I knew I shouldn’t do it—it went against everything I grew up with, against so many memories of good times, against manhood in general. The backyard barbecues, Saturday night Burger King Whoppers for a long night’s work, the 16 ounce steak and potato I could put away at Hosses during Sunday lunch with the guys. A long afternoon of philosophical discussion followed, for that was really all we could do after a meal of such satisfaction. Today I did it anyway; I entered “how to become a vegetarian” into Google and pressed Enter.
This isn’t a new thing with me; I’ve gone a week without meat several times during last year’s school term just to try out the vegan meals offered in the cafeteria. Instead of shriveling up and my skin turning pale yellow like I expected, I felt like a conqueror, like I could do anything. My best runs and bike rides happened during those weeks. Matter of the mind? Probably, but I’m ready to go with it.
I remember a time when I ate meat three times a day, and felt hungry if I didn’t get it. The funny thing is, now I can barely down an 8 ounce steak, and hamburgers are on the verge of repulsive. My butter taste has done a complete turnaround, thanks in part to Weston’s relentless harping about the dangers of saturated fat and cholesterol to an inert and unresponsive audience at the Becker dinner table. There were the comical times of Weston grabbing the butter away from Dad—shouting at poor Dad like his life depended on it. Even Dad got the message, trading the evening trips to the ice cream stand for long bike rides—and his headaches mysteriously disappeared. Weston and I had heated arguments about regular vs diet Pepsi—before I knew what happened I couldn’t drink the regular soda anymore. It was Weston who convinced Mom to make enchiladas without cheese and sour cream—after a few meals we liked them better that way. Even the morning eggs disappeared and bacon was the lean baked type the few times I saw it. Mom found good homes for the few stupid chickens in the backyard. Soy milk became popular, and no one could turn down a soy smoothie made from fresh fruit and Silk. Summer breakfasts were suddenly memorable; a big bowl full of fresh fruit for each every morning.
So. What’s the next step? I plan to start by not doing—not eating certain things and see how that goes. In the meantime I hope to keep expanding my cooking experiences to cover more than just pasta. Flagstaff is quite supportive of this type of lifestyle, as a very large share of the population is vegan or vegetarian. I don’t think Subaru’s and dreadlocks come from diet, but there may be some connections… No, I don’t have dreadlocks. Yet. A Subaru? Maybe this fall. Stay tuned.