Dr. Nandita Shah
Dr Nandita Shah is the recipient of the prestigious Nari Shakti Award 2016, the highest award for women in India, for her pioneering work in the field of health and nutrition from the President of India, the honorable Pranab Mukherjee. She is also the author of the book Reversing Diabetes in 21 Days.
She is the Founder, Director, and a trustee of SHARAN. She founded SHARAN in 2005 with the vision of helping people connect to animals and nature in order to heal themselves and the planet. Dr. Shah first became vegan because of ethical issues. She says, “I became a doctor to reduce suffering and when I became aware of the tremendous suffering that we inflict on fellow creatures used for food, I had to make the connection.”
A homeopath and a teacher
Dr. Shah is a registered medical doctor, specialized in homeopathy from the CMP Homeopathic Medical College in Mumbai. She has been in practice since 1981. Her mentors were the late Dr. Sarabhai Kapadia and Dr. Usha Maniar and Dr. Rajan Sankaran.
As a homeopath she had a thriving practice in Mumbai and regularly taught all over world at seminars and conferences. Having always been interested in natural health she chose homeopathy because it was the treatment which did the least harm.
The Journey to SHARAN
She was brought up as a vegetarian. Her vegan journey began in 1985, when she learned the truth about dairy: the suffering that a cow undergoes due to repeated impregnations and loss of her offspring so that our milk bottles can be filled. Shocked, and amazed about the lies we are told as a culture in order for the dairy industry to sell its products she changed her diet and also began reading medical journals about health.
One of the turning points was Dean Ornish’s book Reversing Heart Disease. Dean Ornish conducted long term studies where patients were able to reverse their need for bypass surgery on an almost plant-based diet! Dean Ornish stated that his book was about healing mind, body and spirit, in short holistic. Other authors like Drs. John McDougall and Neal Barnard, T Colin Campbell stated the same. A plant based diet has been repeatedly proved to be the most healthful, yet, our culture is based on lies that are taught to us to serve commercial interests.
In 1999 Dr. Shah moved to Auroville, an international community based on the teachings of Shri Aurobindo and The Mother. It was also an opportunity to be in nature and closer to animals. After experiencing changes in her own health through a whole plant based diet, and the health of several serious patients it became clear that treating with only good food was not only faster and more consistent in reversing diseases than homeopathy, but also less subjective.
Dr. Shah also did an internship at Farm Sanctuary in New York to learn more about farm animals and their relation to us. This was an inspiration to start SHARAN.
“I believe that everyone can become vegan if they have the opportunity to make an initial connection. Over the years I have seen people go from cynics to passionate vegan advocates once they had made the switch to a plant-based diet. I think it’s because just one initial shift can help people go beyond denial and justifications to then go onto making the complete connection. Veganism aligns us with our true values, which are compassion and oneness.”
Dr. Shah began SHARAN as an educational organization with talks and lectures on the health benefits of a plant based diet. From this the Peas vs Pills seminars were born in Auroville from where they spread to other parts of India. Cooking Classes soon followed.
In 2009 SHARAN collaborated with PCRM to organize some talks and seminars for Dr. Neal Barnard, author of best seller, Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes for doctors, hospitals and lay people all over India. From this the Reversing Diabetes Seminar was born and this was soon followed by the Reversing Heart Disease and Hypertension Seminars.
In 2010 the first 21 day Disease Reversal Program was conducted in collaboration with Our Native Village Resort. This was a huge success. Since more and more people were interested in doing this work, in 2011 Dr. Shah conducted the first set of training programs for doctors, lifestyle advisors and cooking instructors. Dr. Shah always made it a point to educate herself in the latest in plant based nutrition through various books and conferences abroad and founded the SHARAN library with the help of a donor, Mr Janardhan Seksaria. In 2013 Dr. Shah attended PCRM’s (The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine) Food for Life Instructor Training Program and now SHARAN is an Educational Alliance Partner with PCRM.
Currently Dr. Shah heads SHARAN, conducts Peas vs Pills Seminars, Reversing Diabetes and Hypertension & Heart Disease Seminars all over India and abroad, conducts Cooking Classes, is a facilitator in SHARAN’s retreats and does individualized personal consultations and phone consultations.