By Shane Cashion
If that’s the case, I’m a cowpig. During my forty years inhabiting this body, I estimate that I’ve consumed in the neighborhood of 5,000 hamburgers and 15,000 strips of bacon. If you were to line that many strips of bacon end to end, they’d wrap around the Earth seventeen times. That’s what’s clogging my arteries. And to be honest, I never really gave it much thought, until very recently when a series of seemingly unrelated events convinced me to change my eating habits.
The first thing that caught my attention was a special I watched on slaughterhouses. For those unfamiliar with how slaughterhouses operate, it’s a pretty grisly affair. The process begins by feeding the cows digestively disruptive grain until they’re fat enough to slaughter. Once properly engorged, they’re led single file down a long, narrow corridor to an execution chamber where a machine stands ready to administer the death blow: a metal rod through the cows’ temples. Their skin is then pulled from their carcasses so they can be sliced into cuts of meat for packaging and distributing. It’s not a parade for the squeamish. I myself felt very queasy, although admittedly I was watching the sad lives of these death row cows in stunning 3D.
That evening I had terrifying nightmares about the potential afterlife consequences of my diet. I could see myself falling through one of the seven portals to this endless lava pasture where herds of demonic, free-range, mutant cowpigs grazed on what appeared to be the body parts of carnivorous diners like myself. When I awoke, I couldn’t help but wonder if it’s the cows who will inherit the Earth.
Not long after watching this moving special (thank you Oprah), I read that Taco Bell was being sued in federal court for calling their meat, “meat.” Apparently their ingredients didn’t satisfy the FDA’s 35% minimum meat threshold to be classified as “meat.” Now I’m no Ag guy, but 35% doesn’t sound all that stringent to me. It makes you wonder what’s going into their 4th meals? And who’s their man in charge of butchering and ingredients? Leatherface? No wonder their hook is catering to drunks!
As I was reading about Taco Bell’s troubles, as God as my witness, I got a shooting pain in my neck. So I plugged “shooting pain” into Google’s search engine and just happened to notice my search history. In the span of no more than a week, I’d conducted the following searches:
Violent shooting pain in neck
Shooting pain in left arm
What side is your heart on
Is Operation Repo real
Horrible shooting pain in chest
Horrible shooting pain in neck
Aspirin and hair loss
Sharp pain in head
How to fake your own death
Shooting pain right behind right eye
Will Propecia grow boobs
Shooting pain that lasts more than a minute
When to see a doctor if you’re having horrible shooting pains
How old you have to be to get gout
Enough was enough. I knew that it was time to make a change. And believe me, this was no easy task. For years I’d fashioned myself a sort of connoisseur of low-rent grilling meats; brats, burgers, hotdogs, pork ribs, and even pork steaks were my specialties. And while I’d certainly order seafood or a nice steak when dining out, it’s the lunch menu that usually caught my eye: French dips, greasy cheeseburgers, potato skins with lots of bacon, anything that can legitimately be called “Bar Food” has always been my preference.
So, with all of that as a backdrop, I’ve endeavored to change my ways. I’ll still eat meat, just less often, and I certainly won’t become a Vegan, I wouldn’t know how, but now I order “Get Fit” salads from my favorite bar instead of bacon cheeseburgers. What’s encouraging is that I already feel a little better. My face isn’t as shiny and I have a bit more lift in my step, although now I’m always hungry, hungry enough to eat a horse….