Does your child really need Milk?

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From the desk of Dr Nandita Shah

Like many of you I grew up on milk. My parents believed that milk was a necessity especially for vegetarians, and so even though milk was difficult to obtain in Mumbai at that time, I was brought upon milk. I would drink three glasses of milk a day, plus curd and buttermilk. Paneer was a rare treat and milk sweets too. Cheese was very rare too at the time.

It was my father who first brought the consciousness of dairy to our family. When he found out that milk is the byproduct of a lot of suffering for cows that are not allowed to feed their babies, he made changes in our house. At that time it was very difficult. We were addicted to milk. It was only after making changes, that we realised the huge health benefits of a plant-based diet.

As a doctor I started to read about the effect of milk on health and realised that a lot of things had already been documented. People knew that dairy is harmful. Research had been done. But the dairy industry with its advertisements continued to let us believe the opposite. This is true today as well. Changing my diet from vegetarian to vegan has changed my life. I am far healthier, but most importantly there’s been a change in the state of mind, that keeps me from ever slipping. I wish this health and happiness for all of you.


Testimonial of Madhura Vayal

SHARAN’s whole food plant based nutritionist Madhura Vayal, who also conducts amazing cooking classes, shares her journey as a mom to two adorable and active kids, who don’t drink milk!

The job description of a mother is difficult in itself but being a vegan mother can be a daunting task if the world around is telling you to do exactly the opposite. However when you allow your child to lead you in the food choices then most of the battle is won. The difference is highly noticeable when you are feeding your child a whole plant based diet as compared to other conventional children.

My older daughter, aged 6 now was a very fussy eater in her non vegan days. Being on a high meat diet I couldn’t breastfeed her beyond 9 months and as soon as we weaned her to cows milk she just didn’t like to eat. It had reached to an extent where we were suffering with endless meal times, disinterest in food and activities as well as lack of focus, attention and frequent illnesses. But it was truly amazing that she gave up dairy and dairy products overnight and never ever missed them! She started getting hungry on her own and meal times became the fun times for the family. From a disinterested child, she now is not only excelling in studies but also enjoys swimming, skating, dancing, painting, playing the Casio and reading.

On the other hand my younger one, aged 4 now is vegan since birth. And his infant years have been so different than compared to my daughter. I breastfed him for straight 2 years, no colic, no doctors visits and even though he fell sick, recovery was a breeze. He achieved his milestones without the help of any multivitamins and followed food habits which were more instinctive rather than conventional. He is a typical mumma’s boy who loves his cars, formula one, cricket, painting, story telling etc.

I have been warned repeatedly that I am curbing their growth for a fad diet but when I see him and his sister excelling in whatever they are doing, it validates that this is the right path to choose. Also as a nutritionist I fully understand how detrimental dairy milk is. The breast milk of an impregnated cow is NOT human food. It is full of bacteria, viruses and pathogens harmful for human consumption. Children with under-developed immunities fall prey to a number of infections because of overload of milk and milk products in the name of health. Humans don’t have the enzymes and lactase to break down milk protein and lactose found in milk and hence in kids these are manifested as inflammation, mucus formation and constipation. Also since milk is full of hormones, girls develop premature puberty and excessive hair on their body.

It’s best to allow children to choose their food instinctively. Babies don’t like cow’s milk they are forced into accepting it as food. Quashing a myth, milk hardly has calcium as compared to green leafy vegetables. In fact, it is said to make bones weaker. Choosing fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and pulses over the highly toxic mixture called milk ensures a strong foundation which leads to a healthy adult life sans any lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

Calcium Shots

The biggest myth to beat is that Milk gives us calcium! Sesame seeds have much more calcium, so include these shots once or twice a week for your mental peace! Also there are many other sources of calcium to include almonds, sweet potatoes, greens, beans, chickpeas and more!

Chocolate Sesame milk


  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame seeds

  •  3-4 dates

  •  1/4 tsp coco powder


Soak the sesame overnight, drain the water. Blend with 1 cup of water with rest of the ingredients.

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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Milk for Kids?

Yes...when their own mother produces it. No…when the cow produces it.

Milk is food for growth, which every mammal produces for her young. When it’s not needed, Nature automatically stops its production. Humans are the only species that consume another mammal’s milk lifelong. Cows are manipulated in various ways and treated as mere milk machines. They are artificially inseminated, their babies are taken away from them so all their milk can be sold and they are often injected with hormones to force them to produce more milk. Cows are also routinely given antibiotics to deal with injuries to udders due to the milk machines. Toxins from the plastic and other garbage that cows consume also affect the quality of her milk.

So what will happen if your child doesn’t have milk and milk products?

1. Higher IQ

Studies suggest that children who stay off animal products have a 5 point higher IQ than those who consume animals and animal products. George Bernard Shaw stated ‘A mind of the calibre of mine cannot drive its nutrients from cows’ while Benjamin Franklin stated that an animal- free diet resulted in greater clearness of head and quicker comprehension

2. No saturated fats and cholesterol

All animal products contain fat and cholesterol. Milk is an animal product and has both. Fatty deposits in arteries can begin in childhood, leading to heart issues at an early age. Childhood obesity can also be prevented by avoiding milk.

3. Will get enough calcium

Our body is alkaline. High protein foods such as dairy are acid yeilding in our body. These acids must be neutralised by leaching calcium from the bones. Countries with the highest per capita consumption of dairy have the highest rates of osteoporosis. Greens, beans and sesame seeds more than enough calcium for our needs. After all, the cow too gets the calcium from plants!

4. Freedom from hormonal issues

Milk, being the natural secretion of a female mammal, is full of hormones. This affects our own hormonal balance causing various hormonal issues that we see today – obesity, hypothyroid, PCOD, prostate enlargement, infertility, menstrual problems, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer. Avoiding dairy will keep your children free from these.

5. No food allergies

Cow’s milk is second to eggs as the cause of allergies in children.

6. Lesser doctor visits

The common cold and cough in children is mainly caused by consumption of dairy products as milk forms mucus.

7. Have a more variety in their diets

Since all dairy and dairy products have alternatives, your child can have milk, butter, cheese, ice-cream, cakes, cookies and more made from plant based foods.

8. Active & Energetic

Our bodies are not designed to digest another mammal’s milk, and it takes a lot of energy to digest it. When we avoid milk, we conserve energy.

9. Healthier & Happier

Vegan children get far better nutrition since they avoid the detrimental saturated fats and cholesterol. Also cows go through immense stress when forced to produce milk, and these stress hormones in milk affect us as well. Children who are off dairy are healthier and happier too.

10. Feel More Compassion

Since a vegan diet is also based upon compassion, you will be raising children who are caring, patient and aware..

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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