Oct 2, 2023
Today's episode is aimed at reducing "meat guilt" by not only exploring the meat industry's new "Protein PACT" but also discussing some of the lesser talked about aspects of eating meat.
podcast, umillennial, Gen X, podcasts for women, women over 40, women over 50, protein pact, sustainability, beef, animal agriculture
(transcript generated through AI; may contain spelling errors)
Regan Jones 0:00
Hey there podcast listeners. Before we jump into today's episode, I want to do a little bit of housekeeping briefly, to let you know that if you were a subscriber via email for podcast notifications, there is a good chance that you have accidentally been moved over to a mailing list that is exclusively for my new baking website. And I will tell you up front, I am sorry about that in trying to segment lists, and yet the people that wanted to be receiving notifications about the baking website, this baking life.com, and people who want to receive notifications about the podcast is a millennial life.com. There's a little bit of overlap there. And so what I want to ask you to do is that if you want to be sure that you are getting notifications, email notifications, anytime I release a new episode, please click the link in the show notes. It'll direct you to this a millennial live.com/subscribe. Or you can just put that in your browser, this unmillennial life.com/subscribe. I have tried to do my best to clean that list up and make sure that you are where you want to be. But there's nothing like you making sure that you're getting those notifications. So if you've not been getting email notifications from me that episodes have been releasing, please go ahead and sign up. Now. Let's get on with today's episode.
If your skin doesn't know whether to breakout or wrinkle if you're caught between planning the third grade class party and researching retirement plans or if you want to work out but the idea of CrossFit makes your 40 Something knees a you've come to the right place. Welcome to this on Millennial Life.
I'm your host Regan Jones and welcome to today's show. Now I want to start this episode off by giving a brief disclosure that I originally met today's guest, Eric Mittenthal, when he and I were attending a food and nutrition conference together a number of years ago, earlier this year, I also attended that same food and nutrition conference. And Eric and the company that he works for were sponsors of that conference. A few episodes back, I made a mention about attending a sponsor conference, and I got an email from a listener wanting me to walk that out a little bit. What does that mean? Does that mean that you are being paid to do this episode, so I want to be sure that we're all on the same page. First of all, if I ever do a sponsored episode sponsored meaning I have been paid to produce this episode, I have been paid to interview a guest I have been paid to produce an episode I will tell you that it will be labeled as a sponsored episode I have done those in the past, you can go back through the archives, and see those some of them are very, very insightful and good episodes. Just because they're sponsored does not mean that they don't have good information to share. But just know that I'll always let you know that it's a sponsored episode, where maybe it gets to be a little bit grayer for you as the listener is when I don't make it clear what attending a sponsored conference for me entails. So let me do that since this particular episode was a result of attending a sponsored conference for me. And for this particular sponsored conference, part of the attendance was paid for by me in terms of my travel and some of the other things that were expenses associated with attending a large portion of it is paid for by the conference itself. And the conference has a number of different companies who sponsor the conference, my attendance does not have any kind of requirement. In terms of doing an episode on any of the topics that's really left up to me, I rely heavily on some of the travel that I get to experience as a podcaster. As a registered dietitian, as a blogger, I rely a lot on those events, to inspire me to share different topics with you to provide new research, but just know that I always am coming back to think through as many sides of a topic as I can. And really think through how to bring that information to you in a way that is meaningful and helpful, and certainly in a way that you don't feel was simply an advertisement. Okay, so that all being said, let me tell you about today's guests. Eric Mittenthal is the Chief Strategy Officer at the North American Meat Institute. He was previously the organization's Vice President of Public Affairs. I'm having him on today because he is now leading the institute's Protein PACT strategy, which you will hear him talk about is really focused on implementing a framework for continuous improvement throughout the meat industry. I'm going to go ahead and jump into my interview with Eric but on this particular pot topic, which I know honestly can be a little divisive, depending on where you fall into concerns about animal agriculture and sustainability and nutrition, etc. I'm going to ask you to stick around after the interview and allow me to bring a couple of additional pieces of information that are not from the Protein PACT. They're not from Eric, they're not even from the sponsored conference that I attended. Allow me to bring those to you for your attention just to get a broad picture of this overall topic. And while I labeled this the Protein PACT episode, because I thought it was really important to be again, clear and transparent about who I was interviewing, I wanted to originally name it the meat guilt episode, because that is where I feel that I see the biggest struggle for people these days is the guilt that they feel from eating meat for a number of different reasons, health reasons, sustainability reasons, ethical reasons, animal welfare reasons. And so what I want to do is, after Eric and I have talked about what the Protein PACT is, I'm going to come back share a couple of different resources and pieces of information that just might help round out this discussion for you. Okay, with all that out of the way. Here we go. Eric, welcome to the show.
Thanks so much for having me.
Regan Jones 6:02
Well, it's a pleasure to have you on you know, we've actually known each other for a number of years, I've had the opportunity to visit together at a number of different nutrition comp conferences. But once I started learning more about your role with the Protein PACT, I really decided that this is something that I wanted to bring back to listeners, as I was sharing with you, when we first started preparing for this, I feel like that my audience and consumers in general kind of have some of what I would call is meat guilt. And I'm hopeful that as you unpack what the Protein PACT is, or who or what is behind the Protein PACT, that we can give them a little bit more insight into how, you know, meat fits in truly within the context of an overall healthy and sustainable diet. So first, unpack that, for us, what are who is the protein PACT?
The Protein PACT is a joint effort amongst a wide variety of groups in animal agriculture to help reduce that meat guilt. You know, I think people are looking for permission to continue to enjoy the meat products that they love and have loved for generations. And so we want to be able to show as an industry, the proof of progress that aligns with what consumers are looking for, and what people want to see from the industry. And so it comes down to demonstrating transparently our practices when it comes to how we're impacting healthy animals and Healthy People, healthy communities, which is a huge focus as well and a healthy planet. And so we want to be able to show data driven ways that we are making progress and work towards some really meaningful goals between now and 2030. And when you say we, who is the we behind the Protein PACT, it's everybody in animal agriculture largely. So you know, I work for an organization called the North American Meat Institute that works with me companies that you're purchasing your meat from that grocery stores and restaurants. But we work really closely with farmers and ranchers in beef and pork and poultry, work with dairy producers, as well as the farmers who are growing the feed for the animals too. So it is a holistic effort across all the animal protein supply chain, including up to the grocery stores and restaurants that people enjoy to.
Regan Jones 8:24
I know that one of the things that we've talked about in the past is that some of what, or a lot, or most of what the Protein PACT is doing and is focused on really centers around this term that we've been hearing for a while sustainability. So I'm going to put it over to you as as sort of today's representative for the Protein PACT. What does sustainability mean in your eyes? And really, how should people like my listeners, very busy trying to make smart decisions? We've already talked about maybe having some meat guilt that comes from a number of different angles and things that they've heard online or things that they've seen on TV? How should they understand sustainability to make better choices for themselves?
Yes, sustainability means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. I think if we were to survey the audience, we probably get a whole wide variety of perspectives on what it actually means. You know, I think in a formal sense, sustainability is can be social sustainability and how we're impacting communities economic sustainability, how we're supporting people's livelihoods, and environmental sustainability. I look at at it even in a more simple way than that. It is continuous improvement. It is how do we do better? And for us that looks at a variety of different areas ranging from animal welfare, to food safety, nutrition, labor and human rights and how we're impacting the planet as well. And all of those things are really important together. I think in a lot of cases people think only of what we're doing environmentally. But it is a complete picture and all of them impact each other. And we have to make sure that sustainability is really focused on how we are doing better in a way that benefits people in terms of eating meat as a sustainable choice.
Regan Jones 10:17
You know, I really do think that based on a lot of what we hear, and we see out there, you know, yeah, all you have to do is just pull up Instagram and thumb through a few reels, and you probably see some sort of sensational information discouraging people from eating meat. Let's not beat around the bush like, is eating meat a sustainable choice?
Yeah, it absolutely is. And meat is a really key element in a sustainable diet and supporting sustainable livelihoods. You know, first off, when we raise animals for food, those animals are using land that can't be used for other crops, improves soil, how health in stores carbon in the soil, and produces a wide variety of byproducts. You know, I think it's really important people recognize that, you know, we enjoy the meat from animals, but animals are also providing, you know, fashion and clothing through leather, they provide medical products, cosmetics, there are so many things that come from animals that we benefit from. And and it's really important that we utilize all those things from the animals when we when we raise them, then there's also the nutrient density, you know, it's not easily replaced with other foods, you certainly can have a diet without meat that is able to get all the nutrients you need. But also meat makes it a lot easier. And so being able to get all of those nutrients from a small serving of lean beef or chicken or turkey, it provides nearly half of an adult's daily protein needs. And you'd have to eat a lot more of other foods to be able to do the same thing. And then there's also just the developmental aspect of enjoying meat. There's been a lot of research about its benefits for brain health, childhood development. In fact, people as they age, you need more protein and getting nutrients like iron and vitamin A. It's interesting that research has shown those are neutral, micronutrient deficiencies around the world, but also here in the US. And many people don't realize that there are nutrient deficiencies in the US. And meat provides the nutrients that we need in our diets that aren't always we're not always receiving. And so having that complete package of being able to do that is really important. And that's what meets supports,.
Regan Jones 12:45
You know, you made reference there about cattle being basically grazing on land that we can't do a lot with. And I just want to let listeners know I did. I did my own research before I started interviewing Eric, and one of the statistics that I found and you can let me know if, if this is supported by what you know is that 85% of cattle today are actually grazing on lands that we can't grow crops on. So this notion that like we have to do away with all animal agriculture, because we have all of this land that we should be doing crop management on, it's just actually not an accurate assessment. Is that correct?
That is correct. It's using land that we can't use. But planning it plant and animal agriculture also depend on each other. There has been research showing that for every kilogram of plant food that we eat that we are growing eat, there are four kilograms of inedible biomass that is also produced. So that inedible biomass for us goes to animals. And if the animals aren't part of that equation, we're sending a lot of plants to a landfill or other places, is extremely wasteful, and also harmful for the planet. And so having animals as part of the equation where you're being able to take that inedible biomass, and feeding it to the animals, is really it's part of the sustainability equation of using everything at our disposal to make sure we're not being wasteful.
Regan Jones 14:19
Yeah, it's that that cyclical part of agriculture that when we, it seems to me as not an agriculture expert by any stretch. But it seems to me when we focus on ripping out one portion of it, we're really doing a disservice to the overall sustainable picture that you talk about.
Yeah, we use the term unintended consequences, and it's easy to think about, okay, just take something away and what that means, but what's the ripple effect of making a drastic change in some way, and usually it's quite substantial and not always positive. And so we have to think about all the potential unintended consequences that would occur and I, You know, we talked about unintended consequences, it relates to our diets and our health. And so again, that's, that's where animals play an important part in the overall equation of people's health, planetary health. You know, it all ties together really, really closely.
Regan Jones 15:15
You know, one of the things you also mentioned was nutrient density. And also in statistics, just one thing to kind of put out there, see, if you if your research and your work supports this, I read that it takes about two and a half pounds of grain to essentially produce one pound of beef. So when you're talking about a nutrient density standpoint, and you're just talking about, I would call that from, you know, like just a caloric density, the nutrients that you get out of that one pound of beef and the calories that you have to spend to consume it, I mean, you're really talking about an efficient source of fuel.
Yeah, it's an efficient source. And again, going back to that the those, those grains and feed that the animals eating is not able to be eaten by people otherwise, you know, it allows us to make the most use out of out of those products. And contributing really strong nutrition as part of that is an added bonus.
Regan Jones 16:13
Well, I love that whole explanation. And you mentioned the word continuous improvement. And you've talked about a little bit some of the things, but I'd love for you to unpack that a little bit more, talk about the goals that you all have with the Protein PACT and how you're specifically working to achieve those.
Yeah, so we have five core focus areas within the Protein PACT, it's about environment, supporting our workforce and healthy people through through our workforce, people's nutrition and food security, food safety and animal welfare. And so we've set very specific goals across all of those areas to verify, measure and verify our progress. Between now and 2030. As an industry, we really had no background in history of collecting data towards those outcomes, and determining where we are and where we're going. And so we've been able to successfully implement what I call a culture change within our industry of transparently sharing data, and to really demonstrate our progress. And we began that process last year where we were able to have a participation from more than 90% of the industry by volume in providing data and put out a report that is available for people to see about where we are as a baseline. And this year, we have been able to follow that on with even more participation and just really strong enthusiasm from the industry to demonstrate what they're doing in a more transparent public fashion. And so we're going to be continuing to build that over the rest of this decade. And we want all of our members to be participating, and really reporting on all of our various measures. And so we have some very specific goals that we're working towards as part of that, within animal welfare by 2025, we want to have our members pass animal handling and transportation audits by third parties. So you know, you have independent auditors come in to determine if companies are handling animals appropriately. And so the majority of companies are doing that doing that really well. And so we want to be able to show that and have the third party verification there. We're working with partners like USDA and Feeding America to help measure and fill the protein gap that exists for hungry families. And what that means is, you know, the charitable food system is always looking for food and animal protein is a key part of that. But there's a gap between what is needed to feed hungry people and what's available in the system. And so we want to help fill that gap. You know, people want animal protein, we've talked about the nutrition that provides. And so if we can step forward and fill that gap, and it's largely focused on infrastructure, and helping to support food banks to handle, you know, handle the products and distribute them to, to food pantries around the country. On the environmental side, we want our members to set greenhouse gas reduction targets through setting what's called science based targets. And then we want to reduce our worker injury rates by 50%. From our 2019 baseline that's on top of a 75% reduction that we achieved from over the over the last 20 years. So we've been doing a lot of great work in that area. But we know we can do even better. And so it gets back to that continuous improvement idea. How can we show that in a measurable way? And that's what we've been trying to do with the data from our members.
Regan Jones 19:40
One of the things that I had read in preparation for this interview that really struck me as we think about what I would call meat guilt, you know, it hits everybody, but it certainly hits those people for whom their food budget is very, very tight. There's meat guilt from the standpoint of like, you shouldn't be eating it and there's meat guilt from the standpoint of if you are going to eat, you should only be eating, you know, only grass fed only, you know, pasture raised all of the labels that we think about and that the real criticism is that the way that that affects people of a more modest food budget is that it often puts so much guilt on them that they just will not choose those nutrient dense foods. Any comment on on that fact?
Yeah, no, I mean, I think that's a really great point. And, you know, we have a responsibility to produce meat in a way that, again, aligns with what consumers are people of all abilities to, to meet their values. And so, you know, there are a variety of options available in the store. And, you know, whether people are purchasing at the high end or more more cost effective products, that all of them are meeting standards that people expect, you know, raising the animals and caring for them appropriately, you know, doing our part to support healthy people and healthy planet and, and supporting our workers and the communities that they're a part of. And so, at any price point, all of those things are critical. And so that's what we want to be able to show that no matter what price point you're purchasing at, all those basic things are happening that we need to make sure we're doing.
Regan Jones 21:23
I'll say that one of the reasons that I wanted to do this interview, in addition to just reducing overall meat guilt, because I know it's something that exists, is that once I learned about the Protein PACT, the fact that it is such a multi faceted approach, and it's not just one singular portion of what you all do in the air quotes, meat industry, that was one of the things that's most appealing about, I mean, it kind of goes back to what we're talking about the very beginning, there's the notion of sustainability, people hear the word sustainability. And they often think they're just talking about some sort of environmental impact. But what I think that you've done a really good job today of is talking about talking about how your industry is approaching all these different parts of your system. So that leads me really to one of my final questions is, you know, you've talked about for you, for you all for this portion of the food sector, I would say what you all are doing, but can you talk about how this work, like fits in with what others in the food system are doing?
Yeah, there's a massive amount of work occurring in the entire food system on all of these areas. It is it is something that doesn't get a lot of attention, that that the companies and the farmers and ranchers that are producing food, put so much energy into, you know, improving our practices, doing so in a measurable way. You know, what we've been doing is built on the foundation of efforts like the US roundtable for sustainable beef, which was developed almost a decade ago, and was one of the first in the beef supply chain to develop measures and and all the areas that we've been talking about. And so we're utilizing that and, and there's really great work going on there. In the pork sector, you have a program called we care that has the same ethical principles as what we're what we've incorporated into the Protein PACT. And they are working directly with their farmers to ensure you know, best practice standards on animal care and environmental impact in producing the most nutritious products as possible. There's a there's an effort called the US roundtable for sustainable poultry and egg that we're members of, again, very similar, and that it's occurring in the feed sector as well, where there's efforts like field to market, which has a data platform that allows producers to input their data and get data back about what what best practices are and how to improve what they're doing on their their land. And so there's, there's so much, there's so much going on, and there's so much momentum and also more that we can learn and do as well. And so that's what I do on a day to day basis is really connect into those efforts, you know, determine what are those back best practices? How can we implement them? How can we support the industry to implement best practices and get the data to show that we're doing it and so it's a lot of work, but it is really occurring throughout the supply chain. And it's good work that's occurring. And, you know, I've been in the I've been in the food business for a while as a dietitian who's been around for a good while and worked with different commodity groups over the years. And it just is really encouraging to see so many positive and proactive roundtables and groups that are really focused on, you know, making this whole system, the best that it can be not only for the farmers, the ranchers, but the consumers, the animals and as you as you saved the planet as well.
Regan Jones 24:49
So, Eric, is there anything else on this topic or the Protein PACT that I haven't asked you about that you think listeners need to know?
Yeah, we have lots of information available on our website at theproteinpact.org, we're active on social channels, Instagram, and X, I guess it's called now formerly Twitter, Facebook, and as well as LinkedIn. And so you know, for people who want more information and to be up to date on what we're doing, would encourage them to, to check us out in all those places. And, you know, this is this is a long game, you know, it is really easy for us to want to say that, you know, we're going to achieve things in the short term and push for it. But the reality is that it takes time to implement changes. And it's a change management strategy that we we want to implement over, you know, the rest of this decade. And so this isn't something that you're just going to be hearing about now. And it's going to go away. You know, we anticipate it'll be around for many years, and something that the industry is committed to doing over many years. So, you know, we will be at this for an extended period.
Regan Jones 26:02
So for our listeners that did not catch the website, or any of the social media profiles, I will of course, be sure to place a link in the show notes, and show notes are available in whatever podcast app you are listening to this podcast on. They are also always available at this unmillennial life.com. And as a reminder, the website that Eric mentioned is the proteinpact.org. Eric, thank you so much for joining me today. I really appreciate it.
Thanks so much for having me.
Regan Jones 26:28
So obviously, that wraps up my interview with Eric, I said earlier in this program that one of the things that I started to title this episode was the meat guilt episode. And the reason that I thought about titling it that way is because I do find in talking to people that there are various buckets of guilt that people have associated with eating meat, whether it's the loss of life for the animal, whether it's concerns about environmental impact, whether it's concerns about health impact, and then there's also just a guilt associated with am I eating the wrong type of meat, it should I be eating a different type of meat. So this is such a broad topic. It's frankly, a controversial one, I'm not looking to stir up controversy. And I am certainly not looking to convince someone who is committed to a vegan or vegetarian diet that they need to start eating meat. But I would say for people who enjoy eating meat, and we'd like to continue eating meat, hopefully what this will do will give a little bit of broader conversation and more insight into why maybe the guilt that has been heaped on people isn't necessarily as warranted as you would think. So I think the best place to start in terms of meat guilt would be the guilt that is associated with the loss of life of an animal. And I think most people would agree that is something sacred, to be honored and thankful for anytime an animal loses its life for food production. But here's the part of that conversation that was shared with me a few years ago that I never really thought about. And that is that there is actually no diet, vegan, vegetarian or otherwise, that is a bloodless diet. And by that I mean that any type of agriculture ultimately results in some loss of life for the animals that live in and around that farming area. If you aren't familiar with Diana Rodgers, she's a registered dietician, who has the account sustainable dish, and she appeared on Joe Rogan's podcast a year or two so ago, I'm not sure how long it's been. But that was how I actually discovered her. And her account has a post where it talks about the fact that there really is no such thing as a bloodless diet. And so if you'll allow me, I'm just going to quote, something that she says in her post, again, not to push this notion on you to get you committed to eating meat if you're already a vegetarian or a vegan, but really just to give you something to think about when you think in terms of the loss of life that is just overall associated with agriculture, and that is not to pay agriculture in a bad light. Because, you know, I don't think that there are any of us who, for the most part, want to have to produce all of our own food. And even if we did, I think that these things that I'm about to say in this quote from sustainable dish, are going to still come into play. So let me just read to you what she says and this is a portion of one of her Instagram posts. She says it's important to understand that a meatless diet is not a bloodless diet. Many animals lose their lives in the process of farming vegetables, birds, and butterflies are poisoned by chemicals. Rabbits and mice are run over by tractors and vast fields of monocrop vegetables displace native populations of animals that once lived on the land. The farming of vegetables is not humane to rabbits. I didn't know necessarily understand just the part where she pulls out rabbits per se. But I think that you see the bigger picture. And that there are all types of animals that are living in and around the soil. And those animals do lose their life when those soils are tilled for agriculture. So again, the notion that completely eating a meatless diet, something that does not entail, the, you know, the loss of life for a cow, for instance, doesn't necessarily mean that and I don't mean to simplify too much here that a mouse did not lose his life. And so, you know, she kind of goes on in there, the commentary on her post is quite confrontational. She goes on to say, what loss of life is acceptable? Is it acceptable for a mouse to lose life, but it's not acceptable for a cow, when I've also seen and I don't have a reference for this, but I think it's a good thing to think through when you think through the loss of life, even when you think about the loss of life for a cow, and how much food and different usable products like Eric mentioned, that one loss of life yields and produces, compared to, you know, smaller animals that multiple lives are lost. So, you know, again, it's something to think through something to really kind of check it against your moral set your worldview, your values, but that is framework that I think people who have never considered that whatever they are eating, unfortunately, or however you want to look at it, it is not necessarily a completely bloodless diet. And that's as much as I'll say on that, because, again, I know it's a very personal decision. And I totally respect that. But I think that that's important information to take into consideration. Okay, next up on the meat guilt conversation is a little an area that I'm a little bit more comfortable talking about probably the most comfortable talking about, because it involves something that I mentioned with Eric and that is really like the caloric spend the calorie spend, that someone would have to eat in non meat foods to get the same amount of protein in meat foods. I have talked on this program a good bit about protein over the years and the importance as we age so that we can prevent things like sarcopenia. So that we can, you know, in combination with lifting weights preserve the muscle that we have that helps with healthy aging, but we haven't really talked about what that looks like in terms of, say 20 to 25 grams of protein per meal, which is often what we're aiming for, like, what would that look like calorie wise, if you're eating meat versus eating something like lentils, which are a wonderful food, lentils are a pulse, an easy source of plant based protein. But take this into consideration when you're thinking about what we're talking about. And lentils actually are not even really high on this list. In terms of the caloric spend, you would have to eat one and a half cups of lentils, which is a pretty hefty serving to get 25 grams of protein, which would be the same as eating only four ounces of beef to get 25 grams of protein. So those kind of seem comparable, but the caloric difference is four ounces of beef is 180 calories, whereas one and a half cups of lentils is 345 calories. Now let's move you know up the list up the chart and I can tell you that there is a chart on sustainable dishes, Instagram, where she details this, I'm gonna give her credit for that. But let's go up the list and let's talk about everybody's favorite. I shouldn't say everybody's favorite, many people's favorite food that often gets classified as a good protein source and I love it and I include it in my diet. My kids eat it. I think it is a wonderful food. I've talked about it here before I use it a lot in recipes over on this baking life. And that's Peanut butter. Peanut butter is a yummy, wonderful food and it does have protein in it. But to get 25 grams of protein, you would have to eat seven tablespoons of peanut butter. Okay, again, 25 grams of protein is only four ounces of beef. And you may said here's why I like peanut butter enough. I could easily eat seven tablespoons. And you know what, I don't disagree. I could tell you love peanut butter, but from a caloric span. That's 665 calories. So a tremendous, tremendous amount of difference in terms of how many calories you would have to eat of peanut butter to actually get 25 grams of protein. If you want to get at the top of Diana's list she lifts keen while you know quinoa had I think probably its heyday has maybe come and gone. But a lot of people point to it as a grain based it's technically not a grain. It's a pseudo grain but a grain based source of protein. To get 25 grams of it, you'd have to eat three cups and that 600 and 66 calories. So that is important to keep in mind. There certainly are ways to build a diet that is diverse in a lot of these different healthy foods. I'm as you know, adding in sources of protein, but to rely on them exclusively to get the amount of protein that most healthy aging experts are recommending. It comes at a pretty high calorie level. Again, not saying it can't be done, but it is something important for you to take into consideration. Next, we're going to move away from some of the information that Diana Rodgers has shared on sustainable dish. And I'm actually going to move over to one of my good good friends, colleagues and just dietician that I love looking to for nutrition advice, especially when it comes to feeding kids. You've heard her on the show here that Sally from real mom nutrition, and she has a post that I'm going to link to I'll link to actually Diana's Instagram account, and I'll link to Sally's blog. Sally has a post on real mom nutrition titled, What is a factory farm? Your questions about beef answered? Okay, so factory farming is definitely a hot button item. It is also I find it to be very divisive. There are people who certainly are concerned about the way that they perceive that beef is produced. And there are people who I see, frankly, who are very dismissive, as if there are no real concerns, and I tend to be someone who finds that the sweet spots probably somewhere in the middle. Okay, so one of the things that I wanted to point out about the information that Sally has, and this is really something that you can verify in many different places, is that the notion that conventional cattle in this country that aren't labeled as grass fed the notion that they never set foot into a pasture and they never graze on green grass is absolutely false. And even farmers and ranchers who do produce exclusively grass fed as a label exclusively grass fed beef, they will tell you that same thing, no matter how the beef is produced all beef graze on grass for the first several months of their life. It is only grass finished beef finished being the last few months of their life. It's only the grass finished beef that spend their whole lives eating grass, and they never go to a feed yard or a feedlot. I'm not going to get into feed yards and feed lights. That is again one of those topics that I know that there are people who have concerns about and if you want to read more about what Sally has to say, I highly encourage you to go and read her post. She's even has a whole section that talks about factory farming. And is there such a thing as feed free range beef, what is the difference between grass fed and regular beef. But I wanted to point that out because that was a Baja moment. For me, I didn't realize that that virtually all of the cattle that you have access to through the meat counter, so to speak at your grocery store, no matter if it's labeled grass fed or not labeled anything that cattle did spend the majority of its life grazing. The difference, again, is in that last few months when they're either finished on grass, or finished on grain in feedlots, so may be a topic for another day to talk about that. But we're gonna move on to one last aspect of meat guilt, and then we will work on wrapping up the show. And the last one arguably, is just a personal commentary. I mean, I've seen this echoed online. And I tread into this very carefully, so as not to offend you. If you are someone who is extremely passionate about what you feel is a food system in this country that's not headed in the right direction. And I will be the first to tell you that if you and I were to sit down and, and have a glass of wine or have a cup of coffee and talk about some of the problems within the food industry in the food system, I could agree with you probably in a lot of different places. I do not think that it is a perfect system. By any stretch of the imagination. However, we are exceptionally lucky to live in a country where we have the access to high quality and abundant food even if right now it is exceptionally expensive due to inflation. But again, that is a topic for another day. But in terms of meat guilt, I think the only thing that concerns me in time, is when I see conversation about demonizing conventional meat, it really does concern me that there is arguably a lack of consideration for people and I said this in the episode so I'm recapping I know in some of you think I probably recap too much and I do I'm sure I do. But there is a touch of lack of understanding that there are just many people in this country and I think right now more so than ever, who absolutely don't even have the ability to consider whether or not they're buying conventional versus grass fed, they're lucky to just be able to afford meat. And based on, you know, kind of what I've said about the nutrient density for a small amount of food, a small amount of calories, there's a lot packed in to those animal based foods. And so I would agree that there's always room for improvement. I think there's definitely room for improvement across our food industry. And I think Eric mentioned that today that that's what they're looking for is greater transparency among their members, and continuous improvement and coming back and reporting on those improvements. So I think that we all can agree that we can push the conversation forward towards continuous improvement, but not do that in a way that demonizes the foods that are available to people right now in the here. And now that we don't do it in a way that demonizes them so much that people either one give up and say, well, heck, if it's all bad for me, I'm just gonna buy the junk food, it's cheaper anyway, you know, so we don't demonize that or make people feel as if they can only afford conventionally raised food. And that that is something that they are doing a disservice to themselves and to their family, I certainly can say, as, as a mom, you know, sometimes I have to make decisions, and now more so than ever, about what I can put in my cart and what I can't, because inflation and just change in my work has made it so that my food budget is as tight as it's ever been. And there can be moments of guilt, when you think, Oh, I wish I was able to buy this and or I wish I was able to buy that. And I think it's can come off as a bit elitist. If we have a conversation that does not acknowledge that oftentimes people are doing the very best that they can with the resources that they have. So I hope that's not too preachy. I don't mean for it to be it's something that's kind of been on my heart and mind. And it's frankly, something that has been evolving for me over the last few years. If you had asked me to do a talk or do an episode on a topic like this, I don't know seven years ago, I probably would have had a different take on things but you know, life has a way of clarifying in the importance of certain things and also giving you a bit of empathy for other people and seeing things in a way that maybe you hadn't before. So anyway, this has been a big episode today. And as I have said in the past, if anything that I had said today is something that you take issue with or you find fault with or you'd like to have a bigger conversation about you can always reach out to me Regan at this a millennial life.com You can reach me on social media, I am on Instagram these days with two different accounts. I have my baking Instagram account where I'm sharing all of the baked goods that I'm doing on this baking life. And then I also have an Instagram account just for this a millennial life podcast which is at this millennial life, and you can message me there you can also leave me a voicemail. I know I've said that over the few years and we used to get a lot more voicemail than we do now. But you can always if you don't want to type out an email and you want to send me some feedback you can go to this a millennial life.com and leave me a voicemail. As I wrap up. Let me just ask you to consider if you liked this a millennial life giving it a five star review on whatever podcast app you are listening to this podcast on. And of course, sharing it with someone who might enjoy and appreciate today's episode. And with that, I'll say thanks so much for tuning in listening, subscribing, downloading and of course sharing with friends. Have a great week.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai