A version of this article first appeared on Vegan Ideal World.
I was born in Iran, which is a meat-loving country like all other countries. From a very young age I used to care about the animals and their welfare, and think about the source of meat and where it came from and I knew that the fried chicken on my dinner plate once was a beautiful yellow chick! I was surprised to learn how people were so indifferent toward humanitarian issues; why harming and killing innocent animals were so normal to them; why they followed the ancient traditions no matter what they were; why they looked at meat only as delicious food and not look at the source of this product. From that age I started opposing eating meat and wearing animal skin, and what my family and other people said in order to discourage me had no effect on me because I had faith that my belief was true and that meat is not a food of compassion and kindness.
2. What do you think about veganism from the health perspective?
Vegan diet is the healthiest diet for humans because the human body is naturally an herbivore body. The human body is not driven to attack, tear apart, eat or drink blood of a live animal upon laying eyes on her/him. But when someone sees a grape on a vine, her/his mouth waters, walks toward the grape, picks and eats it. By contrast, when you see a dead animal on the side of the road, are you tempted to eat the animal with your bare hands?
Following a vegan, especially raw vegan, diet benefits our health, animal welfare and survival of the planet earth because animal products are one of the major causes of environmental pollution and destruction. I grew up as a vegetarian but after becoming aware of how inhumanely other animal products such as milk, dairy and eggs are produced and how harmful these products are to human body, I went vegan.
3. What are the benefits of a healthy vegetarian diet for athletes? Can you tell about your personal experiences?
I have been a vegetarian from a young age and I used to realize how much healthier my body is compared to others. I always had higher energy, was active in sports and had stronger immune system (hardly caught a cold) unlike what most omnivores experienced. After going vegan, I felt much more healthier and lighter, even more energetic. Most common question meat eater athletes ask vegans is how you can get energy from eating plants–and where you get your protein. Meat eaters believe that the only source of protein for building muscle is animal protein. The fact is that animal protein slows down digestion and the body has to get more energy from body to work harder to break down this protein because human body is not designed to digest meat. But plant-based protein is easily absorbed and turned into energy.
This is one reason why vegans are more energetic. Almost any food has protein in it and foods high in protein are legumes, nuts, seeds and dark leafy green vegetables. Going vegan is so easy and the only important thing that we need to consider is eating a variety of plant-based whole foods and not even worry about taking supplements. I have never needed to worry about measuring my protein, vitamin or calories intake. You will know what, when and how much to eat when you become acquainted with your body.
4. We know that animal foods (meat, dairy and egg) are very harmful for body, but what do you think about unhealthy herbal foods like Macaroni or white bread?
We should try to eat more plant-based whole foods and stay away from processed / filtered foods because the methods of preparation strip a lot of the nutrients.
5. Tell us about your career and activism.
I started my website and vegan activism in 2010 and tried different tools and methods of sending my message such as making the first Persian vegan TV commercial, TV shows and music video. Currently I am more active on YouTube and my website, Peace Thunder, is a good reference for people who like to know more about veganism. I chose “Peace Thunder” because veganism is not just a diet, it’s a belief that affects all stages of life such as relationship with animals, people, nature and daily choices. Abusing and killing any sentient being is wrong no matter if that sentient being is a human or a dog or a sheep. A vegan lifestyle opposes cruelty to animals and also environmental pollution. Livestock industry produces lots of harmful chemicals and waste that cause serious damage to the nature, plants and animals, including humans. Therefore adopting a vegan diet means adopting a peaceful lifestyle that harms no animals and does not pollute our planet.
Many meat eaters call themselves environmentalist and supporters of green living and try to plant trees, use gas efficient vehicles, less plastic bags or solar energy but do not want to pay attention to one of the most important sources of pollution and destruction of environment: their diet! If animal food is substituted with vegan food at least once a week, it would have a huge positive effect on the environment.
A quote from Einstein: Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.
6. What do you think about vegetarian and animal rights movements during these years?
Unfortunately the animal rights organizations face many difficulties in sending their message even in western countries because many media or even Internet websites only care about their own financial profit (and most of their financial profit comes from animal industry), not the health of public or the environment and therefore censor or reject their messages (personal experience). I began my activism with no encouragement or financial support and the only thing that kept me from giving up was my strong belief to do my best to help the innocent animals who live miserable lives in hands of greedy animal industry.
I also like to thank the Iranian satellite televisions and websites who supported my work and helped me spread the message of true peace.
7. I write some words, please write your opinion about each word:
Fruits: Your life is the fruit of your own doing.
Human: Human beings are the only animals who drink milk from other species
Life: Life is beautiful if we know what the word beautiful really means!
Wealth: Problems arise when wealth ignores humanity.
Peace: A person who believes in love and peace, can not enjoy eating flesh of the murdered
Meditation: Goal of meditation is to end suffering, increase awareness levels and positive feeling. If you meditate but ignore the suffering of other sentient beings, then what you are doing is not meditation.
Earth: We are all animals and citizens of the planet earth.
Chicken: Everyday about 24 million chickens are killed in the USA for food.
8. And finally, your message to vegans and readers around the world:
Veganism is a diet of peace for all caring citizens of this planet, humans and non-human animals and it is the most effective strategy to save the planet from climate changes and global warming. Going vegan is much easier that you think, all you need is the desire to change for better.
Photo: Nasim/ Peace Thunder