Love Eating Out?

 
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From the desk of Dr Nandita Shah

There was a time when I loved eating out. The ambience, the company, not cooking for myself, the variety of foods and tastes, the novelty. The whole experience. So many things to look forward to! Then I started hosting cooking classes in restaurants, and I saw things that most people don't really get to see – the hygiene, vessels, quality of the ingredients, and the immense workload.  Most people in restaurants are just doing a job. They definitely want to do a good job, but it's a lot of work. They do the work that you don't like, and profits are far more important to them than your health. Fats, salt and sugars are added to make the foods addictive. If something falls on the ground, it could be retrieved and reused.

When I started putting an emphasis on quality, eating only organic food, I noticed that my food at home tasted vastly better. I didn't feel like eating out anymore, it’s just not the same quality. Also eating high-quality food requires less cooking and less condiments, and over a period of time you begin to enjoy the taste of real food more and more. This does not mean that I don't enjoy the variety when I occasionally eat out, but it's not as appealing anymore. Eating at home, I select what my body asks for, and put my own energy into the preparation, and it is always made fresh. I also always know what the ingredients are.

I have seen several people develope a love for cooking after switching to a SHARAN lifestyle. Has this happened to you too? One way to enjoy the pleasures of eating out, without the hazards is to have regular potlucks with like minded people. Plan a potluck today!

 
The Vegan India Conference is happening in Delhi on 6 – 7 July. Learn more and buy tickets
 

 
 

Our craving for unhealthy food has reduced!

Residents of Mumbai, Madhav & Sheetal Keswani, have experienced significant changes after switching to a whole plant based diet, such as weight loss, abundant energy, a sense of lightness and calmness. Here is their story…

We have been following a whole food plant based lifestyle for the last three years. We realize that we are better aware of the food choices we make while eating out and travelling. Our craving for unhealthy food has also reduced and our ability to say ‘no’ when offered unhealthy meal options is stronger. Now, when we are hungry, we naturally reach out to fruits.

Our home-made food is wholesome and delicious made with organic produce that we get every Sunday from SHARAN's Organic Farmers’ Market in Juhu. Although it’s quite a drive for us from where we live, we look forward to making the trek simply because organic ingredients considerably enhance the taste of food and we know that we are putting the right fuel into our body. Getting to meet like-minded people at the Farmers’ Market is an added bonus.

From eating out every weekend before we made the switch to eating out just once a month is another change that has naturally set in. When we do eat out, we seek out restaurants that serve healthy options. At times we request the chefs to make modifications to our favourite dishes to make them  healthier. We also request them to include options in their menu, such as sugar-free desserts, brown rice dishes, dosas without oil or butter. Some of our favourite restaurant options are Aharveda, Burma Burma, and All Stir Fry. We also prefer restaurants that offer organic food, like The Village Shop or The Farmers’ Café.

Overall, whole plant based home cooked meals are both filling and satisfying and taste remarkably better. This has reduced our dependence on packaged food/restaurants. We now live by our mantra to stay conscious and stick to healthy meal choices. Cheers! 

Burmese Khowsuey 

It's convenience that breeds disease. Let's work on this seriously. You could start with making your home-cooked meals so delicious that you feel less inclined to eat out. Add in special surprises to your weekly menus.  The SHARAN website has a wealth of recipes.

To get you on your way, here’s a quick tip on how to make the Burmese Khowsuey, a personal favourite – easy to put together and oh, so delicious!

Ingredients

  • vegetables – baby corn, button mushrooms, carrots, beans, onions, brocolli, cauliflower
  • 2 cups fresh coconut cream
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp besan/gram flour
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • salt to taste
  • buckwheat or brown rice noodles or brown rice

Garnishing

Chopped toasted garlic, onion, tomatoes, coriander, green chili, cucumber, lemon juice

Method

Grate the coconuts and add water to make creamy consistency. Extract the cream from the grated coconut through a piece of muslin. Dry roast the besan in a pan with the cumin powder. Add vegetable stock and all the vegetables one by one according to how long it will take to cook and bring to boil.  Keep vegetables crunchy. Add the coconut milk, lemon juice   and salt to taste.

Serve with rice or noodles and add garnishes according to individual taste.

Food for the mind

FACEBOOK SUPPORT GROUP

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.

 

What comes along with eating out?             

There was a time when restaurants ran full house only during the weekends. Not anymore. Increasingly, we see restaurants packed to the brim even during weekdays. It's as if people have stopped cooking at home. Not just the restaurants. Every café by the street or a roadside stall vendor has lots of people milling around them digging into the steaming food that is doled out in high frequency. Home-delivery bikes can be seen at odd hours of the day, even late nights – all validating the fact that eating out or ordering in is an industry that is booming.

Yes convenience, taste, variety, experiences are the driving force, but what are the other implications of eating out?

Read on here:

1. Excess sodium

The maximum salts that we get is from packaged food as salt is a good preservative. Restaurants use a lot of packaged foods, such as sauces, frozen foods, salted butters and more.

2. Excess fats

It's been drilled into a chef that food cannot taste good without large amounts of oil, butter or ghee. These are pure fats. Not to mention meat and dairy products that are full of fats and cholesterol.

3. Inferior quality of produce

All the inorganic vegetables and fruits that are fit to be unsold are picked up by restaurants at low prices. Both the vegetable vendors and restaurant owners are in business for profit. Who gives a second thought to your health!

4. Pre-cooked meals

Is it practically possible for restaurants to serve freshly cooked meals? Anyone who has ever put together a meal knows the answer is a big 'no'! The reason why at restaurant chains, food tastes the same at every branch, for it's cooked in the main kitchen in large quantities, frozen and sent out to all. Also changes cannot be made to the dishes as they are already pre-cooked.

5. Microwaved food

Cooking or heating food in a microwave oven comes with its share of radiation, which is extremely harmful to our health.

6. You're likely to over-eat

The variety and the free accompaniments, the huge portion sizes, the music, the company and the mood ensure you over-eat, taking in far more chemicals and fats into your system than you would have in a home-cooked meal. Plus the sugar in most drinks, sauces and desserts is addictive.

7. The hygiene factor

It's a task to keep a small kitchen at home clean, imagine restaurant kitchens serving hundreds of diners day in and day out. How can hygiene not be compromised then?

8. Burns your pocket

It's truly way cheaper to cook meals at home with organic produce.

9. Is it really vegetarian or vegan?

That's a good question to ask, particularly when you dine at restaurants that serve meat. They use the same stock, utensils to cook and spoons to taste. Also with so many orders coming in, can the chef really take care of your special requirements?

10. Disease

Consuming high amounts of sodium, preservatives, inferior produce, packaged foods that are frozen, as well as pre-cooked meals contribute to lifestyle diseases, including PCODs, blood pressure, diabetes, heart issues and even cancer.

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This newsletter was compiled by SHARAN Head of Mumbai, Reyna K Rupani, She facilitates the Six Weeks to Health & Weight Loss program and also conducts health talks for schools, groups, corporates and more.

Edited by Vasanti Sundaram, Bangalore who has also benefitted from the SHARAN programmes, and now spreads awareness of plant based lifestyle through her talks.

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

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