Episode 3 | Does Eating Less Meat Really Help The Environment?

Episode 3 | Does Eating Less Meat Really Help The Environment?


So, I was a vegetarian for 11 years and I’ve
been a vegan for about a year now and before that I ate meat and a actually enjoyed some
of it. That wasn’t until I began asking what it was that I was eating and where it came
from. I ended up slowly transitioning to more plant based diet in high school and by the
time I entered college I was fully vegetarian. I wanted to know more about what eating meat
does to her environment and how it affects our ecosystem and started to ask more questions
like was it better to give it all up or are my intentions to save the planet all for not.
Hello and welcome to the Jazzed About Nature podcast, the show where I talk about all things
related to nature and the environment. Today I decided to sit down and have a conversation
with photographer Jena Galindo of Jena Galindo Photography who has prior experience with
the dairy industry. So, you were a pescatarian before. I wanted
to talk a little bit about your brief history with pescatarianism and whether or not you
remember why you chose to cut out all meat except for fish. Okay. So actually, uh, I’m really bad pescatarian.
I had stuck to it and I ate my ate fish as a, as a meat protein. I didn’t have any chicken
or beef or pork or anything like that. So in that regard I did well, but I actually
got into being a pescatarian for five months. One of those was during Thanksgiving. That
was a fun discussing with family. People have a hard time. I think when certain dietary
needs are being met. I think that kind of happens now with veganism. And I actually
got into being a pescatarian, I think for the same reason, but a people are getting
into veganism even if they don’t have a hardcore reason to become a vegan. I think I was looking
for a healthier diet and I know a few people who actually have become vegans strictly to
lose weight and to keep the weight off. That was actually why I became a pescetarian. So
not the greatest reasons. Maybe, but it was my reasons for the time and I was really horrible
at it because you know, I should’ve had more veggies and fruit. Didn’t have, yeah, I had
a lot of fries and chips and junk food. Funny because that’s typically the diet that
happens when people first become vegetarian. They’re not really familiar with other foods
and so they start off with potatoes, French fries, they’re vegetarian. It’s not meat.
Like rather than getting the burger, I’ll just get the fries and it’s fries for however
many months until they get sick of it. And then they stopped becoming vegetarian. And
I think knowing what you’re getting into at the beginning really is helpful to, you know,
plan what you’re going to eat, where like what you would order at your favorite fast
food restaurants ahead of time. So when you get there, you’re not going straight for the
potatoes or the fries. Yeah, absolutely. I went to the restaurants
just like eat the most awful thing was like fish or just no, but it was just still awful.
Or I’d have a plate of fries. I think people who are becoming vegan now are much more health
conscious than I was. I was trying to lose weight and just thinking if I kind of other
be some seconds imports that I will be forced to eat better. And at the time I was, I was
kinda tired of it actually. I was kind of tired of regular meats. I didn’t eat a lot
of fish, my diet, but I thought if I do feel like fish then that’s a great way to incorporate
some protein a little more easily or because I wasn’t very educated. Like right now I’d
probably like get most of my protein from peanut butter, love peanut butter and there’s
eggs and I love those two. Those are probably my favorite types of proteins. So, and this
was how many years ago? At least five. Wow. Yeah, and I think, yeah, it’s been awhile.
Do you remember why you started eating meat again? I think it just really got over it. I realized
that I wasn’t eating better. In fact, I was getting worse because I was cutting out the
good meats that I ate. I came back into this with a huge appreciation for chicken. I hated
chicken before now I love chicken and that’s good cause it actually is a much healthier
meat for your body versus having like steak and beef all the time, which is what my diet
plus a lot of so no you no shade to anybody who does it. I just, I definitely like chose
my path that back to to meet that and that works three and I think I feel really good
with what I eat now and I definitely eat a lot healthier than I did when I was not eating
meat. Do you think that because you went pescatarian,
you consciously or subconsciously started eating less meat once you went back to eating
meat again? I definitely just for the hell for my health
reasons, definitely try to, if I, if I ate out, which I used to do a lot and I don’t
so much anymore, I do cook from home a lot. We try to use veggies more because just if
you really look at your diet, I think a lot of people are really lacking on veggies and
I think that’s also, I don’t know. I think a lot of people are going vegan partially
because it is trendy right now. I don’t think there’s any denying that it is actually a
trend right now. People are using it almost as like a Keto diet kind of thing, like not,
you know, not that that the same, but the way Keto is very, very popular right now.
I think veganism is something people are taking on. Some people I think stay with it forever
and some people go back to either just being a vegetarian or they do go back to eating
meat down the road. I think that a lot of people don’t always sustain any kind of way
of eating. I think it definitely changes with how you evolve and how your body changes sometimes.
No, I mean I think it’s really cool. I think that there’s a lot of vegan products that
I know people really like because even people I noticed who don’t, they’re not completely
vegan. They eat vegan a lot and so yeah, I think, I think it’s really interesting. Yeah, I know it’s even more interesting to
talk about veganism with both of our backgrounds. Actually we both are from a really small town
that is surrounded by dairy cows and small. Not anymore. Well– Growing up it was everywhere. Like every family
had a dairy and I personally saw like dairy cows on my way to school and church and wherever
it was, it was part of our lives. There was a big thing and go from those milk campaigns A few years ago and there’s kind of been this
condemned. I think these days. There’s definitely a lot of people condemning the AG industry,
which I think is remarkable because I mean that’s where you get all of your food and
clothing pretty much. There’s, there’s no way around it and I understand that like from
the outside, I think people see a lot of practices at that branch, stores and farmers. Do as
either unnecessary or, I think it’s bad, but you know, you really have to understand an
industry and understand what goes into it and it takes so much education. There are
people that I went to school with who grew up with as ranchers and farmers, kids, they
worked in the industry and here they are in college to learn more and to further their
education. And there is so much that goes into every aspect. It’s so much and, and it’s
kinda funny cause if you think about a big company, you know you have people for different
departments. Well you know, farmers kind of handle it all.
They do the accounting on their own, they do the on a hand, you know that they are the
hands in the dirt, you know, and, and with the animals, they aren’t out there on the
field. They’re in the office doing accounting, they’re talking to everybody who needs to
be talked to. They’re making meetings. In some cases they do collaborate sometimes than
they do their own sales. It’s, it’s a lot. And it’s a lot of usually one or maybe a family
handling a very large operation and even if it’s not a very large operation, I think a
lot of people would think that 600 cows is a lot. It’s not, it’s a very, very, very small
number of, there’s a very large operation run usually by either one person or a family.
Me and my sister would help my dad in the office and it would usually just be that I
would do filing and very, you know, menial work just to kind of help take the clutter
of everything off as I worked another job and my sister would do the accounting and
bill paying makes sure the employee’s checks are written and you know, everything you know,
just took care of all the financial aspects of it. And then dad handled sales operations day
to day. He handled everything he was in charge of our workers. It was, it’s a lot to do for
what people, so I wonder for one, for one or just a few people I actually wanted to talk a little bit more
about like large scale versus small scale farming. I know most people try to urge people
to support their local small farmers family base because most of the time those practices
are a lot better and more humane than the factory farming or you know, and there’s a
bit behind I, I actually disagree with that to an extent.
I do support, I do absolutely support local businesses. I really, really do. But I’m not,
I’m also not gonna sit here and condemn the larger dairy operations that have thousands
and thousands of head of cattle or account. Excuse me. But don’t you think that there’s like a little
bit of a difference between the way that they treat their cattle versus a smaller scale
operation where they get to train to the cows and see them a little bit more up close and
personal and it’s smaller farm versus, you know, this large overgrown type of organization
or operators? I personally don’t. From my point of view,
I do obviously support local farmers more as frankly I’m biased. I you know, grew up
on a small dairy and we hung in there much, much larger longer than the larger cherries
did. And you know we have these bigger dairy farms. But the thing is these animals are
all being taken care of. Whether it’s a small operation or a big operation, the bigger operation
there’s more of them. But instead of it being a family farm or you know, one person managing
most, everything you have, you have the people in charge. It really is more run like a regular
corporation. You have more people on hand cause they can afford to hire more people.
And that’s a big difference too. So you actually have both, you know, the large end and small.
I think taking very, very good care of these cattle. You have to remember this is their
livelihood. At the end of the day you are not going to sit there and abuse cows whether
you’re a smaller, large dairy because that’s how you make your income. You want to make
sure that these cows are taken care of, that they’re healthy, that they’re not under stress
or in pain and you want to make sure that they’re not sick. So it’s the same. You do have the business to run. And I know
that sometimes, not all farmers, definitely not all farmers. Some of them they may have
to cut corners, are cut costs in a different way. That may not be completely harmful, the
animal, but it’s not the best practice I. E. feeding dairy animals like corn instead
of their, you know, other feed or Oh corn is fine. Cows. Cows do very well.
Well not just strictly corn in response to, I think that it’s very interesting that cow
is, I can speak more about cows and they just, cause I have a little more experience in that
field, but cows are actually very resilient and they do very well with a different kind
of diet. Growing up we always had several different grains. We would mix in for them
along with their hay. They would always have their hay, they’d always have their alfalfa
no matter what. But we would always get them a grain in addition to that. And it would
always be a mixture. There were some years where we subbed out certain grains for other
things. Something that was very popular a while ago and actually did pretty well with
cows. Calves do actually very good on it is putting orange pills, pills in, in with their
food. That’s really interesting though. Like, yeah.
But in the wild, I mean I don’t think I’ve really ever seen a cow in the wild anymore
because they’re so domesticated isn’t it? No, they don’t really do, they probably wouldn’t
do as well anymore anyway. Like you know, their diet has definitely significantly changed.
And I don’t know if it’s because of human influence, just like how we’ve adapted, uh,
cats and dogs diets to eating the factory produce. Yeah. If you had the meats that they would’ve find out on,
uh, on the side of the road or in nature or whatever. Like it’s, it’s interesting to kind
of like compare the two and talk about that. And I guess it’s a whole other podcast. Well, it’s a big, discussion. Yeah. So, so
for cows I’m in. If they were just wild, first of all, you still wouldn’t want them to buy
milk, milk cows because if they lost, let’s just say that they were completely wild. We’re
not touching them. It’s kind of has a baby and so they have no production with that baby.
If the baby dies prematurely, the mother can actually, it won’t just be that she just dries
up immediately. She will probably develop milk fever from not being milk or sent from,
I mean I feel like it’d be a little bit more milk and milk fee for as something they can
die from. Yeah. But if you actually had a cow that died from that, um, my show cow growing
up, unfortunately. I sorry. Well what I was saying with that, like, you
know, I guess the argument for a lot of vegans is that it’s, it’s, it’s all based on supply
and demand. Yes. Certain cows definitely need to, you know, be milked or, or make sure that
their calf is getting milk once they’ve given birth. But we’re vegan step in is that they
mention that without the demand for more milk and more dairy or more meat that we wouldn’t
be breeding more cows or cattle for agricultural reasons. Where I, I definitely see both sides
that yes, on the one hand there’s, you know, these group of people who’ve been dairy farming
their entire lives and that, you know, this is their livelihood, this is their life, this
is part of their history and who they are. And then there’s these other people who have
come in later on in the game and talked about these animals are, are being possibly abused
or you being commercialized in such a way that it’s, or we’re like hurting the planet
in another way as far as like sustainability is concerned. And it’s definitely interesting
to talk about and hear both sides. I mean, I’ve always said I wish I was treated
as well as cow. Oh no. We shoot at our as quick hit that thing and a place to lay down.
We’ll sleep standing up, but they have the I don’t know if I would want to be inseminated
by you know, humans and like have a baby, whether I wanted to or not. I’m not voicing
my opinion. Like I definitely get that argument. Well they also don’t think the same way that
we do first of all, but also in the, in the wild, a bull will just Mount a cow. So if
people are thinking about that, not the exact, I mean I’m not, I don’t consider it rape,
I just don’t. But because, because again, we don’t have the same kind of feeling as
cows do. It’s definitely more a baser thing. But you know, people talk about insemination
right. But it’s like, well in the wild I’m full grown milk a cow. She can’t just walk
away. She will, she will be mounted and you know, she’ll be intimated that way and you
know, most likely become pregnant. Yeah. And that’s totally natural. And it’s,
you know, what happens out in the wild the way we do. There’s probably a lot more gentle.
I definitely know. It’s a lot more gentle. I’ve seen it happen. It’s just tiny little thing. Yeah, it is tiny. Well to me it looks a little bit bigger, but
compared to the cow, it’s, it’s smaller than what, what could be going on. Yes. But at
the same time, like I dunno, I guess personally and, and that’s kind of all what vegan veganism
is about is just what can you stomach personally? Like what do you believe on a personal level
as far as what, like what do you think about that situation? Yeah. And that can be said about anything.
And I, and I completely respect other people’s opinions and I get the way you can think that
way because everybody has a different experience growing up. Not everybody knows how to take
care of a cat. A lot of people look at a calf and they think that it’s serving, cause you
can see it’s ribs, how milk cows are constructed differently. You can see ribs on them, but
you have to see where the fat is. You have to understand the anatomy of, of a cow. They
calf, you can’t actually overfeed. A lot of people think that they’re starving because
you can see their ribs. you have to be really careful when you’re feeding calf. They cannot
be overfed. Oh they can die from that. And so you just really have to be very educated
about animals. All animals look different. I mean you can look out in nature and be like,
nature can be really weird. Animals can look really odd. I’ve seen animals that I’m like
that can’t be right. But it is, it’s like it looks horrible and deformed and it looks
like it’s sick, but that’s the way the animal looks in the wild scotch. That’s absolutely
just how the species is. It sounds like no matter. So you really have to be educated.
All that stuff. I have an issue is when people get, try to get too involved and it just please
go educate yourself. There were add courses you can take. There’s, you know, so many if
you want to go, if you look cool, you go take classes, you know, go, go find out what you’re
protesting against. Exactly. I, and I think that goes both ways. Like making
sure that if you are a vegan, make sure you know what the agriculture business is about,
where your food is coming from because, because, because even vegans have do rely
on agriculture for their food fields. You do always rely on agriculture. You need
to know where your food is coming from, no matter who you are, what you believe or where
you come from, and if you’re a person who consumes me, you should know where that meat
is coming from. You should know something about the animal that you’re eating, whether
you are for animal rights or not or whatever, or however you feel about it. You should actually
know where your food is coming from and how it affects your environment in the world around
you, which is, it’s something that I encourage people to do no matter what. And going from
that. Actually I wanted to ask you, this is a stupid question. How do you, how do you
feel about your best friend being vegan? You know my joke every now and then, but I
actually do respect your space. I do know that in your case it is health-based in some
ways. If you ever wanted to eat meat again, I definitely would find it easier to cook.
Cause I love cooking for people when you come over. And I’m like looking at my kitchen,
I’m like what can I make you? That’s being Dan because I just got used to you being a
vegetarian and cooking for you in that way. But it got really easy. I can’t make my pancakes
anymore but the swap to make it beat in it. Yeah. I just, and that’s what they, I could
but I’m just saying, I’m like, I don’t know. I don’t have freaking recipes. Big deal and
that’s your life and I’m not going to stand here and be like, I disagree with you. Like please don’t go out and like steal a
calf or something, you know, go protest or whatever. I really do highly encourage people
to like go get an education with these things. Cause it’s like with any company, so many
people don’t even understand. You know, why certain policies are in place for retail.
It’s like they’re in place for a reason. Something happened that warranted it to be a permanent
thing. And you know, like I said, I’m not gonna be upset over people eating meat and
not eating certain, you know, animal byproducts. It does, I think long-term hurt the industry. And so that’s a lot of animals being slaughtered
down the road because there’s no market for it. Lack of production. Like people will just
stop producing more milk cows or beef cows because the demand is low. Yeah. You have
that initial stopping point where yeah, you’re definitely hurting like all these, you know,
families involved in these visits, but we never would really know the actual impact
of it down the road. It’s been over 10 years since the dairy industry started declining
and I honestly never would’ve saw what was happening now coming see, just to see, you
just never know. I think everybody kind of, I’m not gonna say that you’re wrong cause
you could be absolutely right, but I’m only going to say we will just not know. I guess
we’ll just do it. It would be such a risk. It’s like if tomorrow we made a whole thing
where everybody has to go vegan, which I actually disagree with because again, I don’t agree
with people forcing people to change their lives. Yeah. I don’t believe in forcing anybody to
do anything. But hypothetically, if that went into effect
and everything changed, yes there are probably the mass slaughter, yes, there might be an
adjustment, but where would that end and what would it do and how would our role be affected?
We wouldn’t know for sure. And so for the time being, I’m just in support of people
living their lives the way they want to live them. As long as you’re not hurting anybody
else. And um, what you want the animals are taken care of. I mean, even the ones that
are raised for slaughter, I can be totally honest when I say the people that are raising
those animals love them and they do, but they understand that they’re feeding a lot of people.
And that’s, you know, people who are choosing to eat meat and only have to re innovate the
way that we do things. And I think it’s just a part of, you know,
going into the future and advancing. It’s coming up with new ways to, to do things,
you know, sustainably because we know better now and I think that, But there’s also, but there’s also, those
are like some things are fine and there’s definitely people like I know that if we’re
going into these production, there are people who raise beef there. They definitely absolutely
bring in new methods. They absolutely educate themselves on more sustainability. They, we
all love the earth. That’s the thing I think that’s hard for some people to believe is
I think there’s such a hero versus villain thing when it comes to certain people’s point
of view about people eating meat or not eating meat and nobody has been here. I noticed that
one, everybody sees a different way of doing things. It’s the balance that I think makes
things work out properly. You may be completely one side the respect that somebody might completely
on the other side, but that the two of you being in the world or making it better, you’re
pushing an industry forward with each other’s views. I like that concept and it’s definitely true.
It’s the people that drive the change for the future, for the change, for all these
different industries. And we definitely need both sides or all sides coming together and
bounce off ideas off of each other and learn from each other in order to grow. Yeah, and that being said, back to agriculture,
like definitely do educate yourself. A lot of people are saying, I’ve been on these websites,
I’ve talked to this people, please go talk to farmers. There are so many people, there’s
such as, so many farmers feel so personally attached right now and they are actually personally
attacked right now. And in some ways, and I’ve seen so many people, even on an, you
know, you see people on the internet even, they’re like, please come talk to farmers,
please come talk to us. We will love to just like let you know how the industry works on
our side. Like just please understand how things are working right now afterwards. You
may disagree or you may not, but please just educate yourself from a perspective of somebody
who’s spent their entire lives educating themselves on this industry and on and on what you need
to take good care of the land to take good care of the animals. Now, on that note, I really want to thank
you for sharing your, your side of things and your background in this industry, in the
fact that we should be asking more questions and figuring out what our beliefs are and
how they affect others and what we should be doing in order to learn and educate ourselves
more on all these different topics. So thank you again for, for being on this podcast for
a second time. [laughs] [laughs] Until next time. Yes. After my conversation with Jena I stumbled
across a report, published in the British medical journal The Lancet, that claims to
have devised a diet plan that can feed 10 billion people by 2050. It recommends a largely
plant-based diet, with small, occasional allowances for meat, dairy, and sugar. The report was
compiled by a group of 30 scientists from around the world who study nutrition or food
policy. For three years, they deliberated with the intent of creating recommendations
that could be adopted by governments to meet the challenge of feeding a growing world population. A summary of the report states, “even small
increases in the consumption of red meat or dairy foods would make this goal difficult
or impossible to achieve.” World Resources Institute and other environmental groups have
sounded a call to action to cut our impact on the environment in half by eating less
meat and dairy. According to a study published in The American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the results pointed to a “Higher ratio of animal to
plant protein in diet and higher meat intake were associated with increased mortality risk.
Higher total protein intake appeared to be associated with mortality mainly among those
with a predisposing disease.” Then there is the question or morality. One
of my favorite quotes is “The only thing vegetarianism asks us philosophically is:
Are you okay that something died?” The question creates an opportunity to think about the
decisions you are making and how it affects the lives of others. Are you also contributing
to the fact that this being died? Although Americans still eat four times as
much meat as the rest of the world, the demand for plant-based foods soared 20% last year,
compared with 8% in 2017. No matter what their reasons people are choosing the path of less
meat and dairy. But I don’t want this podcast to force anyone into making a decision right
now one way or the other. What I do want you to do is keep thinking globally and acting
locally and let that guide you. other. What I do want you to do is keep thinking
globally and acting locally and let that guide you.

One comment

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