Iranian Raw Vegan: Moein

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Moein Ghahremani Nejad is a raw vegan author and an activist. Originally from Iran, he currently lives in Malaysia and is actively connected with people all around the world, spreading the raw food message and helping people to succeed in following a healthy diet, whether vegan, raw foodist or otherwise. He runs websites and has published books in both English and Persian.

moein, iranian raw foodist

Moein is genuinely dedicated to helping people and contacted me to offer his help with spreading the message of this website. Once I learned a little more about him, I decided that it was important to interview Moein and to be able to share his wisdom and experience with as many people as possible.

Thank you so much Moein for the inspiring interview and for your reflections on the questions regarding my own health journey as well!

How did you become a raw foodist?

I first became a vegan in October 2011 after suffering severe headaches and some digestive disorders for several years. As I witnessed sicknesses in others, I thought that maybe it was not a natural phenomenon to get sick.

As I remember from my childhood, I was always very interested in healthy living, healthy lifestyle and natural cures for diseases. I became familiar with the concept of veganism and raw veganism on the internet. The idea seemed very interesting and logical to me.

As the headaches caused me to suffer a lot, I decided to try veganism for a while... And it cured my headaches completely very quickly!

I felt much better and this lifestyle became much more interesting for me after feeling the results in myself. I adapted to the new lifestyle very fast.

Research into all dimensions of veganism and raw veganism was important for me. I spent a lot of time researching nutrition, read more books and articles (both in Persian and English) and eventually wrote my own e-book in both Persian and English. I then updated it several times over the years.

I was always very interested in technology and this helped me keep updated with the latest innovations in health, nutrition and other aspects of life. I now try to balance the benefits of both modern and natural lifestyles.

Jungles of North Iran image
Jungles of Northern Iran

You said that you've been 80% raw for the last three years. What did you eat before?

Well, as I'm Iranian and I born in Iran, my diet was like the traditional and usual diet of the Iranians. It was based on bread, grains and animal products. Like most of the traditional foods in the world, the Iranian traditional foods are also not healthy enough.

However, I always avoided sugar and unhealthy snacks, like potato chips, as much as possible. Although my mother tried to use less oil and salt in the foods she prepared for us, the diet was still not very healthy.

The traditional foods are of course healthier than fast foods but this does not mean that they are the best and perfect choices.

What was the transition to raw foods like for you?

To be honest, when I became familiar with the idea of raw foodism, I felt very blessed and grateful and I wished I had become aware of it sooner! I felt passionately interested in the idea and wanted to go raw immediately, however I didn't find it very easy because of both food cravings and some social issues. But everything became easier as time passed.

I only had a few detox symptoms after going vegan, such as an inflammation in my knees which finished after a few days and never came back again.

[Interviewer:] When I was eating 100% raw for two months or so I generally felt good but on some level I also felt deprived and I ended up eating junk afterwards. I wonder if the cooked food cravings would go away if I didn't eat them at all for an even longer time?

Food cravings are very common with all raw foodists. I haven't seen one long-term raw foodist who didn't eat cooked food even once during this time. The reason is that the food addiction is very strong and, as you mentioned, we are surrounded by cooked eaters and not only are cooked foods available everywhere like cigarettes, but they are also advertised and claimed to have health benefits! So, don't worry about it too much. Food cravings can be decreased.

For example in my case I had a craving for bread, because I'm Iranian and our country has the highest rate of eating bread in the world (200kg per person, per year!) But my cravings for bread and wheat decreased slowly and I went gluten-free, as I feel very bad when I eat bread and wheat products.

So, food cravings can be decreased even if they might not disappear completely.

Also, don't forget the psychological side of this issue. I saw many raw foodists who could last on a completely raw diet for more than a year but finally returned to over-eating meat and all junk foods to the point of vomiting!

At least I didn't eat animal products during the last years and was able to go gluten-free, even though it wasn't very easy. So, be careful whenever you feel deprived and try to find a way to end this feeling.

A little damage from eating cooked foods may be better than deprivation forever, don't you think?!

[Interviewer: Yes, definitely. That's why I usually emphasize the importance to transition slowly, so as not to feel deprived, but also to have time for proper research, and for the taste buds and the body, mind and lifestyle to all have time to adjust to the new situation at the same time.]

moein, raw foodist in malaysia, image

How did you finally succeed in staying raw and did you have to change your social circles?

Well, when I started to change my lifestyle I had been living in western Iran, where the society around me was completely against this idea, both for reasons of tradition and for lack of knowledge.

But fortunately I didn't use that as an excuse to escape the truth! Instead I decided to be more involved in this subject while helping others.

So, I wrote my book and established my websites (in Persian and English) and this turned into my resumé on veganism and raw foods. As a result, people around me became more aware and most of them accepted and respected my views after that. I think this was a very good strategy to continue with veganism in a non-vegan society, while increasing my knowledge day by day. I think there could have been no better way to achieve this for me.

[Interviewer: Yes, that sounds like a perfect way to solve the problem, and to spread the knowledge at the same time!]

My social circles became wider as a result and although my contacts with vegan and raw vegan friends increased, I had no problem with people with other diets. Now I have different friends with different lifestyles, and we just take it easy with each other. This is the way to have peaceful relations and to enjoy life!

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