DEAN Tyrrell never imagined choosing a healthier lifestyle would one day see him crowned ‘Australia’s Sexiest Vegan Next Door’.
The competition was through animal rights organisation PETA.
Entering on a whim, it was not just the Port Kennedy teacher’s natural attributes, but the bond he has with his dog Nala, that caught the judges’ attention.
“I was a little bit embarrassed about winning; with that being said it was a bit of fun,” he said.
“To me the sexy part is more about having compassion and respect for animals.
“Having Nala has helped me be more in tune with animals; she is a great companion”
Wanting a healthier lifestyle, Mr Tyrrell started experimenting with vegetarian foods.
“I first changed for health reasons but then you start to have a bit more of consciousness about the impacts of eating meat,” he said.
“It’s the environmental impact that is huge, the resources used; land cleared for grains to feed cattle alone is massive.”
Teaching environmental science and health at high school has helped him inspire others.
“I don’t like to project things onto others; I would rather show people be being an example,” he said.
“The best way to change people is to do it yourself.”
“People say ‘you’re only one person, how can that make a difference?’ I make a difference three times a day with my meal choices.
“If you invest just a little bit of time it all points to making a big difference.”
It was tough at first but Mr Tyrrell changed his diet by experimenting and having fun.
“It is hard at first but it just gets easier and easier. Have been fully vegan for a year now I started by experimenting with vegetarianism,” he said.
“I started with meat substitutes from the supermarkets until you find what suits your tastes.
“I eat lots of veggies, breads and grains and I enjoy cooking now; it can be fun and I cook vegan meals with my mum.
“She enjoys putting on vegan dinners.
“It’s definitely good to do it with a friend. My girlfriend has been a great support.
“It’s just persisting.
“Although, like anyone else I still need my fix of junk food from time to time.”
He said he feels calmer and is more caring.
“You just feel so much healthier and more connected to things,” he said.
“I just like the way it ties into everything. It’s easier than what I thought.
“You do become a pretty big fan of hummus.”
He won a weekend getaway at The Beet Retreat and a six-month mystery-box subscription from The Cruelty Free Shop.
For more information visit PETA.org.au.