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Interview Episode - Meet Tina & her 2 month plant-based anniversary!

Updated: Jan 13, 2023

On Episode 68 of Be Well With Steph, The Podcast I am sitting with my friend Tina! One of my longest-standing friends, we’ve worked together, shared some great times, drifted apart as our lives developed, and reconnected a few years ago. Now she's helping out at Wellness in the Village, too!

Tina made the switch to being completely plant-based about 2 months ago, and I wanted to share with you her story, how she got here, and some of the changes she's experienced.



Tell me a little about yourself and your life right now:

I’ll start off with I’m a small business owner, I own a small book store. We’re online only right now but be on the lookout for the storefront soon.. I’m a project manager I work in higher education and IT. I’m a new mom to a 12-year old boy, which is fun! And I’m a new vegan, YAY!

Share a little bit about why you decided to adopt a vegan diet:

Well, the reason I started experimenting with vegan diets is because my doctor said I had high cholesterol. And then, in May, I woke up, and genuinely thought I was having a heart attack. It scared me, I went to the hospital, and it was not a heart attack - it was costochondritis which is the inflammation of the cartilage in your ribcage. And that scared me.

And THEN I watched “Cowspiracy” and I was shook. I’ve watched all of the other documentaries, but this one struck me in my soul. And I think it was the whole, learning about the animals and how they’re treated. And it wasn’t anything I didn’t already know, but the way it was presented was mind-blowing to me.

Have you experienced any struggles in the last 2 months?

Yes - I would say my biggest struggle is with people not accepting me as a vegan. My family, and friends, taking it very personally. Or someone that I don’t know at all, like - at a conference in D.C. - I was at a catered dinner, and they gave me a green pepper, stuffed with lentils, and a side of hot tomatoes.

I think the biggest challenge that I face so far is that suddenly everyone is a nutritionist? As soon as I tell someone that I’m a vegan they’re like “but what about your protein?!” and I’m like… “umm… beans? Tempeh? Tofu?” like there’s so many options out there!

Has it gotten easier? Oh yeah. Well, it hasn’t been a huuuge shift for me. There’s so many great substitutions out there - if I’m ever craving like a chicken-finger wrap I can just use vegan chicken and daiya cheese.

I think people will say things like, well, fake chicken nugget isn’t healthy food. But no ones sitting here claiming that it is a healthy food. We’re saying that it helps to satisfy cravings by giving your body something that it’s craving, we’re saying that it does contain some nutrients, it still does have protein, and just like we wouldn’t recommend that someone eats a regular chicken finger wrap every day… we don’t sit around eating vegan chicken finger wraps every day either!

Yes I agree and I just think it’s funny because people didn’t think twice when I was eating meat and I’d be eating a burger or eating chicken fingers, it’s like that’s totally fine. But the second it’s fake meat, it’s an issue. And I think it’s just a perception issue.

Have you noticed any improvement?

I’ve lost weight - about 12 pounds since March. I’m less bloated. My digestion is sooo much better.

When you say your digestion issues improved - did you notice that at first it got worse?

OH YES. Definitely. For the first few weeks!

I think we need to talk about that more, because so many people will say that when they go vegan their digestive issues improve but they forget to say that there was a period of time where it actually got worse! Your body needs time to adjust to the cruciferous vegetables and the fiber that you’re consuming. I’ll have clients say their body doesn’t like beans - and maybe that’s true - but sometimes it’s just that your body is not used to it!

Yes. Starting off with smaller increments and building up is key! The first few times I dabbled into veganism I went head on and just jumped right in. But the difference is this time, I had the education and the knowledge that I didn’t have previously.

Any other differences you’ve noticed?

I’m getting my blood tested tomorrow so I’ll have to report back but I’m fully confident that my cholesterol has gone down because I haven’t consumed any meat or dairy in two months. So I would be very surprised if it didn’t.

I definitely have more energy! I still get tired, but it’s a different kind of tired now.

I’m also more aware of where things come from - I’ve switched over to all vegan makeup and skincare. I’ve just become more aware about how my personal actions affect the world at large. I have a lot more empathy for the animals.

Any advice that you'd give to someone who might be interested in starting a plant-based journey? It's not that hard. It requires maybe 1% more planning than I did before. When I go to the restaurant I've always looked at the menu before hand so that takes me no more time. And I've gotten pretty crafty at creating my own! We went to a restaurant once with no vegan options - and I saw that they had friend mushrooms (not the healthiest I know) and they also had chicken finger wraps.... so I just asked them to sub out the mushrooms for the chicken & bam! No cheese no dressing, just lettuce tomato and onions.

I'm also notorious for messaging restaurants on Instagram and asking if they have vegan options. And sometimes they'll say no, but if you call beforehand we can make you something!

Wait... two more things!

What foods have you totally been craving?

Potatoes. All day, every day. I cannot get enough potatoes. For breakfast, for dinner, I love them so much.

People in your household and their reaction.

My boyfriend and his son who is twelve years old. They have been very supportive. My boyfriend actually bought me a tofu press and his son will try things. My boyfriend will surprise me when he finds like, oat milk ice cream, or vegan cheese... He's always trying to find new vegan foods I might like. We make a lot of meals where they still eat meat and dairy and I'll just swap out tofu for whatever meat they're eating.


I hope you enjoyed hearing Tina's two months of veganism journey & some of the health changes that she's noticed.

Maybe some of you who’ve been considering a plant-based diet or just making some simpler healthy changes to your diet can find some motivation from Tina to make the changes you’ve been thinking about <3

Interested in plant-based eating? Here's a free 3-day meal plan, complete with recipes & shopping list!


Are you interested in transitioning into a more plant-based lifestyle, but feel you need a little more support?

Visit for more about coaching opportunities.

Discovery calls are completely free, book one now!

instagram: @bewellwithsteph_


Extra Show notes;

Compassion & Cucumbers: vegan resources

WNY Vegans: virtual community

Tina_Lou: follow Tina!

Buzzin' Books: Tina's bookstore


Prefer to listen to this topic? You can, here!

(I elaborate a lot more on some of these important, ideas, too.)

What was your favorite tip from this episode?

Leave a message in the comments for me! ♡


You are worthy of living and capable of creating a healthy lifestyle you love. 🤍

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