Food to Lift your Mood

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From the desk of Dr Nandita Shah

Depression has become commonplace these days. Our activities have been curtailed by the pandemic and everything seems uncertain. The best made plans might have to be cancelled. Yet, even before the pandemic, the number of people with depression was increasing and studies suggest that current numbers range between 2.5% to 6 % or even more. Some studies even quote rates at 43%!  

Our emotions are controlled by hormones and chemicals made by our bodies like dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, adrenaline, endorphins etc. Antidepressant medications, too, are chemicals that change the emotions. Although they may be helpful, they are highly addictive, and have side effects including weight gain.

What is important to note is that when we consume animal products, we are also consuming the emotions of the animals that we eat through the hormones in their body. Thanks to factory farming, these animals are mostly distressed. Is it any wonder that we are too? So many of my patients have reported that the biggest change after switching to a plant based diet was a shift in the state of mind.

Animal agriculture is and has been the cause of epidemics and pandemics in the past. Animal agriculture is the biggest cause of climate change. And the products of animal agriculture may be the biggest cause of human emotional distress. Time to change our diet? You bet!

Few spots left! Our 21 Day Health Retreat is filling up fast and we have few spots left, so if you are thinking of taking your health into your own hands, reducing or removing your medicines, having fun, learning and making new friends, then this trip is worth taking! To register click here.


I Used to Call Myself a Piece of Shit

Dr Nishita Dodhia, a homeopath and SHARAN consultant, suffered from chronic depression in the past. Now she helps her patients heal in body, mind and spirit.

Around 2014, I was on and off going through bad and low moods and I didn’t pay much attention to it. In 2015, there was a trigger due to some circumstances in my life  and my mood completely collapsed, it was as if someone had zapped all the life out of me. I lost interest in everything – my practice, my relationships and even in my day to day activities. To get up in the morning and to brush my teeth was like a task. I just wanted to brood and go into my cocoon of sadness. I slept and ate all day. I had a lot of anxiety and restlessness. I had a lot of guilt and would constantly keep criticizing myself .My self-esteem was totally shattered and I used to actually call myself a piece of shit too!

I went to other homeopaths and even psychiatrists. The antidepressants were making me feel like a zombie. I was zoned out and not feeling myself at all. I was so frustrated that one day I decided to stop all the medicines. Fortunately at the time I was working in a homeopathy academy where I was introduced to the whole food plant based diet. I learnt how this diet was helping people reverse their diseases and I decided to prescribe this to my patients as well. I thought that it may be difficult for them to adapt to it, so I decided to try it out myself first. After all, it’s always best to practice what you preach.

Changing your diet is not easy, but changing your diet when you are not well, is even more difficult so I took baby steps in the beginning and slowly and steadily I started seeing a difference. I no longer had suicidal thoughts! I started feeling lighter in my mind and body. I slowly gained my enthusiasm back and wanted to connect with people. I started looking better and younger. My anxiety disappeared and I was so energetic! My chronic headaches, which I had had since childhood, went away. My PMS, menstrual pains, acidity and constipation disappeared. It was the birth of a new me! 

Today I can’t even relate to that time anymore. In fact I am grateful that I went through this phase and learnt how diet plays such an important role in our health. As a doctor now I can truly heal my patients holistically. 

Chocolate Kaju Katli 

A bite into chocolate always makes us feel good. And if the treat doesn’t contain any dairy, eggs, sugar & preservatives then you can enjoy it guilt-free! Try this surprisingly yummy chocolate kaju katli.

This recipe was contributed by Mr P.V Narayanamoorthy


  • 2 cups cashews
  • 1 cup date paste
  • 80 ml water
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cacao powder (a little more if you so desire)
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder


Clean the cashew nuts and roast till crunchy (don’t discolor). Once cool, add to the blender and make a fine powder. Add date paste, cardamom and water in a heavy bottomed vessel. Melt on a low flame. Bring it to boil and boil for a minute. Add powdered cashew nuts and remove from the flame immediately. Mix well, ensuring there are no lumps.

Sieve cacao powder to this mixture and mix well. Put it back on the stove and cook till you are able to make a non-sticky, soft ball with the dough. Transfer the mixture to a butter paper and leave aside till warm. When warm, cover with another butter paper. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough. Cut into desired shapes. Allow to cool and transfer to an airtight container.
Serve for Diwali and enjoy!

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.


Overcoming Depression

Depression is defined as ‘a mental health disorder characterised by a persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities causing significant impairment in daily life.’

Affecting kids, teens and adults, irrespective of gender or status, the symptoms range from mood swings and sleep issues to weight gain or loss of appetite, agitation, crying, lack of concentration, suicidal thoughts, lack of energy, alienation and more. Medicines can only provide temporarily relief as the underlying factors continue to persist.

Examining the cause of depression therefore becomes imperative. Here are some ways to work at the level of the cause –

1. Make the connection between the diet and emotions

Stress hormones that enter our body through animal products stay in our body for days and weeks. Hormones don’t need to be in large doses to affect us. Even small doses make substantial shifts in the state of mind. That’s why just one ‘cheat’ meal or even a bite can make changes in the state of mind that may last much longer.

2. Make a connection between the state of mind and how it started

Our mind tends to hold onto the past and view even the present in the light of the past. Being aware of this can help shift from reacting from the past to being in the present moment.

3. Take the help of a counsellor

An objective mirror to look into, can make such a difference. A counsellor may help us get insights that create a big shift.

4. Get lots of exercise

Games, dancing and movement help us produce happiness hormones like serotonin.

5. Get out in nature

Nature brings out the best in most people. Be out amongst the trees and in the greenery.

6. Have a routine

A routine, especially one in line with our natural body rhythms gives comfort and helps one sleep well.

7. Find a spiritual teacher

Nowadays it’s possible to listen to a good spiritual discourse online whenever we wish. Choose a teacher that resonates with you to keep your spirits uplifted.

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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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