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This is the third installment of our “fireside chat” with Diana Rodgers. In this salty talk Robb and Diana unpack George Monbiot’s recent Guardian piece in which he claims that the literally WORST food that humans can produce is….wait for it….pastured, organic meat. Yes, worse than monocropping, worse than round up and synthetic fertilizer, pastured meat is, in Monbiot’s eyes, the worst. We also looked at a recent Mathew Crawford piece that considers director and Hollywood bigwig, James Cameron’s efforts to run organic farms in New Zealand. Cameron has invested tens of millions of dollars into various meat alternative projects and is unabashedly anti-meat. Well, Cameron’s farms were failing until he did this one weird trick….tune into the episode to discover the ironic punchline to that story!
Mathew Crawford article: How Much Did Hollywood Know About the Plandemonium Ahead of Time?
George Monbiot article: The most damaging farm products? Organic, pasture-fed beef and lamb
The Healthy Rebellion Radio is sponsored by our electrolyte company, LMNT.
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Nicki: Welcome to The Healthy Rebellion Radio. This is an episode of Salty Talk, a deep dive into popular and relevant health and performance news pieces mixed with the occasional salty conversation with movers and shakers in the world of research, performance, health and longevity. Healthy Rebellion Radio’s Salty Talk episodes are brought to you by Drink LMNT, the only electrolyte drink mix that’s salty enough to make a difference in how you look, feel, and perform. We co-founded this company to fill a void in the hydration space. We needed an electrolyte drink that actually met the sodium needs of active people, low carb, keto, and carnivore adherence without any of the sugar, colors and fillers found in popular commercial products. Health rebels, this is Salty Talk. And now the thing our attorney advises: The contents of this show for entertainment and educational purposes only. Nothing in this podcast should be considered medical advice. Please consult your licensed and credentialed functional medicine practitioner before embarking on any health, dietary or fitness change. And given that this is Salty Talk, you should expect the occasional expletive.
Robb: Howdy, folks. Welcome back.
Nicki: Hello, hello. This is another episode of The Healthy Rebellion Radio. We’ve got a Salty Talk for you this time. And before we dig into that, just a couple of announcements just to keep at the front of everyone’s mind. We’ve got our next Rebel Reset kicking off on Friday, September 9th. That’s just a mere couple weeks away. And then that is followed by our seven-day carb test and then September 19th, which is a Monday, will be the first day of the 30-day Rebel Reset. So wanted to get that up on everybody’s radar. If you aren’t yet a member of The Healthy Rebellion and you want to join and participate in that, you can do that at join.thehealthyrebellion.com. Robb, it’s a rainy day in northwestern Montana. What else do you got for us?
Robb: Man, that was a weird transition. I have a hat. I have a shoe. What are you looking for? What do you need?
Nicki: Just whatever.
Robb: Well, maybe I’ll talk about the content of today’s show.
Nicki: Yes, that would be great.
Robb: So Diana Rodgers and I did another fireside chat. Between two ferns was taken, so we’re fireside chatting.
Nicki: Between two ferns? Oh, yeah, that’s… Sorry.
Robb: I’ve never-
Nicki: I’m not the only one. There’s going to be other people that are like, what is that referring to?
Robb: I doubt it.
Nicki: Okay. You think I’m the only one?
Robb: If there’s anybody out there listening to this who doesn’t know what Between Two Ferns refers to, please let us know. I’d be curious to know that.
Nicki: I wish they had audio polls, like that they could just…
Robb: I think real shows where there’s more than like six people listening to it, do things like that, but not this show. So Diana Rodgers and I, we’ve been meaning to get back together and then there were just two… Kind of one really large piece, which is a guy, George Monbiot, who is a very outspoken individual in this kind of climate change is driven primarily by animal husbandry world, or space. And I don’t want to do a straw man attack on the guy, but he has no formal training in these areas, no background in human nutrition. The blind spots that he has are rather large when you start trying to piece together the health, environmental, and ethical considerations of a meat-inclusive or meat-exclusive food system. His bona fides are actually kind of skinny, but he has a huge following.
Robb: He published another piece in The Guardian, which is one of these major kind of old guard British publications, which has had north of, I believe, $30 million in donations from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation over the last five years. So they have this huge financial backing from people who are into the fake meat scene, who are suggesting that animal husbandry is one of the primary drivers of climate change. And the gist of Monbiot’s piece was that the worst food production thing in the world is pastured meat.
Nicki: Wow. The worst?
Robb: It’s literally the worst. It’s worse than row crops. It’s worse than burning down the Amazon rainforest and then turning it into soybeans, which lots of people talk about it being grazed. And it does get grazed, but it gets grazed to clear the land for soybeans. The climax species that ends up in the Amazon is not a cow, it’s a soybean. And he goes through these super old, tired things about species diversity, land use, productivity. And we’ve refuted this stuff in the book, on the film, but it’s just kind of one of these Groundhog Day things. And he keeps saying it and we keep refuting it. And so we talked about that and then I dug into a piece that was pretty interesting. Matt… Not Matthew Walker. Oh, gosh. I’m blanking on the guy’s name right now. I can’t believe this. Looking into my inbox. Not Matt Taibbi…
Robb: Matthew Crawford, thank you. Yes. Matthew Crawford’s been… He’s written on a lot of different topics, but he has written a lot on the COVID topic. And the piece is basically what did Hollywood know about COVID before the pandemic? And if you’re not into that, that’s cool. But if you’re just… If that’s all conspiracy theory stuff, you don’t need to get to that, although it is interesting, the stuff that he raises. But in the beginning of the piece, and it’s really fascinating the way that he weaves this together, but he talks about, one, that James Cameron, this famous filmmaker, heavily involved with pea protein investment and the movie Game Changers and he’s pals with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Robb: And they’ve invested a couple of hundred million dollars into these pea protein alternative meat kind of endeavors. But he ended up in New Zealand right before the pandemic really broke out. And there’s some interesting stuff there and Crawford kind of weaves all this stuff together. But he bought a huge ranch, or series of ranches and farms in New Zealand, removed all the animals, started doing organic farming, and then realized that doesn’t work without nitrogen inputs. And you’re left with either synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, catching fish and turning it into fish meal, or having animals. And so Cameron has brought animals back into these areas, much to his chagrin because people have been giving him hell for it. And he has said, once we regenerate the land, then we’ll remove the animals, which is super, like… So it basically acknowledges that you need these animals to regenerate the land to make it farmland. It’s just so goddamn fascinating, because it’s even this guy who…
Nicki: Who will remove them and deplete it some more and then bring them back in 10 years to fix it again.
Robb: And Crawford talks about that. The only thing that Crawford doesn’t talk about this, the trifecta around this stuff has been social justice, COVID and climate change. And so he doesn’t really weave the social justice piece into this. We’ve talked about this with regards to the World Economic Forum just wrapping all this stuff together. But we talk about both of those pieces, do some analysis, provide some kind of feedback. But it’s interesting. It’s kind of full-court press right now, like the messaging around climate change and what we need to do about it is at an all-time fever pitch. But also a lot of… Like Impossible Burger is facing some really significant stiff headwinds. They’re not selling well, they’re facing a class action lawsuit because their claims around protein content were 40% less than what they really are, to say nothing of the fact that the quality of-
Nicki: Is that not fraud, when the label claims don’t match the-
Robb: It’s absolutely fraud, particularly a company this big, like an IPO’d company. No, it’s a rather big deal. And then they’re being taken to task on some of their climate change claims. They say that they’re sustainable. It’s like, okay, prove it. What does that mean? It’s sustainable relative to what and under what circumstances? And they had absolutely no data to support that. So it’s interesting that most government, the old guard media, most of social media, all the fact checkers and all the rest of that stuff are pushing this narrative to beat the goddamn band. And it’s still kind of failing. And what it tells you is just how wrong these people are. They can’t be wronger about the suggestions that they’re making, because goddamn, everything is lined up for them. If this was just slightly a better option, there would be some sort of tailwind instead of a headwind, but like economics and thermodynamics, to say nothing of ecology are fighting this thing tooth and nail, even when the bulk of the world thinks that James Cameron is probably right and we should do away with all the animals and whatnot.
Robb: So we get into that stuff. And I think it’s interesting, it’s very, very important. We didn’t talk about this, but I’ll mention this really quick, but a number of Amish farmers have been raided with FBI, like armored personnel carriers, weapons, ready to liberate Fallujah or something like that, going on to Amish farms that are selling milk shares and cow shares and whatnot. But they’re basically operating outside of the auspice of the FDA and they are jumping on these people with both goddamn feet. And I think this is one of these classic things where you pick away at the prominent but small players at the periphery and you drive them out of business.
Robb: And then when people go out of business, the big players acquire the land and weave that into the industrial system. And before we know it, we don’t have anything left that is ours, that is decentralized, that if we don’t want to follow all of the recommendations, be they dietary, medical or what have you, that we no longer have an option. It’s been taken away from us. So I’ll throw that out there. It’s a big deal. I think it’s really important for people to put some thought into it, maybe put some money into it, definitely just a retweet and talk to people online to push that folks need to think this stuff through. We really need to do it right now. Time is of the essence.
Nicki: Alrighty. Before we jump into the interview with Diana, I want to let you all know, as you already know, as avid listeners of this show, that this Salty Talk episode of The Healthy Rebellion Radio is sponsored by our salty AF electrolyte company LMNT. And friends don’t let friends live without salt, specifically electrolytes. David, one of our Healthy Rebellion members, introduced a friend of his LMNT and shared a screenshot inside the community of a text exchange with his friend. There’s a photo of a value bundle that this friend had ordered, with watermelon salt, citrus salt, raspberry, and a mango chile. And the text says, “Here we go.”
Nicki: And David says, “Nice. Looking forward to hearing what you think.” And he says, “Well, April is in love with the mango chile one. She literally gasped and screamed when she tasted it,” which is awesome. We like having that reaction. I made a comment in there that at least she gasped and screamed in delight of the flavor and not because she accidentally inhaled because the mango chile and the lemon habanero do pack a bit of a punch if you inhale. But remember, with the LMNT value bundle you buy three boxes, get the fourth box free. You can mix and match, choose all your favorite flavors. And you can do that at drinklmnt.com/robb. That’s drink L-M-N-T dotcom, slash R-O-B-B. And now we’ll jump into the interview with Robb and Diana.
Diana: Hey, everyone. Welcome back to the podcast. I’ve got Robb back on the show and all of a sudden, Robb, as soon as I hit record your video’s super clear and crisp and perfect.
Robb: Probably four or five of my neighbors turned off their streaming devices or whatever and so I’m getting better bandwidth or something. I don’t know.
Diana: Yeah, well actually, and then as soon as you started talking, you got kind of funky. I do offer the full video for people who are part of the Patreon for Global Food Justice.
Robb: My apologies, I have worse internet in Montana than you… It is literally the worst internet between North, Central and South America. No joke. You can’t go anywhere and have worse internet than where I am. Some of the signal that’s on DSL, some of the signal is being carried over copper wire that was hung in 1895.
Diana: By mice playing telephone, right?
Robb: Exactly. Yeah. So my apologies in advance, but I’m not particularly good to look at anyway. So if I’m all pixelated, it’s good. We’ll just think about a Cybill Shepherd soft-focus thing, like Moonlighting or something like that.
Diana: And actually, I am actually not at my normal place because they decided to jackhammer the entire parking lot next to my house, which is pretty big. So I’m going to grab one of these supplements. My friend Ayla, who is a fellow dietician and I actually, I used to share an office with her. I pinged her this morning asking her if I could record. She said, “Of course, no problem, anytime.” So I’m just going to give her a free ad for her supplement, FullWell, which is a prenatal supplement, and she has it for both men and women. So she has this male prenatal that promotes sperm health and reproductive health for men with antioxidants. And she is such a stickler for quality. Anyway, so I’m very grateful to Ayla. And I think if you want to have a baby, check out FullWell. So there’s my little thanks to Ayla.
Robb: I like it. You know what’s funny is the only time I’ve heard the name Ayla is as the main protagonist in Clan of the Cave Bear.
Diana: Ah. Someone else told me that’s where the name came from. And it sounds a little bit like Ayra. Or what was the name of the girl from The Golden Compass?
Robb: Oh, gosh. I’m-
Robb: Yeah, Ayra. Yeah. Yeah.
Diana: Yeah. Who I know someone who had a girl named that and it was after the book.
Robb: Okay. Okay.
Diana: Yeah. Anyway. So, happy summer. What are the girls up to? What’s new in Montana?
Robb: The girls have taken up archery so I got them hooked up with some compound bows. And both of them are quite good at it and they really enjoy it. We have one of our friends who’s a jujitsu coach, he’s also an archery expert. He and his wife both are, Will and Amanda Allen. And they have two kids about the same age as Zoe and Sagan. And we’ve been getting together as a group and doing some archery. And I even got an archery set up too. I’ve been pretty good at traditional archery in the past. I had no idea how to do the whole modern compound bow with a release and all this stuff. And so that’s been a new gig for me, but they’re really geeked out on that. They’ve been swimming and paddle boarding in the backyard, but we do have swimmer’s itch in our lake, and so every once in a while they come in and they look like they have monkeypox or something like that. So yeah, that’s been interesting.
Diana: I can’t wait to come back out. I loved archery as a kid. It was one of my favorite things.
Robb: They will be ready to put you through the paces. They’re getting good. Yeah.
Diana: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Well, my kids have been surfing a lot, but you know what? There hasn’t been a ton of really good swell here. And Anson has informed me it’s because there hasn’t been enough rain in the Sahara and so the sand is blowing off the Sahara and onto the ocean and preventing hurricanes from forming off the coast of Africa. And I was like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. That sounds like a likely story.” And then I looked them up and it was actually true.
Robb: Yeah, it makes sense. It makes sense. Yeah.
Diana: So it’s affecting all the East Coast surfers here.
Robb: That’s one of those funny things where it’s like, is that good? Is that bad? Yeah. Yeah. It’s funny.
Diana: Yeah. Well, yeah, but I’m sure…. I mean, it’s been extra sharky here in the Northeast. I’m sure there’s all kinds of ramifications we just don’t know anything about.
Diana: Because the currents aren’t happening the way they should be or whatever. All right. Well, let’s get into what, some current events? You sent me an article that I skimmed really quickly. And why don’t you go for that?
Robb: Yeah, let me pull that up. It’s from a guy, Matthew Crawford. He’s a really brilliant person and he has done a ton of work in, say, unpacking the COVID topic. But the title of his thing is How Much Did Hollywood Know About the Pandemic Ahead of Time? And I would say that maybe ventures into a little bit of some conspiracy stuff, although as time has gone on, it seems like a lot of things that were conspiracy are somewhat less conspiracy-esque now. But what was interesting is he talked about James Cameron, who’s this famous filmmaker, Avatar and host of other films, and also a huge advocate for fake meat, plant-based diet, the whole nine yards. And it’s interesting how, even though his main point in this article is digging into a pretty interesting case that at least some very powerful people in Hollywood and within the political scene might have had a sense that this pandemic was on the horizon before the rest of us were aware of it.
Robb: But he mentioned that James Cameron’s involvement in kind of the anti-meat scene, he talked about Cameron buying huge tracts of land in New Zealand and trying to run these things 100% animal free. And they failed epically because he also wanted to run them organically. And so he got into this stuck thing of, do I go catch fish out of the ocean and turn them into a pulp and put that on the land? Or do I do Haber-Bosch method, synthetic chemical fertilizer, which is what most of the world does? Or do I do something wacky, like have ruminant animals involved with this thing? And he eventually… And this is very similar to the former vegan family that you almost got full interviews from about their story of starting a farm and then realizing, oh, we need animals. And then when they needed animals, maybe they should eat the animals because this is a way of managing the whole process.
Robb: But James Cameron now is in this interesting scenario in which he’s constantly defending the application of these animals that he has on this land. And he’s like, “Well, it’s just a transitional thing. I just need to use them until the land is restored and then we’ll get rid of them,” which I don’t know how they’re going to get rid of them. And then of course, once the land is restored, it’s that way forever. It’s not a dynamic process that we need to keep reinvesting in or anything like that. But it’s interesting to me, and again, I’m probably going to piss off or alienate half of the people that listen to you, but there’s interesting overlap in these discussions around climate change, food sovereignty, COVID. We’ve talked about this a little bit and you don’t have to look that far, like World Economic Forum websites where some challenging social justice topics have been woven seamlessly into climate change, woven seamlessly into COVID.
Robb: And these three things just being inseparable and oftentimes written about as if they are all this one and the same entity. So it’s just kind of interesting that Matthew Crawford… I didn’t know that any of this regenerative ag stuff was on his radar at all. He’s never really written about it, he’s written on a lot of different topics. But he mentioned just this James Cameron story and so I pinged you the link to that. I think it’s worth a read. And if people want to ignore the second two thirds of the article, because it gets into some of this, what did Hollywood know before, then that’s fine. Ignore that if you want to. But I think it’s really interesting that we have this person like James Cameron. You had a piece the other day that was talking about this wealthy group of folks that are trying to take a productive ranch land offline and rewild it.
Robb: And it’s like children running something. And sometimes children come up with some really amazing ideas and sometimes it’s an absolute (bleep) show. We’re teaching our kids how to cook and how to repair some things and stuff like that. And they do a wonderful job most of the time. And every once in a while, they do things that are… They could cost you life and limb if you don’t intervene and make them aware of, hey, there’s a bunch of other stuff to consider here. And it’s interesting that some of the wealthiest, best connected people in the world are tackling these global food issues with an infantilized view of the world. I think we’re going to talk about good old George here in a little bit.
Robb: And I don’t even know. I should be jumping up and down screaming and angry and upset, and I’m trying to come across a little bit more credible than that, but it’s really concerning. And Nicki and I, one other thing that I’ll ping you a link to, Nicki’s been getting into the crypto scene and has been following it for a couple of years. And she follows a podcast called Bankless, so like no bank, bank-less.
Diana: Bankless, got it.
Robb: Bankless, yeah. And they interviewed a guy who is the former CEO of Coinbase. Balaji, I think, is his first name. And he has a book out that is actually free. You can buy it or you can get a free version of the book online and it’s called The Network State. And it basically makes the case that as disastrous as the world looks right now, there could be this possibility that embracing the ability of cryptocurrencies and the organization of different groups around the world that we could form basically nation states that exist both online and in reality, and basically he made the case that this is a legitimate opportunity for displacing the oligarchy that is controlling global food systems, global financial systems and whatnot.
Robb: And so I’ll ping you a link to that. And it’s a really entertaining, interesting podcast to listen to just as a baseline. And although they don’t talk about food sovereignty or global food systems, clearly the folks that listen to you, they’re aware of that and I think that you could see where this type of stuff would plug in. And I think it presents a legitimate riposte or opportunity to battle back against these systems like decentralizing knowledge, having sovereignty within our local environments around the way that we want to live our lives and feed ourselves and all that type of stuff. And also just an amazingly rapid way of discovering best practices.
Robb: We’ve kind of discovered that a lot of science is captured by industry. And that’s just kind of a fact, whether we’re talking about nutritional guidelines and now more at the level of ruminant animals are the most injurious element to climate change and whatnot. You can find lots and lots of peer-reviewed literature that seems to suggest stuff like that. But then when you dig into it, there’s lots of conflicts of interest, lots of difficult things to really parse out there. And I think he presents a model of a way forward with that.
Diana: Wow. All my neurons are firing in so many different directions when you were just talking there. And I just keep thinking about how critical people can be when you question anything. And that just should be the scientific process. And it’s funny because, so this flows really nicely into this George Monbiot article and my frustrations with him. And like you, people were pinging this to me and I’m like, “Really, again?” And they’re like, “What do you think?” And I’m like, “Actually, are you wondering what I think? Didn’t you read the book and don’t you know what I think? And why do I have to come up with a response again to this delusion of George Monbiot? He is delusional.” And it’s funny because also at the same time, I am rereading this book, which I’m sure you’ve read, The Psychology of Persuasion. And right on page seven, he starts talking about just how people… There’s just too much out there for them to do their own research on.
Diana: And there’s so much information just being thrown around. And so at some point, for lots of things, we have to rely on experts unless we have a personal stake in the game. And so I think that’s why people are giving this guy George the microphone, because he seems like an expert. But the scary, scary thing is he’s not even close to any level of an expert in anything that he’s writing about. And so he’s just a journalist with a lot of really wacky ideologies. Yeah. So I think we’ve just lost the ability to even have basic common sense. And people just don’t… They can’t even look at it and be like, what could be the unintended consequences of eliminating all livestock?
Diana: What might that look like? Part of me is just really sad for humanity that we’re even at this point where somebody like this is even getting the floor. But then also I feel like there’s got to be more than just you and me and James Connolly and Frederick Gaulois. There’s got to be more than us that are out there thinking that this is absolute delusion. So I’ll just quickly go through… Oh, go ahead.
Robb: Yeah. Just really quickly on that. This guy, Matthew Crawford, I didn’t know that this sustainability topic and kind of a worldview similar to ours was on his radar at all. And it absolutely is. He just hasn’t dug into it and written about it to any significant degree, but it is a constant battle and (bleep) show to deal with this. But I do think that there are more people out there questioning this idea. It’s just all of the money, all of media, all of social media, all of the feel goods kind of stack up with what George puts forward, this idea that if we just do away with animals and we rewild everything and we just reintroduce a bunch of apex predators, that the world’s going to be great.
Robb: And maybe some elements of that are appropriate. Maybe some of that is appropriate in some places. But does that make sense globally? And can we talk about any of the unintended consequences? Because this stuff has been tried in different places. And so we have natural experiments where we can see, well, okay, this thing was a disaster because of X, Y, Z, and whatnot. But I’ll shut up now and let you jump into that.
Diana: No, totally. And yeah, it just seems like if you don’t go along with the consensus of we all need to have our carbon credits checked so that if we… So let’s drive electric cars that might shut down if we’ve driven too far that week or something like that. I mean, I was just talking about that on the podcast with Charlie Arnott, the regenerative farmer in Australia who brought up a lot of this. And so wherever you land on it, it’s just important to take a deep look at it and not just get on the river in your inner tube with everybody else and just float along.
Diana: Okay. So George wrote an article in The Guardian talking about how the most dangerous farm products are organic pastured beef and lamb. And I was so mad last night that I actually spent a couple hours just banging out a blog post that I’m still just going to tweak a little bit. I sent it over to you, Robb, so you read it and gave me some feedback and I appreciate that. So I’m just going to kind of hit the main points of it. But again, I get how people feel uncomfortable about how meat is raised. They are uncomfortable that animals are being raised specifically to die. I mean, even Bill Lagakos and I got in a huge Twitter fight about that not too long ago. Even though he’s pro protein for nutrition, he still says it’s wrong to raise animals to eat them. But he wouldn’t go further in the discussion with me about how there is no no-death situation, all that stuff.
Diana: And so, George has no background at all in agriculture, formally or just experienced. And he tells everybody that the only way forward is to eliminate all livestock production. And the reason he’s specifically going after organic and pasture- fed, of course, is because this is the biggest threat to his argument. And he also has no background at all in human nutrition. And so he claims in his latest book that he’s got this sort of biological goo that can be made magically out of the elements with no inputs. And it’s going to be equivalent to meat, although there’s never been a study on it. And we all need to be eating this stuff instead of animal sourced proteins. And that there’s no fear at all that this could be co-opted by a centralized person. I don’t know if we’re just going to go into every little village everywhere and just give them all these little magical factories that must run on no energy and require no inputs and then magically just spit out this perfect protein that I don’t know how it’s going to have B12.
Diana: None of this makes any sense at all, but this is his solution. And yet then he goes and he bashes Allan Savory for not being able to prove that regenerative grazing actually does improve the ecosystem, where there have been multiple papers showing that. And so in the blog post, I actually cite one paper that was done. It was a systematic review of 154 articles. It’s called An Economic Valuation of Federal and Private Grazing Land Ecosystem Services Supported by Beef Cattle Ranching in the United States. And the quote from this, “We estimate the economic value of this land use to be 17.5 billion for wildlife recreation, 3.8 billion for forage production, 3.2 billion for other ecosystem services related to the conservation of biodiversity, a combined total of 24.5 billion ecosystem services from federal range lands in 16 Western states accounted for 35% of total value ecosystem services per beef cow and per kilogram of retail beef were estimated to be $1,043 per cow or $2.74 cents per kilogram.”
Diana: And this wasn’t just one, this is a review. And meanwhile, George is citing a study from 1994, saying that grazing lands in Western America are contributing to the decline of wildlife. So if he wants to be critical of something, that’s great, but he can’t just cherry pick one study from 1994. I did look up the rules for ethical journalism and this breaks all of them, not to mention that The Guardian really takes money from anti-meat groups for editorial, which should be completely not okay.
Robb: Should at least be disclosed at a minimum. Yeah.
Diana: Yeah. It’s disclosed on other pages, but not here. And then he goes on and on to blame ranchers only for the loss of large predators, saying that the US government is going out and trying to get rid of predators for ranchers, but not mentioning that there’s also a lot of humans that live in rural America that probably don’t want excess grizzly bears and other predators around while their kids are waiting for the school bus and things like that. It’s not just ranchers that don’t want predators around. And then he goes on to say that there is a rewilding farm called Knepp in England, but it only produces 54 kilograms of meat per hectare. But I’ve been to Knepp and meat production is not their primary focus. This is a 3,000 acre estate that is doing a rewilding experiment, not a full on…
Robb: Commercial enterprise, yeah.
Diana: Focused on production. That’s his only reference to a regenerative farm. And then he just goes on and on to say, well, it’s more methane, without talking about the fact that biogenic carbon cycle should be looked at very differently. And so just on and on and on. And he never addresses anything about nutrients, about the harms of arable agriculture. So yes, there’s antibiotic resistance is an issue within livestock production. Not all livestock production, but in the management of some of it. But there’s also massive ecosystem destruction happening with mono-cropping that he’s not providing the context for.
Robb: And it’s almost like we did a book and film that addressed all of that. But yeah, I forget who the guy’s name was? I ended up in a pretty good Twitter back and forth with a guy. I think his name’s Robert something, and he’s kind of a representative for some outfit that’s like soil for something. And they’re very…
Diana: Soil Association in the UK is quite ironically-
Robb: Not fans of regenerative agriculture.
Diana: Yes. They’re very anti-livestock.
Robb: Yeah. And I’m blanking on this guy’s name. I have a whole folder on him now because I have a series of blog posts about this guy. But he’s never bothered to read our book, not that that’s the singular source on things, but it’s at least, I would argue, it’s kind of like… Currently, if you want to address the regenerative ag counterpoint, it’s kind of the thing. And he was completely unaware of any of the points that we had made, the cases that we had made. And it was this weird Groundhog’s Day thing where it’s like, I understand the position that you’re putting forward really well because I’ve written a counterpoint to it. And you are completely unaware of any of these other biogenic carbon, carbon cycling, soil carbon capture, water cap, on and on and on all the many, myriad layers of these systems that we’ve talked about.
Robb: And it is maddening but I think that this is where it’s a bit of a chop word, carry water deal, I suggest. George is probably going to write 10 more of these articles throughout the course of his career and we’ll just have to do 10 more counterpoints. And for the folks listening, this is where folks do listen. And also just the economics of these things do end up bearing themselves out. A number of the fast food chains are now not carrying the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger and stuff like that, because nobody wanted it. Ended up not being of interest broadly to the public and whatnot. So I think that’s just a piece of this thing, but understanding the deeper kind of ecosystem story. And have you mentioned 1491 to the folks that follow you, the book 1491?
Diana: I think we have a little excerpt from it in Sacred Cow.
Robb: Yeah. It’s a great book because some of this rewilding stuff, it’s infantilized fairy tale dreaming about what the natural world is or was. And the Amazon rainforest is a great example. It was a massively stewarded and cultivated area, and it appears to have been managed and stewarded and turned into effectively a food forest with a whole host of inputs, including animal inputs, for potentially multiple millennia. And then with the implosion of these Central American, South American civilizations after European contact, it kind of went wild, but the Amazon rainforest hasn’t really been wild since maybe 30,000 years ago. We keep pushing back the date of when humans ended up making it here and I just saw something the other day that put some of the earliest New World human habitation at 30 or 35,000 years ago. And again, it’s not to say that we want to ruin every patch of dirt and make it untenable.
Robb: It’s important to understand what we’re trying to get out of this stuff. And we want places that are beautiful. We do want to protect as much ecosystem diversity as we can. We make that case in the book with the grass world that ironically, the mono crop state is more dangerous far from non-equilibrium thermodynamic state, because it only takes one or two tweaks to that system for the whole thing to collapse, to say nothing of erosion of topsoil and other extenuating circumstances. But this, again, infantilized view of what the world is, is probably the biggest thing that we’re fighting here, ironically.
Diana: Yeah. And the colonialism of other cultures through your own moral dilemmas that you’re having with the livestock system. So telling other people that they’re not allowed to eat meat because you don’t like it and not accepting the fact that for the vast majority of humans, just most people don’t have the access to the right variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and supplements to put together something that might resemble a healthy, well-planned vegetarian or vegan diet.
Robb: Right. Yeah. I think your Monbiot rebuttal is fantastic. And I know it’s frustrating, particularly for you, because you’re really the pointy end of the spear on this thing, when we, more and more, as we look to an expert on this topic, it’s kind of like, oh, that’s Diana. And so it’s a fair amount of pressure and a lot of work to be done, but I’m a little more optimistic about this stuff than what I was even a couple of years ago. I feel like the intensity of the narrative is ramping up, if anything. People are kind of seeing through the bull (bleep) and it’s kind of interesting now. There’s a whole movement to put on social media, it’s like, who has been deplatformed about this thing? And there’s a couple of different topics that are in there. And one of them is actually the kind of food sovereignty, regenerative ag thing.
Robb: Who’s been deplatformed about this? Because that’s the person I want to follow. And so it’s become this badge of honor if you can rile folks up enough to be deplatformed and end up scuttling around on Substack or something like that. So there is a growing group of people that they’re recognizing that if you don’t make the cut within the mainstream distribution channels, that you’re probably the real deal. You are, in fact, the person that they want to talk to. And then you’ve got your other group of people that they only have on Fox News, they only have on CNBC. Anything that goes counter to those points, they’re never going to hear it, never going to listen to it. But I think that there’s a remarkably malleable group of people in the middle that are interested in this stuff, they’ve been getting beat over the head with this narrative, but I think they’re also seeing how, when you start weaving these narratives together, climate change, kind of squirrelly social justice stuff, COVID.
Robb: And then if you start seeing cracks in one facet of that narrative, I think the power of doing that is that you can just potentially crush people because these are all really hot button, potentially socially isolating topics. Because if you push back, you potentially could be deplatformed, but we are starting to see work arounds with that and also finding people that they’re like, “Oh, if this person got deplatformed for standing up about some of this, maybe that’s somebody I doubly want to listen to and follow and kind of think about their message.”
Diana: I am seeing a lot less of the message “less meat, better meat,” and people are starting to, thank God, listen to… I don’t know if it’s just from the stuff that you and I have written in Sacred Cow and have been pushing out, but people are understanding that there is a food equity kind of ethical dilemma to telling people who can’t access the 1% regenerative meat that is deemed holy, okay, and to tell these folks that they have to eat, what is it? Only organic beans and rice, or what else are they supposed to do? And I’m on and I think you probably are on too, these email listserves where it’s like, you get to see industry funding that’s going towards different… And to, oh my gosh, I probably get them two to three times a week of this Israeli company that’s coming up with a fake seafood, just got $7 million.
Diana: And this other one in Europe just got another 15 billion. So much money is going into all these fake meats, but I’m starting to see little polls coming through, like Beyond Meat. A, stocks are not performing or their profits are not performing the way that they’ve been promising. They’re getting dropped from fast food places. They got caught lying about the protein content of their products. And then what’s going on with the global burden of disease study that we talked a little bit about on Rogan, but that’s going to be the next thing that’s going to really come out too, is like, oh, well Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded global burden of disease study, which all of a sudden is telling people that the tolerable risk exposure level of red meat is zero, nothing. And no evidence to back it up, completely not following the Lancet, its own, whatever code of ethics for publishing papers.
Diana: So that’s going to be a hot topic. I’m actually going out to Sacramento, probably right about when this airs, to the World Butchers Challenge. And we’re going to have a special meeting there for the societal role of meat, which is the prelude to this meat summit that I’m going to be the nutrition chair of in Dublin in October, where we’re going to be publishing a white paper on meat. And it’s going to be focusing on nutrition, environment and economics/livelihoods. And I’m really, really excited that this is all now getting elevated to a more academic and global level because it needs to be, and we need to have people stop kind of squabbling about, well, I do regenerative and only my meat is good. I’m just done with that. That’s my little rant.
Robb: No, I like it. I like it. I mean, this was a lot of the discussion that I had with this guy back and forth on Twitter, that if you can eat meat that is only raised on clover and you’ve got that set up, great. Good for you. That’s fantastic. But if we’re really talking about a global food system that has minimal impact on the environment, like I think we talked about this a little bit, like supply chain issues, war in Ukraine, all of a sudden synthetic chemical fertilizer became super expensive. And these people who usually have these huge ponds of manure that they’re not entirely sure what to do with, those people were booked out like 18 months going forward of people buying that to be able to use it.
Robb: That’s kind of similar to, well, if we have an ethanol industry, maybe we should feed the leftovers of the ethanol industry into our animal system instead of composting it or landfilling it. But then that’s not technically like pastured meat, but it’s still good food and it’s biodynamic and it’s closed loop and it’s all these beneficial things. And people are consistently making perfection the antithesis of good enough. I guess a little bit of finger wagging, we have people in the regenerative scene that infantilized the idea around regenerative meat just as badly as George has done around that all meat is bad and that we just need to rewild the planet and that’s it.
Diana: It’s either one extreme or the other, right?
Diana: You’re right. I mean, if we’re going to have all this extra sugar cane in Brazil, what are we going to do with the leftovers from that process? And ironically, with the changes in climate and more droughts, if grass isn’t growing in a certain area, how are you going to feed the cattle?
Robb: Right. We need to be dynamic and not have these rules that make it impossible to respond to the way that things change.
Diana: Robb, what’s going on? What’s coming up new for you? Your groups, everything going well?
Robb: Everything’s motoring along. LMNT is doing really well and we have some cool stuff going on with that and actually dipping our toe into supporting some regenerative type stuff. But I can’t say much about that right now. It’s all very much back channel, but we’re starting to exert some leverage in those directions. I mean, honestly, and you’ve been through this gig, my girls are eight and 10 now and so I feel like they’re hitting this age where my presence is more important than any other thing I can do.
Robb: And so I’ve been really, really selective about the time that I spend online and just trying to be really good about where when I weigh in on something, hopefully it has maximum impact and I’ve thought through it and all that type of stuff. So, I mean, it’s just kind of rinse, lather, repeat for me. But everything’s good. We’re very lucky, everything is going well. Northern Montana in the summer is awesome. So we’re just kind of drinking it all in and enjoying it. The mornings are getting a little bit chilly and so we’re just getting this tiny little hint of fall in the air and looking forward to that. But that’s it. Yeah, it’s all we’ve got going on.
Diana: Yeah. I think this is my first summer that I haven’t been to Montana in quite some time so I’m overdue.
Robb: Yep. You are.
Diana: And actually, you’re overdue for a little vacation and I’ll come watch the girls.
Robb: Okay. We’ll do that. Yeah. They ask about you constantly so that’ll be an easy sell.
Diana: Good. Yeah. I am over here kind of trying to do the same thing. I’ve accrued a wait list of around over 200 people at this point, wanting to work with me one on one. So I’m trying to figure out how best to serve all of them. Do we do groups? Do I start working with some health coaches? So we’re looking into that. We still have the Sustain Award course going and we’re doing a big push for September to really try to get some community action going on in there. And I know you’ve had some success with community on your end, so that’s why I’m really excited about pushing that forward.
Diana: Yeah. Also, again, with my time, just trying to be as effective as possible. I’ve been doing a lot more with Global Food Justice and more on that to come soon, but I’m excited about some upcoming projects with that.
Robb: Well, people like George are keeping us relevant. If we just win this thing, then we’d have to figure out something else to do. So I guess, thank you, George, for making us relevant and important in this world. So yeah.
Diana: Awesome. All right. Well, thank you so much. Have a great weekend, Robb. And it was nice to talk to you, as always.
Robb: Good catching up. Talk to you soon.
Nicki: All right, folks. Thank you for listening to another episode of The Healthy Rebellion Radio. Robb, any closing thoughts?
Robb: Nope. Don’t don’t want to get on a soapbox, but definitely we need y’all’s help. We need each other. We need to really help one another in this thing. And I don’t want to toot my horn too much, but the Sacred Cow book and film of any of the work that I’ve done, I would say, it hasn’t been out that long, but it’s crazy how quickly things will become obsolete once you’ve written it. By the time you finish a book, usually it’s kind of out of date in some ways. There’s much better research and material that’s there. But the thesis that we had, that health, environmental and ethical considerations of meat-inclusive food system are non-negotiable. It is arguably the only way forward. Even if we get fusion power and we have energy that is too cheap to meter, there’s kind of this reality, which again, circles back to the James Cameron story. You can’t regenerate land without animals.
Robb: And even if you get to a spot where we could pump so much energy into growing stuff in a lab, the raw materials to do things in the lab have to come from somewhere. Now, there’s some distant future out there where we have so much energy and so much technology that we could literally take carbon and nitrogen out of the air and use synthetic chemistry and make protein, carbohydrate and fat and vitamins and add some minerals and we could do this whole thing from scratch in a lab. That can happen. It is insanely energy intensive. We’re nowhere near that. And I mean, even if we got to that spot, I don’t know how much laboratory space would need to be allocated to deal with two thirds of the planet’s land mass, its grasslands that support all kinds of different animals and ecosystems and different things like that. A well-functioning ecosystem that includes animal husbandry solves problems on multiple dimensions.
Robb: It’s not this one-off thing. We end up heating the land less because we have appropriate grass and forage cover that reduces the heat impact of the albedo, the light reflection and things like that. So just begging y’all to dig into this stuff, keep reading, keep looking. Question what we’ve done, dig into it and try to figure out the holes and cracks in the things that we’ve proposed. But so far, what we’ve put out there has stood the test of time and is still kind of the primary repository that we go back to to answer things like this George Monbiot piece in The Guardian.
Nicki: Awesome. Thank you all for listening. Remember to check out our show sponsor LMNT. That’s drinklmnt.com/robb for all your electrolyte needs. If you’d like to join us in this next Rebel Reset, you can join us at The Healthy Rebellion. Join thehealthyrebellion.com. We’d love to have you, and we will see you all next week.
Robb: Bye, everybody.
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