There are two things you need to know about today’s guest blogger, Doug Piotter. First, nothing is off-limits when he writes, as evidenced by a health blog that includes words like penis, Depends and heroin. Second, dude’s funny, which is why I encourage you to get in line for advanced copies of his upcoming book, Fixed: dope, dye packs and welcomed back. Subscribe here, comment below or contact us to learn more.
I guess there’s a third thing too: You’ll want to read this. Enjoy.
By Doug Piotter
I’ve kicked heroin, so going vegan should be a piece of cake, without butter and eggs.
I recently got a Vegucation on Netflix, and like the unsuspecting victims in the documentary Vegucated, my wife and I also agreed to go vegan for six weeks.
The charming documentarian lured us in with a mixture of scientific data and comedy. I felt quite entertained. Then she lowered the boom with a thousand forms of animal cruelty, I could barely swallow. She had me.
I didn’t want to be responsible for any more K.F.C. crispy popcorn beak buckets, so we made our six-week vow.
As soon as I agreed, panic set in. I wasn’t about to throw away any perfectly good organic animal limbs, so I unconsciously put on my giant bib and went on one last “meat bender.” A 48-hour fleshfest ensued, followed by a sluggish food coma. After coming to, I noticed the first side-effects of my new vow. Vegan depression set in. The world as I knew it was over.
I have refused to buy new pants, but I practically need a shoehorn to get into my old ones. One button undone is almost unnoticeable in public, but three wanders into the realm of pornographic. I’m hoping to remedy that. I’m looking forward to being re-introduced to my penis, which has hidden under the awning of my belly for years.
As the vow’s first week continues, I wander aimlessly in the grocery store and mumble to myself, white knuckling it past the cheesy bargaining chips. I am broken yet unbowed, determined not be a broken link of inconsequence in the mighty chain that saves the planet.
“What’s on the menu tonight?” I ask my wife.
She informs me, “We’re having garlic flavored mulch, again.”
Soon I’ll be eating straight out of the yard waste container with the rest of the worms. Human interaction is way overrated, so the garlic thing may just work out to my advantage.
I have night sweats and vivid imagery of all-you-can-eat Korean short ribs that haunt me while I sleep. I’m transfixed with the empty caskets in our refrigerator that used to house the dead and frozen animal components. I’ve loitered in front of the neighborhood BBQ joint. I look at my cat in a different light. I have olfactory hallucinations of bacon frying right under my nose.
I tell myself, “I’ll just eat one chicken, nobody will know.” As my six-week test continues my experiences are as vast as my mood swings:
- I can no longer refer to my wife’s nether regions in a carnivorous love-code kind of a way. I have to come up with a humane vegan alternative. Tofu wallet? She’ll adjust as well. Though she’s never referred to me as Yard-o-Beef, will I now be her celery stick?
- I’ve scoured the web in search of family farms with happy animals that are glad to sign off on being slaughtered so I can eat them. Still looking.
- I take some comfort in the list of famous vegetarians through the ages, geniuses like Plato, Albert Einstein and Mike Tyson. Bob Marley may have smoked a lot of weed but he didn’t smoke meat.
- I purchased some eggs at $9 a dozen. These hens are college educated and live in abandon campers with no doors. For hens it’s a penthouse. They come and go as they please. Seriously. Never has the concept of Bacos looked so good.
- Do humans actually milk soybeans or are they hooked up to machines too?
This vegan business is time-consuming. No matter how much salad I eat, I can’t seem to make a proper turd. Now I get why cows eat all the time. There’s also a lot of preparation time involved. I’m in the process of developing a human feedbag so I can free up my hands and actually get some work done.
I’ve always viewed my system as old reliable. With one strong cup of coffee and cream in the morning, the previous 24 hours worth of consumption is bam, gone. Another solid effort turned in. Not so as a vegan, Now it’s more like Old Faithful. Things are unpredictable and happen fast: Veggie Shrapnel. I tremble between meals in fear that my volcanic bowels will suddenly erupt. Can’t stay long, just passing through, but wait, there’s more. To keep things under control, I practice my cheek squeezing technique. I feel as though I must be ready with trousers dropped and Charmin in hand. I’m pondering having a couple more toilets installed in my house, one in the living room and one in the hall, or maybe wear a porta-potty with a seat belt just in case. Hopefully, it’s just an adjustment period.
Just shoot me now.
I thought I’d hit pay dirt when I learned that Oreos are vegan. All was not lost! I added several packages to the shopping cart. My wife squashed that bug as soon as it landed because they don’t actually contain any food.
“When tofurkeys fly,” she told me.
I’ve been lustfully reading cookbooks, meaty, cheesy cookbooks swimming in gravy. It’s comparable to smut or browsing that Sears catalog as a kid, while the voice in your head reminds you, “You’ll never get that Stingray with the banana seat and butterfly handlebars.” Only this time it’s a Double-Double with extra cheese.
I’m paying for dandelion greens when they grow free in my yard, I may have to become a goat for financial reasons.
“If you stick with it, you’ll be able to complain well into your 90s,” my wife tells me.
As foodies who spent countless hours in conversation about our sublime masterpieces, our silence around the dinner table is hard to take. I don’t have anything nice to say, so I don’t say anything at all. Our orgasmic groans of culinary bliss have been replaced. The low hum of mandibles grinding roughage now fills the air, like a factory. Potlucks have suddenly become shit-out-of-lucks. We have fallen out of favor with our foodie friends. Potluck pariahs.
Do vegan foodies even exist, or are they as hard to find as the Abominable Snowman or black Republicans? With awareness comes responsibility. What a drag.
“What’s for lunch?” I ask, as my wife as she slaves over the skillet.
“Sautéed fennel, carrots and cabbage with chick peas and sunflower seeds,” she says brightly.
I chew and chew and chew, tiring while I build muscle mass in my jaws and my head becomes disproportionate with the rest of my body. I’ll soon look like a balloon on a stick.
Fuck it, tonight I’m having a steak, a roasted cabbage steak with A-1 sauce. Tomorrow I’ll have my steak chard.
Two months have passed and I’m five pounds lighter. There’s been a penis sighting. It’s been confirmed I still have one. I feel pretty good. I’ve quit cooking, not because I’m lazy, but because I don’t know what to do. I graze just like a cow. I should wear a bell. My wife is frustrated with me for being underfoot in the kitchen while she mashes and steams and sautés and chops and blanches and peels and purees. I sidle up to her like I’m going to help and then slip an almond in her mouth just like feeding a meter. It buys me more time while I look for more snacks. By the time dinner is ready, I’m not hungry.
Somehow, after finishing our six-week vow, we just kept right on going.
Three months in and I’ve completed my detox. Things are slowly solidifying and I’m learning to cook. I am starting to believe I have another 40 years to complain, which cheers me up to no end. Here’s the shocker: Vegetables taste good.
And another shocker: there’s no need for Depends, only Maybes.
Read more from Doug Piotter: