No, it’s not the prequel to the Eminem movie. It’s time to simplify. I tried a vegan diet for one month, to mixed results. Despite the predictions I had read in various books and websites, I did not miraculously lose weight or start glowing by giving up all animal products. In fact, I got fatter. Maybe this was because I overcompensated for my non-violent piety by eating tons of dark chocolate (vegan) and drinking lots of beer and red wine (also vegan). I took Omega-3 pills and B-12 supplements, but I was still tired all the time. I also lost my motivation to exercise. Maybe I thought if I just gave up milk, meat, and cheese, I’d suddenly lose 20 pounds just by walking back and forth from my car to my front door each morning and evening. This is not to say that my little experiment didn’t have its benefits. I discovered sauteed collard greens, Earth Balance butter, and red beans and rice. I learned all about factory farms and how our food is made by reading books like Gristle, Ominvore’s Dilemma, The Jungle Effect, Food Rules, and watching films like Food Inc. and King Corn. My wife and I decided to buy a farm share again, and I found a local farm that sells fresh vegetables and makes its own Maine maple syrup just a few miles from my home. I learned that cows were never meant to eat corn, and that’s why there is so much e.coli in the world. That most of the antibiotics in this country are given to healthy farm animals on industrial feed lots to overcompensate for crowded, unsanitary conditions. My vegan month was an eye-opening experience, and it’s true that once you know something, you can’t unknow it. I’ll never eat at McDonald’s again unless I’m on the verge of starvation. I don’t miss meat, but I also know that I probably haven’t had my last cheeseburger. I certainly haven’t had my last Greek yogurt. But if I do have a cheeseburger again one day, I’ll try to make sure the beef was grass-fed and came from a small organic family farm. Do I feel like a failure? A little. But I can live with that. We are all evolving. We are hopefully becoming more moral, more just, more forgiving, more loving, more compassionate, more generous. So I bow down to the vegan gods, and Alicia Silverstone, for forgiveness. I’m not a Superhero yet. Maybe someday. For now, I need to simplify. The days are getting sunnier, longer, and warmer. Summer is close. I need to lose 20 pounds, and I am going to do that by walking six miles a day, swimming on my lunch break, doing the Hundred Push-Up challenge, and taking a day off once in awhile, maybe every Monday. Now I’m going to go get a slice of Buffalo chicken pizza….