Discovering Vegans in Wyoming: Tina Dean

It is the last Sunday of the month again! That means, I have the privilege of sharing the story of one of the many unique vegans here in the Cowboy State! I enjoy sharing the stories of these individuals because it shows how people have made the transition to veganism, how easy it is to be vegan here in Wyoming, and that there are actually quite a few of us around. Slowly, but surely people are starting to see that there is a growing community, and that is exactly why I continue to do what I am doing!

This month, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tina Dean. I had never met her before the interview, but was able to connect with her through a fellow vegan. Tina has been vegan for a year now. She went vegan because her son, Chevy, told her about the documentary “What the Health”. Once she watched it “that’s all it took!” Although she went vegan quite abruptly after watching the documentary, the transition wasn’t very difficult. For Tina “it was definitely a lifestyle change” because she “never has been a cook. It was always frozen foods and fast food…” When Chevy went vegan two weeks before she did, she “was all against it”. She was upset because she knew she had to cook. Since she had gotten so used to eating out before going vegan, the hardest thing for her to give up were burgers. When eating out, she would frequently get a hamburger, and to her surprise they were harder the live without than cheese. Initially, she “thought that cheese would be the hardest thing. It was at almost every meal. Even if it wasn’t on the meal it was as a side dish”. Lucky for Tina, she had the support of her son in the early days. He was actually one of her biggest inspirations in going vegan. “For a kid at 14 almost 15 when he started… Just to see his dedication to it was inspiring.” Her husband was supportive as well. He watched the documentary (What the Health) with her, but he isn’t vegan. There weren’t many people who were totally unsupportive of her decision, which helped. Most of her friends just asked her questions like “where are you going to get your protein and iron?” 

Although, Tina struggled in the beginning, she has learned to enjoy cooking. Her “go-to is either a pasta or rice dish. Anything comforting”. One of the things she enjoys most is “all of the cutting of vegetables. It’s kind of a meditative thing.” She really enjoys cooking with the Chao cheese. She has been making grilled cheese with it and quesadillas with beans, mushrooms, and cumin. Tina will find most of her recipes on Pinterest. As far as most recipes go, she is “still checking it out”. She hasn’t been using cookbooks much, and relies mostly on what is online. When she doesn’t cook at home, one of her favorite places is the Arepa Barn. She also likes the minestrone and breadsticks at Olive Garden. One of her all time favorite restaurants is Watercourse Foods in Denver. While in Denver, she also enjoys stopping at Voodoo Donuts. 

Over the past year, Tina has gotten to chat with a friend who has a lot of heath problems. She “didn’t want to say anything to her at first”. After a time, she suggested “try being vegan for just two weeks. Just try it and see how your feel.” In Tina’s case that’s all it took and she never went back. She just wanted her friend to be able to experience the change and the benefits of a vegan diet. Other than that situation, she doesn’t try to push veganism on other people. If they ask questions, she “is happy to answer, but that’s it”. That being said, her best advice to a new vegan is “just one day at a time”. One of the biggest things that she tries to do is “live in the moment”. She doesn’t “try to worry about tomorrow or the next day, just living for now.” 

I really enjoyed getting to know Tina through our interview. It was nice getting to hear her story. It was amazing how quickly she went vegan after her son and after watching just one documentary. Stories like hers are great because they show how easy and quick the transition can be! I hope her story inspired others as much as it inspired me!

If you are a vegan in Wyoming and interested in being interviewed, please send me a message or email kiki@veganinwyoming.com.

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