SHARAN Newsletter - Issue #17 - February 2013


• Special Feature: Losing Weight the Healthy Way
• How you can join us • Fact or Fiction? • Recipe • News from SHARAN •

Special Feature: Losing Weight the Healthy Way

Dieting is an unnatural and counter-intuitive way of eating where you are made to count calories, limit and measure portion sizes, or entirely cut out a major food group, for example, carbohydrates like bread, chapattis, rice, pasta etc. Most diets fail because they are based on the psychology of ‘feeling bad’ – you feel bad if you stick to the diet because you are depriving yourself of all your favourite foods AND you feel bad if you blow the diet and indulge yourself.

The best way to allow your body to release excess weight and guide you to your natural, healthy weight is to learn to listen to its signals of hunger and fullness, energy and lethargy or ease and dis-ease when eating certain types of foods.  Learn to eat the diet that is natural to our anatomy as human beings.  Our hands are perfectly shaped for plucking an apple or a tomato and our teeth for biting into a mango or crushing an almond. Including more fresh fruits and vegetables in our diet will make us feel better from the inside out without any feeling of deprivation.

Including foods like cooked beans, legumes, whole grains and a small amount of nuts and seeds into your diet can make all the difference.  Plant-based foods contain almost* all the nutrients that a human body needs like vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, enzymes, anti-oxidants etc. and abundant quantities of fibre, which are so essential for digestive health and many other processes in the body. 

When we 'refine' foods by converting whole wheat to maida, sugar cane to sugar, unpolished rice to white rice, or extracting oil from seeds and nuts, we remove more than 90% of fibre and 60-80% of other vital nutrients, therefore leaving the food devoid of nutrition or ‘empty calories’. Consumption of refined foods should be avoided as far as possible.

Animal based foods, on the other hand, like meat, poultry, fish, eggs and all dairy products, including curd or yogurt, are devoid of fibre and contain cholesterol and saturated fats. Our modern factory farming processes also add a number of undesirable antibiotics and hormones to yield higher produce from these animals, which end up in our bodies, compromising our health in the bargain.

Therefore, the recommendation for sustained weight loss which also supports overall health, is to eat a primarily whole, plant- based diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans and a small amount of nuts and seeds.

SHARAN's Nandini Gulati runs a special 12-week  programme for weight release called 'Be Light, Be Well'. For more information, visit the following links:

12-week Programme for Weight Release
Be Light Be Well

*2 vital nutrients do not come from plants. Vitamin B12 is only made by bacteria and may need supplementation due to our hygienic lifestyles. Our bodies produce Vitamin D through exposure to sunlight.

What you can do
1. Eat mindfully. Savour each bite of food by being fully present to its aroma, texture, consistency, colour, sound as you chew it and of course the taste in your mouth. When you eat, only eat. Immerse all your 5 senses in the experience of eating so that you feel satisfied and enjoy the food fully.  For further reading, see this link

2. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Next time you reach out to put something in your mouth, ask yourself if you are really hungry or if you just want to eat for some other reason. Other reasons could be: it looks good, it’s free, someone is offering it, etc. The only good reason to eat if when you have a robust hunger.

3. Eat a diet high in whole, plant-based foods. A guide could be to eat 40-50% of your daily intake as fresh fruits and vegetables, 20-30% as cooked vegetables, and 20-30% as cooked beans, legumes and whole grains. 5-10% can be made up of seeds, nuts and dried fruit like dates and raisins.

Fact or Fiction?

The best way to lose weight is to count calories.


Not all calories are created equal!  What you need to avoid are ‘empty calories’ which are essentially animal foods and refined foods that have been stripped of vital nutrients and fibre that signal fullness in the body. When you eat a lot of animal-based foods or refined foods, at a nutritional level you are actually starving even if you have consumed enough calories. That’s why even after a meal of white rice, curd, egg curry and cake, you might still feel hungry. This is because this meal is lacking in fibre and essential vitamins and minerals.

If you eat a high fibre and high nutrient whole plant based diet, then your body will feel full and satiated and signal you to stop eating and you will never have to count calories – only to listen to your body.


Chana Daal


200g chana daal
100 grams thinly chopped fresh coconut
1 teaspoon dhaniya powder
2-3 dried red chillies to taste
2 tomatoes
Salt to taste
1 tomato
2 tsp turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin seeds/ jeera
Pinch of hing
1/2 teaspoon garam masala

Soak the daal in 3 times water for 2 hours. Cook in pressure cooker with salt and turmeric for 3-4 whistles.

For tempering, in a kadhai dry roast cumin and whole red chillies. Switch off the gas and add the hing.

Pour the daal in the kadhai on this dry masala and switch on the gas.
Add the coconut pieces and cook for 10 minutes or until the right consistency is reached. Garnish with coriander and garam masala.

Serves 5-6.

News from SHARAN

On 15 January SHARAN presented a press conference at the Bangalore Press Club where Dr Nandita Shah exposed the ill effects of milk on health to a group of local journalists. As a result of the conference and a press release, inquiries from the press flooded in and some daily papers carried articles on the topic:

Milk: A Red Herring, Chennai Chronicle, 21 January 2013
Glass of Milk not the Best Drink for Good Health, Deccan Chronicle, 16 January 2013

Following the success of this initiative, a press release on how diabetes can be reversed through a change in diet was sent to the press in Mumbai on 16 January. The local papers featured SHARAN’s efforts to help people overcome diabetes in several articles:

Diabetes Can be Reversed, Health, 24 January 2013.
Diabetes: Making a Single Mistake May Come Back on Same Situation, Lead India News.
Diabetes Can be Reversed, Global Newz Service.

A Peas vs Pills seminar was organised by the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical Sciences college and hospital in Wardha on 23 December where about 35 doctors participated. Many of them were very enthusiastic about trying lifestyle changes. Manisha Hariharan, who was instrumental in organising this along with her mother Dr Hariharan, will be co-ordinating the Wardha Vegans chapter.

SHARAN's weight release programme, 
Be Light. Be Well ran a 4-week free event on Facebook in January and February. There were 382 participants in this event. Each day a tip, video or recipe was posted to inspire people to adopt a healthier lifestyle and introduce them to whole plant-based foods.

Upcoming events
Over the next few months SHARAN has several workshops and special events coming up in Auroville, Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi and Pune. These include:
Peas vs Pills Workshop
Reversing Diabetes Workshop
Reversing Heart Disease and Hypertension Workshop
Joyful Weight Release
Cooking for Weight Loss
Health Talks  and Lunch Meetings

Check our list of upcoming events for more details.

SHARAN’s next 21-day Disease Reversal Retreat will be held from 9 to 30 June 2013 at the SwaSwara resort in Gokarna, Karnataka. This special retreat is for people who would like to join a group and reverse their diseases and heal themselves with healthy and healing foods - not medicines - in a holiday atmosphere with like-minded people. Only 21 rooms are available and we will accept a maximum of 30 participants, so register now! Email [email protected]

More details are available here.

Other news

1. Carrots, Bangalore's very 1st vegan restaurant has opened in Bangalore! More information is available on their Facebook page and their website.

At the same time, Bangalore will also soon celebrate the opening of its first 100% vegan café: Check out Paradigm Shift here.

2. AAMUL Soya Milk Maker is now available in India! Cost: Rs. 5900 with 1-year warranty. Please contact Mr. Sunil Jain at 09376922002 or [email protected]

3. Love vegan food but you can’t cook? It’s easier than you think! Healthy vegan cooking classes are on in Mumbai, and the Delhi area. Visit this link for more details.

4. Would you like to have an introduction to how diseases can be reversed by eating the right foods? Are you concerned about environmental issues and would like to know more about how our food choices have an effect on the environment? SHARAN offers free talks to groups. Write to us for more information: [email protected] 

5. A short film on SHARAN was specially made recently to present its work and mission to a wider public. Visit the SHARAN YouTube Channel to see this film and others, including testimonials from past participants.

Join a vegan potluck in your area
Would you like to meet vegans living in your area and share tips and recipes? Or are you considering a lifestyle change and would like to learn more about veganism? Vegan potlucks are held in cities across India and are open to everyone: vegans, aspiring vegans, vegetarians or anyone interested in learning more about veganism. To find out about a vegan potluck in your area, get in touch with the vegan group in the following cities: Bangalore / Mumbai / Delhi
/  Chennai / Ahmedabad / Hyderabad / Pune

The SHARAN photo album features pictures of all our past events. Those who have attended our events may enjoy seeing pictures of themselves and the group. (Click on the image to get an enlarged version.)

Did you miss past issues of this newsletter? Have a look at the SHARAN newsletter archives.

The Reversing Diabetes Facebook Group is for people who would like to learn about and exchange information on how a healthy plant-based whole foods diet can help reverse diabetes. Members share tips and their own experiences of how they have been able to control and reverse diabetes through the food they eat. Click here to join the group.

Join SHARAN India on Facebook to find out about upcoming events, join in discussions and share experiences, and meet other like-minded people!

SHARAN India is now on Twitter. Click here to follow us!

Visit the SHARAN YouTube Channel.

NEW! Follow SHARAN India on Pinterest by clicking here.

What is SHARAN?

We are a non-profit organization with the goals of spreading holistic health awareness, and an ecologically sustainable compassionate lifestyle. We believe that all life on the planet is interconnected. By reconnecting we can heal ourselves and our earth.

Visit our website:
Contact us: [email protected]

© 2013 SHARAN