Concerned about Constipation?

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From the desk of Dr Nandita Shah

Have you ever experienced constipation? If you have, you probably understand how this can ruin your day. I believe constipation is the root cause of many diseases because cleansing is as important as nutrients for healing. A blocked digestive system leads to the accumulation and absorption of toxins. And sustained blockage of the digestive system hardens the stool to an extent that it becomes difficult and painful to pass.  

Chronic constipation can be a symptom of certain illnesses and can also result in various diseases due to the straining – hemorrhoids (or piles), fissure in the anus, and prolapse of the rectum. Other effects are bloating, stomach ache or cramps, flatulence, and loss of appetitive. The absorption of toxins could even lead to cancers.

Switching to a whole plant based diet offers good relief to most people. This is because plants are full of fibre, and whole plants contain even more fibre and higher levels of nutrients.

In fact, almost anyone can be free of constipation – read on to find some tips.


Going vegan has been life-altering

Health & Food coach Jenny Sugar from Milano, Italy speaks of how she reversed her 45-year issue of chronic constipation just by changing her diet..

Making the change to a whole plant based diet and vegan lifestyle is a strong experience of great significance. I thought I had conquered a lot by becoming vegetarian, but going vegan has been life-altering.  I now consider it a moral responsibility to take care of my body by respecting it and fulfilling its needs without feeding it as if it were a dust bin.

I was always a great cook and had a food business. With the discovery of raw vegan cuisine and its wide-ranging, delicious recipes, I reversed my 45-year issue of chronic constipation. I went from taking a bunch of medicines to none in a short period of time. I also experienced a deep change in my approach to the preparation of food. I had better control over my health and felt a sense of achievement in overcoming the little aches and pains that were a part of me for years, that I believed I just had to make peace with forever. Becoming vegan told me how wrong I had been. I realised that the power to do away with all my ailments lay within me.

I was further convinced about my choice to go vegan when I signed up for the three week SHARAN nutrition program in June 2014. Held at a beautiful resort in the south of Goa, the course was transformational. Feeling better than I had in years, I made a holistic commitment to my current diet that largely includes raw, minimally processed, non-refined, organic and whole food plant foods.

I am now a health and food coach and wish to change the lives of many others. I hold workshops and thoroughly enjoy my role as an influencer.

To know more about Jenny’s work, please visit

Vegetable Stock for Soups 

Soups are light, nutritious and easy to digest. With the monsoon season upon us, it’s wonderful to sit by the window and enjoy a warm soup. The following recipe illustrates how to make vegetable stock at home to enhance the flavour of your soups. 


  • 1 cup chopped vegetables and fresh herbs (any vegetable of your choice can be used, plus leftover roots of herbs, vegetable peels etc.)
  • 4-5 cups of water


Boil the vegetables in water, with lid closed for approximately 20 minutes. The water will turn dark yellowish and have a vegetable fragrance. Remove from flame and strain. Let the water cool and store in a glass container in refrigerator for up to a week.

Note- This can be used in soups and curries instead of water to add more flavour.

You can choose vegetables according to cuisine too. Eg. for South Asian use bokchoy, cabbage, carrot etc, for Mediterranean use tomato, onion, thyme etc.

The vegetables can be blended and used as manure in the soil or potted plants.

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?     

Constipation simply means a system failure in the body. It's when the food moves so slowly in our digestive tract that the colon absorbs more water, and the stool ends up becoming dry and hard. Our bowel movements should be smooth and steady and at a similar hour each day. When they are infrequent and hard to pass, then the body is trying to let us know that something is wrong. Laxatives are not a long term solution. Our body communicates through symptoms, and if we suppress the symptoms with medications, it will not help us get to the cause. Rather than resigning to taking laxatives for the rest of your life, it would be useful to address the matter at the level of cause. 

Read on to find the causes of constipation and how you can ensure this system failure doesn't occur…

1. Lack of Fibre 

Fibre is the internal cleanser of our body. Fruits, salads and whole foods are best sources of fibre and should be a part of our everyday diet. 

2. Meat 

Animal flesh contains no fibre and is full of fats and protein that take longer to digest. Avoid eating meat based foods and rely more on delicious meat alternatives that can be made at home with ease.

3. Milk  

Dairy is a common cause of constipation. This is because dairy contains no fibre and its protein is difficult to digest. Look for dairy alternatives instead.

4. Processed Foods 

Processed food largely lacks fibre. Therefore, foods like white bread, white rice, white pasta can cause constipation. Whole foods such as brown rice and millet pastas are highly recommended.

5. Gluten Foods 

Gluten is a protein found in foods such as wheat, barley, rye. Its hard to digest and can result in constipation.

6. Fried & Fast Foods 

Low fibre and excessive fat stresses the digestive tract resulting in constipation. It’s best to opt for baked foods instead of fried stuff!

7. Lack of Exercise

Physical activity keeps the metabolism high, aiding the digestive system too. People leading a sedentary life are more prone to constipation.

8. Lack of Water 

For the stool to be soft, water is imperative. Don’t forget to drink when you are thirsty.

9. Irregular Lifestyle

Our body loves routine. Constipation is common when you have jet lag or late nights. It helps to set a routine of early dinner and early bed time. Contstipation can also be a result of not going to the washroom when you have the urge. When you hold on, the desire can disappear, leaving you constipated.

10. Medications 

Constipation is a side-effect of a number of medicines including sedatives, narcotics, some anti-depressants and BP lowering medicines. If one eats right, exercises well and stays positive, any form of medication becomes redundant !

11. Alcohol 

When we consume large amounts of alcohol, it can increase the amount of fluids that are lost through urine. This results in dehydration and, eventually, constipation.

12. Mind-Body Connection 

According to the motivational author Louise Hay, your state of mind is clearly reflected in your body. And, constipation indicates the suppression of one's ideas or feelings for fear of displeasing others, being 'wrong', or risking the loss of something or someone.

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This newsletter was compiled by SHARAN Head of Mumbai, Reyna K Rupani, She facilitates the Six Weeks to Health Gain & 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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