Setting Dairy Myths Straight

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From the desk of Dr Nandita Shah

No matter where you are in the world, the current pandemic has had an impact on you. If nothing else, you may have at least thought about your health more than before. India has a large number of vegetarians and many of them believe that they are eating healthily. BUT vegetarians and non-vegetarians get the same diseases! That’s because meat and milk have the same properties – high proteins, high fat and no fibre.

Did you know that one of the biggest hazards to the lungs in our daily diets is dairy? This includes milk, curds, cheese, paneer, ice-cream, butter and ghee or anything that has dairy in it such as tea, biscuits or desserts. Dairy is mucous forming and quitting dairy can help get rid of all kinds of upper respiratory problems like colds, coughs, sinusitis, allergies and asthma or even sleep apnoea. Since most of us are still affected by the pandemic, quitting dairy is the best thing that we can do to keep our lungs healthy in these risky times.

A big issue that people face these days is stress, anxiety and depression. As a doctor I am aware that psychological issues are far more detrimental to our wellbeing than perhaps many physical issues. Did you know that many of these problems reduce considerably through plant-based diet. When we consume animal products, we consume adrenaline, the stress hormone secreted by the animal. This automatically increases our stress levels. This is true for dairy too. Just imagine a mother who is prevented from feeding her newborn so that her milk can be sold!

If you cannot think of letting go of all dairy, it might help to know that there is a whole range of delicious plant based alternatives to every dairy product. Most of these alternatives are easy to make with ingredients that you are likely to have at home.

So why wait? SHARAN lifestyle can help you get rid of many diseases and its so easy to follow.

SHARAN recently drew up a poster to debunk common myths on dairy. View it here

How food has changed with generations!

Delhi based Sharmilla Kannan shares how her 84 year old mother and 21 year old daughter share the same diet and are healthier for it.

When I was young, my mother who firmly believed that doctors should not be consulted, never gave any medicines to her three children. My mother was born at home and has never been vaccinated. In pre-independence India, in the deep interiors of Tamil Nadu, there was no doctor close by. She always treated us with herbs and concoctions. And whether it was fever, cough or cold, headache we always got cured. I visited the hospital only when I got braces or needed specs.

We were vegetarian. She prepared all the food at home and also ensured that we never ate anything from outside. Fried goodies were eaten, but only on festive days. Food was simple. Not much oil or spices. Curd was not easily available, nor was milk. Ghee was supposed to be given only to elders, for regaining health.

Fast forward 40 years. 2021. I haven’t taken any medicine, not even a pill for a headache since the last 15-20 years as far as I remember. I didn’t consume lot of oil or ghee. I firmly believed that if you avoid packed and processed food, don’t take fried things, consume very little oil, no dairy, you don’t need any medicine.

Then I moved to Delhi. I fed my daughter a lot of ghee as this was freely available.

My daughter suffered from psoriasis since childhood and nothing seemed to help. Finally, one day I attended Dr. Nandita Shah’s seminar in Mumbai along with my daughter and we both turned vegan overnight. Voila, her psoriasis vanished within three months!! She is medication free now. My life changed completely. I studied more about nutrition and the strong conviction about the ineffectual nature of medicines that I carried since childhood thanks to my mother was further reinforced. On 17th February 2021 my now 84 years old mother also turned vegan too! Her sugar levels are improving and blood pressure is in control too thanks to this.


This plant based version of the delightful French herb and garlic soft cheese is easy to make and will always be a hit.


  • 200 g or 1 cup raw cashew nuts (soaked for 6 to 8 hours)
  • 200 g tofu
  • ¼ – ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp ground or finely minced garlic
  • ½ tsp unrefined salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (basil/tarragon/parsley/dill/mint/spring onion greens/chives)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper (kali mirch)


Drain and rinse the soaked cashew nuts and place them in a blender. Add ¼ cup water and grind until you get a reasonably smooth paste. Add the tofu, garlic, salt and blend to a thick but creamy spread. Transfer from the blender to a bowl. Add finely minced fresh herbs, ground pepper and fresh lemon juice and mix together. (Never put herbs in the blender/food processor or you will have a green cheese!)

Serve as a dip for vegetable sticks, on bread or in any way that you would use a soft cheese spread

Serves 10

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.

Multiple reasons to ditch dairy

Dairy is one of the most misunderstood foods. As children we are instinctively averse to dairy, but since our parents spend hours running behind us with a glass of milk, most of us grow up believing that we need it for survival. Advertisements keep that myth in our minds. Here are some facts about dairy that may help you make the switch.

1. Dairy is for babies

Every mother produces milk only for her baby. And no animal in nature drinks another animal’s milk. Pigs don’t drink goats milk and monkeys don’t drink elephant milk. We are the only species that drinks milk of another species. When you drink milk you are not only depriving a baby of its birth-right, you also get sick.

2. Milk contains growth hormones

Milk is the food for babies to grow rapidly at the time when they need most, to grow. Milk contains powerful growth hormones. Therefore, dairy is one of the biggest contributors to the obesity epidemic that in turn is responsible for many other diseases. Growth hormones also promote cancers.

3. Milk is high in fat and cholesterol

Like all animal products, milk contains high fat and no fibre. This lethal combination is the major cause of lifestyle diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and even Alzheimers and dementia.

4. Dairy causes diseases

Since cows are confined close to each other, disease spreads easily. Many bacilli are destroyed by pasteurisation. Tubercle bacilli is an exception though and can survive despite pasteurisation. This is the cause of the new wave of tuberculosis. Dairy is also responsible for mucous formation leading to respiratory diseases.

5. Dairy contains pus and blood

A cow’s udders are indurated and inflamed as a result of milking continuously and this results in pus and blood in the milk (and a lot of pain to the cow). It’s rare to find milk that does not contain pus.

6. Dairy contains antibiotics and chemicals

Thanks to the diseases that arise due to close confinement, the unhygienic conditions and living in their own excreta and the induration of the udders, cows are fed antibiotics daily. These too are excreted in the milk. Also since their feed is usually not organic, this results in the milk containing unwanted chemicals (pesticides and herbicides) and making it a dangerous cocktail. When cows feed on garbage, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s) from plastics, and other unwanted man-made chemicals may find their way into the milk too.

7. Dairy is often laced with lethal ingredients

In order to keep milk from coagulating during transport in hot conditions in countries like India, urea is added to dairy. This is a fertiliser and can result in kidney diseases.

8. Dairy is often consumed in its concentrated form

Paneer, cheese and even sweets often contain concentrated amounts of dairy. For example one gram of cheese is made from 16 grams of milk, or one gram of paneer from 12 grams of milk. This concentration exponentially increases all dairy related problems.

9. Dairy causes stress

Stress hormones like adrenaline are abundant in dairy due to the abhorrent conditions in which the cows are kept. The fact that they are artificially inseminated year after year and have their babies taken away from them so their milk can be sold in the market adds to their stress. Cows face a perpetual lockdown. Stress hormones in dairy naturally cause stress in the consumer.

10. Milk contains hormones

All our hormones are orchestrated by the pituitary gland. Milk, as the secretion of a female mammal, naturally contains estrogen, progesterone, prolactin, adrenaline, growth hormones, oxytocin as well as all those hormones injected into the cow to force her to produce more milk. These hormones cause hormonal havoc in us resulting in a variety of hormonal diseases such as diabetes, hypothyroid, prostate enlargement, menstrual disturbances, menopausal disturbances, infertility, prostate enlargement, breast, ovarian and prostate cancers.

11. Dairy milk is a foreign protein to our body.

This along with other animal proteins can be a cause of auto-immune diseases like lupus, multiple sclerosis, ankylosing spondylitis, type-1 diabetes, psoriasis, vitiligo, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, Guillain Barre Syndrome, Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, vasculitis, myasthenia gravis, Raynaud’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and more.

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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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