American Flag and Indian Flag

Election 2020: I'm Indian. I'm American. I'm a voter.

By Manasa Mantravadi



Time to Read: 5 min

About Ahimsa

Founded by a pediatrician and mom of three

Stainless steel is the only kid-friendly material recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics 

We are guided by a Scientific Advisory Council comprised of environmental and medical experts, guiding us in creating the safest products, following the latest science and promoting policy to protect human health and our planet

Want to know more? Check out our story and our products

Election 2020

I was three years old when my parents immigrated to this country. I didn’t speak any English. I learned from watching Sesame Street and immersion. My father worked long hours as a resident physician and we lived in a small one bedroom apartment in Staten Island. 

I grew up in two cultures. One at home where Dosas (a traditional South Indian dish of rice pancakes) were served for weekend breakfast on stainless steel plates and one at school where I would gossip with my girlfriends about New Kids On The Block over pizza. My parents always maintained our traditions at home so I would understand, respect and love my roots as an Indian. They always let me explore and engage in a culture they knew little of so I would understand, respect and love my future as an American.

I was not born in the USA, but in college I became an American citizen through a process called naturalization. I knew it was special then, but now I reflect on that day and realize how incredible it really was. My mother and I went together, took our test and then both raised our right hands and were sworn in as American citizens - side by side. I can’t imagine what that felt like for my mother - leaving a country in her 20s with a small daughter to raise in a new land where she knew no one and everything was different. That day, I remember how proud she was of her own journey and the journey ahead for her children. 

We have voted in every election since that day. 

Today is a big day. I stood in line for three hours last week to submit my vote for this election. I voted as a mother of three young children. I voted as a physician working during this unimaginable pandemic. I voted as a small business owner. I voted as an American. 

Growing up in the 1980s and 90s, I did not see people who looked like me or my family on TV. My children now watch Mira the Royal Detective on Disney - the first Indian girl lead character. They see Mindy Kaling making people laugh on hit TV shows. They celebrate Diwali at school and share their culture with their friends. They see their own mom’s company sharing our Indian tradition of stainless steel dishes with other children across the country. They see Kamala Harris running for Vice President.

I am proud of my roots. It is what inspired me to launch a company with traditions and philosophy stemming from India. I am proud of what the future can hold for my children in the United States. So on this Election Day, I reflect on my own journey living in two worlds that have over time merged into one. I am an Indian immigrant. I am an American. I am equally proud of each of those and look forward to raising my children in a world filled with understanding, respect and love just like my parents did more than three decades ago. 

If you haven’t voted yet, I encourage you to read the American Academy of Pediatrics statement on just how much is at stake this election when it comes to our children’s health and futures. Racial inequities infiltrate our healthcare system and the possibility that the Affordable Care Act could be dismantled is terrifying.


AAP - Election 2020: Vote Kids

Racism harms children's health and we cannot ignore it

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi is a board-certified pediatrician whose dedication to children’s health drove her to launch Ahimsa, the world's first colorful stainless steel dishes for kids. She was motivated by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ findings on harmful chemicals in plastic affecting children's well-being. Ahimsa has gained widespread recognition and been featured in media outlets such as Parents Magazine, the Today Show, The Oprah Magazine, and more.

Dr. Mantravadi received the esteemed “Physician Mentor of the Year” award at Indiana University School of Medicine in 2019. She was also named a Forbes Next 1000 Entrepreneur in 2021, with her inspiring story showcased on Good Morning America. She serves on the Council for Environmental Health and Climate Change and the Council for School Health at The American Academy of Pediatrics. She represents Ahimsa as a U.S. industry stakeholder on the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) for the Global Plastics Treaty, led by the United Nations Environment Program. Dr. Mantravadi leads Ahimsa's social impact program, The Conscious Cafeteria Project, to reduce carbon emissions and safeguard student health as part of a national pilot of the Clinton Global Initiative.

She is dedicated to educating and empowering people to make healthier, more environmentally friendly choices at mealtime. Her mission remains to advocate for the health of all children and the one planet we will leave behind for them through real policy change within our food system.

Mealtime Essentials from Ahimsa

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I use stainless steel instead of plastic? Is stainless steel better for health?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a report in July 2018 suggesting ways that families can limit exposure to certain chemicals at mealtime, including “the use of alternatives to plastic, such as glass or stainless steel, when possible.” The report explained that “…some additives are put directly in foods, while “indirect” additives may include chemicals from plastic, glues, dyes, paper, cardboard”. Further, “Children are more sensitive to chemical exposures because they eat and drink more, relative to body weight, than adults do, and are still growing and developing.” While stainless steel items meet the recommendation to avoid plastic products in children, Ahimsa® products have the obvious advantage of not breaking like glass.

Is stainless steel better for the environment than plastic?

According to the Steel Recycling Institute, steel can be recycled over and over and over again without losing its integrity and requires less energy to recycle than to make anew. Most plastic unfortunately ends up in landfills and it is estimated to take 700 years to decompose. Our special coloring process that allows Ahimsa® products to be fully metal is environmentally friendly, so it does not produce toxic run-off into the ecosystem.

Will Ahimsa products break or peel?

No. Our steel is durable, so it won’t break or shatter with everyday use, like glass. And it won’t peel, like other colored stainless steel products you’ve seen. We use a special process that allows the colors to naturally occur in the metal.

Which Ahimsa products are best for my little one(s)?

Our products are meant to last, you can use Ahimsa at ages 1, 8 and 18! We thoughtfully design our products to be safe for little ones and our planet while reducing consumption. Once your child outgrows the Starting Solids Set  and can use regular cups and utensils, the training cup is the perfect size rinse cup in the bathroom, the infant spoon doubles as a tea stirrer and the bowl is great for snacks or as an additional compartment to our modular divided plate. Our plates are great for any age as they encourage choosing a variety of healthy foods at each meal and help visualize portion sizes easily. It’s the lasting beauty of stainless steel - grows with your child and reduces waste.

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