Hello.  My name is Jimmy (Hi Jimmy!), and I’m a carnivore.  So is my wife.  And our son, although less and less so each year.  Our daughters are both vegan, the youngest committed, the oldest hardcore.  So hardcore, in fact, that she urged me to sell my interest in a Jamaican restaurant, with its awesome oxtail, cow cod and jerk chicken, and help her open a little vegetarian ‘bistro’  serving vegetarian pizzas, sandwiches, stews and desserts.  (It’s called Fresca on Addison, in Richmond, VA).

Early on a customer came in, perused the chalkboard menu, ordered some food, scrutinized the work area and then ate.  He came back a few days later and repeated the ritual after which he introduced himself.  Turns out he’s a heart surgeon at Bon Secours and claimed (are you ready for this?) that heart disease can be reversed with the proper diet.

Oh, I’ve heard stories and listened to customers over the years with their own tales of beating death with the right food.  Macrobiotic this, organic that.  Avoid meat and dairy and eat veggies without adding fat.  Now don’t get me wrong: I worked at Fresca for the first 8 months or so and something quite unexpected happened.  I forgot to eat meat.  Seriously, I’d go three or four days eating pizza with mozzarella, roasted red peppers and seitan ‘chorizo’, or roasted broccolini on one of Jenna’s warm, yeasty, baked-to-order pita breads.  Then there was the egg salad, chili or curried vegetables over stone ground grits.  So, am I ready to go all vegetarian, the Full Monty?  Hell no.  I’d rather die than give up foie gras and tapioca pudding.

 I may get my wish.

You see, Jenna, our extreme vegan, asked a favor of me:  Dad, please.  How could I say no?  Go see a movie at the Byrd Theater sponsored by the Vegetarian Society of Richmond (wearing Birkenstocks I suppose).  It’s called Forks over Knives.  So Stacey and I went to see it and while I did doze off a few times, as I’m prone to do at movies, each time I revived all I heard was ‘meat is bad, vegetables are good’ blah blah blah.

Well, maybe that’s not all I heard.  There was this guy named Esselstyn from the Cleveland Clinic and a couple other doctor types offering testimonials of folks that have renewed energy, sleep better and no longer need Viagra, all from eliminating meat products.  Man, some people will say anything to get a rise out of me.

Oh, did I mention that a ‘whole food, plant based diet’ will magically lower LDL, blood pressure, heart rate and pretty much bitch slap diabetes.  Not a little, but dramatically and quickly.  Their star patient went from taking nine different medicines a day to one.  No more statins, no more blood pressure medicine, no more insulin.  Do they understand what havoc this can wreck on the pharmaceutical industry, not to mention cattle ranchers?  They could go the way of tobacco farmers.  These nuts want us to give up meat and pharmaceuticals?  Un-American I say.  What next?  Assault rifles?