Discovering Vegans in Wyoming: Chevy Kalpin

It is once again the last Sunday of the month! I get share the story of one of the many unique vegans living here in the Cowboy State. I love doing these interviews because they show that there are actually quite a few vegans here. It also shows how easy it is to be vegan, even here in Wyoming. After doing this for nearly a year now, I am finally starting to see the community grow and people connecting through their commonality. It makes every interview, and every hour spent working on Vegan in Wyoming worth it!

This month, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chevy Kalpin. It was a really neat interview since I talked with his mom, Tina, last month. I met Chevy through his girlfriend Emerson, who is also vegan. Chevy has been vegan for just over a year. He went vegan after watching “What the Health” with Emerson. He went into it thinking that he “was not going to be influenced by it at all” and “as closed off as anyone possibly could be”. When the documentary ended, he decided he was going to be totally vegan. There was not a day when he was on the fence. “At that moment, it immediately started.”  Although, he went vegan so quickly after watching the documentary, the transition was incredibly easy. Before going vegan, his diet was “strictly ramen and pizza rolls”. Chevy  expected it to be “a little bit difficult”, but he has found that he doesn’t crave or want those foods at all. As mentioned earlier, Chevy went vegan with Emerson. She helped inspire him to keep going and to eat better foods. She would cook a lot, and they spent a lot of time learning together. She was also a great support system for him in the first few weeks, since his mom was very closed minded about his new lifestyle. He made his mom take him shopping and got all of his food for the next two weeks, which only totaled around $26. He tried to talk with her and explained how it is his decision and it shouldn’t affect her, and she became less defensive. He continued talking with her, and suggested to “try it for two weeks”. She tried it, and within the first four days things began to change. “She didn’t cheat from the day she started.” Ever since then, his mom, Tina, has been very supportive every step of the way. Chevy doesn’t tell many people right away that he is vegan, but when he does, most people will ask they typical question about protein.

Chevy lives a very active lifestyle. He has noticed a big difference since he has been vegan. He not only eats a lot better, but he feels better. Chevy’s passions are very physically taxing (drumming and skating). He has noticed that he has “longer endurance while playing drums”. With his interest in music, he has found that there was a whole straightedge punk scene in the 1980s in New York. As a result, almost all of the bands were completely vegan, and he has found that really inspirational. He aspires to live a similar life by not putting anything bad into his body and by living a peaceful lifestyle. He actually describes his favorite vegan product as “very punk”. It is the Manic Panic hair dye. He loves the colors and the label that says “life fast and dye”. When it comes to skating, Chevy has noticed that he heals from skateboarding injuries quicker without having to use any medications or ointments. It has helped him because he wants to be able to do what he wants for as long as he lives!

When it comes to food, Chevy has learned to enjoy cooking. He really likes stir-fry.  It is his favorite thing to make for his mom and for himself. He likes it because “you can stir-fry whatever you want!”. One of his favorite combinations is “mushrooms and broccoli because they soak up everything”. There are a lot of restaurants Chevy likes to eat at here in Casper. His top favorite is the Arepa Barn. He also likes the Essence of Life Catering (the red bus), and the Himalayan India restaurant.

Most of the time, Chevy is pretty quiet about being vegan. He and his friends will have a lot of conversations. He has also noticed that a lot of people become upset about veganism because many people think that vegans are crazy. Chevy recognizes that there are “extremists in the vegan world that do insane things just to push an agenda on other people”. He “isn’t about extremism in any form” and tries to explain that “the majority of vegans are just people who want to be, who they want to be. Regardless if they are doing it for health or animals, or both”. When giving advice to friends or anyone new to veganism, Chevy’s best advice is “don’t let anyone else tear you down… Peer pressure is a big thing especially to young people… Do whatever you want”.

I really enjoyed getting to know Chevy through our interview. Hearing about how easy the transition was and how much of a difference being vegan made in his life was truly inspiring to me. It showed me that there really is a movement among the younger people here in this town, and that is exciting! My hope is that Chevy’s story inspires others as much as it inspires me.

If you are vegan in Wyoming and interested in being interviewed, please email kiki@veganinwyoming.com.

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