The Hive Issue

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From the desk of Dr Nandita Shah

Allergies can be terrible, sometimes even life threatening. They start with hives and could end up in breathlessness and choking. When your body reacts that violently to a certain substance, its only prudent to avoid that substance altogether.

Many people ask me if allergies can be overcome. The answer is yes, in most cases. What are allergies? Nothing but a warning signal from your body against certain substances. It is not always easy to figure out the cause of an allergy. And, if it has been triggered by something in the environment that you cannot put your finger on, it becomes even more troublesome to tackle as there is nothing we can do to avoid the allergen.

So, here is how you can rid yourself of allergies. Adopt the SHARAN lifestyle – a diet closest to the one that we humans were naturally supposed to consume. You are likely to find that your allergic responses reduce over time. If you know what you are allergic to, you should avoid it completely and try again with a small quantity of the substance after six months to see if it is as offensive. If you continue to have a reaction, wait for the next six months and try again. The chances are that eventually the allergy will be overcome. 


Going vegan has been life-altering

Delhi based Shilpashree would wake up in the middle of the night with unbearable itching and big red hives on her hands and legs. The anti-allergy pills just gave her temporary respite. She suffered both physically and mentally, until she took a decisive step to change her diet.

I suffered from severe urticaria for two and a half years. I had tried everything, nothing cured my condition. No home remedies, no tablets, even skin specialists couldn’t offer a cure. Anti-allergy pills offered just temporary relief. I suffered from low self- esteem.  It was traumatic.

During my pregnancy last year, I tried staying away from milk. Gradually I stopped consuming dairy products and by the sixth or seventh month, I quit dairy completely. Miraculously, within just five or six months of quitting dairy, the allergy disappeared completely. It was as if I was given a new lease of life. Now there was no going back to dairy.

But there was another major health issue. I had gained a lot of weight, close to 25 kilos during pregnancy. I had severe anxiety issues. Post-delivery, my energy levels were at an all-time low. 

A single consultation with SHARAN and I was clear about my future health dietary/lifestyle choices. Dr Poonam, my nutritionist at SHARAN, gave me a detailed synopsis and diet plan to follow. I eliminated oils, sugar, jaggery, refined and inorganic products from my meals. And within a month of following SHARAN’s recommendations, I lost close to seven kilos. 

Thanks to SHARAN, I am consistently losing all those extra pounds with more energy, determination and enthusiasm. I am relatively less anxious. I do hope more and more people get their awakening call as I did and make wise dietary choices to lead a happy, healthy life. 

Tofu Riccotta 

So what if you are off dairy? You can drum up a host of delicious dairy-alternatives. Check out this easy-to-make tofu ricotta cheese recipe that can complement any salad or serve as a stuffing or topping. Give it a go!


  • 1 package (250 gm) tofu
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/8 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt
  • 1⁄4 tsp pepper
  • ½ tbsp parsley flakes
  • ½ tsp basil
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup soymilk


Combine all of the above ingredients in a food processor and blend until fairly smooth. Refrigerate and serve or use in a recipe.

Serves 2-4

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.


Hives anybody?    

Our body communicates pretty effectively, but most of the time we fail to listen. A bout of hives is one such communication. Hives, also called urticaria, could be skin-coloured, pink or red, itchy raised welts on the skin that appear in varying shapes and sizes. They could cause swelling and disappear in hours, days or six weeks. If the hives persist beyond a six-week period, they are diagnosed as chronic.

Hives are common and can be irritating and stressful too. They cause discomfort and can get embarrassing. So what's the body trying to tell us?

Read on to find out what you need to watch out for:

1. Dairy  

According to Nature's Laws every mammal produces milk only for her infant. Cow's milk is not meant for human consumption. So, it causes problems in various forms and one of them is hives. Dairy and dairy products are in fact one of the main causes of allergies. However, it’s easy to replace milk. All one needs to learn are the recipes for the dairy alternatives.

2. Meat 

Once again, meat is not our food because we don’t have the anatomy to attack and kill and eat it raw like true carnivores or omnivores. When we consume something that our body is not supposed to have, it screams out in the form of hives, amongst other issues.

3. Preservatives   

Through the consumption of packaged food, preservatives and other chemicals enter our body causing hives. It is, therefore, best to fuel our bodies with fresh organic produce and stay away from processed foods.

4. Food colourings 

Packaged foods and restaurant meals bring in artificial food colourings into our system, causing a reaction of hives. Natural food colouring from fresh vegetables and fruits are always better. And while dining out, order consiously as much as possible.

5. Chemicals 

Our medicines and daily house-care and personal care products including cosmetics are laden with chemicals and can trigger hives. Opt to stay as natural as possible.

6. Physical Factors 

Exposure to sunlight, water, cold, heat, exercise, insect-bites and pressure could induce hives. However, if you are on a whole plant based diet that includes lots of salads and fruits, your strengthened immunity will easily battle these external triggers.

7. Mind-Body Connection 

Renowned wellness author Louise Hay has said that our body reflects our state of mind and emotions. In that sense, hives are a manifestation of our small hidden fears. 

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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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