Saturday, July 02 2016, 11:31:39
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Komal Panwar


Vegan Chef Meenu Nageshwaran Shares Dairy-Free Recipes With JWB

  • JWB Post
  •  April 26, 2016


The term ‘Organic’ has been slowly and thankfully making an entry into people’s foods all around the world. Recently, the closest we have come to organic, or the mother Earth, is through the event Maahi Roj 2016. The event concluded with a vegan cooking session with Praanic Healer/ Vegan Chef Meenu Nageshwaran.

We are all familiar with the phrase that “we are what we eat”. I could be a large pizza slice, in that case. The session included many enthusiasts who were considering turning vegan. And that was her first question to all.

Why do you want to turn vegan?

Without many concrete answers, she moved forward.

First of all, do not confuse vegan for vegetarian. They are not the same things! A vegetarian does not consume animal meat or eggs. A vegan, on the other hand, excludes flesh, fish, fowl, dairy products, honey, eggs, gelatin and other foods of the animal origin.  They do not use leather, wool, fur, etc. in clothing.

Yeah, all that’s fine, but why?

To be in harmony with other living creatures, and respect their lives! Valid point, right?

Meenu’s working table was set, multiple colored raw lentils, veggies and nuts were spread out in mitti ke bartan. The mist blowing fans were leaving a refreshing impact on the attendees. Soaked almonds, cashew nuts, and coconuts were soaked for a reason, we’d soon find out.

Meenu seemed to be completely environment-friendly. In fact, even her clothing was a 100% organic.

Why Meenu turned Vegan

It was in 2012 that during a yearly health checkup, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. However, my instinct told me not to go on medication. Fear and determination drove me to make an immediate change in my lifestyle. So, with a combination of Pranic Healing, Naturopathy, Ayurveda, and exercise, I made lifestyle changes to improve my health. Within a week, however, I was advised by my doctor to start insulin to give my pancreas some rest. So I did, with the full intention of getting off it at the earliest possible. Exactly a month after I was put on Insulin, I started a 21-day Reversal of Diabetes program with Sharan during which I went dairy-free, sugar-free and oil free. While on the 21-day program, my counts altered so dramatically that I was taken off Insulin. Living the possibility of reversing my state of Health, I now view the diagnosis as a blessing in disguise. It challenged me to become accountable for my health emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.

Meenu further explained that Rajasthan has a history of simple food, and really, the food is exactly what nature has provided us with.

During the interactive session, she asked all the participants a question.

Meenu: I’m sure all of you consume milk, paneer, and other dairy items. But did you know that beyond the age of three, we’re not supposed to consume milk?

To which a woman prompts, “Are you saying dairy is bad for us?

Meenu: Apart from being bad for health, it is ethically cruel. Did you know that a baby calf is separated from its mother at birth? Did you know it’s not even given a single drop of mother’s milk? Are you really open to stealing a child’s milk? But since we believe more in logic, let me tell you that the countries with the lowest consumption of dairy have the lowest rates of osteoporosis.

There were some ‘aahs’ and ‘oohs’ from the crowd.

She specified that if she continued talking about dairy, she could go on forever. Meenu shared some shocking alternates for Dairy with us.

Meenu made us taste something unexpected.

This might sound strange, but this chaach was made with the dahi prepared out of rice & peanuts. Yeah, you heard it right. She made us taste the chaach, and really, it was hard to tell the difference.

Coconut Milk

No, ma’am, you’re not supposed to add coconut to milk.

Take freshly grated coconut and add half a liter of water to it. Blend it together, and your coconut milk is ready!  The milk can be used for up to two-three days (if kept in the fridge).

Meenu then showed us how to make Herb and Garlic Cheese Spread


1 cup raw cashew nuts

3-4 cloves of garlic, finely minced.

Mixed Herbs (Fresh or dried)

1-2 tsp lime juice

Filtered water

Rock salt/ Sendha Namak

Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Soak the raw cashews in warm filtered water (just enough to cover them) for at least two hours with a dash of sea salt. Pour out the water from the cashews and rinse the fresh water. Add the cashews and other ingredients to a blender. Process until you get a thick but creamy spread. Add water if needed. Put into a glass container, cover, and keep in the fridge overnight for all the flavors to mingle. It should stay good for five to six days if refrigerated. Enjoy with crackers/bread as a dip accompanied by some raw vegetables.

Well, this was my favorite, I had it with about 5-6 carrot slices.

Soon after she taught us how to create some dishes, it was time for lunch. There were vegan kadhi, vegan baked vegetable, dip, amazing vegan mayonnaise salad, brown rice and more.


Well, the food was vegan and delicious. Can’t wait to see the health benefits of vegan food.



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