The Human Spirit, the importance of human connection

By Manasa Mantravadi



Time to Read: 6 min

The Important of Human Connection

I think if we’ve all learned something in the past few weeks, it’s that human connection is what binds us together.

I am feeling the importance of it in so many ways. As a physician parent - we feel how it affects us at work and at home ... a healing hand and touch are central to our jobs in healthcare and now so many are forced to assess and connect virtually. As front line workers we are scared for our patients and ourselves but know it’s our time to help. However, with limited protective gear, it’s taking a toll on us outside of the hospital. We could be bringing the virus home to our families. I, along with many other healthcare workers, change clothing outside of our home after a shift, run straight into the shower then disinfect every surface at least five times. It’s nerve wracking. I rely on my fellow healthcare workers to connect in our anxiety and altruism.

As a parent, I see the importance of human connection as our kids are now participating in some virtual school ... the way their faces light up by simply seeing their teachers and friends invokes a simultaneous happiness and sadness. Watching those teachers desperately want to reach through the screen and hug each student to provide comfort is both uplifting and despairing at the same time. I am overwhelmed with my own emotions as I watch my six-year-old burst into tears when she sees but can’t hug her grandparents through the window of their home when we drop off groceries. I take solace in the fact that I can hug our children and tell them that after we are all finished being ‘Planet Protectors,’ we will be able to embrace fully and celebrate our victory. I rely on my fellow moms to connect in our own worries and job to provide reassurance to our children.

Lastly, as the founder of a startup, I feel directly how the economy is reeling. Only five months old, Ahimsa was poised to make a splash at the annual JPMA show “Best in Baby” as finalists in the innovation awards for our infant / toddlers sets. Unfortunately, but understandably, it was canceled. No refunds. No rescheduled date. Also, our manufacturer is now down in India. We were already grinding to get off the ground. Where it’s a major setback, it simply gives me a glimpse into what others are going through – those who rely on the success of their businesses for their livelihood and the livelihood of the hundreds whom they may employ. I’m hopeful though as I see people doing what they can to help each other during these difficult times because we are connected by human spirit. I see how each of us wants to offer our physical hand to hold in solidarity. I rely on my fellow small business owners to connect in our present frustrations and future hopes.

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

Whether you are a healthcare worker, parent, small business owner ... someone worried by their pre-existing medical condition, an expecting mother, a child who receives free meals at school or really any human that’s part of this ONE world - we are all feeling the need to connect with each other during these incredibly challenging times.

While we can’t share in that human connection physically right now, I find comfort in knowing we are united in our human spirit across the globe. Our three-year-old has a morning circle song in her school that says, “my inner light is your inner light.” When you ask her what that song means, she explains it so simply: “The good in me sees the good in you.”

And that’s what the human spirit must do as we get through this ... because we are stronger together - even when we must remain apart.

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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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