- Associated Press - Sunday, February 1, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The only time of year Kevin Moreland eats meat is when he serves as a judge at the Des Moines bacon festival’s food competition.

The Des Moines Register reports (https://dmreg.co/1uQ57Qp ) that Moreland again served as a judge at the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival on Saturday. He became a vegetarian in 2010 to help him meet his fitness goals.

Festival founder Brooks Reynolds asked Moreland to be a judge because of his restaurant background and the fact that he’s attended seven of the eight bacon festivals.

“We try to utilize industry people that have a food background, whether they’re chefs or writers or bloggers or foodies in general, as judges,” Reynolds said.

Despite being a vegetarian, Moreland knows his meats because he used to own a barbecue restaurant in Altoona. So Moreland ignores his dietary restrictions one day a year to help pick the best dishes.

“Every year, (the organizers) ask if I’m sure I want to judge, and I’m like, ‘Listen, it’s my one time a year that I can eat meat, and what better thing to eat than bacon,’” he said.

As part of his judging duties, Moreland sampled bacon-infused cheese, a cinnamon roll covered with bacon, a fried pickle and some bacon-wrapped ribs.

Eating all that meat does cause some problems for Moreland’s digestion, but he’s willing to do it once a year.

“It’s basically a one-day recovery,” Moreland said. “It feels like a food hangover.”

Nutritionist Jennifer DeWall said a one-day binge on bacon isn’t going to harm someone who is otherwise healthy.

“If you’re a vegetarian and you’re practicing eating healthy every day, eating bacon for one day, no matter how much you eat, is not going to cause long-term damage to your body,” she said. “It’s probably going to make you not feel very well because your body may not be used to that type of fat or that type of sodium, so you may have some water retention and some swelling, but otherwise, it’s not going to do any long-term damage.”

Moreland, who has completed 30 triathlons, has lost almost 100 pounds since the days when he ran his own restaurant and weighed 285 pounds.


Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com

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