Category Archives: Vegetarian Club

Tree planting at Ogal primary and secondary school near in Akuche 

Kenya Vegetarian Club took challenge to go in the interior parts of the country side around Kisumu west. Our team went to Ogal primary and secondary school near Akuche after the airport on 8th April.

The students of the schools were excited to recieve 250 seedlings and started planting on Friday itself. After we reached there on Saturday they greeted us with warmth and we completed rest of the trees in the school compound. We have asked every student to adopt a tree and give them names and nurture them as their own family members.

The school was identified by Ms Atiano Otiano and she arranged the place to plant the trees. 

   
    
    
    
    
    
 

Session on vegetable farming at Urudi Center

urudi center- ketito

Continuing the series of vegetarianism and vegetable farming, Lake Basin college invited me to yet another session at Urudi Center near Katito, an interior part of Kisumu county which I had never seen before. The drive to that place was pleasant with less traffic and a tarmac road.

The session started with the reciting of few verses of Bible and explanation given about food in it. The pastor explained the importance of food very well and even I learned few  things about food in Bible from him. The crowd was a mixture of model farmers and the farm owners of various places around that area.

When I started explaining the benefits of vegetarian diet, people were reluctant to  believe one can survive without meat forever. I understand that it is a tough war but I am getting there slowly. Every session is teaching me something new through their queries, expressions, interests they show in my research etc. This time I went with the actual samples of pulses and vegetables which many of them had not seen before. It was a good opening for  them to know what they need to grow in this region. I also realised that I may need to show the seeds next time and go with the chart so that they can identify the seeds quickly.

I am also glad to know that farmers taking more and more interest in learning more about farming and really keen on growing their farms. Let’s hope for the best.

 

Say no to plastic!

 

Sometime back there was a news report which said that a huge whale was washed ashore dead near Kent Beach in the UK. Such reports are becoming more and more common nowadays. I started thinking. Before the gleaming supermarkets and mega malls came up handing over all items in shining plastic bags what did we do? We carried cloth bags and wicker baskets to the market place to collect the vegetables and groceries that we bought. Our parents and their parents followed this method. Life was a lot peaceful. Earth too returned the favor by ensuring that everything was quiet in nature. True they might not have led a life of ease and comfort but they had something more precious, peace and quiet. Nothing was used and thrown, things were reused.

And then of course came the use and throw culture which we are all only too familiar. Convenience at the cost of environment took over. We could just go without planning to buy anything, so did not have to carry any bag with us. And then if something caught our fancy, the obliging shop keeper could always give it to us wrapped in a huge plastic cover which was anyway used by us to put all the waste and oosh, we could just throw it into the garbage dump.

Which brings us to the next point? What happens if all the garbage bags started piling up in the dumps? These land refills have started eating into our urban spaces and now we are choking, literally in our own dirt. This has become a major problem in all the cities of the world especially in the developing countries. We need to act before it is too late.

Why is plastic harmful? Why are they harmful to the environment? Let us find out why-

Studies have shown that Plastic takes 1000 years to decompose into smaller pieces. These then seep down into the soil and release chemicals, which eventually reach the water supply or the underground water tables.

On land, cattle roaming on the streets eat this plastic mistaking it to be fodder and die painful excruciating deaths. Also, this waste builds up in landfills and we have mounds of garbage as no one knows how to dispose them. At sea, juice cans and cola bottles and plastic covers thrown carelessly into the waters by reckless beachgoers kill animals in the water when they eat plastic bags thinking they are jellyfish.

Manufacturing of plastic bags is harmful to the environment because nonrenewable resources are used (petroleum and natural gas). The manufacturing process itself uses toxic chemicals, pollutes the atmosphere and consumes energy. Also transportation of the billions of plastic bags from the industries to various places means further energy consumption, largely in the form of more petrol and diesel.

Before the problem becomes any worse I think we should move in and act swiftly. Already it is too late but let us wake up atleast now. We can prevent it if all of us come together and act for the sake of our mother earth. Shopkeepers should first be enlisted into the campaign. They should politely stop giving plastic bags and hang notice boards all over the shops asking customers to bring in their own cloth or jute bags. Of course in some places shopkeepers charge for the bags but that is nominal and people do not mind spending on it so it will still encourage the use of plastic bags. We must ensure zero tolerance. Shopkeepers can give away cloth bags for a nominal price.

Another group which can play an important role is the restaurant owners. Disposable, plastic plates and cutlery should be discouraged. If customers want takeaways they can bring their own containers. In recent times, many high profile people in India plan eco friendly weddings and events where they use leaf plates and steel cutlery. Bouquets are wrapped not using fancy plastic streamers, covers and ribbons but using colorful leaves. These people show the way that we can help the environment in our own small way.

While going through various research papers about plastic, I found that we can reuse plastic bottles to build small huts and houses for the under privileged ones. It does the job of bricks and can hold cement or other binding agent for the house. The life of such houses are also long enough as the plastic itself takes years to decompose.

If citizens come together, then we can be the change that we want to see in others.

 

Addressed at an event of Lake Basin College

It is a new beginning of spreading the message of vegetarianism and importance of vegetable farming in the local region on a different platform. When I was invited by Prof. Jack Kamiruka of Lake Basin college, I was puzzled about how the farmers can be connected with the concept of vegetarianism. But when I started understanding the need of the topic, I realized that it has a direct impact on farming and selling the vegetables and grains. Many times, most of the locals end up eating meat is due to non- availability of the vegetables and grains in their respective village.

That is what encouraged me to take this up to speak to the farmers in this forum of Lake Basin Region of Theology wherein the main theme was the Role of the Church as an agent of Change.

After my presentation, I encountered quite a few questions about the protein intake, how to market the crops, how to reach out to end users etc. But the main thing I learned is that the farmers are able to produce but not able to sell directly to the end users. I strongly suggest that our Asian community should be open to buy directly from these farmers and  ensured that they continuously supply the same quality of grains.

I also suggest that we encourage our local farmers to grow the vegetables and grains here within Kisumu region and stop importing from other counties. I feel that we should help these farmers to be independent and we become self sufficient. This will surely create employment as well reduce the cost of living for each of us.

I also recommended to develop a whole sale market wherein these farmers can come together and sell their goods and retailers can directly buy from the wholesalers.

I am really thankful to Prof. Jack for inviting me to speak to the farmers’ and other people of Kisumu.

 

Kenya Vegetarian Club promotes tree plantation

It is the first tree planting drive by Kenya vegetarian club in association with Hindu Council of Kenya Kisumu branch on 17th January 2016. I am so glad to see the participants of various schools in Kisumu. It showed the zeal of the students how much they are eager to learn something new and also respond to the dire condition of mother nature.

The students of various schools like MM Shah School, Muslim Secondary school, Highway Secondary school, St. Theresa School, Kisumu Girls School, Jalaram Academy School, Kisumu Junior Academy and Kisumu Senior Academy whole heartedly participated in the drive. The club wanted to encourage the students to adopt each tree and nurture it in coming years. More than 150 kids came out on a Sunday morning to support the drive with full enthusiasm in all different schools.

Gugu Panesar, the chairperson of Hindu Council of Kenya Kisumu branch shared his views on tree plantation and supported the cause of Vegetarian club. Our team members transferred the trees from Kakamega Forest donated by our friend to all the schools, donated manure and also organised a good team to help the kids to plan the trees.

I also would like to thank Vipulbhai to help me to manage the team and also thankful to all team members who visited the schools while the planting was taking place.

 

 

Vegetable farming in Kisumu county

Here is a new chapter added to the Kenya Vegetable Club. It is a logical next step towards promoting vegetarianism in the region and help locals turn vegetarian for good health, better lifestyle and save nature.

Somehow I get connected with right people at the right time for the right cause. Ms. Atiano Otiano of Mandeleo Ya Wanawake, a local group helping women to become self sufficient in Kisumu county has been instrumental in finding such ladies and reaching out to them. She checked with local farmers who genuinely needed seeds to start their farm. We reached the site through a local rough road into the interior part of the village where the farm was ready.

I could manage to explain the importance of vegetable diet and the importance of vegetable farming to the local farmers who were eager to know more about health, how to save crops, which vegetables to grow, how is the demand of vegetables in Asian community.

During my research I found that many vegetables come from western and other counties to Kisumu and Kisumu alone can’t produce that much Bhoga in the region. It is mostly because of the lack of knowledge and attempt made by people. I am sure through this drive, we will be able to make many farmers start producing the vegetables in the region and will reduce our cost of importing.

Our club donated the seeds of spinach and Sukuma wiki and manure to help these women start farming. I strongly feel that investing in the seeds is better than donating ready food to needy. This seeds would take them a long way and make people independent and self sufficient.

I am really thankful to Alka who came with me as it was a good support to this cause.

Hopefully this drive will get bigger and bigger as time passes and will reach millions of farmers directly and encourage them to grow everything in the region itself.

 

 

Tree planting drive in Kisumu

Tree plantation! a direct gift to mother nature! I am glad to start walking on this path of my life. I always felt that we have cut so many trees to learn absolutely mediocre education through those books made out of these trees. Do we really make any sense to manufacture books by cutting trees? do we actually gain any knowledge from those books in our daily lives? I don’t think so. Except the scriptures, important documents of our lives and research materials for the next generation are the few areas which would require papers. Let’s start cutting down the usage and save the planet.

Please join us for tree planting drive on 17th January at DHT school in Kisumu at 8.30 am. It is organised by Hindu Council of Kenya Kisumu and Kenya Vegetarian Club . We will plant more than 300 trees at various schools around DHT and in the town center. We have encouraged the school kids to adopt those trees and care for them in coming years. You may give your names to Vipulbhai Buch to be part of the team. Let’s give a better future to our kids and involve them in this drive.

please make best use of your Sunday for a better future.

 

tree planting

Vegetarian Christmas Lunch for government officials

I am so pleased to share that our club could manage to plan something more meaningful and direct in approach to help people change to vegetarian diet. Here is a small report of the event we prepared.

Kenya Vegetarian Club arranged for a Christmas lunch for the members of county government of Kisumu to welcome New Year in a healthy way on 29th December at Yacht club of Kisumu. The event was attended by various high profile officials, professionals, NGOs and most importantly County Commissioner of Kisumu Mr. John

I narrated the benefits of vegetarianism to the audience who was really eager to know why and what is the reason of this lunch. When I started explaining the importance of vegetarianism they realized that why it is important. , I narrated how this can be practiced, how to replace meat in your meal, why we should promote vegetable farming and help our farmers to grow more, the medical benefits of this diet, the importance of vegetarianism in religion, help people in grassroots level to change the  diet habits and behavior pattern which we have got for a long time.

The women representative of the county, Ms. Atiano Otiano mastered the ceremony and encouraged women of different county to turn to vegetable farming, start living a healthy life and help the club to grow more in numbers.

The chairman of Hindu Council of Kenya Kisumu branch Mr. Gurdeep Singh Panesar narrated how we can make Kisumu county more green and independent and we can stop importing vegetables from other parts of Kenya.

The National Trustee of Hindu Council of Kenya Mr Ramesh Mehta thanked the audience and ensured the guests can make more benefits out of vegetable farming.

The meeting ended with the practical example of vegetarian food for lunch which was explained during the session.

I am really thankful to Rameshbhai and Gugu for being with me throughout the session. They really helped me to take care of the guests till the end.

Rain water harvesting!

rain water harvestingrain water2

It is that time of the year where many places in the world receive rains due to the monsoons. In Kenya we have the short rain spells in November unlike the longer spells that we usually get in March- April. Despite all that talk of El Nino and the vagaries of climate, the rain gods are still really kind, otherwise the world would not survive. But where does all this rain water go? No prizes for guessing. Literally down the drain or into the seas! When will people in power wake up and start thinking about the future. Everywhere they seem to be in a hurry to settle old scores or indulge in making hay while the sun shines but precious little is done to plug the problems of the world.

Many cities in India received very heavy rainfall this year and one report stood out amidst all that usual statistics of waterlogged streets and fallen trees and telephone wires. One city received copious rain enough for an entire year’s water supply but alas it all went straight into the Bay of Bengal. Every place faces a drought as this is not an isolated case. When it rains, we are not wise to store it for the difficult days ahead. We waste this precious resource called water without which we cannot live on this earth.

How much water does this world use? To find out the exact figure, two engineers Arjen Hoekstra and Mesfin Mekonnen from the University of Twente in the Netherlands calculated the water footprint of the world’s countries as well as the per capita water consumption in different nations. They found that “overall, the world is using 9,087 billion cubic meters of water per year. China, India and the U.S. consumed the highest annual totals: 1,207 billion, 1,182 billion and 1,053 billion cubic meters, respectively, followed by Brazil at 482 billion. But the water consumed per person in these and other countries varies considerably, due primarily to higher living standards or widespread waste among consumers. The U.S. had the world’s highest per capita water footprint, at 2,842 cubic meters per annum.” Meat consumption accounts for 30 percent of the American figure, and sugar consumption is responsible for another 15 percent, Hoekstra says.

So it is an emerging crisis and we need to pull our socks quickly and do something about conserving water or we will be leaving a parched, dry earth to our children. This will be the result of our selfishness and utter contempt for others. Our ancients were never like this. If you read about the Native African legends or the Native American way of life we understand that they lived a life in harmony with the elements and were grateful for everything that Nature gave them and adjusted their life to its rhythm.

In India, our ancient texts and scriptures revered forests as they protected water catchments. Our ancestors believed that forests were mothers of rivers and therefore they worshipped the sources of these water bodies. Cutting down trees in the name of industrialization and urbanization is taking us nowhere. We need to start adopting water conservation methods in each and every household on an urgent basis. The oldest civilization, the Indus Valley Civilization boasted of advanced water conservation methods. One of the oldest water harvesting systems is found about 130 km from Pune along Naneghat in the Western Ghats. They thought of others too. A large number of tanks were cut in the rocks to provide drinking water to tradesmen who used to travel along this ancient trade route. Each fort in the area had its own water harvesting and storage system in the form of rock-cut cisterns, ponds, tanks and wells that are still in use today. A large number of forts like Raigad had tanks that supplied water. In rain starved Rajasthan houses were built in such a way they had rooftop rain harvesting systems. Rainwater from these rooftops was directed into underground tanks. This system can be seen even today in all the forts, palaces and houses of the region.

Rainwater harvesting helps in improving underground water tables as water seeps in gently, keeping the place moist. This is the need of the hour. Many governments have made it mandatory to install this system in all houses. Awareness should be created in our communities and when this is backed by strong laws, I am sure we can help save atleast a part of the water that would otherwise get lost.

 

A seminar on Nutritional benefits of vegetarian diet!

Kenya Vegetarian Club and Hindu Council of Kenya Kisumu branch arranged for an interesting talk on the Nutritional Benefits of Vegetarian Diet on 25th October 2015 to celebrate World Vegetarian Day which was in the first week of October.

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The event was well planned by the founder chairperson Mrs Vaishali Kamal Shah of Shrivedant Foundation which runs the Vegetarian Club in Kenya. The event was held at Ram Garhia Singh Sabha, Guru Nanak Darbar Temple in Kisumu.

  

  

Ms Vaishali explained why we should help locals to turn vegetarian. The main emphasis was on the vegetable farming to help local women to be self-sufficient and promote tree planting. She also explained the effects of meat production on environment and what measures we need to take to avoid the same. She narrated how vegetarianism is an integral part of hindu culture and religion for centuries.

Ms Komal Shah explained how and why we should avoid meat, dairy and poultry products. She also shared some tips for healthy lifestyle and supported the idea of promoting vegetarianism in different parts of the society. Mrs Shobhna Shah narrated vegetarianism in Jainism and Mr Balvinder Singh Rupra explained what Sikhism has to say about vegetarianism.

The highlight of the event was the participation of various schools’ students. They brought up many ideas about water conservation, avoid air pollution, cleaning process of the used water, explained the benefits of nutritional food. Every participant was given gifts and there were six winners in different categories of food presentation and the environmental projects. Kisumu Junior and Senior Academy and Jalaram school participated in the exhibition. Sujata Derodra, co convener helped in the arrangements and Ms. Alka Vaghela encouraged students of the school to participate in the exhibition.

More than two hundred people from various communities attended the talk which was also attended by ms Atiano Otiano, the county representative of Kisumu. Hindu Council of Kenya Kisumu branch and Kenya Vegetarian Club have joined hands to plan the massive tree planting project in coming months with Ms Atiano Otiano and her representative of governments.

My Body! My Temple! 

Our body is the most complex and durable machine ever built. Not even the most advanced robot is capable of matching the abilities of a normal five year old child. If you treat your body as your temple, it will nurture and bless you with remarkable health and happiness. Though I know that being ‘18 till I die’ is realistically impossible, I am fanatical about being fit and energetic – even when I grow old! I believe that one can control the decay of one’s body and health through various kinds of yoga, pranayam and vigorous exercise. Good habits are vital, too. I have been a vegetarian all my life. I don’t smoke and drink. I avoid cold drinks and frozen food most of the time. When I’m tired, I go for fruit juices, milkshakes and coconut water instead of tea or coffee. I also hit the gym regularly to keep myself fit. However, I still feel that I need to do more to stay healthy and keep looking for ways to increase my stamina.
My friends often wonder how I control the temptation to binge on something unhealthy. My answer is simple – I have never been the kind of person who gives in to an impulse. If I need to cut down on something or lose a few kilos, I do whatever it takes to get there. It doesn’t matter if you’re completely out of shape. Your body is tremendously forgiving and I’m sure you’ll reap the benefits sooner than you think!

What we eat is what we are!

Food! The most important part of our life. Many of you will agree that most of the people on this earth live to eat. If you are a foody, it is a boon to be born in India. This is the place where you will get to taste more than four thousand various cuisines across the country with many combinations of gravy and spices. Because of the climate, our life style and right food habits we never had to worry about weight or any related diseases. The modern lifestyle invited many such problems hence we need to rethink about the food we eat.

Let’s find out what kind of food you should eat and what to avoid for having a complete balance of mental peace, health and strength.

A must have,


Fruits, dry fruits and salads:

It is not a secret that one should eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. But very few know the science behind how and how much we should eat. Breakfast is the best time to eat fruits as the stomach is empty and the essence of fruits directly goes into your blood cells. It is recommended to eat one fruit at a time and take a break of fifteen minutes before the next one. Having a fruit juice is definitely not a good idea as you tend to lose the important fiber while filtering it. Follow our original trend of eating only seasonal fruit as they work best on your body keeping the outside climate in mind.
Dry fruits are loosing its ground in today’s modern life style. But they are the best and the shortest way of achieving a great health. If you want to improve vitality and strength, eat black dry grapes, walnuts and nuts. If you do the workouts regularly, black grapes would be the best thing to have before you start your gym sessions, which was recommended to me by a senior trainer at the gym in London.
Many of us swear by salads with different types of dressings. But remember one thing, anything uncooked creates gas in the body, it is the home for worms as mostly we don’t clean the salads with warm water and it doesn’t give any satisfaction to our taste buds. Including herbs, pepper, olive oil and ajwain or aniseeds to your salad will help in avoiding gastric problems.

Why be a vegetarian?

The human race exists since millions of years. As we evolved we invented variety of cuisines to satisfy our taste-bud. But originally, our body was designed to have fruits and vegetables only. They have a life in them in some ways and work on our body positively helping us grow in health, vitality, positivity and emotional strength. They get digested faster comparatively and have absolutely no side effects to the body.
We included grains and other pulses as we got evolved and added spices for the flavor and aroma in the food. Some of spices also have medicinal properties, which really prevents many unwanted diseases in the body.

The non-vegetarian food is high in cholesterol, fat and many unwanted properties which are damaging to the human body. Our body was never designed to digest such food as it takes almost three days to digest one piece of meat; hence it takes a toll on the digestive capacity of our inner organs. I know that half of the world population lives on meat products but then they are the ones who are suffering with all sorts of diseases. The ratio of people suffering from cancer is much higher in the western world due to meat eating compared to India which is largely vegetarian.

So think twice before eating such things as your body is not the graveyard of dead animals.


What to avoid!

Alcohol, soft drinks and processed juices
Alcohol is the most tempting liquid on this earth and the most difficult thing to leave if you have been enjoying it for years. But trust me, the world of full consciousness and awareness is much more beautiful than what you see after getting a bit tipsy or drunk. As everyone knows that alcohol is responsible for liver problems, memory loss, loss of appetite, loss of physical strength and stamina and the most important thing is you tend to invite unnecessary disputes with people which you could have avoided otherwise.
I have seen many relationships getting spoiled because of the alcoholism of the husbands in most cases and wives in some cases.


Soft drinks

Everyone knows the adverse effect of soft drinks but nobody knows how to avoid them and control the craving for it. Most of the soft drinks are as strong as toilet cleaners. Many scientists have proved that if you put a human bone in any cola drink it will melt in seventy-two hours.
It also reduces your stamina, is extremely high in sugar and highly acidic for your digestive system. I know many people who drink cola while eating which is the most dangerous thing to do as it prevents your natural acid to digest the food in your stomach thus creating problems in the immune system. It is the most common replacement to water while we are on the move but it actually dehydrates your body leaving you even more thirsty.


Processed juices

We tend to get carried away by many advertisements on processed juices which claim to be natural. But the actual life of any fruit juice is thirty seconds after it is extracted. The manufacturers of the juices have to use highly concentrated salt based preservatives to keep the juices fresh which are certainly not healthy. It increases the weight, reduces the white cells of the blood resulting in lack of stamina and is high in bad sugar.

We mostly drink juices in flights, house parties, as evening snacks, serve guests and drink after workouts. Replace it with fresh juices, coconut water, barley water, milk shakes, green tea, herbal tea etc.

 Wafers, icecreams,biscuits

This recommendation is only for those who are practicing any form of meditation and want to grow in their spiritual path.
Our body, mind and soul get affected by certain kinds of food, environment, our circumstances, people we associate with and how we think. The food is the most important thing as it controls our emotional self and we tend to think and react to our circumstances in that manner.
If you have been meditating for a long time, you will surely get disturbed by any such food intake while practicing as it is exactly the opposite to pranik food which is mostly recommended by yoga and meditation gurus.


Processed and fast food

As many scientists have proved that the major reason for various types of cancer is the western lifestyle and food which is mostly processed with many chemical ingredients. Just like juices, the life of the cooked food is only two- three hours and not meant for any kind of machine treatment or acidic preservatives. The moment it gets processed, it creates cancerous bacteria which are harmful for the body.

Introduction of Kenya Vegetarian Club

I established The Kenya Vegetarian Club to support the cause of vegetarianism and hope to increase the number of vegetarians in Kenya. Our club endeavors to

  • Promote human health
  • Protect animal rights
  • Preserve environment
  • Develop compassion

World over there is a great interest in vegetarianism today. People from all walks of life would like to switch over to a vegetarian diet if they are convinced of its merits. Some are confident about their food habits and make the switch easily. Others need support, guidance and perhaps a gentle nudge. Also there is considerable confusion in the array of products that are available on the shelves of the supermarkets. Many shoppers find it difficult to tell which food and drinks are produced using animal products. The food industry often uses products that may not be suitable for vegetarians. Health professionals are not very clear about the merits of vegetarian diet as they receive little or no training in vegetarian nutrition. Parents are confused whether a wholly vegetarian diet would provide the required nutrition for their kids.

The Kenya Vegetarian Club aims to fill in this space and supports, guides and promotes vegetarianism by arranging various programs and events that help members to understand and appreciate the importance of vegetarian diet. The club also creates awareness about vegetarianism in Africa as the world is moving towards saving the environment and food production and consumption is the first step towards it. The Club intends to help local farmers to grow more vegetables thereby helping them to earn more. Shrivedant Foundation is a non-profit body which hopes to create many such movements which would help locals to switch over to a better and healthy living.

KVC publishes a quarterly newsletter which offers tidbits of information on vegetarianism, interesting recipes, vegan celebrity profiles and other important information of the events happening in Kenya. Those interested in receiving a copy of the newsletter can register by mailing to kvc@shrivedant.com.
You may also find us on Facebook and Twitter to follow the activities of the club.

The Club promotes tree planting to help save the beautiful forests of Kenya. We need to join together and preserve our wildlife and other national resources for the future of our citizens. Kenya is a country of vegetation and rich with tons of variety of vegetables and fruits. Let’s all pledge to remain vegetarian and help to promote the same across the world.