Bollywood stars including Jacqueline Fernandez, Celina Jaitley and Mallika Sherawat, have joined hands to support an Indian version of the popular 21-Day Vegan Kickstart program. The event kicked off on September 1 and is based on National Institutes of Health-funded clinical research by Neal Barnard of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). The program shows how a low-fat, plant-based, dairy-free diet can help people lose weight, reverse diabetes, and implement long-term changes in eating habits and health. It has helped more than 250,000 global participants lose weight and improve their health. "India faces a health crisis like never before. Traditional plant-based diets are being swamped by meat and processed foods, dairy product consumption is rising, and these unhealthy foods are driving obesity and diabetes rates through the roof. "Our research shows the best way to lose weight and reverse disease is to jump into a completely dairy-free, plant-based diet for three weeks," said Barnard.
During the three week program, Bollywood stars and those from Hollywood, including actress Alicia Silverstone, are offering their favourite vegan recipes and tips to stay on track with the program. "It's easy to eliminate milk, ghee and yogurt from an Indian diet. The Kickstart offers healthy, dairy-free versions of traditional favourites like Carrot Halwa, Palak Paneer, and Navratan Kurma. There's no deprivation involved-just sensible eating," said Nandita Shah, a Mumbai-based physician who has developed some of the recipes for the program. Overweight rates in India increased by 20 percent between 1998 and 2005, according to a study released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Another study by the University of Maryland and the National Council of Applied Economic Research found 22 percent of Indians living in cities were overweight and 7 percent were obese.