Are we Connected?

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From the desk of Dr Nandita Shah

We live in times when success is equated with being rich and powerful, even at the expense of others. Farmers spray poisonous pesticides on foods and sell them in the market. Food production companies and brands that we trust for hygiene and goodness use substandard ingredients and flavour enhancers to create addictive products that generate hefty revenues. Restaurants are more interested in sales than the quality of their ingredients. Roads and bridges are built with low quality material so contractors can make an extra buck. 

Pharmaceutical companies sell products that are banned in other countries, yet doctors continue to prescribe them. Forests are decimated in favour of industry, known criminals are members of parliament. 

We could go on and on. 

I believe the basis of this betrayal is our treatment of animals. Every animal is fearful of its natural predator. The animals that we exploit for food are not naturally afraid of us. We are not their natural predators. They are victims of our culture. We breed them, artificially inseminate them, discriminate them sexually, sell them as commodities and kill them at our will. They trusted us in all their innocence only to be betrayed by us in all our greed. 

We, and only we, are responsible for the times we live in. Not all is doom and gloom though. We can still reverse the missteps we have taken by letting go long held concepts and altering the way we think. Yes, change is difficult, but change is imperative and it needs to start with us. For, the only person that we can change is ourselves if we are to effect change around us.


'A chicken bus ride that changed my life'

Shivya Nath, author of the bestselling travel memoir The Shooting Star, which charts her journey from a small town in India to remote corners of the world, recounts how she made an interesting connection on a bus-ride and how it changed her life.

I had no idea that an ordinary “chicken bus” ride in Nicaragua would transform the way I travel – live. But that’s how it is with the road; it changes you when you least expect it.

I no longer remember what our destination was on that trip, only that the chicken bus – so called because people are crammed in it like chickens – was far more crowded than usual. It was close to New Year and the locals were heading home to the rural countryside. 

An old Nicaraguan lady, her arms filled with groceries for the holidays, kept her sack next to my feet. A few second later, I felt the sack move! When staring didn’t work, I asked her in polite Spanish to move it. Minutes later, I felt something poke me. Much to my horror, I realized the sack contained three little squeaking chicks. Wrapped tightly in the sack with no ventilation, they were desperately trying to breathe.

I breathed a sigh of relief when the lady got off at her stop. It seemed she had taken the “chicken bus” too literally. But the breathlessness and helplessness of those squeaking chicks stayed with me. The incident prompted me to research on eggs and what they really were. I was stumped by what I read – about the horrors of egg and dairy production. A vegetarian for over 12 years, I took a decision that day – to turn vegan.

I anticipated that this major change in my diet and lifestyle would compel me to give up my nomadic travel lifestyle and challenge me nutritionally. Instead, over the past 3.5 years of being vegan, I have been to more than 30 countries and acquired the art of travelling as a vegan even in seafood-obsessed Japan, kebab-loving Iran and the tribal regions of Myanmar where every kind of animal makes it to the dinner table. Physically, I am able to hike longer distances than before and less susceptible to common illnesses. Mentally, I feel that the hereditary stress that always plagued me has nearly disappeared, despite my unsteady life on the road.

I can’t help but wonder if I was on that chicken bus just to encounter the old lady with the chicks. Because that’s how it is with the road; it changes you when you least expect it.

Read more about Shivya on her travel blog, or connect with her on Instagram @shivya 

Tropical Tornado Salad 

It's so easy to reconnect with nature. When we eat the way nature designed for us to eat, we are blessed with health and wellness. Our website has a host of amazing salad recipes. Try out this simple recipe, easy to make and delicious too.


  • 250 gm cabbage
  • 250 gm pumpkin
  • 250 gm capsicum
  • 250 gm cucumber
  • 1 lime
  • 50 gm raisins
  • salt and pepper to taste


Shred all the vegetables lengthwise. Mix the dressing (lime, salt and pepper). Combine all the ingredients and let it soak for 15 minutes.

Serves 10-15

Food for the mind


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.


Connected are we?                                                                

Whatever happens to one, affects the other. Take a simple unit of a family – one member is sick, the others get affected. This is because every member of the family is connected. Now if we take this concept beyond the family to include the society. A few corrupt people affect the entire society. Expand it further to a nation. The higher the illiteracy, the more the nation remains under-developed. Take it further to the planet – whatever goes on with the environment affects us too. 

So connected we are. 

Yet there seems to be a dichotomy. Despite the symbiosis we share, there is something amiss in the connection. That’s because we have moved into a culture that is about ‘me’ and ‘mine’. It is our comfort that matters, the rest can be blindsided. That's the very reason the family unit, the society, the nation and the planet are quickly moving towards destruction. Dysfunctional families are a norm. Troubled societies, terrorised nations and a sick planet is the reality today.

Take a step back, pause and reflect upon this connection. Read on to discover more…

1. Slaughtered for food

Thousands of animals are slaughtered for food and clothing, thousands of humans are killed in bombings and natural disasters.

2. Artificially inseminated 

Thousands of women are raped, thousands of cows are artificially inseminated (raped) for milk production.

3. Calves are taken away 

Thousands of calves are taken away from their mothers so we can get milk, thousands of people live in old age homes or live alone.

4. Hens live suffocated in battery cage

Thousands of hens live suffocated in battery cages, thousands of people feel suffocated in their own homes.

5. Innocent animals are caged

Thousands of innocent animals are caged, thousands of innocent people land up in jail.

6. Used for entertainment

Thousands of animals are used for entertainment, thousands of humans are commodified as entertainment objects.

7. Used for their bodies

Thousands of animals are used for their bodies, thousands of humans are used for their bodies.

8. Extreme stressful situations

Thousands of animals face extreme stressful situations, thousands of humans are stressed.

9. Pets in the name of love

Thousands are raised as pets in the name of love, thousands are stuck in relationships in the name of love.

10. Extinct or getting extinct 

Thousands of species are already extinct or getting extinct…humanity is getting extinct.

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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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