Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

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From the desk of Dr Nandita Shah

When I graduated as a doctor, almost four decades ago, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS or PCOD) was relatively rare. In fact, most hormonal problems were barely known. But now hormonal problems such as PCOS, hypothyroid, menstrual problems, prostate enlargement, diabetes and infertility are heard everywhere. What has changed?

In the last 40 years our consumption of animal products has grown exponentially. In the past when refrigeration was less available, non-vegetarian food was consumed mainly on Sundays. Milk was used in small quantities and concentrated forms of milk like cheese, paneer and dairy sweets were reserved for special occasions. Now animal products are on every table in every meal. What vegetarians miss in the form of meat, fish and chicken is more than made up with dairy and dairy products. Meat and milk have the same properties – high protein, high fat and no fibre. The result – the same diseases across the population.

Further, we have more and more chemicals – hormone disruptors – in our food since we eat more restaurant foods, packaged and pre prepared foods. Then, there is the ubiquitous plastic.

The good news that is most hormonal diseases can be reversed, and the power is in our hands. All that is required of us is to be better informed and make prudent dietary choices.

She did it, so can you!

33-year old Prachi Jain, a secondary school teacher, successfully reversed her PCOD and even conceived after eight years of marriage!

I had been trying to cure PCOD for the longest time through a number of treatments but nothing really helped. I was equally keen to conceive. But during the treatment, I was detected with insulin resistance as well. This made the reversal of PCOD even more difficult.

At this juncture, I recalled SHARAN nutritionist Madhura Vayal’s talk that I had attended some years ago. I opted for a consultation with her. Soon after committing to a vegan diet, the symptoms started improving. Eventually, my move to a whole food, plant based gluten free diet completely cured my condition. The programme wasn’t too difficult to follow. In fact I loved the food, especially the plant based cheese and desserts.

I felt a lot more energetic and my skin cleared too. The complete detoxification, thanks to my vegan lifestyle, normalised my menstrual cycle. But the biggest reward I received was the news that I had conceived, within just eight months of going vegan. Today, my husband and I are proud parents of a healthy one year old son.

Raw bottlegourd soup

The thought of raw soups may not be so appealing for many. However, do try this lovely light soup that is high in nutrition too. It might just become a permanent fixture in your day to day cuisine!


  • 2 cups chopped lauki or bottlegourd (unpeeled of course!)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • handful of celery leaves
  • 4 pitted dates
  • 4 tablespoons fresh grated coconut
  • salt to taste


Put all the ingredients in the blender.  Add water as needed and serve cold.

Serves 2-3

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.

Coping with PCOS

In simple words, PCOS is a hormonal imbalance amongst women of child-bearing age. Basically, in addition to making estrogen, women also make a small amount of testosterone. And in the case of PCOS, a little extra testosterone is produced that results in irregular or heavy menstrual cycles, extra hair growth on unwanted areas like face or chest, thinning of hair, fertility issues and weight gain.  PCOS is particularly common amongst teens. The medicines are strong and have side effects.

So what is the main cause of hornonal imbalance? Chemicals! Many chemicals are hormone disruptors resulting in various hormonal issues. Find out how you can easily reverse or prevent any hormonal imbalance….

1. Go Plant-based 

Meat and milk products contain both natural and injected hormones that disrupt our system. Avoid the trigger itself by going plant based.

2. Go Organic

PCBs and dioxins found in insecticides are hormone disruptors. Buy naturally grown produce and save your health and the environment too.

3. Stop Processed Foods

Preservatives are nothing but chemicals and do nothing to preserve our health. They cause a hormonal havoc in our system.

4. Go for Natural Cleansing Products

Household products (floor cleaner, dish-washing bars, detergents) and personal care products (cosmetics, sun-screens, shampoos, soaps) are full of chemicals. Make that little effort to source natural products, it will be well worth your time.

5. Opt for Steel Cookware

Non-stick coating has chemicals that manipulate our hormones. Invest in heavy bottomed or surgical steel cookware.

6. Avoid Plastics

Plastics contain phthalates that are hormone disruptors.

7. Beware of Medicines

Certain medications are hormones. Medicines too are chemicals and play around with our hormones. So take such good care of your health that you wouldn’t need to pop any pills.

8. Avoid GMO

Soy, corn, wheat, and a few other grains can be genetically modified. India is yet to approve the commercial production of a GM food crop, so we are relatively safe. However, India does permit the inclusion of GM ingredients in food products. So, buy organic and buy local.

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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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