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Author chronicles carnivore conversion

Planting season is starting. Waters warm to an onslaught of anglers. Hunters prepare for the opening of wild turkey season across New York State May 1.

Critics and devotees of so-called blood-sport pursuits continually mull the divergent aspects of food gathering, food choices and mankind's connection with a variety of food sources.

When making these choices, one could not possibly see a relational connection between vegans strictly opposed to all forms of animal consumption, vegetarians restricting food intake to vegetable sources, and hunters consuming wild animal and fish meats and fleshes.

Yet, author Tovar Cerulli has scribed a text that has drawn praises from all three categories of food consumers. Cerulli's recently published book "The Mindful Carnivore, A Vegetarian's Hunt for Sustenance," bridges the vast gaps of which we have naturally become mindful when considering those who profess to be vegan, vegetarian or meat eaters.

Early in life Cerulli enjoyed the outdoors and writes, "I was fascinated by the drama of eaters and eaten," knowing at the start that he was just one predator among many. As a child, fishing was merely consumption. He writes, "To me, killing fish wasn't so different from picking wild blueberries."

But killing a songbird with his .22 turned exhilaration into dismay. "The meaninglessness of it turned my stomach," he recalled. Schooling added his repulsion for factory farming while studying in a circle of college friends who were mainly vegetarians.

Upon leaving New York City for life in the upstate "wilds" of the Finger Lakes area near Cayuga Lake, Cerulli and his vegetarian sweetheart and later wife, Catherine, furthered their love for gardening.

It was a philosophical and practical effort to reconcile crops and consumption that gradually transformed Cerulli from a strict vegetarian to a food-growing gardener and then to a meat-consuming hunter. Woodchucks and deer in their gardens helped.

The gradual conversion required rethinking the nature of our food sources, and a disdain at efficiently processed food production that broke the connection between humans and their food sources.

He points to proofs that one's health improved with the inclusion first of dairy and grain consumption and then of fish and meat stocks.

At the same time, he scorns what most sportsman-minded hunters would refer to as "slob hunter" mentality -- reveling in the torture and abuse of caught or hunted fish and game species.

His decision to return to the hunter ranks as a respectful harvester protecting his crop growth -- but mainly to maintain good food balance -- -has earned him accolades equally from anti-hunters, hunters and all with even the most casual interest in outdoors dynamics.

A viewing of a short video on his Web site just might prompt a thorough reading of Cerulli's book -- -a truly remarkable read. Check it out at