Why no honey….Honey?

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From the desk of Dr Nandita Shah

When I talk about whole  plant based lifestyles and mention no sugar, the first replacement that comes to mind is honey! No, no, no. Honey is not whole, it’s not entirely plant based and it’s not as healthy as we have been conditioned to believe! Most importantly, though, it’s not food that’s designed by nature for humans. Have you ever looked at a bee hive and found yourself salivating? It’s just not our food!

Today, despite the shortage of bees, there is no shortage of honey in stores. Bees are fed sugar syrup, and are given antibiotics to keep them alive. Honey contains both of these and of course the pesticides that are everywhere. The good news is that once you begin eating the sweeteners that nature designed for human beings, like dates and dried fruits, artificially made sweeteners like sugar and honey just don’t satisfy.

Honey is not healthy, but it’s not even ethical. It’s the food that bees make for themselves. Humans have enslaved and abused so many creatures on this planet that we don’t even think about the cruelty involved. So much to learn!

Want to be a part of our Mission? SHARAN Mumbai is HIRING! Click here


Testimonial of Vandana Tiwari

Vandana Tiwari is estatic as she shares how she reversed her Hypothyroid, inspite of the fact that the doctor had advised her lifelong medications!

I suffered from Hypothyroid for 16 years. When it was detected, my TSH level was 49,  so the doctor started me on thyroxin and mentioned that I had to take it for the rest of my life! This really disturbed me.

Two years ago I got to know about SHARAN and the whole plant based diet. I attended each and every class – cooking classes, film screenings, potlucks, the six weeks program including Dr Nandita’s seminar and started making the changes in my diet. It was easy and I was confident because I understood the logic behind the changes that I needed to make. Slowly and steadily my thyroid levels improved, and my doctor had to reduce my dosage of thyroxin! My acidity and heartburn also disappeared and I started losing weight too!

In fact I was so inspired by the diet that I wanted this to spread. Since I was passionate about cooking, I decided to use my skills to empower people to change the way they cook. I joined the SHARAN Team as a cooking instructor and have conducted many cooking classes since then. This year I got the opportunity to intern at the 21-day SHARAN Health Retreat. On my return from this, my doctor stopped all my thyroxin.  I am no longer on any medications!

I am truly grateful to Dr Nandita Shah and my colleagues at SHARAN, as it’s only because of them that I have been able to reverse my disease.

A Banana Treat

Normally deep-fried and simmered with honey, try this treat with health. The bananas are pan roasted and the delicious date paste enhances the flavors. Yes, health can be delicious as well..


  • ripe bananas (large variety)

  • black sesame seeds (roasted)

  • date paste

  • tahini


Peel the bananas. Slice the bananas lengthwise in 2 oř 3 slices, cut these in half and put on a hot frying pan. When you can smell the burnt smell of caramelising sugar, turn over and cook on the other side. Garnish with roasted black sesame seeds or with the date paste and tahini. You will need one banana per person.

Food for Thought


If you love Facebook, then join us to be supported on your plant based journey. We offer 3 possibilities from 1st Jan 2016.

1. SHARAN India This 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 This 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.

3. SHARAN’s Plant Powered Health This is the new group only for the past attendees of SHARAN’s events: seminars, cooking classes, retreats or longer programs.

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.

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Honey Harms

Have you ever thought about why bees make honey? Honey is the bees’ single source of food and essential nutrients! So when we take the honey, we are actually robbing the bee of its nourishment.

Did you know that a bee visits up to 1500 flowers in order to collect enough nectar to fill its special stomach – yes a second one called ‘honey stomach’ in which enzymes break down the nectar into honey. The bee then returns to the hive, vomits the honey, which is chewed by house-bees to complete the honey making process. Each bee produces only a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.

Contrary to popular belief, honey isn’t great for human health. It is full of toxins and contains fructose and glucose just as in table sugar. And most of the honey available nowadays is adulterated. And the process by which humans obtain honey from bees is not very different from that used on factory farms. The queen bee’s wings are cut off so that she can’t leave the colony and she is even artificially inseminated.

Bees are critical pollinators and they pollinate 70 of the around 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world. So if bees don’t exist, we will lose all the plants that they pollinate and all of the animals that eat those plants, including us – human beings.

Honey can be easily substituted with home-made date and raisin pastes and fresh fruit purees. Other substitutes like agave, maple syrup etc are not recommended.

Read on to find out why. 

1. Agave

This nectar comes from the same plant that produces tequilla, and that makes it addictive. Also agave is mainly made up of fructose (higher than the fructose in high fructose corn syrup), leading to insulin resistance and other health issues. Not to mention the fact it’s highly refined and contains chemical preservatives.

2. Maple Syrup

This syrup comes from the sap of maple trees and since it’s highly refined, its sugar content is exactly like sugar! It’s maybe a little less harmful than refined sugar, but is as addictive.

3. Molasses

When one refines sugarcane, the first outcome is molasses. This, when cooled and dehyderated becomes jaggery, which is then processed into brown sugar and finally white sugar. However the fibre is lost in the first process itself and anything refined is not good for our health.

4. Malt syrup

This is made from sprouted barley which is roasted and cooked into a syrup with a malt-like flavor. The maltose present in the syrup has a very high glycemic index. It can make you fatter and is bad for oral health just as is white sugar.

5. Coconut nectar

Although this sounds both exotic and healthy, It’s made from the reduced sap of coconut palms, heated at high temperatures. Here too all the fibre is removed.

6. Brown rice syrup

This is made from cooked rice starch, heated at high temperatures, leading to loss of nutrients. Brown rice syrup is actually 100% glucose and leads to higher spikes in blood sugar levels than table sugar!


This newsletter was compiled by SHARAN Associate Reyna K Rupani, who is based in Mumbai. She facilitates the Six Weeks to Health & Weight loss program and also conducts Health talks for schools, groups, corporates and more. Find out how she has benefited in so many ways by going on a whole plant-based diet here

Sanctuary for Health and Re-connection to Animals and Nature (SHARAN) is a non-profit organisation with the goal of spreading awareness about holistic health and an ecologically sustainable compassionate lifestyle.

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