Are you kind to your kidneys?

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From the desk of Dr Nandita Shah

Instead of prescribing medicines, my work in the recent past has been to help people get free of medications. I’ve found that without medicines the body heals at a much faster pace. However, it’s not possible to take away all the medications, all at once. In this regard, SHARAN’s 21-day health retreats help as I get to check our participants daily and we are able to reduce the medicines very quickly; the reason I love these biannual getaways. Although being onsite at the retreats help, reducing medicines can be done even from home, through consultations.

This edition, let’s examine the chronic kidney disease (CKD). Last year, an individual with CKD consulted me. He had diabetes and high blood pressure and was on insulin and medications for the two conditions. Just by making dietary changes and with the support of his family, he was able to drop all medications and live a normal healthy life. Over time, he grew overconfident of his good health and, despite all my warnings, reverted to his old lifestyle. Quite recently, he got in touch with me again. His creatinine levels were really high, and he was back on insulin and medicines. He had undergone an amputation, and was put on dialysis. I believe it could be too late now to save his kidneys.

CKD, or chronic kidney disease, is quite prevalent today and all too often leads to dialysis or kidney transplant. All we need to do is take charge of our health NOW, so we save ourselves from this irreversible condition.



Shailaja Menon, a professor of language and literacy was diagnosed with early CKD. No one, not even her nephrologist expected the amazing results she experienced.

In mid-2016, I came across the groundbreaking book by Dr. Colin Campbell, The China Study. Inspired by its arguments against animal protein in the human diet, I became vegan for a year. During this time, I found myself under a lot of social pressure to consume dairy, even from my regular doctor who felt that a woman of my age needed dairy to meet her daily calcium requirements. After one year of trying veganism, I reverted to an omnivorous diet by mid-2017.

However, in early 2018, I was diagnosed with early stage Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) marked by protein in the urine, slightly decreased kidney functioning, and elevated creatinine levels in the blood. My BP was pushing at the upper limits of normal (130/90). My nephrologist advised me to lose five kgs to better manage my blood pressure without medications.

Western medicine has no cure for this progressive disease. So, I did my own research, and came across Dr Nandita Shah’s work. I contacted her, and by the end of February 2018, I was on a whole-foods, plant-based diet. To my joy, my husband, who has been a diabetic for over 10 years, decided to join me on the diet, giving me support within the family. At that time, he was taking a cocktail of seven tablets per day for his diabetes, and his sugar was still not under control. He was planning to speak to his doctor about reviewing and increasing his medications.

Our medical problems started resolving in front of our eyes within a matter of weeks of starting the new diet. Every morning, my husband would report that his sugar was lower than it had been the day before! In coordination with his doctor, he started lowering his medications, until they were down to two minimal dosages a day. Within two-three weeks of starting the diet, there was no protein in my urine, and within five-six weeks, creatinine levels had normalised and kidney functioning had become not just normal, but fairly excellent. My BP stabilised at around 90/70. Weight started melting off both our bodies, such that we lost over eight kgs each in under three months. When I went to see my nephrologist (a highly qualified professional) for my three-monthly check-up, his jaw literally dropped in amazement. He said that he had never seen such dramatic BP changes (without medication) in such a short period of time. And while he could understand that the disease had not progressed, he had not expected to see my kidney functioning getting better over time. He asked me what I had done to effect the change, and promised to inform other patients of the same.

I should mention that this was an entirely different experience for me than my earlier year of veganism. At that point, being ‘vegan’ meant eliminating meat and dairy from my diet. It was defined by what I did *not* eat. But, the new diet was all about what *to* eat, rather than what not to eat. Yes, of course, meat and dairy were eliminated. But, in its place came a wonderful emphasis on delicious whole-foods, plant-based nutrition. I found that I took naturally to the green smoothies, salads and whole grains, and felt nourished and sustained by my new diet.  The food was actually delicious. This, along with our medical test results, helped me withstand the larger social pressure (at work and within the extended family) that viewed our diet as restrictive and radical. We would point out that it was more radical to undergo procedures like amputating limbs (due to diabetes) or undergo dialysis than to eat as we were eating, that it was more radical to eat ‘food-like’ substances at McDonald or Domino’s than to eat ‘real’ food that is actually meant to be eaten.

Today, I would whole-heartedly recommend this approach to any person seeking to live a healthy/ethical/environmentally conscious lifestyle. Even as you regain your health on this diet, your perspective about what is ‘normal’ will shift – this has been a huge gain for me on my journey with SHARAN!

Mango Delight

Ever thought of mixing spinach and mangoes? Well try it and you will be surprised with the outcome!


  • A handful of spinach leaves

  • 1 mango cubed

  • 1 large banana or 4 small bananas or an equivalent amount of frozen bananas

  • 1/2 cup water


Place the ingredients in a blender and blend till you have a homogenous mix. (there should be no specks of spinach). Pour into a glass and enjoy the delicious and nutritious drink.

Pause to Ponder


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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Chronic Kidney Disease

Our body always works to heal. For any disease, if we understand what the causes are and remove them, the body will heal naturally. Our body has many reserves. We have two kidneys even though we can do with only one. The tragedy is that our lifestyles have become so unhealthy that more and more people are suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD), which means they have used up all of the body’s reserves. It is absolutely vital to nip CKD in the bud, before the onset of dialysis, and definitely before one ends up requiring a kidney transplant.

Read on to find out the causes of CKD, and how you can avoid it:

1. High Blood Pressure

Kidneys love a good blood supply and high blood pressure inhibits this. CKD is often a result of high blood pressure. SHARAN’s programs are highly effective in reducing blood pressure. Only when your blood pressure normalises without medication does CKD heal.

2. Diabetes

Just like high blood pressure, diabetes is equally a cause of CKD. Again, SHARAN’s programs are effective in reducing blood sugars. Once the blood sugars return to normal without  medicines, the CKD begins to heal.

3. Chemicals

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The liver is responsible for breaking down chemicals, while the kidneys excrete them. Chemicals are always a load on the kidneys, and therefore it’s best to minimise their use. Chemicals in our lives include medications, personal care products (hair dye, deodorants, toothpaste, hand sanitisers, soaps, perfumes, makeup etc), home care products (air freshners, detergents, pest control, phenyl etc), non organic fruits and vegetables, ready to cook processed foods, plastics, artificial sweeteners. We take so many of these things for granted that we forget they are actually stuffed with chemicals.

4. Excess Proteins

Proteins, especially animal proteins, are toxic to the kidneys. Once we bring down the protein load in the body, the kidneys begin to heal.

5. Inappropriate diets

CKD patients are often advised an intake of dairy, and minimisation of fruits and vegetables because of their high potassium levels. However, in order to heal, our  kidneys require high quality nutrients. Fruits and vegetables always assist in healing and should not be minimised. Green smoothies are extremely beneficial. Repeated blood tests to monitor the level of electrolytes while on a SHARAN diet invariably show this to be true.

6. Acidic foods

Alkaline foods benefit not just our kidneys but our entire body as well. Fruits and vegetables are the most alkaline foods and should be eaten in high quantities. High proteins, tea, coffee, soft drinks, sugar, salt are all acidic and need to be avoided.

7. Stress

Stress rises with both blood pressure and blood sugar, and invariably worsens any chronic condition.

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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