Has the First Lady Crossed the Line?

Though I have some issues with the job the President has done thus far I have continued to have respect for Mrs. Obama.  Her mission to teach people how to grow their own produce is commendable.  More than that it’s admirable.

The White House kitchen garden has inspired thousands of school gardens across the nation.  That is a positive not only because it teaches children to have a relationship with their food but because it has helped ease a little of the burden on the cash strapped tax payers in this country.

But. . .

HypocriteRecently it was revealed that Mrs. Obama has been meeting behind closed doors with the National Restaurant Association (the other NRA) in an attempt to impose her personal views on the menus of tens of thousands of restaurants.  The First Lady has tried everything short of having her husband send in the troops.  She has spent the past year trying to strong arm restaurant owners to reduce the size of portions and to, in essence, replace everything a child likes to eat with everything they hate.

With all due respect, Mrs. Obama, get your nose out of my menu.  Let’s set aside for a moment that this is an egregious infringement on our civil liberties.  Let’s also jump over the fact that a non-employee of the federal government is attempting to make US domestic policy.  Let’s get straight to the burr under my saddle.

When Mrs. Obama went from setting a positive example of proper diet to mandating proper diet she moved into the category of hypocrite.  It’s one thing to wage the war on obesity.  It’s a whole different story when you try to force me to follow your example while your husband is auctioning off the nation’s food system to the very people responsible for causing the obesity epidemic.

In 2007 then Senator Obama spoke at the Iowa Democratic Primary Debate saying, “. . . we can also improve the economic engines in a lot of these rural communities, and that is something that I’m absolutely committed to doing as President, but it’s going to require overcoming the excess influence of agribusiness lobbying.”  He would go on to say “I don’t take a dime of their [lobbyist] money, and when I am President, they won’t find a job in my White House.”

Well Mr. Obama’s very first hire after his election was to tab Monsanto lobbyist Tom Vilsack to head the USDA.  His very first hire mind you.  Not White House Chief of Staff, not Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense but Secretary of Agriculture.  Campaigns, after all, are not cheap.  He has since gone on to place no less than six lobbyists for the agribusiness giant into policy-making positions in the USDA and FDA that directly regulate Monsanto.

Granted Michelle is not responsible for Barry’s business dealings.  After all we elected him, not her.  However, before Mrs. Obama dare try to force us to reorder our homes she should first take a look at her own.

I believe that in covertly trying to manipulate the populace into changing their eating habits while her own husband continues an unholy alliance with agribusiness is nothing short of hypocrisy.  There is nothing worse than a hypocrite for a hypocrite combines all of the distasteful characteristics of a con artist with the self-righteous edicts of a narcissist.

The respect I once had for the First Lady is now gone.  I cannot trust someone capable of such hypocrisy.  By employing cloak and dagger techniques like this Michelle Obama has done serious damage to her own image.  However, it would be easy for Mrs. Obama to earn our trust back.  She simply need to publicly admonish the President for hiring Vilsack, Michael Taylor and all those other Monsanto lobbyists.  Do that, Mrs. Obama, and you begin to regain our respect; do it not and I must politely ask you to butt out.

Stop the Light Mayo Lie!

Light Mayo vs. Real.

For years people have tried to convince us that light mayonnaise tastes as good as regular mayo and it’s healthier to boot.  Stop it.  Just stop it.  Not only does it not taste like regular mayo, but it doesn’t really taste good at all.  Light mayo is bad and fat free mayo is disastrously nasty.  No amount of advertising and brainwashing will ever change that.

I think everyone knows this.  Sure some people may say they can’t tell the difference but they are lying to us and themselves.  Light mayo is palatable at best.  Fat free mayo tastes like really old sneakers that have been dipped in Sasquatch sweat then slathered with crude oil from the Gulf.  I’d like to tell you how I know this but some of the details from that weekend are still a little fuzzy.

Dukes Light MayoBut the healthy claim, where does that stand?  As it turns out light mayo tastes better than it is healthy.  Common ingredients in the average light mayonnaise include xanthan gum (a sugar-like compound), yellow #5 (increases levels of hyperactivity in children), modified corn/food starch (can cause constipation) and one of the most dangerous chemicals on earth High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).

Kraft Light MayoThe body cannot metabolize HFCS so it stores it as fat cells in the liver.  As a result, people with a steady intake of HFCS have liver ailments most often associated with alcoholics and there is also evidence that HFCS plays havoc with the pancreas leading to Diabetes and Pancreatic Cancer.  HFCS, despite what those cute but scientifically unfounded commercials tell us, is the major contributor to our obesity epidemic as HFCS causes significantly more fatty tissue growth as an equal amount of calories from table sugar.

The Corn Refiners Association sponsors those misleading TV commercials.  They also maintain a website that is chock full of contrived scientific studies.  I have even been flamed by packs of paid lobbyists on Twitter for expressing my distaste for their lethal product.  That’s right, they actually pay people to go on Twitter and promote their product, not unlike a drug dealer on a play ground.

Winn Dixie light mayoWhat I struggle with is why people think that mayo, real mayo, is so unhealthy.  Sure a 1 tablespoon serving has 10 grams of fat but only saturated fat is bad for you and it only has 1.5 grams of saturated fat.  Unsaturated fat is good for you especially when it contains Omega 3 fatty acids like those found in olive oil and canola oil.  And here’s another secret, most people use less than that on a sandwich.

I know all 90 calories in that tablespoon serving are from fats.  Though percent-calories-from-fat is a very logical theory it is still just a theory.  And when applying it to practice you should really only concern yourself with the percent-calories-from-fat of the meal as a whole.  Regardless of fat and caloric content nothing containing HFCS can ever be considered healthy.

Hellmann's Canola Mayo from amazon.comBut if you are still concerned about the fat, Hellmann’s makes a real mayonnaise with canola oil that has half the fat and half the calories of regular mayo and no cholesterol.  That’s comparable to those HFCS tainted light mayos but the canola mayo tastes just like the real thing because it is the real thing.  They just use a healthier oil.  It’s the best of both worlds.

Not healthy enough for you?  Consider using plain Greek yogurt instead.  It’s very healthy and tastes a lot better than light or fat free mayo.  And don’t even get me started on Miracle Whip.  Not only is that crap not an acceptable substitute for mayonnaise but it isn’t really even food.


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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up


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