For 14 years, I ate only poultry and fish. Last year, I started eating beef and pork again. So what's it like to return to red meat after all this time? LIKE FUCKING HEAVEN.
This will not shock you, but I was a porky college student. At my worst, I topped the scales at 280 lbs., a weight that made me look less like a person and more like an overgrown balloon animal. I didn't have many friends. I couldn't get laid (again, stunning). I tried any number of times to drop the weight, but never succeeded due to both laziness and a glaring lack of willpower. For years, my mom badgered me about losing weight, as moms so often do. One day, I was talking to her on the phone from school.
ME: Hey, you haven't annoyed me about my weight yet.
HER: Eh, I just know you won't do anything about it anyway.
That was the first time she had ever expressed complete indifference about it. More parents need to try this technique. It totally works. I ended the call determined to prove her wrong. THINK I'M A FAT LOST CAUSE, DO YOU LADY? I'LL SHOW YOU!
I went to the school infirmary, which previously was only known to me as the joint where you grab free rubbers, which I often took advantage of out of misplaced hope. I asked to sit down with one of the doctors. She brought me into her office.
ME: I have a problem with food.
DR: Are you purging?
ME: Uh… no.
DR: Are you binging and purging? Are your teeth rotting? Have you noticed a buildup of fuzz on your cheeks or other exposed areas?
ME: Holy shit, no. I just want to lose some weight.
DR: Oh. (oddly disappointed I didn't have an eating disorder) Well then, try and cut down on red meat and butter and oil and other fatty foods.
Then she handed me a food pyramid and sent me on my way. I took the "red meat" part of our talk to heart. Too much so, in fact. I resolved, then and there, to never eat red meat again. Or, at least, red meat as I loosely defined it (beef, all pork, etc.), regardless of whether or not that definition was correct.
So that's what I did. I only ate chicken and fish, and stopped eating fatty foods. This was during the whole low fat craze, so I got swept up in it. Remember Snackwell's? I ate the shit out of Snackwell's. I ate the turkey substitute of every red meat product in existence: turkey chili, turkey bacon, turkey ham, turkey pepperoni, turkey burgers, turkey steak tartare, everything. Shockingly, the tactic worked. I dropped seventy pounds and got to experience that whole "Loogit me! I'm skinny!" feeling, which is always a delight.
This came at something of a price, of course. Being the guy who won't eat red meat makes you feel like a complete fucking dipshit. Everyone asks you why. Everyone suspects (rightfully) that you're some pansyass PETA douchebag. And there's that terrible feeling you get when you're going to some party and you worry that they won't have anything for you to eat, and that you'll have to explain WHY you won't eat what they're serving. Nothing makes you feel dumber, and that feeling never goes away while you're sticking to your diet. At least, it didn't for me. I hated being THAT guy, the guy that asks, "Is that chicken sausage?" You may as well have a penis growing where your nose is. I went to Germany twice during this period. There was nothing to eat in that country for me. Even the chewing gun there is made out of fucking pork.
Nevertheless, I saw that my little embargo worked and remained determined to stick to it, even if friends called me a gaywad. I kept it up for fourteen years, and had every intention of going to my grave without ever eating steak or burgers or bacon again.
But then, a goofy thing happened. I got fat again. Way fat. Hugely fat. Just as fat as I was before. It only took a few years for my waist size to expand back to 42 or so, pretty much exactly where I was before I started losing weight the first time around. My wife insisted I should just exercise some semblance of portion control, instead of cutting out red meat and binging on everything else. I refused. For some reason, I still clung to the embargo, despite clear evidence that it wasn't doing anything for me.
Then, last year, fed up with my size and ensuing back pain, I finally decided to rethink how I handled my shit. I turned to Mrs. Drew.