A central Iowan who grew up on a farm eating meat is now among the top ten male finalists in a global “Sexiest Vegetarian Alive” contest. At 43, Mark Linden of Pella is the oldest guy on the list and the only Midwesterner. He works as an I-T business analyst but is a weightlifter and runner. Though he lives in the heart of a state known for its pork products, Linden says he gave up meat due to the animal cruelty issue, saying, “Something doesn’t need to die in order for me to live, so why should it?” Linden says his family, especially his father who farmed east of Pella, didn’t initially support his no-meat stance. His dad felt “betrayed” by his vegetarianism but has since rented his land to a soybean farmer who sells his product on the Asian market for processing into soy foods, making him more supportive of the effort. Linden says all three of his sisters have joined him in becoming vegetarians too, though he admits, there are drawbacks. Linden says being vegetarian improved his strength and endurance for workouts, though he says it’s tough to find restaurants that offer vegetarian dishes. He says friends joke with him about being a veggie, too. To see Linden’s picture, bio and to cast a vote, surf to “goveg.com”. The winner will be announced March 15th.