Cholesterol Clarity

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From the desk of Dr Nandita Shah

Cholesterol is something that few understand but many are worried about. Cholesterol is a substance that is produced by our body and is needed for the proper functioning of brain. It has other functions too. When the blood becomes thick due to dietary fats, it injures the artery walls. These injuries are bandaged with cholesterol. Over the years of bad eating, the arteries get progressively narrowed, thereby also raising the blood pressure. Despite this a blood test may not show high levels of cholesterol just because the cholesterol is lining the arteries and not free in the blood.

When we change to a low fat, whole plant based diet the blood becomes thin again and helps dissolve the cholesterol that is lining the arteries. That’s when the serum cholesterol levels rise. This is not harmful. When you are no longer adding cholesterol to your body through the diet, you are now creating the conditions for the arteries to re-open. 

Although there are many drugs to fight cholesterol levels these days, these drugs only give us better looking reports. They neither help in the healing process nor do they create a healthier body. They do create a few side effects and can even raise the blood sugars. The very best way to control cholesterol levels is to stop adding cholesterol to your body and assist the accumulated cholesterol to find its way out. This can be done with a sensible diet plan and without any medicines.  

Need a break? Why not take a healthy one with like-minded individuals where you learn and have super fun too! We have two short retreats coming up. To know more, click here


‘We got back our health!’ – Radhika & Bharat Godhkindi

Radhika & Bharat Godhkindi attended our 21 Day Health Retreat in June 2019, with a bag of health issues and medicines for asthma, cholesterol, blood pressure and knee pain. One year later, they were off their medicines and found a new lease of life. Get inspired by listening to them in this video about how beautiful the whole food plant based journey really is. 

Coconut Milk Kheer/Payasam 

You can enjoy this delicious kheer, warm or cold, without any guilt, as the coconut is retained with the fibre and the sweetness comes from the dates.


  • ½ cup raw whole unpolished rice
  • 1 cup grated coconut or 10 cashew nuts/ almonds, soaked for 8 hours
  • 10-12 seeded black dates
  • 3 cups water, as needed
  • ¼ tsp green cardamom (elaichi) powder
  • 8-10 almonds, slivered


Cook the rice with double the amount of water in a pressure cooker for 1 whistle and 10 minutes on simmer. Grind one cup grated coconut or almonds and 10 dates into a smooth paste with 2 cups water. In a heavy bottomed deep pan, add the paste and rice and mix well. Add remaining water and boil to a liquid form. Add cardamom powder. Cook for about five minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with slivered almonds.


Substitute whole rice with millets, pulses like moong dal, carrot, pumpkin, bottle gourd.

Serves 6

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.


Cholesterol Knows & Know-Nots                    

One of the biggest myths is that nuts are high in cholesterol. Cholesterol is produced by the liver and plants don’t have one! But animals do, so meat, dairy, eggs and even fish are full of cholesterol. Humans are animals so we also produce and need cholesterol. But too many of us have high cholesterol levels.

High cholesterol per se isn’t harmful. It’s only when the cholesterol lining the arteries narrows them, that the blockages cause the problems. Is it possible to reverse or prevent this? Absolutely!  Read 6 simple questions that will help you understand cholesterol.

1. What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in animal cells. A certain amount of cholesterol is needed as it has important natural functions.

2. What does it do?

Cholesterol has four main functions –

  1. Contributes to the structure of the cell walls
  2. Makes up the digestive bile in the intestine
  3. Allows the body to make Vitamin D
  4. Enables the body to create certain hormones

3. What is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol?

Cholesterol is oil-based, so it doesn’t mix with blood (which is water-based). It is carried around the body in the blood by lipoproteins – LDL (low-density lipoprotein known as ‘bad’ cholesterol) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein known as ‘good’ cholesterol).

4. Why is it called ‘good’ or ‘bad’ cholesterol?

High levels of LDL lead to a build-up of cholesterol in the arteries, which blocks the blood flow, creating a major risk factor for heart disease. HDL carries cholesterol to the liver for removal from the body and therefore higher levels of this is good.

5. What causes high cholesterol?

The two major causes are – diet (all animal products contain cholesterol) and lack of exercise. Certain diseases like hypothyroidism, diabetes, liver or kidney disease, polycystic ovarian, pregnancy etc may cause an increase in LDL. Also certain drugs like steroids etc, increase LDL and even reduce HDL.

6. How should one maintain a balance between good and bad cholesterol?

Going on the whole food plant based diet that SHARAN recommends is ideal to maintain this balance. One automatically then stops animal products, saturated fats found in processed foods and trans-fats found in fried foods. Also one begins to consume high fibre foods which help.

Do note that when the body starts cleansing by switching to the plant based diet, initially the cholesterol may rise, as the LDLs which were stuck to the walls of the arteries are flushed into the bloodstream (on the way out).  

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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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