Author Archives: Jina Shah

Animal Agriculture and Pandemics

Recording posted for “How Volunteering at Luvin Arms Sanctuary Changed Us”

On Nov 27, drJina and Sunny spoke with Mihika and Mansi, two pre-medical college students who found new friends in residents of Luvin Arms, learned about veganism as they dove head first into vegan advocacy, and are navigating their college life after this transformative experience! A lively discussion followed with tips about transitioning to veganism, veganism in India, and health benefits of a whole foods healthy vegan diet.

Here are some of the segments of the webinar, if you want to skip to topics of particular interst.

For the first 10 minutes, we have the opening, introduction of the hosts, speakers and their immersion into advocacy

(10: 41) hear the stories linked to pictures of the animals they grew to know and love at Luvin Arms

 (23:06) Luvin Arms’ Ahimsa in Action video

(28:13) Interview with Sunny

(40:00)  Full group Q and A and discussion about resources, podcasts, videos, experiences about the transition to veganism

(56:31) veganism in India, including comments by Shilpi  

(1:06:58) health benefits of veganism, including chronic disease prevention/reversal and allergies in children, lactose intolerance

(1:11:32) more benefits of going vegan; weight loss, increased energy for Kolle, recommendations for Game Changers and What the Health documentaries

(1:15:06) links to connect with Luvin Arms, Ahimsak Eco Vegan Committee, and Jain Vegan Initiative 

Consider how to help the earth this Paryushan

Earth pledge

 

We have just posted the Jain declaration on the climate crisis as a new page. Please read and consider it and on this day of Samvatsari for Svetambar Jains, consider if you’d like to endorse it and make any commitments. There is an endorse button at the top of the page. Above for illustrative purposes only. This is not the pledge associated with the Jain declaration.

Sailesh Rao of Climate Healers places our going vegan as the #1 thing we can do for the plant.

The book Drawdown and its associated website gives details of solutions in all different sectors.

My co-author, Sudhanshu, also describes the top 8 items you can do to address the climate crisis. Continue reading

BhattarakJi Explains Why Vegan

At the last JAINA convention in 2019, I had the great honor of meeting and interviewing Shree Charukeerthi Bhattarak Panditacharyavarya Swami about ahimsa as the guidine principle for  Jains to should consider veganism.  He explains the lineage of other monks and teachers such as Chitrabhanuji that have inspired him. His gentle style “No force”, is a beautiful example of how we can encourage each other.

 

 

 

 

Easier than ever to eat yummy vegan food in India

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Vegan Jains went to India in November 2019 for a trip that combined medical care volunteering near Hyderabad, visiting a palliative care organization in Trivandram, visiting tourist sites up the Kerala coast, including the Mata Amritamaya Ashram, and then visiting family in Mumbai. From the traditional vegetarian food which had plenty of vegan options to unique vegan restaurants, to hotel breakfasts and specialties made by family, we found that those who catered to travelers had all heard of the word vegan, family was accustomed to preparing food vegan,  and the level of spice and oil, as well as food safety when eating out were bigger concerns than veganism.

We flew Air India on the way and were pretty disappointed by the bland food on the  long transpacific flight. However, I was delighted when upgraded to first class on the Delhi-Hyd leg AND, they had extra vegan meals so i could eat a nice Indian dinner. Arriving at the Novotel airport hotel, the breakfast buffet offered temptations that flew right in the face of eating with restraint! Made to order split mung crepes,  called pesarattu, as well as the more usual south Indian specialities of idli and dosa, as well as North indian breads such as cauliflower parathas along with fruit and nut loaded oatmeal, toast with vegan bread, soymilk and juice and all manner of international dishes left me full for the day.

Eating with our fellow volunteers in  rural districts around Hyderabad, we were able to avoid the yogurt (curd in India) ladled up by our colleague in the photo at the top, and still enjoy the dal, squash,mixed veg curry, chappati, rice and peeled cucumbers. There was a whole article on how Hyderabad was voted the most vegan friendly city in India and at the end of the trip we got to go to Smar Alec’s, an all vegan restaurant.

More Food Photos Below… keep reading……

Continue reading

Jain sadhvi: Jain sutras prohibit dairy

 

Jain ascetics are increasingly recognizing the violence inherent in dairy products and speaking out.
In this video, Sadhvi Vaibhavshree discusses the question “Being a Jain and a follower of nonviolence, should I consume milk or not? I am confused as my family and I do want to drink milk and I am not sure what to do.” Her talk is in Hindi. Thanks to Prof. Pankaj Jain for rendering the translation (to which i have made minimal changes, including re-ordering her ideas to emphasize her “big reveal”).

 

You will be surprised today. I am going to reveal a big truth for the Jain society. In the Jain sutras, dairy products are called vigai and are prohibited in our shastras. Even root vegetables are actually not prohibited in our texts. In the 16th and 17th chapters of Uttaradhyayan, Sthananga Sutra, dairy products are prohibited. It is mentioned that such products cause sexual desires so a spiritual seeker should avoid them. An ascetic consuming milk or yogurt cannot remain an ascetic and will become sinful. However, today, our Jain society does not renounce milk that is a product of five-sensed beings but some of us do renounce root vegetables that are products of one-sensed beings. We should prioritize avoiding the violence to five-sensed beings before worrying about violence to one-sensed beings. We make excuses about nonviolence but refuse to change our habits of consuming dairy products. I am sorry to say this. If one wants to practice nonviolence, start from self, be free from attachments and aversions, and avoid the stress. When we commit violence to ourselves, we also commit violence to the entire universe, according to Lord Mahavira in Acharang Sutra. Violence to one is violence to all.

Continue reading

Climate Change and our Lifestyles

This year at the JAINA convention, I spoke about having Ahimsak lifestyles for health. Not only does that mean vegan, but also climate friendly. I found a couple of articles today that draws a parallel between individual prevention of disease and prevention of climate catastrophe. It’s always harder for people to act to prevent harm than to react to harm that occurs. However, on this eve of Paryushan, it’s time for us to reflect and act in order to prevent widesspread himsa. Here is the article about prevention and another, associated with the picture, is about what we can do on a broader scale.

 

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Plant based milk recipes

Our friend Barbara posted these tricks for making plant milk.

We have a Soymilk maker which makes the Soymilk much easier than what she’s posted but maybe her recipe is useful for those who don’t .

Trick #1 Xanthan gum

I love nut milks, they are nutritious, smooth and oh so tasty. Have you ever made a batch, marveled at its white creamy texture just to be so disappointed the morning after when, opening the fridge, you were greeted by an unappealing separated sludgy looking beverage?

It happened to me several times, close your eyes and shake before drinking, yes …but! Just adding ¼ tsp Xanthan gum to one liter of milk does the trick, your mil will not separate.

I strain the milk using a nut milk bag, place it I the blender one more time, add the xanthan gum and blend it on low for few seconds. Et voilà, no more surprises or shaking in the morning.

Trick #2 the nut butter

In a hurry, cannot peel those almonds? Adding two tablespoons of almond butter to 1 liter of water in a blender makes a delicious milk. I then add some little salt, maple syrup and my ¼ tsp xanthan gum. I experimented with hazelnut butter as well…delicious!

Trick #3: 1-2-3 Cashew

Another no time milk – Cashew milk does not need to be strained – ½ cup of raw cashews in 1 liter of water make a very smooth and creamy milk. Again, I add a little salt, vanilla and xanthan gum so it does not separate

Trick #4: No beany flavor soy milk

Soy milk is very nutritious, but when I started making it at home, I had a very hard time with its beany flavor.  After experimenting a bit, I am set on the following method. While not quick, it yields very good results: creamy home-made soy milk without any beany flavor!

·      Blanch 1 cup of beans for 10 minutes in boiling water + 1 TBS bicarbonate

·      Soak the blanched beans for 8-10 hours in water + 1 TBS sodium bicarbonate

·      Rinse the beans

·      Blend the beans with 2 cups of boiling water in your Vitamix or another high-speed blender

·      In a large pot bring 5 cups of water to a boil

·      Place bean paste in the boiling water

·      Simmer for few minutes stirring often. The milk will foam and at some point, rise in the pot. Turn off the burner and let it rest few minutes.

·      Place your nut bag in a strainer on a clean pot. Pour the milk in and strain it with the help of a ladle to push on the bag as it’s still very hot.

·      Cook the strained milk for about 10 minutes then let it cool. Stir it often during the first 15 minutes of cooling to break the skin that forms on top

·      You can add salt, vanilla and sweetener or your choice. Transfer the milk into a container and refrigerate. I did not use any xanthan gum on this.

A whole food plant based diet to address heart disease risk in South Asians (Indians)

Dr. Nandita Shah from Sharan gives a great introduction to veganism in this video

and this NYT article discusses the increased risk of heart disease in South Asian, linked both to those that eat a very traditional diet with lots of refined grains and saturated fat, and also a too Western diet with high fat meat and dairy. The type of whole foods, plant based diet that I, and Dr. Nandita and other vegan nutritionists and doctors recommend fit the recommendations to  incorporate whole grains, vegetables and legumes into a mixed diet.

Vegan Chai at JCNC’s anniversary celebration and food: Great reviews!

A note from Pranav:

 

Hi All, I want to sincerely thank the Jcnc kitchen committee and volunteers to prepare vegan foods in sufficient quantity and for allowing the use of separate serving  table on this dhwaja ceremony day (Aug 4, 2018) . This time the volunteers decided to really educate the members on the availability
of vegan alternatives and quite a few people wanted to taste the vegan foods side by side with the dairy based foods. Afterwards, we informally reached out to them on the tables they were eating and they said they found vegan items more flavorful because milk/yogurt was actually diluting the original flavor of chaula sabzi as well as daal. Vegan Gattha was the most popular because people found the dairy version was actually too dull and watery. All in all, we noticed that just like a kid doesn’t like plain milk and want it flavored, Jcnc members realized that milk was working against the flavor of the base food and they would rather enjoy sabzi, daal, legumes etc without dairy. Below are few verbatim feedback from members who aren’t currently vegan themselves.
I sincerely request the food committee to make more menu items vegan as I think community is open to it.
Dhiral —- “vegan chaula sabzi tasted better because it felt more flavorful… if there was only one counter I would have rather enjoyed vegan chaula… “
Krinaben shah —- “loved the vegan version and I would go for it anytime”
Mudit khasgiwala —- “vegan dishes were more delicious and highly recommend to make more of those”
And here are some reviews of the vegan cha: