Sacred Cow: Our Review of The Documentary | A Great Case for Better Meat | The Hart of Health Podcast S1 E27
Joané and Jonathan: (00:03)
Hi I’m Joané Hart and I’m Jonathan Hart. This is the Hart of Health, the show where we focus mainly on health and self-optimization. Here, we like to talk about our experiences and knowledge when it comes to health and biohacking. Hope you enjoy the show.
Hey everyone. On today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about a documentary called Sacred Cow.
Yay. I’ve been waiting to watch this for quite a long time. So when you came home and suggested that we watch it, I was quite excited.
Yeah. So we were signed up for the early viewing, which was really cool that we could get a sneak peek at the documentary before it’s released. So, we won’t give too much away, but I can say it’s definitely way better than Game Changers.
Oh, it’s so much better than Game Changers. This is what documentaries should look like. While we were watching this, I was telling you I haven’t watched a food documentary in a while that didn’t annoy me. Over the last few that I have watched have been about veganism; What the Health, for example, are just terrible, terrible. So, this is like what a documentary should be. Everybody in the world should see this because I just want to tell the whole world about regenerative agriculture.
Yeah. It’s kind of like the most obvious thing that I only feel you’d strongly deny if you have an ideological reason not to, because it is actually so simple. People say, “Oh yeah, this whole thing is very complicated.” Yes it is, but the general idea is that trying to recreate nature on a farm is the way to go. Because nature got it right. It’s been doing it for thousands and thousands of millions of years. So, trying to follow that is like guaranteeing success for the environment, for your farm, and for the general population around you.
If you care about the environment or are plant-based because you care about the environment, watch this documentary. It will show you what we should do as a society to save the environment.
Yeah and you’re saying you like that Nick Offerman narrates it.
Yes! I’m a big fan of the people who are in the documentary, like Rob Wolf and Chris Kresser, but Nick Offerman was just the coolest touch to this whole thing. If you didn’t know, he’s in Parks and Recreation and his character basically just eats meat. If somebody would try to give him a salad he would say, ” Oh, why are you giving me the food that my food eats?”. You know, he was just so pro meat and I just absolutely love it. He was the perfect person to do this.
There are quite a few experts that talk to, doctors and farmers and it’s quite a long list, but we recognize a few of them and it’s really good to hear from new sources that they also agree with this sort of way of approaching things.
Yes, and being introduced to new people that we can learn from. There were quite a few authors whose books I would like to read or listen to, if there’s an audiobook available. About cows and how important they are and meat in general. Well, if you have listened to this podcast before you probably know that we like meat.
Yes, we are definitely not against meat and a question lot of people ask me after asking, why do you eat this way?, Is what about the environment? The funny thing is that people don’t realize that before we came along, the plains were filled with grazing animals and we dwindled their numbers to almost nothing. Now we have the opportunity to use cattle as sort of like the “new herd” and try to actually get deserts to recover. Because that’s one thing you saw in the documentary.
Desertification is very sad.
They have a grassland back in the desert, in the Chihuahuan desert, which is a very harsh desert and they managed to turn the desert back into grassland.
Is that the Polyface Farms? No, no that’s not, but there they were even talking about how they’ve gotten the grass from Polyface Farms.
Polyface Farms is actually talking about how they integrate many different species of animals into a more regenerative sort of system. So the cows will go through a pasture, that’s just grass and as they move through there, they’ll create a lot of cow pies all over the field, which will attract a lot of insects. Then, they bring the chickens over the field that the cows have just been through in order to give the chickens food. Then, they’ll have the pigs in the more forested sections rooting through the leaflet and looking for mushrooms, insects, and all sorts of things. They’ve got a more natural and balanced approach way of doing things. Everything is geared towards putting nutrients back into the soil.
That’s such a sustainable way of doing things.
They’re basically carbon negative, which is something that almost no other company can say. There is no product out there that can tell you, “Oh, in this life cycle analysis, we can tell you that we are net carbon negative”. For example, most products like chips or any of the foods in the middle section of a shopping centre, you can not tell me that any of those products, even the Beyond Meat burgers, are carbon negative.
You know, I’ve said this before, to make something like the Beyond Meat burger, you have to ship all of the ingredients for those that are grown on these monocrop lands. Then, they need to be transported to the factory where it’s made, then that is shipped all over the world. Their carbon footprint just seems to be quite big to me. But then if you buy meat from a local butcher, you’re actually not having that big of an impact on the environment.
Well, you’re supporting an industry, that’s net carbon negative. That’s just the way it is. I can’t remember the company’s name, but they did a lifecycle analysis of a beef patty from White Oak Pastures, which is another regenerative agricultural farm. And then they compared it to the life cycle analysis of a Beyond Meat burger patty and guess which one won? The White Oak Pastures patty won. It was near carbon-negative whereas the Beyond Meat burger was still in the positive. It was still contributing to carbon. And then everyone’s sort of thinking, “Oh, where’s this carbon going?”. The carbon is going into the soil because this whole monocrop agriculture revolution happened just after the Second World War and it basically just pulled nutrients out of the soil the whole time. You know, the plant uses the nutrients in the soil to grow, and then you take that plant away and you don’t put anything back and you grow another crop.
Eventually, the soil runs out of nutrients and then that’s why they started introducing chemical fertilizers. But people don’t think, “Oh, they just use a chemical fertilizer. Cool. There are no greenhouse gases there”. No, that has to be extracted from the atmosphere and that requires energy. And it’s also not natural. So what’s happening with these chemical fertilizers is, people are spraying them on their crops because the soil is so poor in nutrients and it running into the water systems and causing dead zones at these river mouths because it’s allowing a specific organism in the harbour or whatever, to explode and it literally take all the oxygen out of the water killing most life. And this is all because of monocrop agriculture. Then people say, “Oh, but most of the monocrops are there to feed cows. And I’m just like, no, it’s mostly there to feed chickens and pigs. The cows can’t eat a lot of corn without dying. So cows eat mostly grass in their life and maybe corn stalks or wheat stalks.
Then maybe corn finished.
You know they can have some corn, but you can’t literally feed a cow just corn. So, I think that’s one of the things that I’d say is important for people to know, is that a lot of the chicken and pig setups are less sustainable and less ethical. You can make chickens and pigs ethical just like at Polyface Farms, but most chicken and pig operations are probably a lot less ethical than a cow or sheep, you know, basically anything that is a ruminant animal. So you can even go like bison. As long as it’s a ruminant animal, it almost immediately becomes a lot easier to make it more ethical and good for the environment compared to animals like pigs or chickens. And to be profitable and keep your meat prices as low as these places that literally pack them on top of each other and feed them the cheapest crap possible.
Yeah. That’s the thing, I mean, just because we believe in following an animal-based diet, it doesn’t mean that we’re not against factory farming because we are. And this is something that people who are sceptical about the documentary should know is that they also speak out on what happens in factory farms. Like animals that are kept in such small spaces, they become more stressed and need more antibiotics. It’s just not a good way to raise animals for meat. And that whole system definitely needs to change, but more and more farmers around the world are adopting regenerative agriculture practices. Hopefully, more and more people will start talking about it and the word will spread and we can help counteract with some of what the plant-based advocates are trying to accomplish.
Yeah, it’s unfortunate. A lot of this plant-based propaganda and information is coming from a religious background. The Seventh Day Adventist Church is more involved than a lot of people know. And you look the FAO and other sorts of American dietetics association and all the places where people are getting this information about what’s good for the environment or what they should eat, is all basically run by Seventh Day Adventists. Their fundamental religion is all about being vegan and that plant-based is purer. And if you eat meat, it’s, basically like you’re supporting the devil. And we won’t even go down the rabbit hole, but just to sort of mention that a lot of the common health beliefs that people have about nutrition and the environment and these kinds of common vegan ideology, is that it is coming from a subjective point of view.
It’s coming from someone who basically had the religion written down before they did the study, or before they wrote the paper or before they did whatever they were going to do. They already had a fundamental principle backing what they were basically looking to find. And a lot of people were saying like, “Oh, you know, but I saw this on this and this and that”. And it’s just not the way nature intended it. That’s why I think everyone should watch this because then you can see for yourself because they film it really well.
The cinematography! You know what, the way they shot the fields I found really gave me good insight as to what the soil and the conditions actually look like on these monocrop farms on the regenerative agriculture farms. It just looks way more lush, you know?
Not only lush, it looks more like nature. You look at these monocrop fields and it’s just devastation. It’s just one thing and that’s it? There’s nothing else.
You know what it’s like? It’s like, if you have a plate of just pasta, nothing else, like a white plate with pasta. And it’s just like a boring picture of food next to like a picture of a steak. The steak will look way more colourful and exciting.
Well, obviously most people would choose the steak over the plain pasta. Um, a lot wouldn’t but yes.
But it just looked so dull.
Yeah, exactly. It was green sometimes if it wasn’t wheat or, you know if it was like corn, it was green, but it’s very uniform, which is not nature at all. And then you’d look at, like you said, the regenerative agriculture farms and it looks like nature. It looks like a grassland with some forests. They even had the one farmer showing that once they started doing the regenerative agriculture, all the other animals also started coming back. So, they had trail cam footage of like different species that moved back into the area. So, if you actually want to support more biodiversity and more life in nature, then the regenerative agriculture model is the ultimate one.
Yeah. It’s just, I don’t know. I feel like it’s undeniable at this point. It should be, it really should be.
Yeah. You don’t want to look at just the numbers, the articles, and the studies because then you are sort of missing the root of it. When you look at an area that’s been ploughed and basically scraped clean of all life. And then they plant one plant there and then that’s all that grows there for thousands and thousands of hectares. Then they spray fungicides, pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers on this crop to make sure that it’s the only thing there. Or at least they try to make sure it’s the only thing there. It’s just the opposite of nature. It’s humans as far as you can see. Oh, look, a human did that! When you look at the regenerative agriculture farm, there’s a stream and a forest and a meadow and a bush and a bird and there are insects everywhere. And you think, how can anyone choose that monocrop agriculture model? It doesn’t make sense.
It does not make sense. One thing that I found super interesting, but it’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a while, Is that if you want to get an animal to gain weight, you keep it in a small space so that it can’t move around a lot and you feed it grains. But then for humans to lose weight, we are told to eat whole grains. I just think that is quite fascinating.
The common guidelines are, you know, the food pyramid or the now the latest thing is My Plate. Where they say like, make sure most of your food is coming from this source and always sort of grains is the main thing. However, farmers will tell you if you want to get your cows nice and fat, you put them in a small enclosure and you feed them a lot of grains and they get really fat. Obviously, with cows, you can’t feed them just grains. Otherwise, they’ll die.
But you can supplement their diets.
But you can feed them as much as possible.
Well, that’s also the other thing. So it’s not the grass that’s making the cows that fat. It’s the supplementation of the grains. Now people say that meat is causing cancer and stuff like that. It’s not the meat, it’s what you eat with the meat. So I feel like it’s kind of similar as well. It’s the grains in the bun that you’re putting on either side of your meat to make your burger. That’s what’s causing a lot of these problems. So, it’s not what you are supposed to be eating naturally, which is meat. You know, it is the stuff that you’re not actually supposed to be eating like a human that you’re adding to the meat that’s causing the problem.
Yeah. It’s a possibility that grains are to blame or are part of the problem. There’s a lot of factors. Like it could be trans fats, it could be polyunsaturated fats, It could be all this highly processed foods too.
The seed oil that you cook the meat in.
Yeah. So don’t blame the steak for your heart attack. Blame the fact that you were frying your steaks every day in canola oil or sunflower oil.
Or the chips that you’re having next to your steak, and then the salad dressing that you were pouring over your side salad also containing these vegetable oils.
Yeah. Because things like heart attacks, cancer, diabetes, macular degeneration and all these diseases that people now just assume are part of getting old didn’t exist 150 years ago, like hardly existed. They were a medical rarity. So, there was something that happened in the past hundred and 50 year that is the number one suspect into why everyone’s so sick and it’s definitely not meat. Because meat consumption has gone down, especially red meat consumption. I think chicken has gone up. So that could be another factor. People eating more chicken feed on corn could be a factor, but beef consumption is going down, but everyone wants to blame beef.
Yeah. The thing we started eating less of that’s the point.
Yeah. You look at the general trends and red meat consumption is at its lowest It’s ever been in the history of civilization.
And you have schools promoting things like Meatless Mondays.
Yeah. You see that? It’s all coming from the bodies. You know people will say, so the FDA says this is what your recommended guidelines are, but no one knows the people who are making these guidelines and, what are their expertise? Do they have a religious belief that might be a conflict of interest?
Didn’t they get pizza classified as like a vegetable, just so they could keep it in the school systems because the tomato sauce on the pizza? So it counts as your vegetable servings. Like, you see what these kids eat and it’s macaroni and cheese and this is what’s being told to schools that they should give to kids as part of a healthy diet. And yet people are so unhealthy, it’s not working.
Well, the whole calories in and calories out thing doesn’t help the situation. They’ll just say, Oh, it doesn’t matter that you only eat pizza because it’s just about calories in and calories out. And it’s like, no, if you’re not getting the right nutrients in, you’re going to be nutrient deficient, which is going to cause other problems. And it’s also going to cause you to probably overeat and be more likely to overeat.
Yeah. And as Chris Kresser mentions in the documentary, companies aim to make these calorie-dense, rewarding foods. You know? Food scientists are working on how to make food even more hyper-palatable, tastier, and more addictive. So it’s like, Oh, but this is low fat so it meets the guidelines. However, they put MSG with it or sugar, both things that make you actually want to eat more of it. It’s so bad for your health.
Yeah. It’s quite clear that a lot of people invest a lot of money into the science, behind what people like to eat. So, it triggers all the right things when you eat it. And it’s very hard for people to control the amount they take in from those types of foods, because it is one of those things that literally ticks all the evolutionary trigger boxes and makes you want to over consume it.
Because if they can make you addicted to their product, they then can make you a customer for life and that’s what the company wants. Think about Coca-Cola. They’ve gotten so many people who are addicted to what they sell. Or even Cadbury with their candies or Coke and other soda companies.
Yeah. They’ll put a little bit of sodium in there in their Coke because they know you’ll be a little bit thirsty after drinking it so then you will drink more, like sodium makes you thirsty. So they put it in there. It’s just the right amount to make sure you won’t be completely satisfied thirst-wise after drinking.
Yes. And there’s this thing called the bliss point, which is basically the perfect combination of salt, sugar, and fat that will trigger this thing in your brain and make you want to eat more. It just makes you feel so happy in the moment, but it makes you want more. I think doughnuts, cakes, cookies, these things, even like chips, are mostly carbs, but there’s fat with that. Like trans fats, these vegetable oils and seed oils, and then salt.
You can make these shitty things very palatable. The funny thing is, that the cheapest foods are these junk foods. Why? Because they’re subsidized. That for me is the most ridiculous thing.I know they wanted to subsidize it for the war and all that. Like they wanted to subsidize growing food so that people could, but the war was over a very long time ago. Why are you still subsidizing these things that are clearly really bad for people in the greater scheme of things and you’re still paying people to grow it. Then that’s why it can be cheaper at the stores. It’s like, no, why don’t you stop paying them for that? Let it be its real price. Then things won’t be financially motivated for people. Because if you’re not financially stable, you’re going to make the financial decision. You’re not going to make a health decision or anything. You’re going to be like, nah, I need something that’s going to fill me up. Basically, it will be the cheapest thing, but it just must be filling, you know? So I’ll take the corn or the rice or whatever. And I won’t have meat because it’s too expensive, but the corn is only cheap because it’s being subsidized.
Yeah. And what they mentioned in the movie, in the documentary, was if you told everybody around the world, they need to go vegan. What about people who are so malnourished? And they’re not getting a lot of nutrients because they can’t go to a health food shop and get vitamin B12 supplements and all these other things. It’s like, no, they basically have corn and maybe beans or something else. So they’re not getting a lot of variety. They’re not getting a lot of nutrients. If they could eat meat and they could have organ meats and fat, you know, the most nutrient-dense foods, their health would be way better. Those are way easier to access. Now if you want to force them to go vegan, you’re basically forcing them into a deeper state of malnourishment.
Yeah. They are already having issues because they’re only eating plants because they can’t afford to get meat. And now everyone’s going to say like, no, you’re not allowed to farm animals because it’s bad for the environment and we’re now going to force you to just have monocrop agriculture. It doesn’t make sense. And it’s funny that they mentioned the studies where they’ll have groups of African children and they’ll give meat to one group and dairy to another group. Both groups that were getting the meat or the dairy performed way better than the control group who just got the standard corn or rice or whatever staple grain they’ve got. So it already shows you right there that, especially for a growing kid, it’s super important that you get all the right nutrients in order to develop. And like you said, they can’t go to a pharmacy and buy fancy supplements in order to maintain a plant-based diet.
They cant get pea protein powder or nut butters.
And like the closest doctors are nearly a hundred miles away. Like doctors, not even talking about a pharmacy where you can buy medication and like they somehow need to go plant-based?
And will get the money to pay for this. And even in schools, you know, some families who are struggling financially don’t have quality food at home. People live in these food deserts where there’s not a lot of healthy foods around and now by forcing kids to go meatless on a Monday and maybe one day it will become two or three days a week. What if they force all schools to switch to plant-based foods for kids, then these kids who might have only gotten meat at school, aren’t going to get any at all. Their development is going to suffer as a result.
Yeah. It’s very difficult to be on top of a supplement regime in order to make a vegan diet work.
Just think about the environmental impact of all the bottles we put the supplements in and the processing and the shipping to factories.
Yeah. And like two-thirds of the world’s almonds come from California. So most of the almonds in the world and almond milk are coming from one place, one spot on the planet. And so to get your almond milk in Australia, it’s basically a half a trip around the world, you know?
Yeah. That’s for your child. These almonds travelled far. They’re well travelled. I’m not that well travelled.
So yeah. It’s just silly. It’s silly to think that even though we’ve never found a single indigenous culture, that’s vegan. Yeah, there are some vegetarian ones, but they do place an emphasis on things like eggs and dairy if they are vegetarian. So, there’s not a single culture or native population in the world that’s vegan. I think there probably are some vegan people who are dying to get some meat, people who are unintentionally vegan, wishing for a slice of steak or something.
Or kids with vegan parents or people who marry vegans and then get forced into veganism because,”we’re not allowed to bring animal feeds into the house”, or something like that. You could be kind of bullied into it.
Yeah, you can be. It is a choice you can make though, as a consenting adult, I think it’s wrong to put a kid through that. Even if you are pregnant, I’d say it’s super irresponsible to not make sure you get all your B12, you’re coline, your carnitine, your taurine, all the very important amino acids and your arachidonic acid and things like that are very difficult to gain from the plant kingdom. And they’re super important for the development of a fetus. So yeah, probably a lot of vegans would be furious to hear that, but…
Watch the documentary. Well, if vegans make a reaction video to the documentary, then more people can learn about the documentary.
Yeah. If you just search vegan parents on Google, so not even anything negative, just say vegan parents, there will probably be an article come up about how vegan parents were irresponsible and it led to other complications or even death of a child. I know in Belgium it’s now illegal to do so.
To force your child to be vegan.
So I’m just like, there’s a country out there. That’s already made it illegal for parents to do that. And there’s been court cases and people put in jail for basically killing their child through malnutrition. I think in the one case, they were feeding their child, soy milk and apple juice, or fruit juice, and the child died. For some reason, they thought that soy milk and juice was going to be the perfect substitute for their vegan child.
And just think about the hormonal disruption you can get as a kid from being forced fed soy so much. I heard somebody joke on a podcast, soy boy, like kids and guys who eat so much soy that they, will develop “man boobs” and things like that. It really disrupts your hormones. My heart breaks if I hear about a little kid, especially a boy, I want to say biological male, um, who eats a lot of soy because you just know how that’s going to affect their development. And they did not choose this.
Yeah. It’s really not fair. I know there was a case study involving two vegan parents and one non-vegan parent. And they were just looking at deficiencies in their babies from breastfeeding and the vegan babies were deficient in more things than the normal standard American diet. There’s a lot of important things that you need to pass on to your child in order to give it a really good start in life and to make sure that they’re healthy and fully developed and going plant-based, I think, is not a good idea if it’s someone else’s life involved or your future kid’s life.
And even if you’re trying to conceive, you know, I’ve met a girl who went vegan and then she couldn’t become pregnant because she was so deficient in vitamin B12. Then she started eating eggs again and stuff in order to be able to fall pregnant. And within a month she did, after adding those back to her diet.
Bring back the eggs!
If you’re a vegan and you’re still listening at this point, bring back the eggs. Your body will thank you for it. And then hopefully that’s one small step on a journey back to health. That’s why I said when I did the vegan month that a vegetarian diet would be so much easier than vegan. To be sustainable because no animal protein makes things very tricky. And I don’t even think all the correct supplements to get a full spectrum of everything you need to function optimally existence in South Africa. Maybe in America, they have everything there in supplement form. But like here where we live, I could do all the major ones that all the experts are talking about. I could supplement with all those things for the month. But I do feel like I was missing stuff.
Yeah. You looked a little drained that month.
Yeah and now I’m doing better than ever.
Yeah. You’re doing well on carnivore.
Yeah. Carnivore-ish. Animal-based! I love that term.
Yeah. And if you’re now using regenerative agriculture to basically make more farms, more productive and take land that used to be desert and turn it into grazing land, suddenly it becomes feasible to be able to feed the entire planet mostly meat. People always say you can’t grow anything in the desert. That’s not true. You can grow grazing animals in the desert. If you use the correct techniques, you can turn the deserts that used to be plains because that’s the thing, a lot of deserts are in places where there used to be herds of grazing animals. It used to be grasslands, but then over time, probably humans had the biggest impact on this with really bad farming practices. Humans made the deserts expand. So we lost a lot of land that could be productive, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be productive again.
What’s that guy that people can check out if they want to learn more about desertification again, Allan Savory? He’s pretty cool.
Yeah. He’s been like at the grassroots of this movement from the very beginning and he’s got firsthand experience with the whole regenerative agricultural model. So his farm was turning to desert and it didn’t matter how much rain they got, their farm was turning to desert. He was actually a Zoologist you know. So he was studying animals and plants and the environment. He though too much cattle was the issue. But every time he reduced his cattle numbers, the desert just got worse. His farm started turning more to desert. Then he decided, okay, now I’m going to increase the capacity of my livestock by 200%. And then I’m going to move them around on the farm and try and mimic nature, like keep them moving every month or even two weeks or whatever, keep them moving.
And suddenly his farm went from desert to lush grassland. It’s just because the key component that these deserts are missing is the animals to sort of break up the ground and to provide fertilizer and birth the environment that grass needs. It needs water to sit there because if you have a nice smooth patch of dirt, water hits that and runs off. But after the cattle have been through, they break it up. So it catches more water. It also allows seeds to grow because now they’re not trying to push through a hot pack of earth. Now all the seeds can sprout and they are provided with the perfect fertilizer to keep growing. So then the grass grows and it holds more water. The ground becomes like a sponge instead of a smooth runoff section. Then suddenly you go from open sand desert to grassland where you can graze cattle and gain nutrient-dense food from a place that was basically making nothing for humanity. So if you can do that, I’m pretty sure the whole world could go carnivore and we’d be able to do it.
Yeah. That was our review of Sacred Cow.
Yeah. That was probably more like a discussion or a quick discussion.
We can do another podcast on it. Maybe going into more detail after its official release.
I definitely think it’s good for people to see firsthand what goes into how we get food and to see from a bird’s eye view and from the ground, what is going on in these farms between people raising cattle and people doing that monocrop agriculture. And just see with your own eyes, they’re filming real-life places. This is not 3D animated or any kind of green screen trickery or nothing. It’s plain and simple. What you see is what you get. It’s there. You can probably go to their place if you live in America and see for yourself. And I think there’s no better way. The picture paints a thousand words and I think everyone should have a look at this.
Yeah. As soon as you are able to, please watch Sacred Cow.
Yes. If you didn’t get onto the list for the early release, you will probably have to wait a few weeks for it to come out to the general public. I definitely recommend it.
Yeah. Maybe there’s a link where people can still sign up for the earlier viewing? You have until the 30th of November, 2020.
Okay. So there are only a few days.
There are only a few days. I think if you sign up, you might be able to get a sneak preview link now. Otherwise, it’s the official release date you know, support the documentary and have a look for yourself.
Jonathan & Joané: (42:45)
Yeah. Until next week. Thanks.