by JENNIFER FRAKES | photos by Alyssa Rachel Photography

Healthy and Strong

faces_mangiamele1Dena Mangiamele’s passion in life is helping people and animals live healthy and happy lives. She is a veterinarian, author, and speaker who is dedicated to a vegan lifestyle and assists others who want to join her on a journey to health and wellness. According to Dena, she was drawn to the vegan lifestyle because it is sustainable and involved eating the plant-based foods that she loved. “I realized that I could help other people reach their wellness goals. My book, Dena’s Fuel for Fitness, was created to address all of the challenges I had during my transition to a vegan lifestyle and have it all in one resource for those beginning this journey,” revealed Dena. Prior to writing her book, Dena shared her positive experience with vegan health and wellness through a home-based catering company that filled weekly breakfast and snack orders for fitness enthusiasts at her local health club.


Name: Dena Mangiamele, DVM, MPVM, MFS
Profession: Veterinarian/Author/Speaker
Community: Scripps Ranch
Hobbies & Interests: Fitness (swimming, strength training), pet portrait painting, growing my own veggies and herbs, vegan recipe creation, and throwing vegan dinner parties
Favorite Places to Visit in 92131: All hiking trails and parks, Scripps Ranch Swim & Racquet Club swimming pool, and regional San Diego vegan restaurants


faces_mangiamele2Dena began her career in veterinary medicine as the chief veterinarian for the City of Los Angeles Department of Animal Control. There, she cared for animals in the shelter and gained experience working on animal cruelty cases, especially those involving illegal dog fighting. Dena began a consulting business as an expert witness in dog fighting cases, and subsequently, earned a Master’s degree in forensic science. “Although the cases were difficult and painful to work through, it was fulfilling to know I contributed to putting animal abusers in jail and removed dogs from the cruel life they were forced to lead,” stated Dena. Stray: A Shelter Veterinarian’s Reflection on Triumph and Tragedy, her first book and an Amazon best-seller, chronicles her experiences as a veterinarian and forensic expert. According to Dena, for more than 25 years, she provided care for animals as a veterinarian, and now, she is focused on caring for people, especially those who love all animals.

An important part of Dena’s commitment to a healthy and active lifestyle is spending time outdoors. She loves the green belts, trails, and eucalyptus trees in Scripps Ranch and takes advantage of the beautiful landscape and year-round temperate weather to take her dogs Jackson and Ruby on four- to five-mile daily walks. “I also enjoy the convenient locations of grocery and health food stores, my health club, the swimming pool at Scripps Ranch Swim & Racquet Club, and being within walking distance of high school sporting events,” related Dena. She and her husband, also a veterinarian, can often be found dining at local vegan restaurants and hosting vegan dinner parties.