Rebel Soul

Photo essay: The first step to becoming a Vegan

by Flying Solo
For 2010, I resolved to give up coffee, meat, chicken, fish, salt, sugar, nuts and grains - for 6 days out of every week. It was time get out of the committed long term relationship I had maintained with these food groups for decades, and switch instead to occasional dating. Who knows – maybe they will taste better on that 7th day! Yes – I decided to take the first step to becoming a Vegan. I woke up on New Year's Day miserable, with a headache, clogged up nasal passages and two fat lumps at the back of my throat - clearly not the picture of hope, health or inspiration. It took every ounce of will for me not to fry some eggs, gorge on them with toast and then drown my sorrows in the contents of a cafetiere. The cat was already out of the bag. Family, friends and coworkers knew about my resolve; so there was no going back. I had a bit of a weep as I sipped my cup of chamomile tea and said my mental good bye to my most loyal vice of all. Every good bye leads to a hello and this was no different. I set off to pacify my soul by visiting the local market where I picked up every vegetable whose name I knew and some that I did not. I traipsed back home and prepared to make soup. In between sneezes, coughs and sniffles I took pictures inside and out. Before I knew it, I had enough material for my first photo essay – “Rebel Soul” Yes – being Vegan was going to be good. The credit for the sharp images goes to an unsuspecting cyber accident I had with a gentle and generous soul who set me on the straight and narrow path of acquiring a devil of a camera. Here is you and here's the debut of my EOS Rebel T1i!

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Faramarz, now that you ask :o)

by Monda on

Yes I take big chuncks of tahdig only if my kid is not around, then she's always with the biggest tahdig on her plate! I was raised with an older sister whom our mom always favored by letting her have all the tahdig in the house, so I have tahdig-deprevation complex!

Yes to the best parts of lettuce (the crunchier the better, like the thick end part) and No to double dipping especially in flu season! Do you remember George on Seinfeld with double-dipping? :o)  I'm kinda like George in that realm.

Faramarz I also need to open up about my crunching addiction. I mean, I must start my day with the crunchiest fruits, vegetables, nuts,... even tahdig in my fridge -- otherwise I won't be able to wake up properly in the morning! Or when I feel overdosed with work, gotta have my crunch to be able to refocus on tasks. Otherwise I'm doomed to do weeshy washy quality work. My colleagues know that by now: they need my help with something? then they'd better give me something organic and tasty to crunch on.  And I won't settle for any old crunchy thing, it must meet my approval every time.


Solo jan, is it time for your sabath yet?

by sima on

I'm dying to know what you're gonna eat on your day off. Nice strong cup of coffee to begin with, asali eggs, chelo kabab for lunch, begir-o boro... Please say yes!

 Faramarz khan, one kabab a day... ki giresh miyad?


Monda, I don’t know about you!

by Faramarz on

Thank You Organic NUTritionist.
Your answers are always so thorough and complete. It makes me feel so much smarter after I read them.

Sister Sima,
I am with you all the way.
One kabob a day
Keeps the doctor away!

I don’t know about you! So, you are the one who eats all the juices in Khoresht when nobody is looking! And you just leave the clunky pieces for others. Shame! And you seemed so kind and generous!

Well, what else do you do? Let’s get it all out. Do you also take a big chunk of Tahdig? What about the best part of lettuce? Do you double dip your chips in Must o Moosir? Now, I really want to know!


I never said anything about kabab

by Monda on

please don't put words in my mouth. Az joonam chee mikhaay baba?!

Shazde Asdola Mirza

بسیار زیبا و دلپذیر بود

Shazde Asdola Mirza


امیدوارم که این سال و هر سال سرشار از خوشی‌ باشد

Organic NUTritionist

Just an advice

by Organic NUTritionist on

Dear Sima,

Generally your daily protein needs in grams are about .8 times your weight in kilos.  

There are scientifically proven ways of obtaining optimum health and some people like to know the information.

Everything that I am writing here is just suggestions.  

You can skip over my comments if you'd like  :)



I thought I'd seen a message from Jaleho for myself?

by Souri on

Am I mistaken? I was in a rush and couldn't read it well.

I don't see it here anymore, what happened (?) I believe she was giving me some advices on the Hyperkalemia?

What ever it was, sorry Jaleho, I missed that comment. Thank you.


Dear ON

by sima on

BBC is about four decades late. If you recall, back in the sixties there was that influential book, Diet for a Small Planet. All that people are saying now was already said then. And the author, Francisc Moore Lappe, has said much more since...

I am partly kidding around when I espouse the cause of meat eating here. I think we don't need to eat so much period. Meat or no meat. And of course one should eat organic, locally produced stuff, including meat, dairy, eggs, etc. Baba, we know all this...

I think what kind of annoys me is a certain holier-than-thou, know-better-than-thou tone that some people adopt on the question of eating meat. The puritanical overtones kill me. Kind of reminds me of IRI: don't drink, don't eat pork, don't listen to music, don't dance... In California they do the same thing with smoking. Baba, be kasi che? (I know, I know, their babies died from second hand smoke and they don't want the same thing to happen to anybody else.)

Eat, drink and make merry. If eating or drinking something doesn't make you merry, then don't do it.

Organic NUTritionist

Shun meat...

by Organic NUTritionist on


BBC News //

Dr Pachauri has just been re-appointed for a second six-year term as chairman of the Nobel Prize-winning IPCC, the body that collates and evaluates climate data for the world's governments.

"The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated that direct emissions from meat production account for about 18% of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions," he told BBC News.

"So I want to highlight the fact that among options for mitigating climate change, changing diets is something one should consider."


No, sorry

by sima on

Kabab is the emblem of our national identity and pride. You might as well burn your Iranian passport.


Na sima joon, I beg to differ!

by Monda on

If you let beans and grains absorb and thicken the khoresht, I enjoy the same effect!  Agha I hate meat, can I be at least entitled to my senses and taste buds?!  IRI took everything else from me.... hope, youth, national pride, even saffron and caviar ... can I hate meat sima joon?


Monda khanom

by sima on

Excuse me, but what makes the ab khoresht khoshmazeh is the goosht.

Organic NUTritionist

Meat and global warming

by Organic NUTritionist on

Anonymous Observer,

I liked everything that you wrote.  Here is a cute animation Animals Save The Planet:


Also, here is an article that I had posted before too, but worth posting again...

Simply put, raising beef, pigs, sheep, chicken, and eggs is very, very energy intensive. More than half of all the grains grown in America actually go to feed animals, not people, says the World Resources Institute. That means a huge fraction of the petroleum-based herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers applied to grains, plus staggering percentages of all agricultural land and water use, are put in the service of livestock. Stop eating animals and you use dramatically less fossil fuels, as much as 250 gallons less oil per year for vegans, says Cornell University’s David Pimentel, and 160 gallons less for egg-and-cheese-eating vegetarians.


Souri Jan,

You're welcome :) 


Flying Solo or Flying with Myself

by Sid Sarshar on

I thoroughly enjoyed your essay.  Your outlook on life is inspiring and you should showcase it more often.  Also, “flying with myself” is more suitable that “flying solo”.


Anonymous Observer

If you have to be a carnivore

by Anonymous Observer on

then please consider buying your meat from local, small farms.  Giant agro-business controlled farms are a collective insult to the notion of human decency.  Their treatment of animals is nothing short of torture and abuse.  There is a wealth of information about this issue out there.  Just Google it, and you will see what I'm talking about.  And don't forget to look for videos of what goes on in these giant mega-farms.  For example, most of the cattle in these farms never see a pasture.  For most of their lives, they are confined to a small space.  They are so abused that the average life expectancy of a cow in one of these farms is reduced to about 10 years as opposed to 30-40 years of a normal cow.  They are subjected to multiple, consecutive pregnancies just so that they keep producing milk.  Their slaughter is also barbaric, with some even slaughtered as they are giving birth.  I read that experts say that the ideal size of a cattle farm is about 400 cows.  In some of these mega farms they keep 4000-5000 cows.  The mega farms are also environmental disasters, with huge amounts of waste being produced, most of which end up in lakes and rivers.  The same thing is true about chicken and turkey farms.     

While you may have to go through a bit of trouble finding a local farm, and may have to drive out of your way a little bit, buying your meat from them has several advantages.  First, as a human being you will feel better knowing that the animal that gave its life to become your food at least had a decent life and grazed on grass, or in the case of chickens and turkeys, had the ability to flap its wings and breath fresh air while it was alive.  Second, you know where your food is coming from.  Have you looked at your milk bottle lately?  Do you know where it was produced? Just take a look.  I promise you that it won't tell you.  That's because they don't want you to know.  There is only a "plant number" on the bottle.  And you will have to do detective work just to find out where it was produced. Third, local farms are better for the environment.  Lastly, if you buy from local farms, you contribute to the local economy and not some mega corporate operation based in some God forsaken place that you have never heard of.   

That's my two cents on that issue.  Please feel free to do your own research.  There is plenty of material out there.   


Anonymous Observer

by Monda on

with tofu: stick with organic, extra firm or tempeh, don't let simmer in the sauce.  I add tempeh or hard tofu the very last minute in khoreshts.  I buy mine either at a japanese deli or places that carry the nice organic brands that I like. 

I'll share some recipes ASAP :o) 

Anonymous Observer


by Anonymous Observer on

No, I haven't tried tofu in Iranian recipes the way that you suggest.  I have just cooked chunks of hard tofu in "khoroshts", and it has come out OK.  There is a great vegetarian restaurant next to my work place that always has great tofu creations (including the soy meatloaf that I talked about yesterday).  That's where I eat most of my tofu.  But do please post your recipes when you get a chance.  I would love to try them out.

And yes, i do use soft creamy tofu.  I think the brand name that I buy is called "tofutu" or something close to it.  I use it for breakfast.  It's pretty good.    


Thanks a lot dear ON

by Souri on

I will forward it to my friend, but I'm afraid she will get more desperate now! I really didn't know that was so important. This show how much we need you in this site.

You are a gem. Many thanks.


Faramarz va sima: wrong assumption!

by Monda on

Not everyone loves meat as much as you guys do! In fact I can have couple of times a month if I have to (fish and chicken or kabab) and with friends otherwise since I read saadegh hedaayat's book around age 16. I never akh o toff in front of people especially Iranians, but if no one's watching I only take the juice of khoresh. 

Faramarz I love all the dishes you mentioned, I would never criticize ghazaaye iraani!  It is the Best!  

sima I can't stand the smell of barreh or donbeh on aabgoosht... we'll talk soon!  I love your vigen joke, no matter how many times I've heard it :o)) 

Organic NUTritionist


by Organic NUTritionist on

Souri jan,

Sounds like your friend may have Hyperkalemia which is too much potassium in the blood and should be taken seriously. It can cause muscle fatigue, weakness, paralysis, arrhythmias, or nausea. According to Mayo Clinic, this condition is most-likely related to some kind of kidney failure. Other possible causes are Addison's disease, alcoholism, drug use that causes breakdown of muscle fibers, Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, severe injury or burns, potassium supplements, and type 1 diabetes.

Sometimes the blood cells in the blood sample ruptures and this causes the leakage of potassium into the blood which may gives a false result. In this case, blood sample should be taken again.

Ask your friend to talk to her doctor about possible medication that she may be taking that is affecting her potassium level.1

If she has a history of hyperkalemia, she should not use salt substitute.2

Here are some nutritional tip recommendation from UNM Medical Center:

"Eliminate suspected food allergens, such as dairy (milk, cheese, and ice cream), wheat (gluten), soy, corn, preservatives, and chemical food additives. Your health care provider may want to test you for food allergies.

Avoid foods that contain high amounts of potassium, including bananas, lentils, nuts, peaches, potatoes, salmon, tomatoes, watermelon.
Avoid refined foods, such as white breads, pastas, and sugar.

Eat fewer red meats and more lean meats, cold-water fish, or beans for protein. Limit the intake of processed meats, such as fast foods and lunch meats.
Use healthy cooking oils, such as olive oil or vegetable oil.

Reduce or eliminate trans-fatty acids, found in commercially baked goods such as cookies, crackers, cakes, French fries, onion rings, donuts, processed foods, and margarine.

Avoid alcohol, and tobacco. Talk to your doctor before using caffeine-containing products, such as teas and soft drinks.Caffeine impacts several conditions and medications.

Drink more water. Dehydration can make hyperkalemia worse.

Exercise, if possible, 30 minutes daily, 5 days a week.

Avoid noni (Morinda citrifolia) juice, which is high in potassium.


Herbs are generally a safe way to strengthen and tone the body's systems. As with any therapy, you should work with your health care provider to get your problem diagnosed before starting any treatment. You may use herbs may as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). People with a history of alcoholism should not take tinctures. Unless otherwise indicated, teas should be made with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 - 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 - 20 minutes for roots. Drink 2 - 4 cups per day. Tinctures may be used singly or in combination as noted.

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra),150 mg daily. Licorice may be helpful in decreasing potassium levels, but should not be used without a doctor's supervision so that your potassium levels can be monitored and you can be checked for side effects. Do not take licorice if you have high blood pressure or heart failure.

Avoid these herbs, as they can increase potassium levels:

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)
Nettle (Urtica dioca)

Homeopathy may be useful as a supportive therapy.

Acupuncture may help support normal kidney function.

Swedish massage may help to stimulate the kidneys."3

1. //
2. //
3. //


Thank you ON jan for the info

by Souri on

while we are at it, I have question for you:

If someone has an excess of Potassium in his blood, what they do eat or avoid to eat to balance this?

I have a friend who is becoming completely desperate as she got this. I don't stop telling her that this is nothing important, but she doesn't listen to me !

I'll be grateful if you would like to answer this question.

PS- Sorry Solo jan for being offtrack again :)

Organic NUTritionist

Soy is not so healthy...

by Organic NUTritionist on

Non-fermented SOY IS NOT HEALTHY.

To the best of my knowledge, tofu is not a health food and should be avoided for several reasons. Most soy is genetically modified and is non-fermented.

As for soy and why it is not healthy:

Soy has too much tripsin inhibitors, and this decreases your body's ability to digest protein.

It has Goitrogen which impairs your thyroid function.

It also has Phytic acid which is a type of fiber that impairs your body ability to absorb minerals.

The presence of phytoestrogen can also cause complications.

Safe forms of soy are: Fermented organic soy like tempeh, miso and natto.


Flying Solo

Thank you

by Flying Solo on


Thank you for your wonderful responses, support and thoughtful advice.

I need to share that I was in two minds about releasing this photo essay. I was not certain how its self-serving, somewhat frivolous and fun nature would be received, given that much of the discussions on this website focus on the current events in Iran.

I thank you for receiving this essay in the spirit that it was shared, which is nothing short of good will.  We are - all of us - very important - especially to ourselves. The beginning of a new year is an opportunity to try new things.  And treating ourselves in the best manner could only mean that we are better equipped to treat others the same way.

It is now Day 7. I have survived this period on fruit and vegetables.  The worst of the caffeine withdrawl is over. My sleep pattern is settling into a nice routine.  I am beginning to notice positive effects such as a more ready smile, a generally more positive outlook and a little more appreciation of nature and the people around me.  These I had put down as new year resolutions also, so I can't say it is all because of the Vegan diet (not too likely), but it is good to feel extra-alive despite having given up so much.

Your positive feedback and warm comments have inspired me to blog my Vegan journey albeit with a Sabbath stuck in there.

My very best to you and yours.

Hamid Taghavi


by Hamid Taghavi on


maziar 58


by maziar 58 on

you can also find recipe on how to make veggie KUBIDEH (on grill)with soy ground meat  and tomatoes,reyhan and.............

yes to taste better you can add onions and somagh.        Maziar


با با شما هم که همگی زیادی عابد و زاهد ومسلمانا شدید...


چلو کباب ، سبزی پلو با ماهی ، باقالی پلو با گوشت بره ، فسنجان با اردک ، آبگوشت با دنبه های روش...

بس شد یا باز هم بگم؟

ویگن خواننده است.


Top of the food chain

by divaneh on

Good to see so many vegans here. I once became a vegetarian for a week and all I can remember is that I was hungry all the time. After a week I repented my new obedience to parsnips and went back to worship the god of lamb chops. I have never looked back. Even these beautiful photos and handcuffed leeks cannot persuade me enough.

JJ jaan you are so right about tofu. I think the person who first came up with the idea should be imprisoned for life.

Finally this is a response that once a carnivorous friend of mine gave to a vegetarian friend when she tried to convince him to give up meat. “I have not tried for hundreds of thousands of years to ascend to the top of the food chain to just eat celeries."

Good luck with it.


Houston, We’ve Got a Problem!

by Faramarz on

I am all for vegetarian food, but what is all this talk about tofu?

Of all the cuisines out there, Persian cuisine has such a great variety of vegetarian selection. Have you folks heard of Kashk e Baademjoon, Eshkeneh e Esfenaaj, Kookoo Sabzi, Kookoo Sib Zamini, Kookoo Baademjaan, all kinds of Aash and on and on and on! Hello...

Where is Organic NUTritionist when we need here? The last posting that I saw from her was about a bikini clad Iranian of the Day, Erica Hosseini! Go figure!

Folks, let’s get our priorities straight here!

Red Wine


by Red Wine on

بعضی‌ اوقات بنده واقعا احساس غریبی می‌کنم بی‌ جواب ! در آن هنگام که کلّ المجمعین انگلیسی بلغور می‌کنید و لطف مطلب را زیر پا می‌گذارید.

همه چیز در سایت امریکایی شده،حتا جناب مسئول سایت هم دیگر حرفش مؤثر واقع نمیگردد (البته اگر شانس به تو رو کند و ایشان جوابی به تو دهد که وگرنه از غیر باشی‌ و از غیب هیچ نشنوی !!)

خدا آخر و عاقبت ما ایرانیان را با شما به خیر گرداند !



I am so inspired!

by shifteh on

I particularly like the idea of being a vegan for 6 days and then get a free day!  That is certainly doable!