Meet the Team: Tejal Shah
Why did you join the VeganMed team?
I grew up vegetarian, believing in preserving all life-forms as much as possible. Putting myself in the shoes of a sentient animal, I sometimes wonder how it would feel to have my own skin, bones and body parts sacrificed without my permission for use by others. We say, "What goes around comes around!"; why limit that thought to human interactions? Can we truly create health for ourselves by taking away the health of another being? It is these questions that make me want to strive for a world where health and well-being do not come at the cost of another life.
What is your favorite animal-free product? Coconut oil all the way! I find it come to rescue through out my day. Starting in the morning with oil-pulling, which leave my teeth feeling sparkly clean to after-bath DIY moisturizer, chap stick and deodorant to salad dressing and vegan chocolate mousse to stain removal from my furniture. Truly Nature's Versatile Gift!!
What was the most shocking thing you discovered about the pharmaceutical industry when you started working here?
Two aspects of the "Pharma World" shocked me: 1) Pharmaceutical companies themselves don't always know whether the ingredient used in manufacturing is animal-derived or not. They simply source the ingredient from suppliers. For example: Magnesium Stearate is a fatty acid most commonly derived from animals but it can sometimes be plant-based. It is hard to deduce by just reading the ingredients on the product label. 2) Researchers have searched the breadth of Earth to isolate animal-derived ingredients. Some of them really bizarre! Ambergris, for example, is a solid, waxy substance produced in the digestive system of sperm whales and is used in medicines, fragrances and food! Similarly, blue-blood is harvested from Horseshoe crabs! Couldn't have imagined!
What are you doing to help pass the time while sheltering-in-place?
They say, "When you can't go outside, go inside!" I am using this time for self-reflection, planning, sharpening my tools by gaining domain expertise and trying to live a balanced life style (yoga, meditation, and a plant-based diet)! Namaste!