Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Dog Meat: Fact from Fiction (or, How Would you Like your Dog Penis?

It's been a while since Oriental medicine got a good pooping upon.

An article at the Joongang daily (hat tip to fellow dog-eater Marmot). Is dog meat more healthy than other meat? Does it really cool your body in the summer? Does it really make your weener sit up and beg for biscuits?

Two 'experts,' one an Oriental medicine doctor and the other some far less entertaining person who actually knows something about human physiology, tackle this controversial issue.

Some portions of the article along with a snarky comment or two.

Professor Ann Yong-geun of Chungcheong University waded into the controversy last month when he said that there is a nutritious property of dog meat that cannot be proven by Western medical science.

Cannot be proven by 'Western medical science.' Of course, this means the empirical method. What exactly, good professor, is the 'non-Western' way to prove something? Proof based on blind faith in superstition? Proof based on anecdotal evidence (which of course, could simultaneously prove and disprove every theory ever produced)? Proof based on how good a theory sounds after the 3rd bottle of soju?

He said in a CBS radio program that although dog meat has less protein and fewer minerals than pork, chicken or beef, eating dishes like gaejangguk and boshintang (dog stew) mysteriously allow more energy to enter the body.

Dog meat has less protein and fewer minerals than other meat, yet somehow it gives people more energy! What a mystery! And how do we know it gives us more energy? That's yet another mystery! Don't try to prove it by your silly Western tests. Obviously physiological tests can't show it! Just believe!

But what if we take three groups of people and put them on a diet identical in every way except one group gets a dog meat supplement, the other chicken, and the other tofu. Prepare the dish in a way that it is very difficult to detect a difference in taste (perhaps just tell them the dog meat is really ostrich meat, or some other meat they probably haven't tried). Then allow them to self-report their energy levels.

If that kind of study came up with consistent results in favor of dog meat, perhaps then we would have proof of this extra energy?

But no! That is yet another 'Western' way of trying to prove something. Dog meat is so beyond that! Even though the people who eat dog meat might not feel or realize they have more energy, and no other test can physically show it, they DO have more energy! What a big ass muther-fucking mystery it is!

Perhaps the good people of Chungcheong university might want to check this guy's diplomas.

Drawing on folklore, others say that dog meat is good for stamina, the liver and the stomach, as mentioned in the Donguibogam, a medical text written by the physician Heo Jun in the Joseon Dynasty.

In unrelated news, Koreans are much more likely to get stomach and liver cancer compared to other races but I digress...

To sort out fact from fiction Bai Young-hee, a food and nutrition professor from Osan College, and Joo Jeong-ju, an Oriental herbal doctor, agreed to analyze the claims behind Korea's dog-eating customs.

Excellent! Please enlighten us, oh mighty sages!

Why is dog meat recommended during summer?

Joo: In traditional herbal medicine, people have four types of temperaments: han, naeng, on and yeol. Han is the coldest and yeol, the hottest.
Our ancestors ate food that best suited their temperament or nature and their environment. Ancient Koreans would categorize the temperament of grain, for example, depending on when it is harvested and what kind of soil or climate it was grown in. Barley is grown during fall and winter, so it would be categorized as having a cool temperament.

Our ancestors believed dog meat has a warm temperament. The blood circulates within the body and during the summer, most body heat gravitates to the outer layer of the body. This makes the body core cool and reduces stamina. Ancestors believed that dog meat warms the inside of the stomach, restoring strength.

Did you get all that? The han and the yeol? The part about body heat gravitating and such? Warming of stomachs? Make sense to you?

To date, of all that Joo just spewed out about eating dog meat in the summer, "the blood circulates within the body" is the only thing thus far proven by Western science.

Can Osan University professor Bai Young-hee possibly top that answer?

Why is dog meat recommended during summer?
It is a tradition. Some people say that eating dog meat actually prevents sweating because dogs themselves don’t sweat through their skin but through their tongues. In reality there is very little difference between the temperature of the stomach in the winter and that found in the summer.

That's it? Come on Prof Bai, can't you do better than just spout out facts? Where's the entertainment value in that?

Interesting that some people believe that because dogs don't sweat, eating dog meat will likewise prevent you from sweating. By a similar line of reasoning, could we not conclude that since dogs can lick their own balls, eating dog meat would bestow this ability as well? Has anyone out there experimented with this and would like to share? Of course, we won't ask you to prove it because it is probably unprovable anyway (and I think I'd rather not see it anyway, thank you).

Let's continue learning! My comments are included within the text.

How nutritious is dog meat?

Joo: In Oriental medicine we say it'€™s nutritious for those who lack heat in their body
[that would be called 'clinically dead', in Western terminology]. In the past, dog meat was used as a medical treatment and not a delicacy. Ancestors believed that dog meat protects the body as a whole. In fact, many animals including goats, pigs, sparrows and crows were all used in Oriental remedies. It is hard to say which part of the dog is most nutritious or best for the body, [yeah, really hard for someone who doesn't even know the fundamentals of human physiology] although in olden times this claim was made for the genitalia. It is not a matter of how much protein or fat dog meat contains [like they would even know that anyway],ۥ Oriental medicine is based on ancestors'۪ observations and experiences in nature. [not to mention more than a little credulity, see here for more information on the wonderful phenomenon which is Oriental medicine]

I see, so your answer to that question is...what? This kind of answer makes me very curious as to exactly what Oriental 'doctors' actually study in school.

Bai: One hundred grams of raw dog meat contains 60.1 percent water, 19 grams of protein, 20.2 grams of fat and 44.4 milligrams of cholesterol. It also contains vitamins, potassium, ash, phosphorous, iron and sodium. Compared to other meats or ingredients, dog meat has less cholesterol. There are 1,280 milligrams of cholesterol in an egg yolk, 82.4 in tuna and 65.2 in pork. Compared to beef, pork and chicken, dog meat is not high in protein. But it is true that its amino acid content is superior to other meats.

Thank you for answering the question, Professor Bai. Nice to know you actually did more for your study than just sit around drinking dong-dong ju talking about meta-physical mysteries.

Is dog meat really good for stamina?

Joo: Yes, it is, especially gaesoju, or dog wine. Gaesoju is a fermented drink that is distilled by cooking the dog in a double boiler. Moreover, our ancestors used the dog's penis in the gaesoju and as a medicine to supplement energy. But I repeat, most treatments of Oriental medicine were derived from nature and people's experience.

Bonus points to the Jooster for saying the word 'penis.'

Some Questions:

  • Is the dog penis placed in the bottle of soju much like the worm can be found at the bottom of a bottle of tequilla?
  • Would a true man swallow the penis?
  • Does this dog penis medicine have to be taken orally, or are there other methods (which are probably illegal in most countries)?
  • How do you prefer your man to take his dog penis medicine, and do you find it stimulating to watch?


Photo Caption: "No, no! I said I wanted my dog well hung!"

Same question to you, Professor Bai (same original question about dog food being good for stamina, that is, you don't have to answer the other questions about dog penis treatments, unless you want to, that is).

Bai: All the ingredients of gaesoju are healthy to some extent. But the influence differs from person to person. For some, dog meat is good for stamina or post-operative recovery. Depending on an individual's body structure, it can supplement nutrition.

Effects vary from person to person...it works for some, not for others...no research studies mentioned to support any of this...

Or to put it another way, dog penis soju can be as good as any other placebo that is out there on the market.

Dog meat eaters say it is easy to digest.

Joo: According to Oriental medicine, dogs and chickens both have a warm temperament. Pork is cool and beef is both. Beef is good for all types of people but it cannot be used as a medical treatment because it does not balance warm or cold. On the other hand, dog meat is used to supplement body warmth. For example, for those who have a stomach disorder, gaesoju is recommended to balance their circulation and to help build up the digestive system.

Bai: Boiled dog meat is similar to beef but softer, making it easy to digest. This is why people in their 50s and 60s prefer eating the dish to beef.

Once again, same planet, different worlds. I don't think Joo even understood the question.

Would you recommend dog meat for the body's nutritional balance?

Joo: Personally, I don't recommend dog meat or gaesoju to my patients. I have religious reasons as well as spiritual reasons. I recognize dogs as pets that share emotions with people. They’re different from cows and pigs, which are domestic animals.

But from time to time, I do offer a gaesoju herb remedy to those who have really weak stomachs who cannot even digest thin gruel. Oriental medicine is an experience-oriented science. Believing is more important than asking why.

Joo, thank you for those last two sentences. That's a very good summary of your entire profession. I have nothing further to add.

Bai: Dog meat is not an essential food; we don't have to eat it in order to survive. In the past people believed they could benefit from eating dog meat. It is up to each individual whether or not to eat it. With changes in living patterns and eating habits, people suffer from different maladies. With such changes, concentrated treatments (Western medicine) are more effective than the so-called balanced ones used by Oriental medicine.

And a big thank you to you as well, Professor Bai, for at least implying one of the obvious truths that most Asians just don't want to face.

And to all you followers of the Oriental medicine religion, may you enjoy the penises of many a dog this summer.

And now some random puppy photo fun!

Now this is what I'm talking about!



Yay! Master is taking us out for a drive in the country!


An ad by a vegetarian group trying to convince people not to eat meat. I understand it didn't have quite the intended effect on Koreans and Chinese. Or expats in Korea named Robert, for that matter.

Idiots. Nobody eats dog with a knife and fork.


This is 'Mary' (the dog, that is). She was rescued from a dog farm by Sun-an (read the moving story here).

You may have won this round, 'Mary', but Sun-an can't be watching you all the time...

Revenant Dog: It has returned from the dead seeking vengeance on all eaters of dogs.

This legend scares the shit out of every Korean and Chinese man alive.

Damn, that picture is the scariest thing I've seen all week.

Check that. This video the Iceberg links here is the scariest thing I've seen all week.

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