Why Eliminating Meat From Our Diet Isn’t The Solution To Climate Change

Episode 159 1h 12m


Human health is dependent on planetary health. A healthy planet coincides with healthy animals; when we look at the way public health and our climate have changed with the industrialization of agriculture, animals are a key focus. We often hear the argument that in order to solve climate change we need to stop eating meat. What these people aren’t realizing is that animal agriculture done right is actually part of the solution. That is a big stipulation because the methods used to raise meat can make or break our climate crisis and our health. I’m thrilled to sit down today with Anya Fernald to discuss the ins and outs of regenerative farming and animal practices. Anya and I jump into her journey from swapping fancy restaurant kitchens for European dairy farms. She has had such an interesting progression in her passion for food and it landed her as a pioneer for regenerative practices, encouraging a much-needed dialogue between healthcare and agriculture, doctors and farmers. While in Europe, Anya discovered that the way animals were raised, the quality of their meat and dairy, and the impacts on the land were vastly different from the conventional model here in the US. There, pastured animals were given the time and space to eat a natural and nutrient-dense diet that served their unique needs. She saw that farmers were using heirloom animals to produce products with incredible taste, despite much lower output compared to conventional operations. Those farmers had greater flexibility, though, and she and I get into why that is so beneficial for the future of farming. That same low-and-slow style of animal agriculture also has profound implications for the soil. We discuss why grazing animals are essential for carbon sequestration and reversing climate change, despite what the anti-meat movement might tell you. We should all be anti-feedlot meat but we can eat responsibly raised meat and help our health and the planet in the process. We also talk about the history of soil degradation in the US, the soil microbiome and how it responds to agricultural chemicals, and why we need healthy soil to produce healthy food and healthy humans. For a limited time, Belcampo is offering Doctor’s Farmacy listeners a 20% discount for new customers using the code "FARMACY20" at belcampo.com (exclusions do apply). This episode is brought to you by BiOptimizers, Thrive Market, and BLUBlox. Right now you can try BiOptimizers Magnesium Breakthrough for 10% off, just go to bioptimizers.com/hyman and use the code HYMAN10 at checkout. Thrive is offering all Doctor's Farmacy listeners an amazing deal. You will receive an extra 25% off your first purchase and a free gift when you sign up for Thrive Market. Just head over to thrivemarket.com/Hyman. Right now BLUblox is offering Doctor’s Farmacy listeners 20% off. Just go to blublox.com/hyman and use code HYMAN20. BLUblox also offers free and fast shipping globally.

Topics Covered

  • Anya’s childhood love of cooking, her early career in the culinary world, and experiences working in Europe

    (4:09 - 8:19)

  • Anya’s transition away from vegetarianism

    (8:06 - 12:16)

  • The value of low and slow animal farming

    ((11:34 - 15:44)

  • How beef came to be villainized and why it isn’t the enemy

    (16:55 - 21:05)

  • Animal wellness and its connection to human wellness

    (25:05 - 30:38)

  • Why animal agriculture is needed to restore our ecosystems

    (30:52 - 36:25)

  • Is a regenerative burger better or worse for the climate than an Impossible burger?

    (37:11 - 42:44))

  • Why over a third of meat is thrown away in the United States

    (39:01 - 44:34)

  • Scaling regenerative agriculture

    (43:36 - 49:09)

  • The top policy recommendations Anya would make to improve agriculture

    (55:52 - 1:01:25)

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Ep. 159 - Why Eliminating Meat From Our Diet Isn’t The Solution To Climate Change