When I met Sailor Man, he had just returned to the States after living abroad in Japan for two years. Aside form having a rather odd accent (which I discovered was really an “Erie” accent), he also had peculiar eating habits resulting from being a vegetarian. I’m from Michigan where “vegetarians” are small game you use as bait for bigger game, or something you eat when your plans for bigger game fail. So I broke him of that in short order by the cunning use of roast chicken.

Sailor Man has threatened on and off over the years of reverting back to his old ways, something I usually thwart by ordering organic lamb from this farm in in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and it generally succeeds in keeping him from going over to the dark side because Sailor Man really loves his lamb.

However, genetics is having the last laugh. After 7 years of harassment, I finally got Sailor Man to have a cholesterol test. Let me first say that Sailor Man, at 32, is in some damn fine shape. Actually, he’s in as good as shape now than when I met him almost 8 years ago. He runs, lifts weights, stretches, and more often than not, will always order the vegetarian special when eating out. And his cholesterol clocked in at 205, and triglycerides? Well, I’m still a little shell shocked over than one as well.

You see, family history is trumping good health. Grandfather, father, and now son. So of course, we’ve begun mainlining oatmeal and incorporating more red wine into the diet. I suspect though, given family history, this is not something that will go away on its own without the future use of pharmaceuticals.

So here I am in the meantime, at Whole Foods buying hippy food.

I’ve slowly incorporated organic products into our diets for years now, so that is not the issue. The issue is trying to limit the intake of animal fats while not choking on an organic-vegan-tofu-tempeh-meat-substitute-bean-curd-something or other. “Textured Vegetable Protein”? It looks like the byproduct of a horrifically bad sinus infection. “Gluten Free”? Oh, how thoughtful! They removed the Elmer’s Glue from the ingredients and replaced it with something truly inedible! And anything with tempeh reminds me of the time I was in Tunisia and accidentally ordered lamb brains (which were actually tasty until I discovered what they were, my French is minimal at best). Hell, half of the stuff I’m coming across to replace animal protein has the texture and consistency of building material. I’m trying to eat here people, not build a hut!

This is not me trying to find an excuse not to go vegetarian. I see the logic in it and I’m all for it, it’s just I really also need my food to taste like food and the organic-vegan-silkened-tofu-chocolate-creme pie that tasted like chocolate flavored rubber hosing is not going to win me over. And we’re both athletes. We need our protein. Lot’s of it.

Over the years, we’ve cut carbs, cut salt, cut out processed food, reduced portions, limited drinking, reduced processed wheat, lowered saturated fats, and lowered calories. So clearly, we’ve got the reduction/elimination thing down. But what exactly does that leave you with at the end of the day?

I’ll tell you, having to learn a completely different style of eating. And it suuuuuuuuuuuucks.