Nivi Jaswal The Virsa Foundation

Nivi Jaswal

Founder and President – The Virsa Foundation Inc.

“I lived most of my life in the blind belief that animals were put on Earth for us to tame, maim, use and extract “value” from – assets on a balance sheet of a CAFO/Factory Farm and ingredients in the formulation of processed products. At this point in my life, I not only ignored but also actively ridiculed plant-based feminist voices in the workplace and in my personal life. My corporate assignments took me to over 47 countries and, under the garb of being a self-proclaimed food adventurer, I tasted local delights ranging from reptiles to amphibians to even primates! I was clearly high on my Carnist Ego and was living in the land of the blind where everyone from the CXO to the most junior executives measure their professional stardom by the most expensive steakhouse they could afford to entertain at. …

Come 2015, my story took a very dark turn – I was diagnosed with prediabetes, PCOD, hypothyroidism and tachycardia (166 bpm at rest at the peak of my chronic illness). I was also suffering from migraine (chronic; since 8th grade) and would regularly self-medicate for pain relief. In March 2018 with my health worsening by the day – I read The China Study, watched Forks over Knives & Plant Pure Nation; embraced a 100% Whole Foods Plant Based Oil-Free diet overnight and became a veritable case-study of complete healing at the Mastering Diabetes program. In 2020, I suffered several personal COVID-related losses, including tragically losing my father. If animal agriculture did not exist along with such an emphasis on animal-based protein, such personal suffering owing to chronic illness and zoonotic pandemics could be avoided altogether. In the Fall of 2018, I founded The Virsa Foundation, a Boston-based 501c3 nonprofit that exclusively serves underserved communities, especially BIPOC women through our JIVINITI research & strategy programs, women-led coalitioning and campaign-based activism in the U.S., India and around the world. I’m on a mission to help manifest a vegan world, where avoidable chronic illness, animal agriculture and systemic racism are a thing of the past and we can finally restore both public health as well as planetary health. Factory farms (CAFOs) represent the worst nightmare that one species can wreck upon another in the name of food. All my professional might is now devoted to bringing this and related injustices to light and to nudge plant-powered change at an individual and policy level.”