Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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October 31, 2013

OPINION: Once meatless reporter reminisces about fantastic city barbecue competition

'Humans are CARNIVORES. Not eating meat goes against the natural order of things.'

JACKSONVILLE — Back in my younger days – in the early 1990s, shortly after my graduation from Tarleton State University in Stephenville – I spent roughly a year as a vegetarian.

True story.

It wasn't fun. In fact, it was a very difficult year for me. There was meat everywhere I looked. And I craved it oh, so very badly. Every dish on every menu seemed to be stuffed with meat. Meat beckoned to me over and over again.

It seemed that there was nowhere to turn. But rather than give up, I decided to instead distract myself by "upping the ante" on my diet. I eliminated milk products in addition to meat. No milk. No cheese. Or anything with milk or cheese in it.

This diet got kind of weird after awhile. Ordering pizzas without cheese meant I would get a burned crispy shell with some sauce and veggies, but nothing else. Eventually, I stuck to ordering only Pizza Hut breadsticks or spaghetti.

Anyway, after about a year, I sought advice from my old college friend Manuel Alvear. A very wise individual, Manuel told me, quite frankly, that he doesn't believe vegetarianism is a natural practice for human beings.

Humans, Manuel said, are CARNIVORES. Not eating meat, he said, goes against the natural order of who and what we are as people.

Ultimately, I decided Manuel was right. So, at the end of that year, I decided to abandon my meatless diet. Really, I had nothing left to prove. I knew I had the willpower to do it again whenever I wanted. I really, honestly, no longer had any desire to be either a vegetarian or a vegan.

There was no ethical stance behind my diet. Bottom line, I became a vegetarian while trying to impress a girl I was dating at the time. But she was better suited for this diet. She went to school in San Marcos and had the necessary moral underpinnings to enforce her choices of what to eat.

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