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Calcium and Bones

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From the desk of Dr Nandita Shah

“If I don’t drink milk, where will I get my calcium from?,” is a commonly asked question. The milk industry advertises milk as a good source of calcium. And this is stuck in our heads. I have patients who check their calcium levels when they get a blood test done just because of this fear.

However before we fall prey to the fear of not getting enough calcium, we need to answer some questions for ourselves. Where does the cow get her calcium from? The answer is simple, calcium is a mineral, it comes from the ground and anything that grows on the ground is likely to contain calcium. Low calcium intake is virtually unknown.

It’s interesting that whenever a patient suffers from osteoporosis they start taking calcium supplements and consuming more dairy. But shouldn’t we ask ourselves, that if they were already taking dairy all their life, how did they get osteoporosis in the first place?

Once we start asking the right questions we realise that our culture has some myths that we  may have to counter with knowledge.

SHARAN’s vision is to build a culture of health and to achieve this we conduct two training programs annually. This time, both of these are online and coming up soon. To know more click here


Osteoporosis can be cured                                                   

Retired as Senior Advisor from Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India, Dr Suman Govil never realised that her food choices would invite a whole host of problems.

As a vegetarian I immensely enjoyed dairy products like milk, curd, chaach, paneer, butter and ghee. I never knew that my food choices would invite a whole host of problems. I developed hyperthyroidism, ovarian cysts and dysfunctional uterine bleeding after my daughter’s birth and had to undergo hysterectomy when I was only 35. So, my uterus and both ovaries had to be removed. I developed severe cervical spondylitis and my doctor prescribed whole body bone densitometry which showed osteoporosis in severe to profound category. My gynecologist prescribed alternate hormone therapy, osteophos and calcium supplements. It led to calcification and cyst formation in my breasts which was detected by a mammogram. I was taking all the medicines prescribed by my doctors but the medicine for one problem led to another and I was not getting better.

I also developed hypertension when I was 50 and arthritis in my knees. I was prescribed Telma, Ralista, Jointace DN Super, along with supplements. I never started statins although my cholesterol was high. I tried to control it by making some lifestyle changes like walking, exercising and having a low fat diet. Although my daughter-in-law, who is a certified plant based nutritionist, shared several articles on how the consumption of milk leads to leaching of calcium from bones, I was not willing to give up milk. Our deep rooted conviction that milk is a balanced food and good for health is what does most of the harm.

So, my son gifted me the SHARAN health retreat as my second innings (post retirement) gift in June 2018. This was the best gift, the best vacation of my entire life. By adopting the SHARAN lifestyle, I am off all medications, more energetic and have lost 16 kg. My weight is 2 sizes down from XL to medium. Being a scientist, I believe in evidence and here I am sharing my reports. My bone density was 0.760 g/cm2 in 2000 (when I was 42 years) and in 2019, my bone density has increased to 1.019 g/cm2 at the age of 61 years.

Osteoporosis is considered a progressive disease and deteriorates with age but one year of a whole plant-based diet has reversed my osteoporosis. My CRP, which is indicative of inflammation, came down from 5.2 mg/l to 4.1 mg/l within 3 weeks. My hypertension is also under control and cholesterol levels have also reduced substantially. I’m enjoying my second innings by spreading the message of health. Just by giving up dairy, oil and sugar and adopting healthy eating habits, I feel much healthier and younger. I am not missing anything.

Why don’t you join me in this journey of health?

Butter, Cheese & Buttermilk!  


During our Health Week, we showed some amazing recipes including how you can make your non-dairy butter, cheese and buttermilk at home. It’s truly wise to invest in health and start making these delicious alternatives for one’s bones and overall well-being too.

Food for the mind


If you love Facebook, then join us to be supported on your plant based journey. we are offering two possibilitie

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.

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.


Calcium and Bones                                                              

Teeth are bones and if you are having problems with your teeth, this may mean problems with your bones too. Too many people have cavities so here are some things that you can do to have better bones and teeth.

1. Vitamin D 

Check your vitamin D levels and supplement if necessary. Vitamin D is necessary to absorb the calcium.

2. Calcium rich foods

Have plenty of greens, beans, and seeds. All of these are rich in calcium.

3. Avoid acidic foods

Tea, coffee, colas, sugar, alcohol and other drugs are acidic in nature and leach the bones of calcium. Note – all vegetables and fruits including lemons are alkaline in our bodies because of high levels of potassium.

4. Avoid animal proteins 

This includes meat fish, chicken and eggs as well as all forms of dairy. These are acid yeilding in our body as proteins break down into amino acids. Also they all lack fibre.

5. Exercise

This makes the bones regenerate.

6.  Avoid overconsumption of spinach 

Spinach contains oxalates which may prevent the absorption of calcium so make sure your greens are varied.

7.  Avoid fat and increase fibre

This combination makes your blood thinner and opens your arteries, thus improving blood flow and circulation and so improving bone health.

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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 Deepa Ballal, a freelance writer based in Dubai.

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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