A look at the recipes on my blog shows that I consider meat to be an important part of a healthy diet. I realize this stance can be highly controversial given the poor diet, environment, and climate impact of commercial meat-raising practices. This is why I asked Anya Fernald — a leader in the high quality, organic, and premium food market — to talk to us today about a different (and better) way to approach this issue.
Anya Fernald is the co-founder and CEO of Belcampo, which raises livestock on 27,000 acres of organic farmland in California. They follow regenerative farming practices that have the ability to revolutionize the entire industry into climate-positive operations.
As one of Inc Magazine’s 100 Female Founders, one of the 40 under 40 by Food & Wine, and a regular judge on Iron Chef America since 2009, Anya is just a fascinating person to talk to about food and the food industry in general. I can’t wait to dive in!
Episode Highlights With Anya Fernald
- How the environment of livestock and poultry is being manipulated to encourage rapid obesity
- The health repercussions of eating meat raised in this way
- Similarities between animal and human microbiomes
- Which labels you can trust when buying meat… and which ones mean nothing
- What studies say about meat-eating mothers vs. vegetarians
- The role of essential amino and fatty acids in the body (and yes, we get them from meat)
- The key component you might be missing from your meat-eating diet
- How conventional meat farming impacts the environment (hint: it’s not good)
- A better way to raise meat that is third-party tested to be carbon impact positive
- Why a regenerative farming revolution may be the key to raising quality meat and a healthier planet
- And more!
Resources We Mention
- Bone Broth
- On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee
- Meat Market: Animals, Ethics, and Money by Erik Marcus
- The River Cottage Meat Book
- The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America’s Food Business by Christopher Leonard
More From Wellness Mama
- 222: Why ButcherBox Is Bringing Back Grass-Fed Meat With Mike Salguero
- 310: Can Our Soils Heal Us? How Regenerative Agriculture and Home Gardens Can Improve Our Health
- 205: Everything You Need to Know About GMOs, Glyphosate, and Gut Health With Dr. Zach Bush
- 236: Facts vs. Myths About Blue Zones & Ways to Increase Longevity
- 420: Is The Pegan Diet the Answer to the Diet Wars With Dr. Mark Hyman
- Are Organ Meats Healthy?
- Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef
- Grass-Fed Meat vs. Grain-Fed Meat
- Is a Plant-Based Diet Good for All of Us?
How do you feel about eating meat? Any tips on finding a good source? Please drop a comment below or leave a review on iTunes to let us know. We value knowing what you think and this helps other moms find the podcast as well.
Discussion (13 Comments)
Well, I knew when I read the title to this podcast that it would stir up some emotions for those that choose not to eat meat! I have straddled the fence for many years and this past year began to strongly consider changing to vegetarian diet for myself and family. My decision was based on info I received from books, media, and my community that pinpointed the horrible effects on animals and the planet from the “meat industry”. The info both you and Anya provided in this podcast was very well done and offers awareness and I think solutions as to why the meat industry HAS been a detriment to human health and the planet BUT you also very simply point out how important “healthy” meat animals can be to us and our planet. Bravo! This podcast is very much worth the listen!
Fantastic interview! After switching over to pasture raised and finished organic meats along with bone broth my health is nothing short of amazing. Yes, it might cost a few pennies more but the results are worth it as I have no need for allopathic medicine or their pharmaceuticals, which is a serious cost savings in itself. It’s a win win situation and tasty one to boot. Today I’ll never understand how one can choose a vegan meal over a delicious pasture raised organic ribeye.
I’m lucky here in Cincinnati where we have a company called The Green Bean that delivers these delicious organic pasture raised meats,eggs,chicken and pork along with organic groceries and veggies right to your doorstep saving me from the temptations that bombard our local grocery store.
My favorite saying is by Hippocrates, “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food “. No truer have ever been spoken.
I just read the transcript for this podcast. I’m a small farmer. We do the rotational grazing as was described in the podcast. I agree whole heartedly with Anya. But here is my concern, to be 100% grass fed and finished requires more land than selling to feedlot at weaning age. As a nation we are growing in population. How do we as a nation stay healthy -raising food(crops and livestock) using positive alternatives and still feed a growing nation? Positive natural organic crops and farms have smaller yields. We raise a quality product but not as much of it. A quality product cost more at the store. There are economic areas that can’t afford these products. Do farmers suffer the financial loss to make them affordable to all? If they do, can they feed their families and keep a farm running. No-one who works and receives a paycheck that only keeps them afloat or sees a loss is going to do that job very long. So what is the solution?
We also have to deal with population increases. I live in a rural area and I’m seeing people from over crowed cities/states move into my area. They buy farm/ranch land, sold by the second generation leaving agriculture. The land is chopped up into smaller lots and sold. So where is the tipping point? What changes so that we can raise food the right way? Who suffers? I hate the ways we as a nation raise commercial food. I hate as a nation that we continue to outgrow our residential areas and chop up farm land. We are loosing valuable areas for our health and our planet. But what is the solution? Can we feed the numbers we already have with the land available using healthy agricultural practices? I don’t know. If we want to move back to natural practices being sustainable farmers something has to give. I’m just not sure what that change will be?
No, we do not *need* meat. A vegan diet is suitable for people in all stages of life, including pregnancy, youth, and beyond. With what we know of the horrors of factory farming, the adverse effect on the environment and human health, and that there’s no “humane” way to kill an animal that doesn’t want to die, eating meat is clearly an unethical action. Do better. Go vegan.
We can agree that factory farming is harmful to animals, people and the environment. Beyond that, there are certainly many differing theories and many researchers and biologists explain that humans do need meat and I’ve had various doctors and experts say that a vegan diet is not suitable for pregnancy. Beyond that, I respect your right to choose not to eat meat and would hope that you can respect that others might come to a different conclusion based on the available evidence and choose a different approach.
I actually think going vegan isn’t a complete solution, and I appreciate that Katie has put out this podcast to help inform us that MEAT IS OKAY especially if sourced from ethical farms. Sustainability doesn’t come from single answer solutions, it comes from diversity, like a natural environment. Then one area isn’t overburdened. Veganism itself is only better if you do it yourself. It still contributes to massive pollution for transport and high level processing just to create processed foods that contain no animal products. It still requires habitat destruction and the death of all small mammals and soil biota trying to live in the fields after the habitat was transformed. Morally it seems vain to believe we can set moral absolutes greater than the laws of the universe, not that we can’t, but that we think they will work better in the long run. Veganism is another bandage thrown on a problem by people completely disconnected from the natural world, and it can’t be truly better for all people if it comes from the same route lines of thought that got us here.
I think the best option is to hunt and forage like humans used to. There are so many issues with factory farming, from the practices used to the hormones and chemicals used, so I am not buying much from grocery stores any longer because I do not want to contribute to the environmental effects or how the animal was treated before slaughter. However, I can guarantee that if you buy your food from local farms and at farmer’s markets, that your food will be the best quality you can find other than growing it in your own garden or hunting for it on regulated hunting land. Vegan isn’t as ethical of a diet as so many claim it to be, and a large part of this is because the animals you are thinking you are protecting will contribute to overpopulation, which then the government will have to step in and put out tags for people to kill anyway! But what is worse is that in these scenarios, the animals are left on the field. No one even gets to benefit from this kill.
Sure, go vegan. But trying to convince everybody to go vegan isn’t exactly doing better in terms of sustainability. I hope you can gain a little more perspective by listening to this podcast again.
Very well said!
Plants don’t want to die either. Yet they are doused in chemicals and brutally ripped from the ground. Respect both in the cycle of life.
Did anyone happen to find the UC Santa Barbara study she referenced about meat consumption and pregnancy?
No, I haven’t been able to find it and would definitely like to read it. My daughter in law is vegan and planning on becoming pregnant within the year so it’s especially important to make an informed decision.
Katie, if you can provide a link it would be appreciated.
I’m not sure exactly what study was referenced but perhaps it was this one:
As the body has increased need for protein, omega-3s, B12 and iron during pregnancy, these are also especially important to consider and make sure one is getting in adequate amounts before and during pregnancy.
Thank you. I’m a fan of this blog and podcast but I was too disappointed in the title to listen to it. I understand and respect that everyone won’t go vegan but this implies that those of us that are vegan are doing our bodies and babies a disservice when that it not the case. People like to ignore the science that doesn’t suit their lifestyle preference and discredit veganism to prove their way is the “right way”. Saying all of this to say there’s a way to encourage “better” ways to consume meat without putting down your vegan followers.
I am 50 years old. I have been vegetarian all my life, my two kids never tried meet and also both are vegan, my pregnancy was healthy and healthy kids. People now don’t believe that I am 50 and that is because my diet. I do believe that the market for meet is going down and farmers has to promote and tried to convince us that we need meet but we can live with out killing innocent animal. I am with you Sandra. 🙂