At our grocery stores and dinner tables, even the most thoughtful consumers are overwhelmed by the number of considerations to weigh when choosing what to eat—especially when it comes to meat. Guided by the noble principle of least harm, many responsible citizens resolve the ethical, environmental and nutritional conundrum by quitting meat entirely. But can a healthy, resilient and conscientious food system exist without animals?
Sacred Cow probes the fundamental moral, environmental and nutritional quandaries we face in raising and eating animals. In this project, we focus our lens on the largest and perhaps most maligned of farmed animals, the cow.
COMMON ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT MEAT…
- Red meat causes cancer, obesity and heart disease
- We’re eating too much meat
- Humans don’t need to consume animal products to be healthy
- Raising livestock is bad for the environment
- It’s unethical to eat animals
- If we can produce meat in labs, then why should we eat animals?
The connection between nutrition and ecosystem health is starting to make some headway into mainstream media. Everyone is trying to figure out how to feed the world in the most sustainable way and healthy way. However, we’ve allowed corporate interest, big food, flawed science, click-bait media and naïve celebrities to steer us away from what a truly nutrient-dense, ethical and sustainable, and regenerative food system really is. The mantra that “all meat is bad” influences how we’re training dietitians, shaping our dietary guidelines, designing school lunch policies, and funding for nutrition-related research.
As we become more globalized, the entire world is now pushing towards the “heart healthy” American diet. In the process, we’re destroying entire ecosystems and our health.
Sacred Cow comes at a critical point in the nutrition and sustainability story. A meat tax (which is actually a poor tax) is a very real possibility. Well intended yet not horribly misguided, The EAT Lancet global dietary guidelines are calling for less than 1/2 an ounce of red meat per day, for human and planetary health. Meatless Mondays are going to remove the most nutrient dense part of the meal for 1.1 million NYC public school children, 10% are homeless and 75% qualify for reduced or free lunch (NYC recently implemented free school lunch for all kids). Many of these kids are coming home to SNAP funded soda and chips. Meat is being vilified as causing cancer, heart disease and diabetes, yet there are no solid studies to back this up. Meanwhile, silicon valley has invested millions in highly processed meat alternatives, with the assumption that engineering our proteins in factories will be a better alterative to something nature has already figured out: grazing animals restoring land while converting cellulose into protein.
The solution is regenerative agriculture.
The truth is, well-managed cattle are the unlikely heroes of the story. We can increase biodiversity, improve soil health, increase the water holding capacity of the land and raise high quality, nutrient-dense protein, while preserving family farming communities. Removing these animals from our food system could cause more harm than good.
It’s not the cow, it’s the how.
Producer, Executive Producer
Diana Rodgers, RD, is a “real food” nutritionist and writer living on a working organic farm in Carlisle, Massachusetts. She runs a clinical nutrition practice, hosts the Sustainable Dish Podcast, and speaks internationally about human nutrition, sustainability, animal welfare and social justice. She’s written two books and helped to produce the short film, “Soft Slaughter,” which won a real food media award. Her work has been featured in The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, Edible Boston and To Market.
Robb Wolf is the New York Times Bestselling Author of The Paleo Solution and Wired to Eat. He’s passionate about the nutrition and environmental impacts that better meat can have, and has been an invaluable consultant to the content of the project. Robb is also co-author of the book detailing the nutritional environmental and ethical case for meat along with Diana Rodgers, launching in the June 2020.
For more information on the project, please visit www.sacredcow.info
Diana Rodgers, ProducerSEE MEMBER PROFILE