Food for Digestion

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From the desk of Dr Nandita Shah

In all my years of advocating food as medicine, the question that surprises me the most is whether or not a consultation with me would resolve digestive problems! I would instead say that a little self-introspection could perhaps do half the job. If you have a car that runs on petrol, using diesel as a fuel will surely cause a lot of problems. It's the same with our digestive tract.

Just as every animal in nature, we too need to eat food that is suitable to our species. This means we need to eat foods that are instinctual and appeal to our senses. When we see fruits and vegetables on a farm we are automatically attracted. But the same attraction does not hold true when we see a chicken or a goat or a cow or pig walk by. No animal in nature drinks the milk of another species. When we get back to the diet most suitable for our species, the digestive system is the first to heave a sigh of relief. Patients on a plant based diet always say that they feel a lot lighter, the acidity is gone, no more constipation, et cetera. And this is only a logical consequence.

Most importantly, nutrients are spare parts for healing. Put in high-quality nutrients, and you will get high quality results for almost any illness. Food, indisputably, is the best medicine.


5 Years ago My Life Changed

SHARAN associate 49 year old Shalini Goenka probably suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) since childhood but didn't figure it out util much later. It was only five years ago that she experienced relief…

Since my teens, I had to rush to clear my stomach after nearly every meal. This caused a lot of anxiety and I would think ten times before stepping out of my house. Later on, the condition hampered my professional life too. After marriage, I developed asthma because of my lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits. I would easily develop stomach cramps and feel gassy. My life actually revolved around this condition. In 2005,  I lost my voice due to ulcers.

Regardless, I consumed three glasses of milk every day until I decided to stop dairy completely about five years ago. Doing so brought relief to some extent but the problems persisted. In 2017, I attended a seminar led by Dr Nandita Shah. The session was an eye-opener. I realized that although I had stopped dairy, I was not having the right combination of foods.  After the seminar, I switched to whole, plant based, organic foods. Particularly, I increased my reliance on raw foods and eliminated gluten from my diet. The change that I have experienced since then is nothing short of miraculous. My allergies have reduced, steroids and nebulizer doses stopped and I have lost 20 kilos of weight! My confidence has been truly restored.

Changing my diet has helped me so much that I now wish to empower others. This is the reason why I decided to join SHARAN. The whole plant based is really the right way to eat.

Mint Lemon Drink

Cool yourself with this easy to digest mint lemon drink. It will leave you refreshed and asking for more!


  • 2 glasses of water

  • 30 gm mint leaves

  • Juice of 2 lemons

  • 2 tbsp soaked and crushed raisins


Blend the mint leaves and lemon juice. Add water to the blended mixture in the water and add the crushed  raisins.

Pause to Ponder


If you love Facebook, then join us to be supported on your plant based journey. Since 1 January, 2016, we have been offering three possibilities

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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Thank Your Digestive System!

Our digestive system is such an integral part of our life and probably the most abused one as well. We honestly take our digestive system for granted, always confident that it will do its job as we over-indulge. It screams for attention in the form of a stomach ache, acidity, diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, gas and more. We then pop in some medicine and start the cycle all over again, until it gets real serious. 

A healthy, efficient digestive tract is really something that will go a long way to ensure our well-being.

Read on for some tips to help the digestive system do its job more efficiently….

1. Eat a high fibre diet

A high fibre diet helps to keep food moving through your digestive tract. It is also food for bacteria in your gut. Indulge in fruits, salads and whole foods as the fibre brooms and cleanses within. 

2. Green smoothies 

Leafy greens add enzymes to our body and boost digestion. Ensure you have your big glass every day!

3. Stop the unhealthy fats 

Meat and dairy products are full of fats that tend to slow down the digestion process. They also lack fibre to do the clean-up act. Good fats in the form of nuts, seeds, avocados can be had in moderation.

4. Incorporate natural probiotics

Fermented foods in your diet will ensure good gut bacteria. Plant based curd (yogurt), pickled vegetables like kanji, sauerkraut or kimchee are ideal examples of fermented foods. Commercial probiotics should not be taken except after a dose of antibiotics.

5. Stay hydrated 

Water, as well as fruits and vegetables with their high water content are essential for digestive health. 

6. Say NO to processed foods

There is no place for chemicals in your digestive system. They are absolutely not welcome. This includes oil too as it is a processed food.

7. One grain at a time

Mixing grains add stress to your digestive system. Stick to having either whole rice or bread, not both together. Opt for millets, they cause less stress to the system. Also soaking grains releases phytic acid, making it more digestion friendly.

8. Regular exercise

Aerobics are the best form of workouts to keep your digestive tract in shape.

9. Avoid acidic foods

Animal products, tea, coffee, alcohol, sugar and colas are acidic and hamper the digestive system.

10. Stress less

Yes, anxiety, fear, and stress all put your digestive system on an over-drive.

11. Eat when hungry

Learn to listen to your body. Eat when hungry and drink when thirsty.

12. Fast

Give a break to your digestive system…it deserves it.

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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