Discovering Vegans in Wyoming: Jordan Genetti

I have been excited to post this interview for a few weeks now! It is the first interview to kick off the first whole year completely dedicated Vegan in Wyoming. These monthly interviews are my efforts to show people that it is easier to be vegan here in Wyoming than everyone thinks. They also help bring the vegan community together, and show that our numbers are constantly growing. Every month, on the last Sunday of the month, I share the story of one of the many vegans here in Wyoming. We cover all aspects of veganism, from food to fun facts. I have the pleasure of sharing those with the world! This month I interviewed Jordan Genetti.

For my first interview of 2018, I figured I would start with someone who has brought a few firsts to Vegan in Wyoming! Jordan happened to place the first official cupcake order, and he is the first male interviewee! I first met Jordan through Instagram a few months ago. He ordered two dozen cupcakes from me and since then has placed a hand full of orders. The first time I sat down and actually talked to him was at lunch with some fellow vegans. After that lunch, I knew I wanted to interview him. I instantly knew that he would bring a different perspective, but highlight how easy it was to be vegan here in Casper, WY.

Jordan went vegetarian in 2012. It started as a way to prevent his roommates from touching his food. He was in college and his roommates would pool money and share food. He got sick of sharing food and knew that if he went vegetarian, they wouldn’t touch his food. He went vegan in July 2015 with some friends. One of them was getting married and they “wanted to look good for the pictures”. After a month of being vegan, they decided they may as well stay vegan since they had already been doing it. He said that “it wasn’t that hard after a month of doing it”. He was also motivated to “be better at being vegan” than his friends. After only one month of being vegan, Jordan began to see health benefits as well. He was amazed how much better he felt without things like cheese since “it is so bloat-y and cholesterol-y”. Basically, he felt great because he “didn’t feel food hungover all the time”. To my surprise, Jordan didn’t have any individual food that was hard to give up. In fact, the hardest thing wasn’t a specific product either. For him, “it was hard to give up the foods that had honey and dairy in them”. He didn’t realize that there were so many products that he thought were “safe”, but actually contained animal ingredients. He also realized that there was a lot of cross contamination in restaurants, which was hard to deal with. From working in a restaurant, he knew that “food that was cooked in a fryer, like chips or french fries was also cooked with chicken”. He has found that “it has been sneaky hard to avoid”. Luckily Jordan had a few friends to support him on his journey. When he told his family, it didn’t go over too well. When he went vegetarian, he had shaved his head and his grandfather just told him that “he was acting really weird”. His mother was mostly concerned that he wasn’t going to get everything (nutrient wise). She thought that he needed to take a bunch of supplements to survive. People still frequently question where gets protein from.

We had a fairly extensive conversation about dairy, honey, and eating animals. Jordan used to eat a lot of cheese. There were days when he would just “eat quesadillas and wonder why he would gain weight”. Once going vegan, he was clearly able to see why. After being vegan for a while, he realized how unnatural consuming dairy is. First of all he found out that “there is an extremely large percentage of people who are lactose intolerant”, so he knew something wasn’t right. Then he came to the realization that “we are the only species that steals milk from other animals”, and it just made him sick. People just choose to ignore all of those realities. That led us into our discussion about honey. He has noticed that some don’t see honey as a big deal, but he thinks that “people just don’t want to acknowledge what’s going on”. The same thing goes with the agriculture industry. Even with local ranches, Jordan has noticed problems. He knows that even smaller ranches use antibiotics and hormones or they wouldn’t be able to keep up. “They have to grow just as quick. They can’t wait for their cows to grow.” He personally knows someone who has a family ranch. The family will keep animals until they are large enough, then kills them. He doesn’t understand “how they grow up with it and then eat it”. Those things didn’t make sense to him. He couldn’t help but think “what if we did that with our dogs? It wouldn’t make sense to have a dog and just think it’s time. It’s five years old. It’s fully grown now”. Over his life, Jordan has had a few very personal experiences with animals being slaughtered. As a very young child, his mom’s husband ran a meat processing place. He remembers that “it had one of those cages for the cattle” and “it was so weird seeing all of the piles of meat”.

Once we talked through all of the horrible things that are wrong with the use of animal products, we came around to vegan food and lifestyle. In the beginning, he got a lot of inspiration from blogger and writer Darcie Wilder. Not only was she vegan, but she didn’t drink and Jordan said that he “thought it was cool to see someone who did that be vegan”. He “casually found out that she did it, and it was cool”. Thinking about her journey helps him every once in a while, but he doesn’t really “deep internet dive into too many things”. He sees veganism as a very simple thing: “don’t do this, do that”. Jordan doesn’t really struggle with much, but he continues to learn more about vegan friendly products. He uses vegan friendly skincare products and has had a pretty easy time finding them.  The food side was much easier for him. The thing he eats the most are the “Boca Spicy Chick’n Patties“. He will make wraps with “spinach, the Boca patties, and nutritional yeast or a breakfast burrito with tofu scramble, potatoes, and hot sauce”. He says that he gets “lazy or stuck in a rut” and doesn’t really cook many things, which is understandable since he is a busy college student with a job. That being said, Jordan’s favorite place to eat in Casper is Chipotle, “it’s cheap and its a lot of food”. When he gets to go out of town he really likes Native Foods and City O’ City in Denver, CO.

Jordan has found a pretty good group of friends that are vegan over the past few years. He gets to share parts of vegan lifestyle with curious non-vegans, though. He and a few of his friends do a “vegan friendsgiving” where they invite non-vegan friends. He hopes to show them that “this is an option that is good”. To those curious friends, as well as new vegans, he just tells them to “Read everything. Look at all of the ingredients. Getting through the first month or two weeks is the hardest”. He thinks that people who are “willing to go vegan are willing to adapt to changes”.

I really enjoyed sitting down with Jordan for this interview. I loved hearing his different perspective. Getting to hear why he went vegan and the various struggles he had were things I hadn’t ever heard before! One of my favorite parts of my job is talking to fellow vegans in the community and getting ideas from them. My hopes for these interviews are to inspire, educate, and bring the vegan community together here in Wyoming. If you are interested in being interviewed, please email me at kiki@veganinwyoming.com.

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