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Sacred Cow: The Case for (Better) Meat: Why Well-Raised Meat Is Good for You and Good for the Planet

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We’re told that if we care about our health—or our planet—eliminating red meat from our diets is crucial. That beef is bad for us and cattle farming is horrible for the environment. But science says otherwise. Beef is framed as the most environmentally destructive and least healthy of meats. We’re often told that the only solution is to reduce or quit red meat entirely. We’re told that if we care about our health—or our planet—eliminating red meat from our diets is crucial. That beef is bad for us and cattle farming is horrible for the environment. But science says otherwise. Beef is framed as the most environmentally destructive and least healthy of meats. We’re often told that the only solution is to reduce or quit red meat entirely. But despite what anti-meat groups, vegan celebrities, and some health experts say, plant-based agriculture is far from a perfect solution. In Sacred Cow, registered dietitian Diana Rodgers and former research biochemist and New York Times bestselling author Robb Wolf explore the quandaries we face in raising and eating animals—focusing on the largest (and most maligned) of farmed animals, the cow. Taking a critical look at the assumptions and misinformation about meat, Sacred Cow points out the flaws in our current food system and in the proposed “solutions.” Inside, Rodgers and Wolf reveal contrarian but science-based findings, such as: Meat and animal fat are essential for our bodies. A sustainable food system cannot exist without animals. A vegan diet may destroy more life than sustainable cattle farming. Regenerative cattle ranching is one of our best tools at mitigating climate change. You’ll also find practical guidance on how to support sustainable farms and a 30-day challenge to help you transition to a healthful and conscientious diet. With scientific rigor, deep compassion, and wit, Rodgers and Wolf argue unequivocally that meat (done right) should have a place on the table.  It’s not the cow, it’s the how!


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We’re told that if we care about our health—or our planet—eliminating red meat from our diets is crucial. That beef is bad for us and cattle farming is horrible for the environment. But science says otherwise. Beef is framed as the most environmentally destructive and least healthy of meats. We’re often told that the only solution is to reduce or quit red meat entirely. We’re told that if we care about our health—or our planet—eliminating red meat from our diets is crucial. That beef is bad for us and cattle farming is horrible for the environment. But science says otherwise. Beef is framed as the most environmentally destructive and least healthy of meats. We’re often told that the only solution is to reduce or quit red meat entirely. But despite what anti-meat groups, vegan celebrities, and some health experts say, plant-based agriculture is far from a perfect solution. In Sacred Cow, registered dietitian Diana Rodgers and former research biochemist and New York Times bestselling author Robb Wolf explore the quandaries we face in raising and eating animals—focusing on the largest (and most maligned) of farmed animals, the cow. Taking a critical look at the assumptions and misinformation about meat, Sacred Cow points out the flaws in our current food system and in the proposed “solutions.” Inside, Rodgers and Wolf reveal contrarian but science-based findings, such as: Meat and animal fat are essential for our bodies. A sustainable food system cannot exist without animals. A vegan diet may destroy more life than sustainable cattle farming. Regenerative cattle ranching is one of our best tools at mitigating climate change. You’ll also find practical guidance on how to support sustainable farms and a 30-day challenge to help you transition to a healthful and conscientious diet. With scientific rigor, deep compassion, and wit, Rodgers and Wolf argue unequivocally that meat (done right) should have a place on the table.  It’s not the cow, it’s the how!

30 review for Sacred Cow: The Case for (Better) Meat: Why Well-Raised Meat Is Good for You and Good for the Planet

  1. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I'm a little scared to write a review for this book for fear of the "vegan-crowd" coming after me. But, I think this book contains important/relevant information and it's definitely a "game-changer". Diet and nutrition are topics I truly enjoy learning about. I have read everything from The China Study to The Omnivore's Dilemma to all of Joel Salatin's works. I have seen Forks Over Knives, What The Health, and The Biggest Little Farm documentaries...if it's a nutritional science book or documenta I'm a little scared to write a review for this book for fear of the "vegan-crowd" coming after me. But, I think this book contains important/relevant information and it's definitely a "game-changer". Diet and nutrition are topics I truly enjoy learning about. I have read everything from The China Study to The Omnivore's Dilemma to all of Joel Salatin's works. I have seen Forks Over Knives, What The Health, and The Biggest Little Farm documentaries...if it's a nutritional science book or documentary, I have read or seen it--not joking. I WAS a vegetarian for 12+ years in my adolescent and young adult life, got sick with a gluten-intolerance that I am convinced is undiagnosed Celiac, and had to drastically change my diet. Since then (2012), I have been eating a mostly (80%) paleo diet because it is what makes me feel my best and thrive. But I always had conflicting feelings about the environmental impacts of my diet and those concerns grew as I was taking my graduate-level environmental and ecology classes. Everywhere I turn it's: "meatless Mondays", "One Meal A Day", "eat vegan for the planet" and I love that this book shows eating meat can actually be better for the environment than being a vegan. That's great because I have always said grass-fed beef is a superfood and you can pry my grass-fed Ribeyes from my cold-dead hands : ) Having said all that, this book did not provide me with any "new" information. That is not a diss on the authors, but rather just shows the level of my own knowledge research about meat-eating in terms of health and the environment. What this book does well though is it takes an unbiased approach in terms of health, the environment, and the ethics of meat-eating and puts it all in one place. (It's extremely hard to find unbiased scientific information out there about grass-fed cattle and carbon sequestration). It's also hard to find all three aspects of meat-eating (ethic, environmental, and health) all in one place. Many sources address only 1 or 2 of the 3. This book assembles all that information in one very easy-to-read format, with graphics that are AMAZING and help you further understand everything. I almost wish some of the graphics were larger colored foldouts. I personally eat only grass-fed beef, but I was a bit surprised to see that Diana and Robb concluded (health-wise) it was nearly identical to conventional beef, showing to me their true unbias-ness. I also appreciate their long bibliography at the end and have plans to read some of that literature they cited--you know, just for fun : ) Overall, I loved this book and all of Diana and Robb's work. I have been recommending this book to all my friends and family and I can assure you that I will be watching the documentary when it comes out. I just wish this information was more popular in a day and age where every celeb is praised for being a vegan.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ben Fury

    Sacred Cow gets five stars because it addresses the elephants in the room: The false narratives around cows and the environment. The false narratives around cows vs "plant-based" diets. The false narratives around conventional agriculture vs regenerative agriculture. Cows are amazing animals and are indeed sacred. This book explodes the myths and breathes truth into the lies that poison public debate about cows. It covers critical questions about our health and planetary health: Is meat a healthy foo Sacred Cow gets five stars because it addresses the elephants in the room: The false narratives around cows and the environment. The false narratives around cows vs "plant-based" diets. The false narratives around conventional agriculture vs regenerative agriculture. Cows are amazing animals and are indeed sacred. This book explodes the myths and breathes truth into the lies that poison public debate about cows. It covers critical questions about our health and planetary health: Is meat a healthy food? Are cattle bad for the environment? Do cattle use too much water? Is eating meat immoral? What's our best move in how we treat cows in the future? Diana Rodgers and Robb Wolf give thoughtful well-researched answers to these and many other cow questions. There's a lot to chew on here (pun intended). If you read just one book on nutrition and the environment this year, Sacred Cow should be the one. Five stars. Two green thumbs way up.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Regenerative agriculture is our best hope for healing our health and the planet. If many people read this book and take it seriously, maybe we can save the world.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alexandre Kohli

    Fantastic book, fascinating and well-researched content with a very impartial approach which is welcome, especially during these times. Given I already knew quite a bit about the nutritional benefits of meat, the environmental and ethical sections were particularly eye-opening as these topics never get brought up in this light. Also, I absolutely loved the unpretentious tone in the book; this book is for everyone, whether you are a vegetarian, vegan, omnivore, parent, worried about the future of Fantastic book, fascinating and well-researched content with a very impartial approach which is welcome, especially during these times. Given I already knew quite a bit about the nutritional benefits of meat, the environmental and ethical sections were particularly eye-opening as these topics never get brought up in this light. Also, I absolutely loved the unpretentious tone in the book; this book is for everyone, whether you are a vegetarian, vegan, omnivore, parent, worried about the future of our planet, concerned about the nutritional needs of +7 billion people, feel guilty when eating or ordering a piece of meat, feel pressured to eat less meat but don't have the arguments to back up your stance, and many more... Basically, this is an outstanding book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    John Madany

    Comprehensive assessment This is a truly must read book. Our lives depend on it. Nutrition is foundational. There may be some things in this book we did not want to hear but it is far from the typical ideological perspectives on food. Regenerative agriculture is it the foundation of all Health. It allows humans to flourish. Also it allows vast numbers of sentient creatures to enjoy the early stages of life that are carefree and joy filled. Just watch calves, lambs and kids play on pasture. There is Comprehensive assessment This is a truly must read book. Our lives depend on it. Nutrition is foundational. There may be some things in this book we did not want to hear but it is far from the typical ideological perspectives on food. Regenerative agriculture is it the foundation of all Health. It allows humans to flourish. Also it allows vast numbers of sentient creatures to enjoy the early stages of life that are carefree and joy filled. Just watch calves, lambs and kids play on pasture. There is nothing like a mammal nursing on its mother for sure sentient pleasure.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Donny

    Clearly lays out the case why we shouldn't get rid of animals entirely from our food system. It would be worse for our health and worse for the environment. We need to lean in the other direction - improving and subsidizing better, healthier, more sustainable animal farming systems. But you'll probably end up frustrated with how many things are wrong with our food production system and healthcare, but that's not the book's fault!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    Robb and Diana lay out a powerful argument that not only is meat good for us, but when raised appropriately can be beneficial to the environment. Certainly better than mono-cropping corn, wheat, and soy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Bauman

    I can't think of a person who would not benefit from reading this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Thibault

  10. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Bronec

  12. 5 out of 5

    Becky

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ryan King

  15. 5 out of 5

    Darcy

  16. 4 out of 5

    Galen Godbey

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Krieski

  18. 4 out of 5

    Molly

  19. 5 out of 5

    J

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ganapathypillai Segarajasingam

  21. 4 out of 5

    Phyllis Perry

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sandra Toll

  23. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

  24. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Henry Andreano

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tim Day

  26. 4 out of 5

    Matt Henba

  27. 4 out of 5

    Taylor Guillemette

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cory Robertson

  29. 5 out of 5

    Eric Lancaster

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jazz --- .- --.. --..

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