I have an unhealthy obsession with flesh. Biting it, chewing it, and sucking it down. I fetishize it, and the time has come for me to take myself to task for such disgusting, deviant behavior. How better to do so than in the most dramatic and potentially public way possible?
My proclivity for porn and puns aside, I am talking about my unabashed love of meat. Beef. Animal-based food products. Okay, so, the only thing more difficult for me than going a day without ingesting skeletal muscle is playing down the homoeroticism of my eating habits. But that may be the least of my problems.
I have never been much for trends (except dayglo-hued slap bracelets), so I have never felt an impetus to jump onto the “health nut” bandwagon. I consider myself fairly well-informed, but in the realm of food, facts and flashy fiction are equally powerless in my presence. I ran out to McDonald’s as soon as I finished Morgan Spurlock’s SUPER SIZE ME. On the way home from returning Richard Linklater’s film adaptation of FAST FOOD NATION, I stopped at 7-Eleven for a hot dog. I have no heart, because if I did, it wouldn’t be moving.
From its finest to its flimsiest forms, meat is something I consider sacred. Not, you know, like Indians do. That’s actually the exact opposite of what I mean. In fact, for every cheeseburger a slumdog passes on, I make it a point to eat three. There is something compelling in the inelegance of a steak. Something profound in beer-can chicken. And I don’t discriminate. If I were to directly translate my standards for beef to a vegan lifestyle, I would munch grass from the dog’s spot under the porch.
The most beautiful side-effect of my menu has been the relative lack of side-effects. I have never been overweight and I am rarely sick. My stomach handles prime rib like Andy Dick handles a sweaty banana hammock full of blow. Except my stomach never convinced Phil Hartman’s wife to commit murder-suicide, so I win by default.
Despite a keen knowledge of the potential ailments associated with my disproportionate intake of meat, I haven’t made much progress. In the past two years, I have successfully added meager salads (spinach leaves, croutons, cucumber, and dressing) to my repertoire, along with a few other leafy odds and ends, but not a single thing substantial enough to stand in as a replacement menu item.
What do I do now? I quit meat. I outright abandon this baby cold-turkey (mmmmmmm, lunch). In order to accomplish this relatively insane goal, I will give myself a couple of weeks to develop a small menu of vegan options, comprised of things that I can manage to choke down. Starting June 25th, I will spring into action, and for thirty days, I will commit myself to veganism.
Thirty days without ingesting meat or animal products of any kind.
Drastic? Yes. Healthy? Probably less so than it seems. Regardless, I think this is the most effective way to shock my system into tolerating, accepting, and eventually liking healthier and generally animal-free food. It’s like Affirmative Action for my arteries.
The real challenge will be to find a way to distract myself from the meat-cravings.