bottomed steel cookware or surgical steel cookware.

6.  Avoid Plastics

Plastics contain phthalates that are hormone disruptors.

7.  Beware of Medicines

Certain medications are hormones. Medicines, too, are chemicals and play around with our hormones. So take such good care of your health that you wouldn’t need to pop any pills.

8.  Avoid GMO

Soy, corn, wheat, and a few other grains can be genetically modified. India is yet to approve the commercial production of a GM food crop, so we are relatively safe. However, India does permit the inclusion of GM ingredients in food products. So, buy organic and buy local.

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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 Meena Desai, from Mumbai who is also the Administrative Head at SHARAN.

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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