Hi, I’m Nishma. I became vegan around 22 years ago for ethical reasons. Prior to that, I was a no-cheese lacto-vegetarian, living in Kenya. My cultural background is Jain – originally from India. Core to Jain dharma is the universal principle of ahimsa, i.e., to practise compassion (and non-violence) towards other living beings. The vegan lifestyle clearly aligns very well with ahimsa.
Healthwise, my transition to vegan was seamless; I was already quite healthy, and didn’t feel any different on my vegan diet, which was a big relief! I quickly learned about the health benefits of a plant-based diet and lifestyle, and over the last 22 years, I’ve hardly suffered any illness and still regard myself as healthy.
In 2005, I set up my multi-award-winning vegan catering and education business, Shambhu’s, with a mission to demonstrate and educate about how great vegan food can be. In fact, in 2005, the then “VegfestUK” in Bristol was (thanks to VegfestUK founder, Tim Barford) the launch event for Shambhu’s (we were the main caterer). Since then, I’ve enjoyed being involved in various ways at virtually all of Tim’s mega Vegfest events.
Given today’s focus on climate change, I’m delighted that my local council (Brent, London) awarded Shambhu’s “Most Green Business” in 2020, and “Highly Commended” green business in 2021. This mainstream recognition of the importance of a vegan approach to addressing the current environmental crises is highly significant.
I also love teaching vegan cookery through hands-on classes and demonstrations. This I currently do for the incredible vegan food charity, Made In Hackney, and for some local authority education programmes. (Made In Hackney is currently running a crowdfunding campaign for its vital service to provide meals to households who need support with food. Please support them if you can – visit the Made In Hackney website for details.)