Are Cattle Contributing to Climate Change?

Full disclosure: I don’t believe in anthropomorphic global warming. If you know the history of this movement, and those who push this theory, you see that this is just another effort to destroy capitalism, private property and individual liberty. Do you not remember the East Anglia Climatic Research Unit scandal? If you want to be red-pilled go here, here and here to start.

So why the disclaimer? Because our intrepid authors, Rodgers and Wolf, do believe in global warming. However, they make their case in Chapter 9 that cows are not a part of the problem. For this chapter, I’ll lay out their arguments without chiming in every five seconds about my views on climate change.

Robb Wolf - Sacred Cow Podcasts

So cows get attacked because they produce methane. I always thought that this was due to flatulence, but apparently, most of it comes from belching. The authors’ key argument is that methane from cows and other ruminants is a part of a natural carbon cycle. Cattle transform existing carbon from grass into methane. This goes into the atmosphere, is broken down over ten years into carbon dioxide and water and is cycled back into the environment to grow more grass and other plants. In contrast, burning fossil fuels releases trapped carbon (coal, oil, etc.) that is not a part of this cyclical process.

Rodgers and Wolf then spend some time citing several studies that undermine the “cows are bad” narrative. For instance, a recent NASA study concluded that the “largest contributors to methane are fossil fuels, fires and wetlands or rice farming.” Surely some mistake! Similarly, the plant-based hysterics often claim that livestock contribute something like 18-51% of all greenhouse gasses. According to our authors, even the Environmental Protection Agency, which is hardly against the whole Climate Change narrative, argues the number is more like 2%. Finally, and this may shock you dear reader, it turns out that chemical-driven industrial monocrop agriculture emits far more methane than was previously understood.

But you might say, “okay it’s not so bad and the numbers have been exaggerated. But those damn cows are still belching out methane. It still needs to stop!” Well no according to our authors. That’s because ruminants, if raised properly, contribute to soil health which actually stores carbon. Lot’s of it. The rest of the chapter delves into a recent Michigan State University study which argues that grass-fed, pastured beef actually is a net-loss in carbon emissions. In contrast, these plant-based burgers which have been pushed on us for the last two years are a net gain, “for every Beyond Burger or Impossible Burger you eat, you’d have to eat one White Oak Pastures grass-fed beef burger to offset your emissions.”

Conclusion

This is a good chapter to use against the plant-based crowd who demonise meat. The fact that rice farming produces far more greenhouse gasses than ruminants would be enough to end the attack on meat in a sane world. The fact that well-farmed ruminants would mean a net loss in greenhouse gasses is more ammunition.

Early Morning Workouts for Blood Control

I ate a delicious Thai chicken curry on Thursday night with broccoli. Too much broccoli it turned out because my blood glucose was a poor when I woke up: 11 mmol/L. My typical response is not to eat anything all day and maybe skip dinner too.

This time, however, I decided to hit the gym early. I’m a man of routine especially in the mornings. I like my coffee, my economics and politics blogs, the news, etc. So I didn’t like having a quick coffee and heading out the door. I did it anyways.

I’m glad I did. Because after my back-chest-core-circuit X 13 and an hour on the elliptical, including ten sprints, my blood was down to 8.0 mmol/L. Sure, it wasn’t perfect but that number came down during the day. It was much better than the alternative.

I did the same thing this morning. My blood wasn’t as bad, 9.4 mmol/L, but I thought, “Why not? What else do I have to do at six in the morning?” It was a similar routine (an arms and core circuit X 13 and 50 mins on the elliptical) and a similar result: 8.2 mmol/L. I didn’t do any sprints so maybe that’s why sugar didn’t drop as dramatically when compared to last week.

Regardless, I think I can get used to going to the gym early if it means better blood control.

Can a Sustainable Food System Exist Without Animals?

No.

This is short, but interesting, chapter. I don’t know the authors’ politics other than they’re not radical leftists. They do believe that climate change is a real concern but ruminants are not the problem. This thorny topic will be addressed in later chapters we’re assured. One thing Rodgers and Wolf do well here is turn vegan “assumptions” and use them against vegans. For instance, vegans often worship at the Church of Gaia. Our authors point out that the current drive for monocrop agriculture is destroying the Earth’s topsoil. Similarly, vegans tend to be the same people who tout diversity. Yet, where do they come down on biodiversity? Rodgers and Wolf are very much against our current paradigm and harping vegans:

“The current monocrop industrial food process has effectively crushed traditional food systems, replacing them both at the production and consumption levels with what is arguably a less diverse, less nutritious diet. Is it reasonable for a few wealthy, largely white vegan-centric activists to push a global food agenda that would make verboten every other food system on the planet?”

No, it isn’t reasonable.

Lab Meat and Hydroponics?

This was news to me. Did you know Silicon Valley is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in tech to “grow” meat. The big problem with this idea is the amount of energy and resources one needs to grow this stuff assuming the boffins ever get it to work. You need the lab/factory; you need energy to keep the lab/factory going; you need all kinds of water to clean the machinery; you need sodium hydroxide to clean the machinery. I think you get the point.

“It’s clear that these systems generally require enormous amounts of energy to produce any appreciable quantity of food, and again, at present, most of this energy is coming from fossil fuel sources. Advocates who portray lab meat and hydroponics as a viable option to feed the world have failed to do some simple, albeit boring, arithmetic.”

In contrast, sustainable farmers have all the free energy they need. It’s called the sun.

Why then are the Silicon Soy Boys throwing in so much cash for something that makes no economic sense at least at first blush? The same reason why Big Pharma take natural compounds, isolate them and create synthetic products: Intellectual property! Patents!!!! If you grow lab meat “you need cell lines, cell culture media, scaffolding and structuring and bioreactors – all things that can be patented.”

Consider if these companies can make this technology work, demonise natural meat and get people to buy their “meat” products. You are talking about billions, maybe trillions, of dollars at stake.

Although our authors didn’t consider this, imagine further if these companies, through their cronies in government, could ban meat or put more and more restrictions and regulations on farmers. What kind of profits would they make then? Too far-fetched? Thirteen months ago being locked in your home for a year was far-fetched.

Rodgers and Wolf conclude that what could happen to the meat industry has already happened to arable farmers. Patented GM seeds are foisted on farmers who lose the ability to bank their own seeds.

Conclusion

Fascinating and nightmarish. I could say Orwellian but that would be wrong. It’s more like Huxley’s Brave New World where Big Corporations and Big Government work to keep everyone in line while they live the highlife.

Our authors conclude with this “What is the goal of our time here? Is it supporting intellectual property held by a few multinational corporations, or can we try to build a resilient food system that relies more on solar power and less on fossil fuels?”

To ask the question is to answer it.

Keto Chilli

For some reason, a few weeks ago I got thinking about chilli. I loved it growing up but rarely, if ever, made it once out of the nest. My better half made it from time-to-time, but that was before I took over cooking duties. Anyways, I “swisscowed” keto chilli and tons of recipes came up. I went with one from a site called “Low Carb Life.” The recipe has had over 700 reviews and has an average of 4.5 Stars.

Plastic ladle full of chili

What was the result? Fantastic. I made two tweaks: I used a little bit of Scotch bonnet peppers because I couldn’t get jalapenos, and I replaced tinned tomatoes with fresh. I’ve read too many articles about contaminants due to leaching to ever go near canned tomatoes again.

The chilli resulted in an elevated glucose reading for me in the morning. I went to the gym really early and worked it off, so the damage was minimal. If you have a fully functioning pancreas, this should not be a problem. Enjoy!

Keto Chili | That Low Carb Life

What Role Does Livestock Play in our Environment?

Do vegans and climate hysterics call for a countryside without domesticated animals? Wolf and Rodgers suggest yes. If you think about it, they’re correct. After all, cow-farting is supposedly destroying the planet according to Gretchen and her ilk. If they had their way, these animals would be gone.

Clearly the Root of All Evil

But what would that mean for our environment? Short answer: it would be bad.

The problem with most people, climate hysterics included, is that they want simple solutions to complex problems. Just for a moment, let’s pretend they are correct about anthropomorphic global warming. Eliminate cows, sheep, goats, etc., replace them with wheat and vegetables and one problem is solved. Right?

Well no. Because our authors point out that ecosystems evolved with “plants and animals.” Eliminate one and you find yourself with all kinds of problems. Ultimately, Wolf and Rodgers make the case for ecosystem complexity. The more robust the ecosystem, the healthier and more resilient it is. They point out that animals are essential to soil health. Without them, there are few if any soil microbes, “If we completely eliminated ruminants [herbivorous mammals], hillsides would no longer have the nutrients they need, we’d see more landslides from soil degradation, and valleys would no longer be as fertile as they once were.”

But the Vegans Still Have the Moral High Ground?

No they don’t. Because the world they want means more wheat, more corn and certainly more soy (Soy Boys!). What can we say about the North American environment presently, where we see thousands of miles of intensely farmed monocrops?

“All the birds, frogs, rabbits and other life that once lived there is eliminated. We need lots of chemical inputs to fertilize the soil because there’s no animal manure to do so. We also need tons of chemical pesticides and fungicides to kill what will want to take over this crop. In the process, we kill more insects and birds, we destroy the soil, these chemicals run off into rivers, killing fish and the animals that depend on the fish. Industrial monocropping, though it can temporarily feed a lot of people some cheap [and empty] calories, is a horror show to nature.”

So what do we have then? Ecosystems that were once complex, vibrant and healthy due to having plants and animals are now plant-only, eco-disasters. Our authors also make the case that this kind of intense farming is killing the soil.

I’m sure there are vegans out there who don’t believe in industrial style, “chem-grow” agriculture either. But what is their argument if they really believe animals and meat eating is destroying the planet? Eliminating animals from the equation will make things far worse than they currently are.

Poor, Simple Leo DiCaprio

Great Actor, But Wrong on Beef

Our authors end the chapter with a story about the well meaning but ill-informed actor Leo DiCaprio. His documentary Before the Flood was a big thing when it came out. Leo wheeled out some climate professor and then told us all to eat more chicken and less beef. The problem is that chickens are absolutely horrible for soil health and the environment. Chickens don’t graze. They destroy. Moreover, chickens don’t eat grass mainly, they eat everything: worms, bugs, grass, rodents, you name it. But what they really eat in our modern world is grain and soybean meal. So chickens are another reason the prairies are filled with wheat, corn and soy. In contrast, cows eat grass, or they would if given the chance. With good husbandry, which our authors are going to explain in later chapters, cows can help maintain a healthy ecosystem by eating what they were meant to eat.

Conclusions

Having debunked the whole meat is unhealthy and veganism is good for you myth in preceding chapters. We are now moving on to the next refutation: meat is bad for the environment. Wolf and Rodgers have got us off to a good start. I had no idea about soil health and the essential role ruminants play in maintaining it. Moreover, it never occurred to me that the billions of chickens the Western world intensely rears are actually bad for the environment. I have a feeling that the rest of this book is going to be an essential read for anyone who wants to defend meat eating against the environmental totalitarians.

You can’t fight something with nothing.

Rethinking Pacific Seafood

Readers will know I have been wary of Pacific seafood. It seems like ancient history but some will remember Fukushima back in 2011. Simply put, a lot of radioactive material made its way into the Pacific Ocean. I don’t like the idea of eating salmon with a side of Cesium.

That was ten years ago. What are the radioactivity levels today? They are a little hard to find because a lot of agencies stopped testing a few years ago. Why? Because the radiation levels on the Pacific coast of Canada and the USA are now so low. Still, with a bit of digging, and help from some web buddies, I can share the following information.

Oceana.org

Six years ago, a devastating tsunami swept over the eastern edge of Japan, killing over 18,000 people and triggering a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The plant was perched on the coast, so some radiation leaked into the sea. In the months and years following the meltdown, people began to wonder: Did these leaks make Pacific seafood too dangerous eat?

The answer, then and now, is no, scientists say. The Fukushima leaks were miniscule compared to the vast scale of the Pacific, said Nicholas S. Fisher, an expert on nuclear radiation in marine animals at Stony Brook University in New York. The disaster added just a fraction of a percent to the radiation that’s already in the ocean, 99 percent of which is naturally occurring.”

ourradioactiveocean.org

By January 2017, about 12% of the original Fukushima 134Cs remains in the environment compared to March/April 2011 when the disaster occurred, so we correct our data to account for decay of both cesium isotopes from the time of peak release directly to the ocean from the reactor complex in Fukushima: April 6, 2011. We do this to look for changes in the levels of cesium that result from ocean mixing and dilution, rather than just radioactive decay. For human health concerns, the activity at sampling may be of greater interest, and will be lower than the decay-corrected value.”

fukushimainform.ca

“Fukushima radiation monitoring is indicating that concentrations may be slightly decreasing from their peak in January 2018. Levels remain well below those known to be a considerable ecological and health risk, according to the latest monitoring data. The new data, collected between December 2018 and February 2019 (posted in the map above), are from samples collected through our citizen science monitoring network in sixteen coastal communities from Victoria to Lax Kw’alaams.

In 2018, 40 salmon were sampled from hatcheries and donated from our First Nations partners around BC and Yukon. No Fukushima radiation (cesium-134) was detected in any of the samples and there were no individual fish with detectable levels of either cesium-134 or cesium-137. Through a technique to increase the detection sensitivity that involves adding the data from multiple samples we were able to determine that trace levels (~0.3 Bq m-3) of cesium-137 (that has a 30 year half-life and is present in the environment from both Fukushima and atmospheric weapons testing) were present in some salmon species.”

https://dec.alaska.gov/eh/Radiation/

DEC [Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation], in conjunction with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and other state, federal, and international agencies, has been testing Alaska seafood for any potential impacts resulting from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. Testing results have shown no detectable levels of Fukushima-related radionuclides.”

Conclusion

The evidence suggests that radiation levels are significantly lower than they were ten years ago at the bare minimum. Indeed, in some tests, radiation from Fukushima could not be found in the fish. What does that mean for safety? For me, it seems safe enough to have some Pacific salmon once in a while. It’s nearly impossible to find wild Atlantic salmon where I am and farmed salmon has its own significant problems.

If the studies above were from big government and big business only, I’d be very sceptical. However, if you take a look at couple of them, you’ll see they have no allegiance other than the truth.

I’ll probably go for some Pacific salmon next week.

Even If Meat Isn’t Bad For Me, Can’t I Get All My Nutrition From Plants?

Not without a host of supplements and probably not even then. Our authors come out of the blocks in this chapter, “we disagree that a totally plant-based is best for all people, and indeed, it may even be unsafe for some.”

So begins chapter six, which is a polite assault on the plant-only diet. Rodgers and Wolf first explain that all protein is not the same. Whilst meat contains all the amino acids we need, plants are deficient in one or more amino acids. None of them contain leucine, which is one of the most important nutrients for humans. Therefore, when a label lists “grams of protein,” it doesn’t give you the true nutritional story. Furthermore, protein quality in plants is inferior to meat; it is not as bioavailable. Simply put, the body utilises meat protein more efficiently than plant protein. To make this case, the authors use data from the WHO and several scientific studies from academic journals.

The authors go on to pit beef vs beans in a head-to-head nutrition battle. You can guess which one wins. Hint: it’s the one that doesn’t make you gassy. One area of particular interest in this chapter is the darling food of many vegans: soy. Not all is well though with this touted miracle plant, however. There are compounds in soy that are similar to oestrogen. I didn’t know this, but this is a defence mechanism. The compounds will disrupt the reproductive cycle of animals that eat it, so they cannot optimally procreate. What does this mean for humans? Possible fertility disruption, hormone imbalance, a misfiring thyroid gland and…soy boys. Sorry I couldn’t resist the last one. The authors make no reference to these “men.” Trigger warning!

What Happens when You Give up Meat?

The rest of the chapter delves into the various health problems many vegans face. It’s a long list. Teenage girls seem particularly susceptible to the current meat is bad propaganda. Result? Loss of periods, hair loss, low energy and a weakened immune system. Vegans also suffer from various nutrient deficiencies: B12, iron, calcium, creatine, and zinc. One result can be depression and anxiety. The authors go on and then on some more.

I must confess, when health books lay down the data like this, I get bored. I understand they must do it. After all, it’s the only way to make their case: marshalling the empirical evidence. Still, it leaves me cold. Fortunately, Rodgers and Wolf offer a harrowing anecdote to pull all of this information together and give it some human context. They cite Lierre Keith’s book The Vegetarian Myth where she tells her story about being a vegan for twenty years. This was a true believer who made sure she had all the right proteins and B12 supplements. What happened to Keith? “She lost her period, suffered from depression, and developed degenerative disk disease.” Her back pain and general exhaustion became debilitating. In desperation she went to a qigong master who recommended she eat meat. After eating a tin of tuna, she said to herself “Oh my god…this is what it feels like to be alive.” It’s the human story that keeps me interested in books like these. It makes me wonder though. How many people like Keith are out there who took the red pill? How many more are suffering needlessly?

Veganism and Children

This may be the most depressing part of the book so far. Well-meaning, but ideologically blinded, parents foisting their veganism on their foetuses, babies and children. Did you know that doctors from the Belgian Royal Academy of Medicine recommended making it illegal to feed babies a vegan diet? Me neither. Our authors list a host of studies which make a strong case that the vegan diet is dangerous and unhealthy to babies and young children. They mention a case in Italy where a fourteen month old vegan was taken away from his parents because he was so malnourished. He had the weight of a three-month-old.

Conclusion

This was another illuminating chapter. When I first became conscious of vegans twenty-five years ago, I saw them as neo-hippy poseurs. My opinion hasn’t changed much. What I didn’t know, until reading this chapter, was how many of them suffer for their unhealthy diet. I hope they do as Lierre Keith did and change their ways. Until then, good luck vegans, but leave me free to eat meat.

Keto Friendly Vegetables

I was a little curious if there are any vegetables out there that I should be eating on my strict keto diet. Dr Berry has a nice short list. All of them are ticks, although I should be eating more cabbage. I suppose olives would be okay too, but I’m not a huge fan.

This gent has a short five that he argues will keep you in ketosis. The only odd one is beet tops. I wonder if I can actually buy those without the beets. He also calls out corn for the horrible poison it is:

He argues for beet tops. What about the beets? I can’t eat those. Can one buy just the tops? I’ve never looked. The rest are not surprising. He even talks about the number one horrible food: corn.

Sacred Cow – Is Meat a Healthy Food?

You bet it is.

This is not a shock revelation to anyone who reads this site. Our authors lay it all down in this chapter: B vitamins, vitamin D, Iron, zinc, magnesium, copper cobalt, phosphorus…You get the idea. Meat contains all of these essential nutrients and minerals. Moreover, there are certain things one simply cannot get from plants like B12 and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which is an omega-3 fatty acid. Ultimately, this part of the book is a refresher on all the good things that meat contains. I would say that only anti-meat extremists would argue against this. They’d probably say that meat is a part of the patriarchy too.

Is Grass-Fed Beef Healthier than Typical Beef?

Now this section is interesting and controversial. The data simply do not support the argument that grass fed is significantly better from a human nutrition standpoint than non-grass fed. The authors acknowledge that grass fed may boost your omega-3 serum levels, including DHA, over time; however, there is such a “wide variation in the omega-3 content of commercially available grass-fed beef samples, you have no way of knowing whether eating grass-fed beef would have that impact on you.”

So are Rodgers and Wolf closing the book on grass-fed beef? Definitely not. First, they point out that Consumer Reports found “E. coli and other pathogenic bacteria were more prevalent on commercial cuts of conventional beef than grass-fed beef.” Moreover, conventional beef is more resistant to to common antibiotics meaning you have a greater chance of getting severe food poisoning from conventionally farmed beef. Finally, our authors tell us that they will make ethical and environmental cases for grass-fed beef later in the book.

Good Meat is Expensive

Have you experienced sticker shock when buying good meat? I have. The authors acknowledge that a diet higher in fresh vegetables and fresh meat is more expensive than the standard Western diet which is dominated by cheap food-based, crap, grains and sugar. One reason why those items are so cheap is that you subsidise those producers through taxes. Isn’t that great! Your forced to contribute money through taxes that help make your fellow man unhealthy. Why do you think glucose-fructose is in almost everything.

So sticker shock is a thing, but it is somewhat down to perception. Sure bread, pasta and chips are cheaper than grass-fed or even conventional beef, but these are nutrient poor. Pound for pound, you are getting far more nutrients from meat than the cheap stuff that most people stuff down their maws. Moreover, most people blow a lot of money by eating out rather than cooking healthily at home.

Conclusion

So what should the average person do? Buy the best meat you can afford is the conclusion. Even if it’s conventional beef, it is far more nutritious than any food-based product. Indeed, Rodgers and Wolf state that meat is more nutritious than beans and rice, a staple for plant eaters. They tackle this thorny issue in chapter six.

Possible Stem Cell Cure for Diabetes

Don’t pop the champagne just yet. You know, as well as I do, that these stories spring up from time-to -time. If they all came true, there’d be no cancer in the world.

Nevertheless, scientist at the University of California San Francisco have finally been able to transform stem cells into insulin producing beta-cells. According to Mattias Hebrok, the Hurlbut-Johnson Distinguished Professor in Diabetes Research at UCSF and director of the UCSF Diabetes Center, “We can now generate insulin-producing cells that look and act a lot like the pancreatic beta cells you and I have in our bodies. This is a critical step towards our goal of creating cells that could be transplanted into patients with diabetes.”

There’s obviously a lot more work to be done, but a member of Hebrok’s team is very optimistic, “Our work points to several exciting avenues to finally finding a cure.

Read the whole story here:

Functional Insulin-Producing Cells Grown In Lab | UC San Francisco (ucsf.edu)