veganism

Soy Makes You A Sissy, Literally

When I was a young man growing up in rural Alabama it seemed my friends or brother were always sticking some kind of food in my face with the assertion, “that’ll put hair on your chest.”  Likewise I often heard my father refer to something as, “sissy food.”  More than once I’ve heard that real men don’t eat _______.

Soy Cartoon by Natalie DeeSoy was one of the things real men don’t eat.  Except, of course, as soy sauce.  Some how that’s butch.  But soy milk, soy nuts and especially soy burgers have always meant an immediate revocation of one’s man card.  Well, there has been a lot of scientific data recently that suggests soy actually does have an effeminating effect on men.

In a 2005 study the Journal of Nutrition reported that soy protein is inferior to casein protein (meat) for building muscle tissue.  That one is a no brainer.  There is absolutely no reason to believe that protein from a legume would build more muscle than protein from actual muscle.  The universe just doesn’t work that way.  But it was nice of the Journal of Nutrition to prove it on paper for all to see.

In a recent Harvard study submitted by Jorge E. Chavarro, M.D., Sc.D there is a significant amount of evidence that soy protein decreases testosterone while increasing estrogen.  This leads to lower sperm counts and Gynecomastia (he-hooters, papa’s tatas, man-mories, dude boobs, man teets, gentleman jugs, etc.).  It appears science has actually proven that soy really does turn you into a girl.

Now my question is did pre-Monsanto soy have the same effect?  The majority of the soy growing on this planet today is the result of the genetic mutations of a chemical company in St. Louis, MO.  Monsanto has genetically modified soy beans to survive it’s chemical herbicide Round Up and, as they did with their frakencorn, have made sure that their frankensoy has infected virtually all of the soy farms on the planet.

The only cultures to largely incorporate soy into their daily diet before the 1970’s were those in Asia.  I don’t recall anyone ever referring to Asian men as effeminate.  Certainly you wouldn’t call Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan or Jet Li a sissy.  Same for Yao Ming or Sammo Hung so it kind of makes you wonder if it’s the GM soy that is in fact the problem.  Of course we can’t exactly compare the two since Monsanto has all but eradicated non-GM soy.  At the same time, there has long been a 10 percent higher incidence of erectile dysfunction in Chinese men so maybe Monsanto’s genetic modifications aren’t to blame.

I don’t think anyone should abandon consuming soy but like we are finding out with everything on earth the key is moderation.  I might suggest keeping your soy milk and soy nuts but getting rid of tofu.  Let’s all be honest here for second shall we?  No one likes tofu.  Quinoa Veggie BurgersAs you folks who always profess your love of tofu know, deep down in the places you don’t want people to see your internal voice screams “yuck!” every time you eat that crap.

What must be addressed is that this information is yet another blow to the rapidly collapsing house of cards about the safety of vegan diets.  After all vegans rely heavily on soy to replace the protein their body is supposed to get from animal sources.  Sure they can consume other legumes for protein but few are as versatile as soy.  Could this mean the quinoa burger is the next big craze?  Maybe and I bet it’ll beat the hell out of a tofu burger.

For more on the health risks of veganism check out this experiment by independent health researcher Matt Stone or the shocking article by a self-described, “hardcore, self-righteous and oh so judgmental vegangelical” entitled Vegan No More.  The revelation that veganism was killing her has actually earned death threats from all of those meat-is-murder vegans.  For more about the new findings about soy you can check out this extensive article by Jim Thornton of Men’s Health Magazine.

Burger Crawl: LA

I have both read and seen on TV that Los Angeles is having a burger renaissance.  I believe it is because the town is starting to emerge from the dark ages of Veganism.  Just think, that crap almost caught on.

Father’s Office is the reining “best burger” in the LA area but alas Culver City wasn’t really within walking distance of my hotel (15 miles).  Too bad because with two types of cheese (Gruyere & Maytag Bleu), bacon, caramelized onions and arugula served on a soft baguette it sounds like a great bite.  Ketchup is not only frowned upon at Father’s Office, it’s forbidden.  Here’s what evolved.

I relied on three things to put together my Burger Crawl:

  1. Luck – I ate at the first place I stumbled on
  2. Reputation
  3. Advice from a local, Average Betty

Now clearly this is but a brief sampling and for sure more study is necessary.  I guess I’ll have to come back.  Here’s who I tried: In-N-Out, Umami Burger, Molly’s, Five Guys, Stout and Juicy Burger.

In-N-Out BurgerIn-N-Out Burger – a legend in LA.  This is a classic fast food style slider (patty weight under 5 oz.).  Their special sauce is what McDonald’s wishes it was.  I had, at Average Betty’s insistence, the Double, double with onions.  A good fast food burger loaded with fresh toppings.  In fact, a little too loaded for my tastes.  Despite getting the double patty the meat’s flavor got lost in the over abundance of lettuce and tomato.  All in all, a really good slider and a steal for the price.

Umami BurgerUmami Burger – Average Betty described this place as trendy.  They feature beef that is ground on site and cooked medium rare (as God intended) unless otherwise requested.  They have fancy-pants burgers like the Truffle (truffle cheese and truffle glaze) and the Hatch (four kinds of chilies) but I opted for the signature Umami Burger with grilled mushrooms, roasted tomato, melted onion and frico (a cheese crisp).  The bun is exquisite with a very crusty toast on the inside and buttery on the outside.  The frico is a nice textural addition and the roasted tomato tasted like a really, really good ketchup.  However, the burger itself was lacking.  Little or no seasoning (salt and pepper are absolutely essential for burgers) and the patty was mushy with no crispy outer crust.  The best way to describe this burger is underwhelming.  I expected much more from a $10 burger (without a side).  The price could have been reasonable for the quality of the ingredients but the execution missed badly making it over priced.

Molly's BurgerMolly’s was this little roadside stand on the side of a parking lot just south of Hollywood and Vine.  It looks like the kind of place where you’d find the heroes in a classic 70’s cop show eating.  It wouldn’t have surprised me one bit if Starsky & Hutch had pulled up in their pinstriped tomato on their way to visit Huggie Bear.  They charbroil their razor thin burgers.  Molly’s burgers are reminiscent of the sliders you get at a concession stand only better.  I wouldn’t go out of my way to try Molly’s but if your hungry and you happen on it like I did go for it.  The price is right.

Five GuysFive Guys Burgers and Fries – actually headquartered back east, Five Guys fulfills the promise that In-N-Out just missed on.  The burger meat is front and center with a perfect cheese to patty ratio.  The fries are awsome and they let you know where they got ’em.  Not just whether they’re from the US or which state but which farm in which state.  That’s taking it seriously.  It’s no wonder Five Guy’s keeps getting voted best fast food burger by Zagat’s.

Stout is a gastropub and gastropubs tend to have fancy-pants burgers, Stout delivers.  The bun has that same toasty interior and buttery exterior as the pretentious Umami Burger.  This burger was seasoned perfectly and the outer crust of the in-house ground beef patty Stoutwas crunchy protecting a juicy center.  The toppings included blue cheese, emi gruyere, rosemary bacon, caramelized onion and horseradish cream.  This burger was letter perfect.  I can find nothing wrong with it.  Simply one of the best burgers I’ve ever had and well worth the $10 price tag.  The price included a side so I opted for the onion rings which were good but the very horseradishy horseradish dipping sauce is addictive.  The atmosphere is working class chic which is a pleasant change from the snotty Umami next door.  The music complemented the food well – I Touch Myself followed by Suspicious Minds then Bobby Darrin’s original Mac the Knife.  Are you kidding me?  If I lived in LA I’d be a regular at Stout without a doubt.

Juicy Burger describes itself as a purveyor of premium burgers.  They do not lie.  The patty was well cooked with a crusty exterior and juicy Juicy Burgerinterior.  The bun was nice and airy; at first it looked too big for the patty but it collapsed upon biting for a balanced bun-to-patty ratio.  The toppings were good as well.  Again that amazing bun like Umami and Stout – it must be an LA thing.  I’ve never had buns like these.  Their fries rock out hard.  Like Five Guys they are fresh-cut with the skin on but they’re even crispier.  The Tabasco-ketchup dipping sauce was fly!  While I was there they had a large order being picked-up for the iCarly gang; apparently the cast of iCarly know their burgers.  This was my vote for best burger before I found Stout.  It is a great burger for the price (burger, fries and drink for less than the $10 for just Umami‘s burger).

Be sure to check out the Burger Crawl I did in Alabama’s port city of Mobile HERE.

The Myth of the ‘Ethical’ Diet

I have all the respect in the world for vegetarians. I fully support their diet and at every kitchen I run I try to offer something more than just salad and Portobello burgers for vegetarians. Their diet is healthy and as long as they don’t try to convert me we’re good.

Vegans are a different story. I do not support a vegan diet. Why? Two reasons:

  1. The whole ‘ethical’ farce. There is nothing ethical about being a vegan. Animals were put here for four reasons: food, tools (riding, plowing, etc.), clothing and pets. I abhor people who abuse animals. Kick a dog in front of me and you are libel to wake up in a body cast. Now I do not know what basis vegans use for their ‘ethical’ claim but it certainly isn’t based on a Judeo-Christian belief system. Not religious? Cool then this part does not apply to you. If you are religious, then listen up: Genesis 9:3 “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.” Once again, if you do not have a Judeo-Christian belief system skip on to #2. If you do, veganism is unethical because it defies God.
  2. The whole ‘healthy’ farce. Since vegans do not consume any animal products they are deprived a certain compounds that only occur in animal fats. Nothing that grows on a vine, sprouts from a bush or hangs from a tree can replace these compounds. Most vegans I have known have terrible skin – it is dry and ashy. It is because they lack proper nutrition. Another common ailment is poor joints. Without at least a little animal in your diet your joints will degenerate years before they would naturally. You don’t have to eat a medium-rare steak to get what you need, just a glass of milk (no soy milk will not work) or some cheese on that next salad. So stop it with the whole healthy shtick, it just doesn’t wash.

I am not telling any vegans that they should change their lifestyle. That would be unethical. I fully support your right to eat whatever you want, or in this case whatever you do not want. It is after all what makes you happy and I am all for everyone being happy. What I am saying is stop the crusade, it has no scientific or spiritual basis; it is simply your choice. Quietly set your example and perhaps you can turn more people to your cause but the browbeating simply makes you an ass.

My fellow carnivores will enjoy this clip and you herbivores get to see things from our point of view. Best of all, everyone gets a good laugh.

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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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