The Story Behind The Vegan Rhino
How it Began…
It all started in July 2017 when I turned on Netflix and watched the documentary that changed my life: “What The Health.” I had no idea what I was about to discover about the food we consume and how it directly impacts our health. Once the hour-and-a-half-long documentary ended—a new “me” started. I was in utter shock and disbelief. Learning that I can live my life on a #plantbased diet and still receive 100 percent of my daily protein needs, carbs, healthy fats, etc. without harming animals was something I was ready for.
Making this lifestyle change can prevent (and even reverse!) type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver disease and other ailments. My mission with The Vegan Rhino is not only to promote healthy foods and simple recipes, but it’s to help animals—living, breathing, sentient beings—live a life without being confined, tortured or killed inhumanely. Taking the leap into this world of veganism, I am glad that I was finally able to open my eyes to a new way of life. One that is compassionate and loving—not just with myself and others but with Mother Nature, the world all earthlings.
When I was around 5 years old, I had a burning ambition to become a chef and run my own restaurant. I was often the youngest kid in cooking classes at Viking or Sur La Table, soaking up everything I could. In high school, I had the pleasure of becoming a prep chef at a small restaurant in Chagrin Falls, OH. That’s when I discovered what chef life really was like! As much as I loved this role, I decided to further pursue my academic career in Business Administration specializing in International Business. Although chef life may not have been for me, it was still a passion. And now, nine years later, here I am.. back doing what I love most!
Before transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, I used to think taking initiative to purchase organic meats and bake my own breads was living a healthy lifestyle. Since opening up my eyes to veganism, I came to terms that this previous notion of survival was inaccurate. This led me to a solution to how I can live more sustainably as well as sharing that with others. Since my lifestyle change in July 2017, I have created a food blog, worked with over 30 brands in my first year (click here), helped inspire and educate thousands on the benefits of eating a healthy lifestyle, learned photography, how to blog and re-sparked a passion of mine.
Growing up, my uncle used to call me Rhino. After going vegan, I thought the nickname was fitting because rhinos are one of the largest plant-eaters on earth. I took this idea and ran with it – thus creating “The Vegan Rhino.” Creating recipes, learning how to style food and flexing my photography arm has been a great deal of fun. I truly enjoy learning different skills from friends and co-workers. Without their help, I would not have been able to create The Vegan Rhino. I am looking forward to showing you all how easy it is to cook in a wholesome plant-based way.
Meet the Team
Ryan Shepard – Owner & Founder
Ryan graduated from Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree; Specializing in International Business. Through the years, he has been a jack-of-all-trades, Cutco Field Sales Manager, e-commerce digital specialist, entrepreneur, business owner, etc. These days, Ryan focuses his time running The Vegan Rhino and spreading the message of home cooked veganized meals.
In his personal life, Ryan is vegan and has been since 2017, a beachgoer, enjoys farm to table treats, a foodie and a Cleveland Cavaliers fan.
Expertise: Food Development, Marketing, Sales
“Vegan- Because I am being the change I wish to see in the world.”@inthesoulshine