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House's Vegetarian Patient: The Poop Is The Key

I laughed at the opening scene of the House episode "Private Lives" which was just pushed to Hulu.  A young female blogger uses her blog to solve a dispute.  8 out of 10 of her readers agree with her: you can call yourself a vegetarian even if you eat salmon.

Her boyfriend disagrees.  "You can call yourself an astronaut, but that doesn't make it true."

Now admittedly, dude does have a point: fish is not a vegetable.  Technically she is a pescetarian, not a vegetarian, but a lot of people consider themselves vegetarian while still eating seafood.  This may be partly due to the confusion of terms, and honestly a lot of times it's a lot easier to say "I'm a vegetarian" than to explain what the term "pescetarian" means.

For me, the topic of vegetarians raised two very significant and worrisome issues on this episode of "House, M.D."  The first is, does going vegetarian turn your hair a really weird shade of fake blonde?  Because Laura Prepon, who you may know as the red-headed Donna from "That 70s Show," was looking spectacularly unconvincing as a blonde.  

I really don't want to be a bad greenish-orange blonde.  I am going to assume that this is NOT a side-effect of vegetarianism.  After all, there are a lot of vegetarians who are not blonde, like Jennifer Connelly and Natalie Portman.

The second concern is the thing about the poop!  Have you heard about vegetarian poop?  Because I had not heard about the poop.  Nevertheless, vegetarian bowel movements formed the crux of the episode.  The thing that made House suddenly get that 500-yard stare, and then magically ask exactly the right question to diagnose his patient's problem.

Prepon plays a prolific blogger whose entire life is lived in public.  (I thought she was modeled after Dooce at first, but this clearly can't be the case, because Dooce talks about her bowel movements all the time.)  Except for one thing: she never talks about her poop.

When House realizes this inconsistency, he clumps his way down to her room and asks her what kind of poop she has.  Floaters or sinkers?  Greasy or pellet-like?  Because apparently, after converting to vegetarianism, your body becomes far more efficient at digesting its food.  And your poop comes out like rabbit pellets, small and firm.

(His diagnosis is Whipple's Disease, which made me giggle.  Because Mr. Whipple was always telling people not to squeeze the Charmin.  So it seemed so fitting!  Toilet paper?  Poop?  Come on, I can't be the only one who laughed, right?  Oh.)

I'm just going to throw this right out there: that's not what happened to me.  Am I doing it wrong?  My poop is pretty much the same as it was before.  Except that it doesn't reek as badly.  (Does anything smell as bad as meat poop?  Oooh, or meat sweats, the night after you have McDonald's for lunch.  Super gross!)

I'll be honest with you: I tried to research this question, but I got totally grossed out and had to click away before I found the answer.  Suffice it to say that if Laura Prepon's fictional character isn't up to blogging about poop, there are plenty of real life bloggers who feel no such compunctions.  If you're curious, you can Google "vegetarian poop" because there's some great information there but… hurk!  I lose.