(Natala here) Today we have a very special guest – my brother! Roman has been through it all with me and has been one of my biggest supporters through a ton of life changes, even when he didn’t understand at all why I was trading in our granny’s Italian meatballs for a big bowl of oatmeal. In August, I asked Roman to come with me to plant-stock. Needless to say it was a stretch for my meat loving brother to come join me with 600 other plant-strong enthusiasts to eat plant-strong food all weekend at the Esselstyn farm. He came along, we had a blast, and he lived to tell about it!
We also want to wish Roman a big congratulations, his first published book comes out today. If you are in the Philadelphia area, you can go to his book reading and signing tonight, or check it out on Amazon.
The Carnivore Goes to Plant-Stock
Some of you might recognize me—if you went the Esselstyn farm this past summer. I was one of the volunteers. The one you were apprehensive to ask questions to (and who told you where to park….and, for a few of you, made you get back in your car and park where I told you to park!). Still not sure? I’ll give you a hint. I wasn’t the tall skinny blonde college boy. I was the other one. The big bearded one. Out of all of the plant-stock workers, I was the one that probably made you think “One of these guys are not like the others.”
And here’s the truth…you were right not to trust me. I am the bad guy, the boogie man, the enemy. I was not so much a volunteer as I was a spy, an infiltrator. I worked behind enemy lines to figure out the heart of the Plant-Strong phenomenon, to understand the enemy. To find a way—any way—to shut it down. I am the Carnivore, and I was there to defend hamburgers by any means necessary. So eat we all!
My first order of business was the night before, meeting all of these plant-strong people. These despicable enemies of the Beef. And to work my way to the head of the organization, the Bane to my Batman…the one they call “Rip.” I heard of this man before, and his power of persuading people to give up the life sustenance of slaughtered animals. He who rips from people the desire to eat what is necessary to stay alive. Alone, amongst his own people, on his own land, I had to find a way to stop him.
Immediately, his acolytes descended upon me—not with vengeance, but with a false kindness. They were young and energetic and attempted to make me feel like they looked up to me in some way as I have publications. Yet I did not fall for these tactics, as flattering as these three were. And though they didn’t abandon their tactics, I was able to resist them…these three they called “The College Greens.” But Rip is a powerful man, and not one to rely on three hyper 20-year-olds to carry out his bidding. No, he is a much more sophisticated villain.
And so we come to the first hurdle—food. Going into this mission, I knew that I would be without the life sustenance for several days. Like the undercover detective forced to do drugs to help bring down the drug empire, so was I to have to eat the way they ate. A cheese-less pizza was placed before me. Salad made of grilled romaine lettuce. Gallons worth of crisp iced tea. I looked at this pizza, an abomination to the name, and took a bite, trying to remember my training as I did. As the drug-like flavors of this pizza washed over me, I reminded myself: This is not food! It did not once walk, therefore it is not real food! But like many other drugs, it was addicting. And justifying my actions by saying I needed to at least eat to stay alive, I continued eating this plant-strong food.
The weekend went on, and every so often, an acolyte would be hurled in my direction. And we played our game—I acting like the volunteer discovering plant-strong, he acting like the leader happy to have me on board. Knowing but never discussing the fact that by weekend’s end, one of us had to surrender or die. But without the support of my brethren, without the life sustenance to give me strength, I found myself playing by his rules.
Panel after panel, meal after meal, I heard all the lies of the Plant-Strong “diet.” The propaganda explaining what animal fats did to the body, knowing full well that what they really did was make you invincible. But their science seemed flawless…as most studies do. With limited global accessibility to my agency’s networks, I tried desperately to disprove their findings, yet I could not. They were too thorough, too organized. Their rhetoric was unlike anything I have ever seen, constructed so perfectly, Aristotle would weep in pride for them. Immersed in their culture, I found myself breaking. I longed for a meatball sub, but not a single meatball was there to find on this farm. My resolve was fading and fading quickly.
But I held strong—as strong as I could. Sensing this, Rip pulled out his ace card. My sister. The bastard brainwashed my own sister into being one of them. She appeared on the stage different than I had ever seen her before. More confident, more energetic. Despite my 29 years trying to keep her safe from the lies of the world, he got to her. He turned her into a—I cringe to say the very word—HERBIVORE. And she talked of our family, our lineage, our very ancestry and roots going to the time when Italians were not even Italians but Trojans trying to survive their way across the Mediterranean and settle a new land after our home was destroyed by the Greeks and their duplicitous ways. And there I stood, like my Trojan forefathers, hoodwinked by my enemy, caught off guard, and like the city of Troy, I too fell.
Yet as I fell, a horrible truth occurred to me. The people here were not brainwashed, they were enlightened. My sister did not become my enemy, she grew more powerful than I could ever reach so long as I remained a Carnivore. The one horrific truth that became so clear—I was Bane! I was the hulking figure spreading fear and calling it salvation. But unlike Batman, instead of living long enough to see himself become the villain, I could either die a villain or live long enough to see myself become the hero.
The clutches of the Carnivore’s mind is still strong within me, but I have begun to fight against it. I have won some battles, but I have lost many too. But I will not give up. I will break this false idol’s hold on me eventually, even if I have to eat every potato in the world to do it.
The Plant-Strong Carnivore