All Things Iron

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From the desk of Dr Nandita Shah

Once, while conducting a cooking class in Hyderabad, one of the participants, a young woman in her 20s stood up and said that she had been a non-vegetarian her entire life and always had a haemoglobin of under 8 gm/dL. After following SHARAN lifestyle, she was pleasantly surprised to see the haemoglobin rise to 14 gm/dL without any additional inputs! Isn’t that amazing?

So many people believe that you need red meat for iron, yet, nothing could be further from the truth.  We can get plenty of iron from exactly the same source as the cows do, which is from plants. There are many reasons for anaemia besides the lack of iron, and an important one is lack of vitamin B12. This vitamin is as important for red blood cell production as is iron.

It’s interesting to note that nature is so perfect that if we follow her guidelines in eating and living, we are unlikely to have any deficiencies. The nutrients are packed in the right proportions in all her delicious offerings. Supplementation is hardly required.

Show your body a bit of love. Our 2 months Personalised Weight Loss/ Health Gain program with our Nutritionist is on a 20% discount till Valentine’s Day! Click here to Register and use the Promo code LOVE to avail of the discount.


Singapore based, 40 year old Vidya Narsimhan found the most sustainable diet after joining our basic cooking class!

I have tried going vegan in the past and have had intense cravings and a particularly bad rebound.

I tried going raw for three weeks a few years ago – it took every ounce of my will to keep at it. At the end of it, I swore to never choose a diet that wasn’t sustainable. I am immensely thankful to SHARAN for planting this belief that healthy food can be tasty, and for opening the doors to such amazing ideas for cooking. Thank you for not stopping with just the science behind why we should eat the way we eat, but also for educating with ways to make it happen.

I took to the diet to help my husband reverse an onset of type 2 diabetes,  improve my liver function and lose weight. It is still early days, but I do see an improvement in my energy levels, a bit of  weight loss and a general sense of lightness in my body. I am beginning to feel a natural aversion for stuff that isn’t healthy. I even find the taste of some unhealthy food I used to enjoy in the past, less appealing.

I remember the first food I ate after 3 weeks of going raw was idli. I felt the burst of flavours after taking the first bite. The amazing thing about a whole plant-based diet is that  I feel the same way now EVERY single time I eat anything. The flavours are bursting on my tongue. The smell and taste of oil is overwhelming. I used to love masala tea, but I don’t like the smell of milk anymore. I am amazed at how I could get there without having to feel deprived of “good” food. 

Cucumber Sesame Salad 

Salads are a super way to ensure enough iron, as usually whatever is added into salads is grown in soil! Check out this simple yet delicious salad recipe.


  • 4 cucumbers
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp date paste


Cut the cucumber lengthwise into thick strips. Place them into a bowl and set aside.

Place the soy sauce, rice vinegar and date paste into a small container with a secure lid. Put the lid on and shake to create the vinaigrette dressing. Pour the vinaigrette over the cucumber, toss to coat, cover and marinate for 1 hour, stirring once or twice.

Just before serving, sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds on top.

Serves 6-8

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 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 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.


Iron Anyone?                                                                

People often question us about protein and calcium; rarely does anyone ask about iron! Iron too is an extremely vital nutrient for the functioning of our body and a deficiency could result in low energy levels, headache, irritability, dizziness, shortness of breath or anaemia.

The good news is that those on a whole-plant based diet needn’t worry about iron. This is because like calcium, iron is a mineral that comes from soil. So, when we eat plants we get the iron that our body requires. However, it is important to bear in mind that acidic foods such as milk, tea and coffee impede the absorption of iron, and can lead to iron deficiencies.

Read on to find out foods rich in iron…

1. Leafy Greens

Spinach and beet greens are rich in iron.

2. ​Vegetables

Vegetables have a higher iron content mainly because they are rich in Vitamin C, which helps enhance iron absorption. Broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms and Brussels sprouts especially are iron rich. Potatoes contain significant amounts of iron, mostly concentrated on their skins.

3. Legumes

Especially when soaked and sprouted.

4. Soybeans

5. Lentils

6. Nuts & Seeds

7. Fruits

Surprisingly, some fruits such as prunes, olives and mulberries are rich in iron.

8. Whole Grains

There is more iron in whole grains than processed grains.

9. Millets

Especially amaranth and quinoa.

10. Oats

11. Quinoa

12. Cacao Beans

13. Cast iron

Cooking rotis and chillas in cast iron pans adds in an iron boost. Jaggery which is also made in iron is rich in this mineral. 

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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 Deepa Ballal, a freelance writer based in Dubai.

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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