Tackling the Plastic Plight!

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From the desk of Dr Nandita Shah

Plastic is so ubiquitous that it's almost impossible to avoid seeing it every day. Everything from pens to computers is made of plastic. Even if you carry your own cloth bag, in most places basic necessities like grains and lentils are found in plastic bags. It's so convenient, lightweight, resistant to water, air and pests that it's hard to replace. Plastic is a petroleum product, and can be moulded into different forms with the help of other chemicals that give it specific properties of softness, hardness, sturdiness or pliability.

Yet everyone must be aware of the devastation that plastic causes to our environment, and all other living creatures. Newspapers are flooded with pictures of beaches, rivers and even drains clogged with plastic.

What can we do? Every time you buy something, consider whether it is essential. And if it is, whether it could be bought without the plastic wrapping. You could also check if it’s made from recycled materials. Luckily there are all kinds of new innovations, from shoes made of plant based fibres to recycled ocean plastics. The next time you buy a toothbrush, consider a bamboo one. Avoid those disposable razors and plastic combs. Or if you simply cannot do without a plastic product, make sure it can be used for a long time.

In your bag, try and carry a spoon, a glass, a reusable container and straw so you never have to accept a disposable item. You can take along your own drinking water too so you wouldn't need to buy bottled water or other beverages.

Sounds too difficult? Visit your local garbage dump. It will surely help you change your mind.


Cheese has shown me a way!

Around a year back, I was introduced to an amazing Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) lifestyle by SHARAN. The experience was a total eye opener. Right from school through to college and later at work, I always had the problem of bloating. The issue was so serious that by evening the same trousers wouldn’t fit me at work!

By eliminating dairy, I felt a tangible difference in one week. A month later, my bloating issue completely disappeared. My friends thought I had lost weight!

SHARAN gave me an insight into how the dairy industry works. How the animals are treated with utter callousness. I realized that turning vegan was not about changing your lifestyle or food choices, it requires a reorientation of the mindset. 

The added bonus was to learn how to cook nutritious as well as yummy meals without using oil, dairy or sugar. Prior to SHARAN, my dinner always included salads that had cheese as its main ingredient. Initially, after going on the WFPB diet, I really missed cheese. Out of sheer desperation, I started trying out different types of non-dairy cheese. The experiments were many and extensive. But our efforts eventually bore fruit when we introduced vegan feta cheese as our first product from Simply Pure. When I shared my non-dairy feta cheese with friends at a potluck, it was an instant hit. This encouraged me to share my product with a wider consumer base. 

As a committed SHARAN practitioner, I am keen to share, create awareness and make non-dairy products available to many more people; products without preservatives or chemicals that do not harm anyone. 

I am grateful to SHARAN for guiding me towards a holistic health journey. Thanks to them, I have been able to sustain my health and also help others!

For enquiries on Simply Pure’s range of non-dairy cheese, which is packed in a paper container, please reach out to Jasmine on 98200-62393. @simply_pure_mumbai

Caribbean Sweet Potato Salad

This delicious salad with a tinge of sweetness, sourness and spice can actually be a satiating meal in itself! Couple it with a warm soup and you are good for lunch or dinner. Hopefully all the ingredients that you purchase for this recipe don’t come in a plastic bag or container. 


  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • dash or two of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 2 small sweet potatoes(with skin), diced
  • 1-2 tsp dates paste with a little water
  • lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 200˚C / 400˚F.  Line a tray with parchment paper and set aside.

Mix the spices and herbs together. Mix the potatoes with the spices so they are well coated. Use more  spices if required.

Put sweet potatoes on baking tray and bake for 10-20 mins till fork tender and crisp.

Before serving, squeeze lime juice on top and season lightly with salt and black pepper, if required

Serves 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.


Plastic in your body?

Did you know that most of us would test positive for PCB’s in our bodies? It’s hard to believe that these cancer causing chemicals do not just enter our bodies, but stay in there too. This is a huge cause for concern that requires us to be vigilant. Here are a few ways in which plastics enter your body:

1. Water

Plastics are everywhere, breaking down into the soil or getting burned. They enter the groundwater that comes back to us as drinking water. Microbeads in personal care products and detergents also end up in the water.

2. Fish

A significant amount of plastic waste gets dumped in the ocean. Add to that those huge fishing nets that have been used for years and discarded in the ocean. All of these break down into micro-plastics that are consumed by fish. Fish, therefore, is a huge health hazard as they contain mercury, plastic, and all kinds of other chemicals that get washed into the sea. Its good to recall that chemicals are hormone disruptors too.

3. Dairy

In India, it is not uncommon to see cows grazing in garbage dumps. A film titled The Plastic Cow documents how almost every cow in India has plastic in her rumen, which translates as PCBs in the milk.

4.  Animal products

All animals in our food chain are fed rendered slaughterhouse waste. This includes parts of the body that are not consumed by humans, including the stomachs and rumens which already contain plastic, as well as plastic tags that are fixed on animals. Our food chain also includes fish that are bycatch (those not eaten by humans), which also contain plastic. This has a cumulative effect over time; so each year the plastic entering our bodies through food just keeps increasing exponentially.

5.  Plastic containers

Heating food in a microwave oven in plastic containers? You run the risk of the plastic entering your food! 

6. Bottled water

Bottled water exposed to high temperatures may also be contaminated with plastic from the bottle.

7. Processed foods

Unfortunately, most of the foods we consume have chemicals to prolong their shelf life. Plastic contamination in foods and melamine in milk is becoming the norm.

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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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