No Oil, No Taste

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From the desk of Dr Nandita Shah

I must admit that I loved fried foods – even more than desserts. And like most of us, I grew up cooking with oil. Now having left oil far behind, I really enjoy my oil free foods!

Why cook without oil? Isn’t oil natural? SHARAN advocates a whole plant-based diet to allow the body to heal and to prevent disease. This means eating foods the way Nature designed them, i.e. whole, rather than man-made or refined.

When we consume oil, a refined product of coconut/ olives/ peanuts/ sesame etc, we are actually taking out all the nutrients and protective fibre, and consuming just fat. This fat enters the bloodstream quickly, thickens the blood, raising the blood pressure, injuring artery walls, and causing atherosclerosis. It  compromises the blood supply to all parts of the body resulting in numerous diseases. If we can avoid so many diseases just by changing the way we cook, and have fabulous food too, why not? Try it. You too may love it!


Testimonail of Prashant Iyer

Twenty-six year old Prashant Iyer took a consultation with SHARAN Dietician Poonam Sharma for his mother Uma who was pre-diabetic. Not only did her health improve, so did his…

“I got in touch with Poonam back in July for my mother who was pre-diabetic at that time. She was pro-active from the word go and she interacted freely with my mother every week and kept a regular follow up on her health. My mother is 62 years old, and given her age, I thought a major weight loss may not be possible. And diabetes is all about weight management. But Poonam took it hands on and not only did my mother’s weight come down from 72kg to 65kg, her Hba1c also reduced from 5.8 to 5.6, just below the pre-diabetic range!

I also benefitted from her diet – I lost 5kgs as well, and my Hba1c, which was normal, came to a healthy range of 4.6. This diet change is for life! Now we are mindful of eating things, which have oil or ghee in it. We found new ways to cook without using ghee or oil, which didn’t seem possible when we started. Although, it took a bit of time, it was worth it. But as they say, good things come to those who persevere, and rightly so. One just has to be disciplined enough to follow. You won’t need to sacrifice the taste, as the diet is very customisable. You can ask for anything and everything and you wouldn’t be disappointed.

Thank you Poonam for everything…”

An Oil-free India meal!

Take out some time to watch our very own Dr Nandita along with Dr Neal Bernard of PCRM USA, showing you how to make an oil-free Indian meal, which consists of a salad, a vegetable and a dessert too!

Please do note that since this was made for the American audience, the use of some readymade products is shown. It’s always best to make the yoghurt and milk at home. Also in the dessert, replace the semolina with foxtail millet or amaranth.

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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 It’s all about loving yourself

Have you ever tasted oil? Does it have any taste? It doesn’t, right? Then why do we use it? If it adds no taste to food, why do we need it? It’s because the industry has conditioned us to think – No Oil, No Taste! And this has been done to such an extent that we can’t even imagine that it is possible to cook without oil! Well it is!

Oil is a refined product full of fat and preservatives. It has practically zero nutrition. The cause of most life-style diseases is FAT, and oil is pure fat, which, coupled with meat and dairy products, lowers your insulin sensitivity, clogs your arteries leading to a rise in diabetes, blood pressure, and eventually heart disease etc. Also oils when heated release toxic compounds that are carcinogenic.

Yes, our body does need a certain amount of fat, which is easily available in whole foods such as nuts, beans, seeds, avocados etc. When you eat coconut or peanuts, you get fat in a natural form, as opposed to refined oil, which is free of fibre, heated, and extracted with solvents! Your tastebuds will adapt to oil-free cooking pretty soon, and your body will heave a sigh of relief.

Let us help you to transition to zero oil cooking with a few steps…

1. Remove the Oil at Home

No oil, no choice!

2. Water is the new oil

While sauteing your onions, heat your steel pan, and simply plop the onions. If they start sticking, sprinkle a few drops of water and that’s it! Another way is to sprinkle some salt, so the onions automatically release their own water. They will easily brown in that.

3. Tempering

Remember mustard seeds have oil within. When you heat your pan to temper, simply add the seeds and they begin popping by themselves. The same can be done with cumin, curry leaves etc. Just make a note here, that if you are tempering with powdered spices like asafoetida, turmeric etc, then turn off the stove to dry roast them to prevent them from burning.

4. Oil-induced flavours

When you sprinkle peanut powder or grated coconut in your dish, the fat releases and adds flavour.

5. Baking

For the samosas, vadas, fritters and more, baking is the ideal option. Simply add peanut butter in your dough and the magic is done! For cakes, replace oil with mashed bananas or apple sauce. For savouries or french fries etc steaming first and then baking is the key.

6. Peanut Butter Magic

To make dosas, pancakes, chillas, simply smear your iron tava with a muslin cloth bag filled with peanut butter, Even your parathas turn out delicious when you add peanut butter to the dough.

7. Nuts & Seeds

Add these to your salads instead of the oils. Add fresh olives instead of olive oil.

8. Think before ordering

While eating out, go for steamed options and avoid the deep-fried. Request the chef to use no oil!

9. Shhhh

The most important tip is not to tell anyone in your family that the food is oil free! Simply cook without oil and offer it to them! With daily meals of vegetables and curries, they
won’t even know the difference! That’s quite a lot of oil removed from your family’s system.

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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