Mumbai Gets Its First All-Vegan Café And It’s Raw Too!
Next to Grant Road station, there is a space that beckons. Healings, yoga, reflexology, art therapy, sound meditation, raw vegan cafe and a beautiful energy – PRISIM, the healing institute has been around for 11 years in the heart of Mumbai city.
They have an open café with a menu that spans an entire wall and tickles your senses even before you order a meal. There are soups, slushes, salads, continental main-course, pizza, dehydrated cheesy chips and ice-cream. All vegan and raw. We took a quick glimpse of the kitchen while chatting with the affable Parmita Shroff, and were amazed to see such a homely atmosphere inside the kitchen run by an all-women team.
Brimming with questions, we sat down with a fennel cooler and some cheesy kale chips for a quick conversation with the wonderful mother-daughter duo Priti Shroff, the founder of the institute and Parmita, her daughter who is looking after the vegan café.
Monica: When and how did the concept of the wellness center and the raw vegan food café come about?
Priti Shroff : Nothing was planned. I’m a professional counselor; I joined my kids in school as a nursery teacher and then my husband as a stock broker. But everything changed when my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002. I had accompanied her abroad to do all the alternative therapies that I did with her and it amazed me. I felt like I had a calling and I started studying a lot of these therapies on my own on the side –Reiki, Art of Living, Vipassana, Osho, Massage therapy, Raw and living foods in Atlanta where my teacher, Brenda Cobb cured herself of 2 cancers naturally and is still living today.
Parmita Shroff: Yes, and I stepped in to look after the raw food café since I have a special relationship with food. I’ve learnt organic farming at Solitude farm in Auroville, Pondicherry and I understand how food is grown. For us, organic foods is very important and we take special care to wash our fruits and veggies with ozoniser.
Monica: What are some of the transitions you have seen or experienced at the center on a raw vegan diet.
Priti Shroff: My first cancer patient was a mother of 3 handicapped children and she desperately wanted to be alive to take care of them. The doctors had written her off and told her she had only one month left. She did my therapies with full faith and she went on to live for a good 3 years, and got her daughter married while she was alive.
Parmita Shroff: Personally, I have seen a huge difference in my own self. I turned vegan in 2012 and ever since I went raw I cleansed out my emotions so beautifully. I feel lighter, more energetic and the emotions that used to bog me down like jealousy, anger, insecurity which is commonplace, doesn’t bother me anymore. It has been a fantastic journey.
Monica: What is the 10 days detox program all about.
Priti Shroff: It takes 21 days to cut a habit. When you have been with cooked energy all your life, it will take sometime to sustain someone on this raw diet. We structure the program for 10 days, 4 hours per day- which means 40 hours the member is with me. The detoxification is on all the 3 levels – Mind, Body and Soul. We believe the root cause of all dis-ease or discomfort is emotions. We work on deep emotional catharsis with each member and work on forgiveness, bury the past, inner child, reconnection – being your natural self. It is a wonderful self-journey and healing at all levels.
We have hydro colon therapy and a spiritual way of looking at this is that your colon lies behind your navel point and your navel is the seat of emotions. When you hear a kid saying I have butterflies in my stomach before an exam, it’s not tummy, it’s in your colon. If someone is sharing sad news about someone beloved, intuitively your hand goes to your gut first.
Monica: What are some of the challenges you face introducing a diet that is vegan and raw to people who walk in.
Priti Shroff: Most people ask about protein, calcium and vitamin D and are concerned if this vegan diet will meet their requirements. So we sit down and talk to them – our protein requirements are just one fistful of sprouted moong and that’s how much protein our body can digest. All the rest is undigested protein which needs 2-3 meals to excrete out. So why is there such a hue and cry about protein content.
We are also the only species that survive on other species milk. Why do we doubt the creator that you can get calcium only in milk? Every green leafy vegetable has calcium and that is enough calcium that a body needs. We need to get rid of a lot of myths that we have made as facts.
Infact, Dr Ann Wigmore had come down to India and she said if you want to wipe off poverty in India just give them a fistful of sprouted moong and see how much of poverty can be taken care of. No one listened to her then.
The café is open till 6 P.M. in the evening. They request you to give them a notice period of minimum one hour before dropping in, so they can start preparing the dishes. For bigger groups, please call them and let them know a day in advance.