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    SHARAN/All that is fishy about fish

All that is fishy about fish

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From the desk of Dr Nandita Shah

When talking to people about plant-based nutrition, I’m often met with questions like “Can I eat fish?” or with statements like “I’m already vegan. I only eat fish sometimes.” Some people also think that eating fish is vegetarian!

Perhaps the reason that we may not consider fish as animals is because they don’t live on land like we do. So, we often don’t see them interacting with each other or with the environment like other animals. Unlike birds and land animals, we do not hear their voice, and cannot relate to their emotions or connect with them.

The truth is that fish are sensitive social animals just like other animals. Our inability to see this allows us to wrong them more than we can imagine. Extreme cruelty in the way they are raised on fish farms or the way they are caught by trawlers or even as a sport is not comprehended.

More importantly fish are not our food, as we cannot catch and eat them raw or whole for the most part. Like all animal products, they are high in proteins and fat and low in fibre. Similarly, they are high in cholesterol too. Some fish may be rich in omega-3 fatty acids only because they eat plants that produce omega-3.

So, the next time you are confronted with the fish question, remember that eating fish is bad for health, worse for the environment and terrible for these sentient beings.

To promote the benefits of a whole food plant-based lifestyle, we organise two training programs every year. One is for doctors, nutritionists and dieticians, to guide them on effective consultation practices. The second is for facilitators interested in conducting cooking sessions and/or delivering informative talks. Registration is open for both programs. For details, click here.

Seaspiracy https://youtu.be/1Q5CXN7soQg

According to the UN, the ocean is the ‘world’s greatest ally against climate change’ because it is the earth’s biggest carbon sink and absorbs 25% of all carbon dioxide emissions. Witness what’s actually going on in the oceans of the world by watching Seaspiracy, an amazing eye-opening documentary on Netflix.

Yam ‘Fish’ Curry  

Unbelievably, yam tastes a lot like fish. With the right spices, you can enjoy this dish without harming your health or a sentient being. Give it a try.


  • ½ kg elephant foot yam (suran), peeled,
  • cut into thin squares and steamed
  • 1 tsp turmeric (haldi) powder
  • 1 tsp unrefined salt
  • 4 pieces kokum
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 sprig curry leaves or fresh coriander leaves, to garnish

For the Masala

  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
  • 1 cup sliced onions
  • 2 tbsp minced unpeeled ginger
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 4-5 Kashmiri red chillies
  • 1 tsp mustard (rai) seeds
  • ¼ cup grated fresh coconut


Roast all the masala ingredients together, except coconut, until golden. Allow to cool and take them in a blender. Blend adding fresh coconut and a little water, to a fine paste.

Heat a pan, add half a cup of water, add steamed yam, turmeric powder, salt, masala paste and kokum and mix well. Add 1½ cups water and let the mixture come to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off.  Add curry leaves or coriander leaves as garnish and serve.

Serves 2-4

Food For The Mind


If you love Facebook, then join us to be supported on your plant-based journey. We offer 2 possibilities.

1. SHARAN India 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 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.

How eating fish is harmful

1. Toxic contamination

Since we are polluting waterways with sewage, chemicals and plastic, we are threatened with these very pollutants that build up in the bodies of the fish that we eat.

2. Mercury and PCBs

Some fish have high levels of mercury and PCBs. These can harm the brain and nervous system and may cause birth defects, liver damage, cancer and other serious health problems.

3. High in fat

Fish are high in fat and cholesterol and lack fibre so can directly cause hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other diseases connected to high fat consumption.

4. Excess protein

Fish are often considered a high protein source but consuming excess protein can cause disease.

5. Species extinction

Fish are a vital source of food to a vast number of land and water species. Our consumption of fish is causing the extinction of other species, besides that of fish itself.

6. Greenhouse gases

Wild-catch fisheries emit greenhouse gases from the fuel used in boats and can have devastating impacts on ocean ecosystems through overfishing, seafloor destruction and plastic pollution.

7. Global warming

The oceans and the life in them regulate the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by absorbing 25% of global emissions. By destroying the fish, we are contributing to global warming

8. Depleting ocean life 

It is predicted that if we continue our current ways, by 2050 there will be more plastic by weight in the oceans than there are fish.


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 Seema Nayak, who has benefitted a great deal by going on a whole food plant-based diet.

Sanctuary for Health and Reconnection 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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