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Regenerative Farming Red Herring

December 23, 2021

I came upon a podcast by Paul Saladino called: Can we feed 7 Billion people on an animal-based diet? With Diana Rogers. Here is my response to that podcast from the perspective of an ethitarian.

There are some great ways to do farming and include animals in the process.  I agree with so much of what they say. There are a lot of problems with our current system favoring cheap meat and growing tons and tons of soy to feed livestock. It's awful. Livestock uses up soo much of the Earths resources and is a major contributor to Global Warming primarily by producing billions of tons of methane as well as mass deforestation for both livestock grazing, and growing food to feed livestock. It's shows as "Croplands" in the info-graphic below: 

Source: Climate Nexus - Animal Agriculture’s Impact on Climate Change

A simpler solution that regenerative farming, is to switch to a plant-based diet. So much simpler and healthier and can be done today. It's a decision that every single person gets to make.  Not some big agriculture corporation. You get to decide if you are going to fund the atrocity of animal agriculture or not, based on what you eat today. 

Source: Million Dollar Vegan

At this time, meat is not produced with regenerative farming. It's not available.  Sure, I'm all for it, if their calculations are correct. But it's not accessible. A plant-based diet is! Right now! In the podcast they discuss solutions that are not currently accessible, and ignore the most obvious solution. Why do they ignore it?  Because of their foundation belief that plants are not healthy, and humans need meat to be healthy. Both are not true, and make this podcast miss-guided and miss-leading.  It feeds people's confirmation bias that they can eat meat that tastes good and is filling, and it's ok.  Other people are wrong, not them. If only regenerative farming existed to make everything that is so wrong, become right. 

I agree with 9 out of 10 of the things they say, but if you listen to them, they start with this idea that humans need to eat "meat and organs."  Which is simply not true. So they start in a place that's wrong, and build on top of it.

They also straw man the "Plant-based advocates" of which I am one. For example here's a quote from the video at 1:04:00 (1 hour in) :

"No one is going to be taken seriously if they try to feed the world with fruit and vegetables [...] What these plant-based advocates is discussing is we're feeding the humans soy and grain. We're feeding them garbage processed food. We're feeding them grains. We're feeding them very low quality foods that have essentially no micro-nutrients. As you know, when you feed low micro-nutrients foods and seed oils you end up with metabolic dysfunction and diabetes...."

Paul Saladino

That's a total straw man. NO ONE is advocating feeding the world garbage. That's shows he doesn't understand a plant-based diet. He reveals his ignorance in that statement and throughout the video. He's not well educated on both sides. 

A whole food plant-based diet is a healthy diet. Like ALL healthy diets, it does not include processed foods. We all agree that processed foods are bad for you.  If he doesn't get that, he's starting in the wrong place. 

Patrik Baboumian is considered the strongest man alive. He's vegan. He eats a whole foods plant-based diet. It consists of: beans, legumes, nuts, green vegetables, and potatoes.  

Many Ultra runners have a plant-based whole food diet. 

Scott Jurek became the fastest person to finish a supported thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail

source: Ecowatch Vegan Ultramarathoner Breaks Record for Fastest Race Up Appalachian Trail

I wrote a blog post about Rashad Evans a UFC Fighter who has become vegan. There is a video of him talking about how much better he feels now that he's vegan. He didn't choose it for ethics or environmental reasons, both are very good reasons, he chose plant-based whole foods because his recovery time is higher and he has better endurance. He chose his diet for the health benefits it comes with.

In the context of farmland and environmental perspective, plant-based diet is 10 times better than a carnivore diet. There's no debate there because no one will ever take the side that eating meat from a factory farm is environmental. That's why meat eaters latch onto the idea of regenerative farming. Because it's a way of putting their head in the sand.

Vegan Primer - Plant-based Meal Planning Guide

A plant-based whole food diet is available to middle class Americans right now. If the people in this podcast really cared about the environment and limiting the destructive force of over farming and the current animal agriculture system, there is a simple solution that they should at least look into and learn about: Plant-based whole food diet. But instead they demonstrate that their foundational belief is that animal products don't have health issues while plant-based food does, clearly showing they are ignorant of the thousands of studies demonstrating how much healthier people become when they switch to a whole food plant-based diet.

If you are looking for confirmation bias that justifies eating meat and talks about how it could be possible without destroying the Earth, but currently isn't, this podcast works well for that. Lot of people who eat meat enjoy talking about "regenerative farming" but don't like to talk about where their meat and dairy actually come from. It's like buying sweatshop made goods while talking about how great it would be to pay workers a living wage. Or even, complaining about how little you get paid. 

Paul Saladino is a Meat Head

Paul Saladino showing his factory farmed products that are not from a regenerative farm.

If you love regenerative farming, then only buy animal products from a farm that does regenerative farming. Don't buy meat from a factory farm and talk about how great regenerative farming is. Or in Paul Saladino case; Don't sell animal based supplements that come from a factory farm, then preach about how factory farms are bad and regenerative farming solves all the problems that his supplements and his diet cause. Put your money where your mouth is and provide a product that is in alignment with what you preach. You know, how plant-based advocates do.

Paul Saladino ignores all the evidence that shows how switching to a plant-based diet solves many problems and uses 90% less resources than his chosen diet of animal flesh and dairy, as well as all the evidence about how healthy a well balanced plant-based diet is. He could at least take some time to understand what plant-based advocates are saying about the environment and what a plant-based diet consists of. It would make him a bit more credible if he could admit that plant-based is healthy, but carnivore diet is for those who don't care about the environment and just like fat and cooked animal flesh, at-least that could be respected as honest. Cigarette packages have a warming label on them that state how bad they are and people still smoke them. He could be honest and wouldn't loose many of his customers. Instead he straw-mans diets that don't cause the same problems.

The regenerative farming idea is easy to get behind and agree with, But in the context of a discussion about diet, It's a red herring, and a distraction from the actual consequences of currently eating animal products. If you care about the environment, then eat less meat.

Here is Mic the Vegan talking about Regenerative Grazing:

Earthling Ed has a similar reaction to regenerative grazing:

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