Plant Sumo Interviews

HEENA MODI

Plant Shift

As an ambassador of veganism, Heena Modi helps people facilitate the shift to a plant-based diet, vegan lifestyle or both. Having been a vegan for over 10 years and a vegetarian for decades before that, Heena has lived the experiences and messages that she shares. Heena will bring compassion and practical insight to the topic of going vegan and staying vegan in terms of diet, as well as, taking you beyond food, into a vegan lifestyle overall. A qualified school teacher, and Natural Health Practitioner, Heena will help you bust myths, address common obstacles and find a meaningful, simple and personalised approach that works for you. Heena’s website, PlantShift.com, covers vegan options everywhere, nutritional well-being, recipes, tips, holiday experiences as a vegan, and interviews with exciting new vegan businesses.

Company Profiles

What Is The Book (Or Books) You’ve Given Most As A Gift, And Why?

The book I've gifted most is called The Boy behind the Mask. It's about a boy who has been feeling out of his depth for a long time. He puts on a brave face at school and he's overlooked (invisible) at home. He wants to be different, but his parents won’t allow it, so he hatches a cunning plan. I've gifted the book to multiple people because it's for anyone who's six years old or older and because all proceeds go to The Samaritans in Harrow. The book is by Kalpana Mehta and is available on Amazon.

What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life ?

It's not a one-off purchase but I've recently subscribed to Good Club. It consists of a small team who promote ethical food and sustainability. Customers get one free delivery per month and it has minimum faff as we don't even have to be in to receive it! They describe themselves as being all about good food, cutting emissions, reducing waste, fair wages, paying tax, and most of all; making sustainable products accessible to everyone in society. They have an increasing amount of vegan products and they've just launched a zero-waste service through which products are free of packaging as they are sent in returnable pots. In addition to this, they've introduced the use of returnable plastic boxes instead of cardboard ones.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?

I try and figure out what's causing it. Has something happened that's unsettled me? Is it in the past and something that I can let go of or do I need to bring it to the surface and address it somehow? Is it about the future? If so, can I control it in any way and if not, can I let it go and do what's necessary without holding onto an expected or desired outcome? Is it a physical thing? Am I tired or unwell and if so, can I take some time to rest or relax in some way? Is it overwhelm caused by expecting too much of myself? Is the pressure excessive, unrealistic and counterproductive? If so, can I make a list of the things that I want to do, priorities them, put a plan in place to complete them over several days (or longer) and then focus on one day at a time, trusting that the rest will get done because I've planned for it. I also find that physical activity, especially when I resist the most, works wonders. It could involve stepping out for a walk or doing some sort of workout at home. Anything really, as long as it involves movement and getting the heart beating faster. Last but not least, meditating, singing and reading something uplifting is something that I try and do on a daily basis. I think that these activities prevent overwhelm and lack of focus.

Tell us about someone you admire and why you admire them?

I admire Nalin Kothari. He is compassionate, kind, straightforward, humble, devoted and he oozes equanimity.

What is the most surprising thing you've seen in your industry?

The speed at which the awareness of veganism has grown. Here are a few examples: - the number of restaurants and cafes that have switched to becoming fully plant-based or have introduced lots of vegan options - the amazing growth of Veganuary - the ever-increasing range of vegan foods in mainstream supermarkets - cosmetics embracing veganism by becoming fully vegan or having a range - better labelling - the rise in vegan recipe books - products that were possibly already 'vegan by accident' previously, now being labelled to remove doubts - an increase in car manufacturers using faux leather

Are you vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian or something else entirely?

I am vegan in terms of what I eat and more. I refer to myself as being 'vegan by mouth' and 'vegan by wallet' 🙂

In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?

I took a break from being a primary school teacher and made the decision to fully focus on Plant Shift. It's been the best decision that I've made in ages! For me, teaching was wonderful. Being a constant figure for the kids was great and offering protection and security by being consistent and fair was priceless. However, the system was unrealistic in terms of what we delivered, the unforgiving pace, the amount of thinking and decision making that went on during the teaching the day, the workload outside of teaching, the red tape and so on. It also meant that I couldn't serve through Plant Shift because teaching, even though it was part-time in recent years, zapped me. Serving through Plant Shift gives me the fulfilment I got from teaching while being more client-focused because it's driven by where they are, what they want and how quickly (or not) that they want to achieve it. I am there for my clients. I am by their side, supporting them with their goals and helping them break through any obstacles that are in their way. I provide a safe space for them to be open, honest and hopeful. It feels great!

If You Could Have A Gigantic Billboard Anywhere With Anything On It — What Would It Say And Why?

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.” ― Brad Meltzer

What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made?

The best thing I've ever done for myself was going to an Ashram in Sayla (India) and becoming a part of a spiritual organisation through which I've learned to think differently, to challenge myself in ways that haven't occurred to me before and in a nutshell, work on being kinder to myself, as well as, all other living beings. Some examples of being kinder are to be less angry and more forgiving, less greedy and more content and less egotistic and more humble.

What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”?

The truth is, our mistakes don't limit us. Only our fears do. Every day you wake up and have a second chance to do whatever you want, to be whoever you want. The only thing stopping you is you.' Quoted from a film called Second Act

Tell us about your business. What does it do and what value do you add?

I have a website on which I share all things vegan. Recipes, articles about eating out, tips, interviews with vegan businesses, vegan travel, reviews about consumables, cosmetics, cleaning products, clothing and more. I also have a recipe book, 'The way to a vegan’s heart: Delicious recipes to help you eat well, cook quickly and feel content', in which most of the recipes take less than 30 minutes from start to finish. My biggest and most lifechanging offering is through vegan or plant-based coaching. I offer individual coaching programs to help my clients make a shift. The shift could be about any of the following: - transitioning from being a junk food vegan to eating healthier - weight loss - preventing or reversing health conditions - cooking from scratch - navigating around social occasions - managing loved ones - living a vegan lifestyle These are some of the things that I've helped clients with.

How has Covid-19 changed your industry?

The emphasis on us shifting to a vegetarian or vegan diet increased when the media reported on the origin of COVID being in a wet market. This gathered more momentum when there were further outbreaks in meat factories. There has also been a lot of coverage about changing what we eat because of climate change and the amount of destruction caused by land use and water usage in animal farming.

About the Author

Heather-PS

Heather Wilkinson is a globe-trotting content creator and PR enthusiast who’s finally put down roots in her native UK. When she isn’t working, you’ll find her pretending to care about Minecraft for her son’s sake, while secretly reading the latest Ace Atkins novel (or sleeping – her second favourite past-time).