Hell of a Guy

Meatless in West Virginia…


On this day 16 years ago I decided to go meatless.  Today at about 6pm I will begin my 17th year as an almost vegetarian.

I remember that day back in 1996 very clearly.  I had left Nancy’s house in Grafton, West Virginia about 4:30 to begin my drive to my home in Richmond, Virginia.  I had a five-hour, 311 mile drive in front of me and I wanted to get it done before dark.  A while later I was traveling along I-68 in Maryland when the gas gauge showing near empty and a rumbling stomach caught my attention.  I got off at Exit 22 to fill the tank at a BP station and a get bite to eat at a Burger King next door to it.

Once back on the road with a Whopper in hand I sailed on down the highway listening to and singing along with Bonnie Raitt while chomping on the sandwich just happy as a clam.  About an hour later I began to have a few stomach cramps, and I knew what lay ahead.  There was prior to this a period of approximately four years where something was causing me get this crampy, nauseous condition about once a month: I called it my period.  It would come on slowly and the severity of the abdominal cramps increased for about ten to twelve hours, then I would throw up and that would end it. 

Less than a month prior to this I had had a bout of food poisoning.  At an educators conference in Lexington, Kentucky I ate something that really threw a wrench in my intestinal tract.  I was sick for three days in a hotel room, lost 17 pounds and thought I had done irreparable damage to my colon.  I had never been that sick while traveling and I thought the end was near.

With the Whopper incident I decided it was meat.

August the 11th, 1996 I had my last meal with animal flesh as part of it.  At first I started to say “enjoyed” but I am not sure I ever really enjoyed a Whopper or a Quarter Pounder or any fast food sandwich.  They were just cheap and convenient.  The bottom line is on this day I became an Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian, and as strange as this may sound to you carnivores, I have not had a stomach virus or thrown up since that day – that’s 16 years.

I have never figured out exactly what made me sick so many times back in the mid-90s.  I can, however, without reservation tell you I have not missed critter consumption at all.  I can also tell you one does not lose weight when one shuns animal flesh, especially when the replacement for meat in the diet is beer.

And that is all I have to say about that…   

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