Vegan woman married to hunter hopes to raise son on plant-based diet

A mum who’s been vegan for eight years lives a polar opposite life to her husband who is a hunter.

Yoga instructor and plant-based chef Tandi Rolen, 28, from Washington met her husband, gunsmith and fishing guide, Mitchell Rolen, 28, when they were just 16.

The couple has to store their foods in separately with Mitchell keeping his meat in the garage while Tandi uses the kitchen.

But now with a four-month-old son, the husband and wife are struggling with which diet to feed him.

Tandi hopes to raise him on a vegan diet but says she’s open to letting him choose even if he wants to go hunting.

The mum-of-one grew up on a standard diet of meat and processed foods but when her grandma died of cancer, a 20-year-old Tandi started to focus on her own health and went vegetarian.

After researching the dairy industry, Tandi became vegan, a month after her wedding to Mitchell in 2015.

Though she doesn’t push Mitchell to become vegan himself, he eventually started paying attention to her concerns.

Mitchell only eats meat from animals he has killed using a bow and arrow and not for sport, storing the contents in a separate freezer.

‘When I found out I was pregnant I decided to close down my cafe to focus on my new goal which is raising a conscious human,’ explained Tandi.

‘My husband enjoys bow hunting and hunting for a source of food for himself. Not as sport.

‘I never looked at his hobbies in an objective way before. Hunting and eating animals are so normalised, I never questioned it.

‘But when the veil of animal agriculture was exposed to me in a new way I went through a period of being mad at the world. I felt lied to. And my husband didn’t make the connection right away which was also devastating.

‘What saved my marriage was realising that people will not change if you tell them what they’re doing is wrong. You have to lead by example and lead with compassion and understanding.’

Their son Brookes is currently following his mum’s lifestyle and getting his nutrients from plants.

Tandi admits that the couple is sometimes questioned about their contrasting views on animal product consumption but says that their relationship is proof that both vegans and non-vegans can integrate.

‘We eat whole plant foods plus my husband has deer or grouse, it’s quite easy actually. We have dairy-free alternatives as well.

‘Everyone is so far on one side of the spectrum. But the truth is everything is not a one size fits all. Lifestyle and diet included.

‘We have to integrate. And we must take the best options on both sides and practice them.’

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