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

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

by Diana Rodgers, Robb Wolf
Sacred Cow: The Case for (Better) Meat: Why Well-Raised Meat Is Good for You and Good for the Planet

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

by Diana Rodgers, Robb Wolf


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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. 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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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781948836913
Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.
Publication date: 07/14/2020
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 310,417
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Diana Rodgers, RD, is a “real food” nutritionist living on a working organic farm near Boston, Massachusetts. She’s an author, runs a clinical nutrition practice, and is the host of The Sustainable Dish Podcast. Diana writes and speaks internationally about the intersection of optimal human nutrition and environmental sustainability. Diana is an advisory board member of Animal Welfare Approved, Savory Institute, and Whole30.

Robb Wolf, a former research biochemist is the two-time New York Times /WSJ bestselling author of The Paleo Solution and Wired To Eat. Robb has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world via his top ranked iTunes podcast, books and seminars. Robb has functioned as a review editor for the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism (Biomed Central) and as a consultant for the Naval Special Warfare Resiliency program. He serves on the board of Directors/Advisors for: Specialty Health Inc, The Chickasaw Nation’s “Unconquered Life” initiative and a number of innovative start ups with a focus on health and sustainability.

Table of Contents


Sacred Cow Quick Reference Guide
1: Meat as Scapegoat
Part I: The Nutritional Case for (Better) Meat
2: Are Humans Omnivores?
3: Are We Eating Too Much Meat?
4: Does Meat Cause Chronic Disease?
5: Is Meat a Healthy Food?
6: Even If Meat Isn’t Bad for Me, Can’t I Get All My Nutrition from Plants?
Part II: The Environmental Case for (Better) Meat
7: What Role Does Livestock Play in Our Environment?
8: Can a Sustainable Food System Exist Without Animals?
9: Are Cattle Contributing to Climate Change?
10: Aren’t Cattle Inefficient with Feed?
11: Don’t Cattle Take Up Too Much Land?
12: Don’t Cattle Drink Too Much Water?
Part III: The Ethical Case for (Better) Meat
13: Is Eating Animals Immoral?
14: Why Did Meat Become Taboo?
15: Why Eat Animals If We Could Survive on Only Plants?
Part IV: What We Can Do
16: Feeding the World
17: Eat Like a Nutrivore
In Closing
About the Authors

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Sacred Cow proposes a new way to look at sustainable diets. The book takes a deep dive into the nutritional claims against meat, why cattle raised well are actually good for the environment, and address the ethical considerations surrounding killing animals for food. The truth is, you cannot have life without death, and eliminating animals from our food system could cause more harm than good."
—Michelle Tam, New York Times bestselling author of Nom Nom Paleo

"All too often, the voices making the least scientifically accurate claims are the loudest, and it’s hard not to be influenced by that sexy Netflix documentary on going vegan. But what if you could do both—eat the animal products that you believe help you feel your best, sourced via farming practices that support the environment and animal welfare? In Sacred Cow, dietitian Diana Rodgers and New York Times bestselling author Robb Wolf help you do just that, with scientific rigor, deep compassion, and wit. They examine the data on cattle and nutrient-density, the environment, and the ethics around eating meat across the globe, arriving at conclusions designed to help you feel good about the beef you are feeding your family."
—Melissa Urban, Whole30 cofounder and CEO

“Diana and Robb have answered the burning question about meat. Sacred Cow proves ‘It’s not the COW, it’s the HOW.’ The answer to our broken food system is not no meat, it's better meat. If you are concerned about red meat’s impact on your health and the planet, this book is for you.”

—Mark Hyman, MD, Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine

“Diana and Robb have precisely and approachably laid out the science on how grazing animals are critical to the future of sustainable agriculture. They also definitively refute the claims that meat is unhealthy and make a convincing case that eating meat can be done in an ethical manner. I highly recommend Sacred Cow for anyone who eats.”

—Mark Sisson, New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet and founder of Primal Kitchen foods

“Humans have been eating meat for at least 2.6 million years, and it has played a critical role in our evolution. In this important book, Diana Rodgers and Robb Wolf use the most recent scientific evidence to make the nutritional, environmental, and ethical case for better meat—and to debunk increasingly common myths and misunderstandings about the role of animal products in our diet.”

—Chris Kresser, New York Times bestselling author of The Paleo Cure and Unconventional Medicine

Sacred Cow: The Case for Better Meat is a comprehensive, well documented treatise that provides us with all the scientific data we need to make informed choices about how to eat that will benefit BOTH ourselves and our planet!”

—Frederick Kirschenmann, PhD, Distinguished Fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University

“Abandoning animal agriculture might well be the greatest mistake humanity could ever make. Today’s science cannot give definitive answers to the complex questions of human nutrition and ecological integrity. However, the scientific evidence indicting animal agriculture is weak, and evidence defending animal-based foods and farm animals as essential for human health and agricultural sustainability is strong—as clearly documented in Sacred Cow.”

—John Ikerd, PhD, professor emeritus of agricultural economics at the University of Missouri

“The current war against meat eaters and livestock farmers promises ethical, ecological, and health benefits from fake lab meat and plant-only diets. Sacred Cow debunks every utopian promise with precision missiles from science and a deep understanding of how life and the planet actually work.”

—Joel Salatin, owner of Polyface Farm and editor of The Stockman Grass Farmer

"The shift in agriculture, from one based on biology to one based on chemistry, and the resulting shift in our diets from whole foods to highly processed foods have resulted in nutrition-related disease, obesity, and environmental destruction. Diana and Robb fully understand the problem and the solution: we must change our diets and regenerate our soils, and well-managed grazing animals are critical to this transition.”

—Allan Savory, president of Savory Institute and chairman of the Africa Center for Holistic Management

“So much of the confusion about creating a sustainable future is based on a misunderstanding of ecology, evolution, and our place within the natural world. Much of our confusion has to do with our increasing separation from nature, especially how our food is produced. This book clearly explains how it all fits together, and how the interwoven evolution of ruminants, grasslands, and homo sapiens is not something to be left in the past, but to be celebrated and reclaimed.”

—Mark A. Ritchie, PhD, executive director of the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute

“Diana and Robb have written a tour de force making the case that meat can be good for our bodies, the animals, and the earth. Sacred Cow is the antidote to miserably meatless mondays and impossibly impotent impossible burgers. The cure is an ethical approach to eating animals, giving them their rightful place in our ecology.”

—Chris Masterjohn, PhD, former assistant professor of Health and Nutrition Sciences at Brooklyn College

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