Conscious Celebrations

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From the desk of Dr Nandita Shah

My work largely involves helping people make lifestyle changes for the better in order to get well. I know so well how challenging it is to make a change. The most difficult thing is to start. Once you begin, it’s easy. It’s changing that is difficult, not the new habit. This is because we are creatures of habit.

Most of our celebrations are done through rituals that have been passed on from generation to generation. Like our food habits, with each generation they become only more extravagant and more destructive to the environment. There’s almost no festival where the celebrations don’t harm the environment or other living beings. Whether it’s the kite flying festival that injures so many birds and other creatures or the festival of sacrifices with so many animals being sacrificed to appease a God that never demanded bloodshed or the festival where cobras are force-fed cow’s milk. Now with Ganesh Chaturthi millions of plaster of Paris idols will pollute water bodies nationwide killing billions of animals and causing irreparable damage. This was never the intent, but this is now a ritual. And festival after festival there are the colours, the fireworks, the loudspeakers, disposable decorations, the new clothes and the heavy food that harms one’s health.

It is possible to celebrate with health and compassion instead. The start may be difficult but it’s well worth it.

Do you think good health is only about eating right? That is only one-half. Another half to consider is our mental wellness. At SHARAN, we focus on holistic healthy living. Along with workshops on food – that nourish your body, we curate sessions that nourish your soul. We have various events such as – the 10 Weeks Love Yourself – Heal Your Life study course, Affirmations & Gratitude, Let’s Laugh Together, The Mindfulness Program, and more.


A Birthday with a Difference

Birthdays are always special, how about celebrating it amidst nature with SHARAN? The 21-day Retreat is truly symbolic of rebirth from old habits. Take that leap of faith and gift yourself this truly exciting experience.

Custard Cream 

This custard cream is made without dairy and sugar and tastes even better than the other!


  • ½ L of any one of the following, or a mixture of all or a few of them – coconut milk, cashew milk, rice milk and soy milk. (These milks are mixed so as not to give the cream any specific taste. This can easily be done by blending a mixture of cooked rice, cashew nuts and grated coconut with warm water in the blender and straining the puree. Soy milk can be added later).
  • Date paste
  • Unrefined salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla beans
  • 1½ tsp agar agar powder
  • Cinnamon powder for sprinkling on top.


Add just enough sweetener to the milk to get the right amount of sweetness that you desire. Add a dash of salt and the vanilla beans or extract to add to the taste. Add some agar agar (about 2½ tsp of flakes works with ½ litre of liquid or 1½ tsp powder with ½ litre of liquid). Mix all these and heat in a pot, on low heat and allow to simmer for the agar agar to dissolve.

Scoop out a portion in a spoon and place in the refrigerator to check if the agar is sufficient to set the custard. If it does not set, add more agar. Keep in mind that it should not become too hard. The custard can be applied on a cake and set in the refrigerator. Garnish with cinnamon and serve.

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.


Seep in Health in your Fests

Real enjoyment comes from health. Only if you are healthy can you enjoy anything. Mostly during festivals, weddings and special occasions, we abuse our minds and bodies with wrong food, gossip, excessive and unnecessary thinking, lack of sleep etc. Money gets wasted and the environment gets impacted too.

Can we celebrate with health and mindfulness? Absolutely! In fact you will realise that you enjoy it even more, as the satisfaction generated is multi-fold. You have to try it to believe it. Find out how…

1. Be Open to Being Different

Most of us like to be in the comfort zone and simply do what others do. Can you lead through example and make a difference? Can you be unconcerned about what others think as you know you are on the right path?

2. Understand What You Are Celebrating

Sadly most celebrations have now become all about the invites, decor, food, clothing etc. We seem to have lost the essence. Take some time and reflect upon the ‘why’, then the ‘how’ will become easier. Do you need to go visit Lord Ganpati in so many houses? Do you really need to attend all the wedding functions?

3. Plan Things Differently

Think long-term and plan things keeping low wastage in mind. From evites to eco-friendly practices, to thoughtful gifting to plant based food; so much can be done. Yes, healthy food is extremely delicious!

4. Involve Others

Instead of having a birthday party, why not spend some time in an orphanage or an old age home? Why not go for a tree plantation drive on your anniversary? 

5. Gift Sensibly

Most of us have so many things now that we have stopped valuing anything. Thoughtful gestures make a difference. What about gifting air-purifier plants that are easy to maintain. Why not make healthy sweets yourself and gift them. What about gratitude books or experiences and workshops that will be cherished.

6. Be Mindful

Of what you eat, how much you eat, what you say and do. Can you eat at home, so that you eat very little outside? Can you leave earlier from a celebration as you need to sleep? Can you refrain from the gossip and instead look to learn something new?

7. Support Newbies

Spend some time on researching and supporting young entrepreneurs, designers, bakers, home chefs, decorators, etc who are trying to make a difference. 

8. Have Limits

Indulgence reduces the fun! When you party occasionally, you truly enjoy yourself.

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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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