"Never would it occur to a child that a sheep, a pig, a cow or a chicken was good to eat, while, like Milton's Adam, he would eagerly make a meal off fruits, nuts, thyme, mint, peas and broad beans which penetrate further and stimulate not only the appetite but other vague and deep nostalgias.

"We are closer to the Vegetable Kingdom than we know; is it not for man alone that mint, thyme, sage, and rosemary exhale crush me and eat me!--for us that opium poppy, coffee-berry, tea-plant and vine perfect themselves? Their aim is to be absorbed by us, even if it can only be achieved by attaching themselves to roast mutton."

Cyril Connolly
Corpulent essayist and deceased carnivore

Vegetarianism is discouraged in many European countries (personal experience of France, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic). In restaurants there may be no choices marked as "vegetarian". Many apparently vegetable-based menu items will contain ham (in Italy, ham is a vegetable), or are likely to be cooked using animal fat. I suspect the owners/chefs may be trying to make a statement...

After 21 years as a practicing omnivore, I decided the other day to become a vegetarian. I had been working in a convenience store for a couple hours and something might have snapped in my head. Since then, I have been examining my motives thoroughly and have only managed to come up with one reason for my conversion: I don't want to chew on flesh anymore.

Now keep in mind, for many years I've been a firm believer that there is something weird about someone who chooses a vegetarian lifestyle, so in no way, am I taking the elitist vegetarian route that seems to look down on those that choose to eat meat as committing some kind of barbaric act. Eating meat is something that we have evolved into and I accept this; it has been necessary in order for some of our descendents to live and, in another time, my (motives for being a vegetarian) might not have been quite as relevant. As a well-fed middle-class American, however, being a practicing omnivore might not be as necessary as it once was.

The idealist vegetarian route that sees the vegetarian lifestyle as the salvation of animals is naive and I understand perfectly well that feild animals can die just as easily in the process of harvesting wheat or soy as farmed animals can die when they themselves are being harvested. In fact, it seems to me that, aside from health reasons, converting to vegetarianism seems, for the most part, an impractical, if not completely illogical thing to do. For example, where should one draw the line when being a vegetarian?-- even common ingredients like glycerin can be animal-derived. Cheese is curdled with the stomach acid of cows. Eggs are in almost everything-- Is an egg a true animal? Who is to say? A line must be drawn somewhere and it is always somewhat arbitrary unless it is the hard line of veganism but even that is not without it's own problems. Maybe it's an a priori gut feeling I'm having to not eat meat. Maybe I've hynotized myself. Maybe I've unhypnotized myself. Hopefully someday I will come to understand my subconscious reasoning a little more clearly and grow into my decision.


The dark side to vegetarianism

Right... Here it is: The Truth.

For the meat-eaters considering converting, or the pescaterians considering going all the way, I've got some words I'd like you to hear. In this brief piece below I’m going to discuss the side of your chosen diet that vegetarian propagandists don’t discuss in public… Let’s talk about gut-biology, and the science of scatology.

I have some authority on this topic: I was condemned to life-long vegetarianism by my parents, and from a young age my guts have cultured to vegetable proteins. It has developed such that my intestinal ecology now consists of fungi and bacteria that, were they to come upon lamb or beef amino-acids, would wag their collective flagella in dismay. Because vegetarianism has an impact on your digestive process that non-vegetarians can’t even conceive. Things happen down there you wouldn't encounter outside the vast vats used by Imperial Chemical Industries for growing Quorn fungus...

First, let’s discuss the obvious effects... You meat eaters think you have to worry about anal effervescence? Imagine you work out a lot, and therefore need protein - the only way you’re going to get that protein is in pulses, which lubricate your gastric passages like machine oil. The moment you get into that gym room and start those muscles squeezing against your intestines, you engage in a battle to keep the sounds as quiet as possible, and the mother of all "what? you smell something?" lies. Each time you flex your abs, you're applying pressure to these bags of gunge, and their consistency is making them act like a drum.

Odour is bad enough, but there are effects with more solidity than that. Let’s move on to the rate of toilet deposits. Everyone has had to dash to the toilet after the pub, with a turnover rate between three and five minutes from "maybe I need the toilet" to "I need to piss, right now!". Now convert that to the second function, and that you need that two to three times a day. Every vegetarian has a story, buried somewhere, of the day the curry went wrong... They will never tell you.

Worse? Now let’s talk about consistency... For your average red-meat-eater, a toilet deposit comes out defined and unitary, with a comfortable two to three minute period of deposit. For a veggie with a significant pulse-based diet, you’re talking about a ten second deposit (sit, release, splash, and you're done) with the consistency of toothpaste. So loose that however hard you wipe afterwards, you know you're going to have to come back to the toilet, minutes later, for the non-newtonian goo that was trapped behind the rectum, and has now been squeezed out by the simple action of walking.

And that’s only the more obvious effects. A vegetarian diet is more spice rich, heavier on garlic, and generally rich in all the components of food that change the smell of your sweat. There is good with this bad - because it's a generally accepted anecdote that vegetarian semen is of a more pleasant flavour and consistency than that produced by their omnivorous bretheren. There are worse things than knowing you are the best your partner will ever taste, but when people talk about musky sweat... They're talking about you.

So there it is: the dark and sinister side and fear that lurks in a vegetarian diet… And this, this is merely the raw facts, without the blood and sweat of anecdotes. Think what you will of your trim and lithe body, but beneath that muscle layer you are a mass of gunge and goo, lubricated and digested by acids and fungii... Never again will you suffer from constipation, but never again will you be able to sit in an hour long speech without, at some point, finding yourself deceiving. Choose what you will, but I beseech you to spare your children…

Raise your kids on Steak.

Veg`e*ta"ri*an*ism (?), n.

The theory or practice of living upon vegetables and fruits.


© Webster 1913.

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