Chronic Wasting Disease In Deer, Digestion Woes, Avoiding Organic Foods | THRR118

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Podcast Questions:

1. Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer and Elk [15:52]

Kristi says:

Hi Robb and Nicki,

I have a new fear just when I am already worried about the future of meat, transportation, the economy, etc.

I bought some elk liver from a ranch that sells grass-fed bison, elk, and beef. I went to fry it, and it did not smell the same as bison or beef liver. And while I’m sure that’s just how elk liver smells, I started worrying about chronic wasting disease(CWD), which Joe Rogan brought up on the March 2020 episode with the infectious disease epidemiologist, Michael Osterholm. (The episode that in my mind started off the covid pandemic.)

I ended up throwing away the elk meat, and then looked into chronic wasting disease more. So far, no known cases have spread to humans as vCJD (variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease), but that was also true of mad cow disease, and I’m sure chronic wasting disease showing up in humans will take longer since way fewer people eat elk or deer.

I am in one of the areas of North America where chronic wasting disease is present, and since I bought the meat from a farm, the elk is apparently tested (they send away the heads to get tested), however it says this doesn’t guarantee they’re free of CWD. Now I think I should just stick to beef/bison, since the downside of Jakob Creutzfeldt disease is so terrible, but I was also thinking if I do this I shouldn’t even buy bison or beef from the same farm, since prions are notoriously hard to destroy, and would stick around on the butchering equipment.

Do you have any knowledge or insight on this topic? Am I overreacting?

Thanks and keep up the great work with the show.

2. Digestion Woes [23:40]

Kelly says:

Hi Robb and Nicki, hoping you can help me with everyone’s favorite topic, poo! I’ll cut to the chase. My BMs are a 6-7 on the Bristol stool chart, every day. Usually 3 times per day, and all before 9 am. This has been going on for a few months now. I don’t have any stomach pain or bloating, just really liquid poo. My diet is good, I eat mostly red meat, eggs, fruit, white rice, and I don’t exclude dairy or gluten because I’ve never had any sensitivity to it, but maybe that’s a good place to start? I do drink alcohol a couple times per week, but haven’t noticed a difference when I remove alcohol. I am also a coffee drinker, but I hope that’s not the culprit! Just looking for your thoughts on the best place to start, anything I should ask my doctor to run test-wise? I had an IgG test done a couple years ago and that didn’t show anything to avoid except things like chia seeds and some random things like that.

Thank you both for all you do, me and my hubs listen every week and appreciate your common sense approach to health and recent policy topics. Robb and Nicki for President!

3. Organic? [29:08]

Mark says:

Hi Robb & Nicki,

I’ve read Wired & Eat & Sacred Cow & drink LMNT (love, chocolate salt in goat milk is a favorite).

I’ve been reading some of the comments from the FarmBabe basically that she now goes out-of-the-way “not” to buy/eat food labeled Organic (she seems not to like StoneyField or at least would like them to stop spreading misinformation) .  I’ve also read some of her battles with “Bobby” aka FlavCity.  It’s hard to sort out if what she’s saying is true or if as a non-organic farmer she’s biased in any way.  Any insight would be helpful, especially considering current food prices.  I seem to always want to buy Organic, am I wasting my money?

All the best,



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Nicki: It’s time to make your health an act of rebellion. We’re tackling personalized nutrition, metabolic flexibility, resilient aging, and answering your diet and lifestyle questions. This is the only show with the bold aim to help 1 million people liberate themselves from the sick care system. You’re listening to the Healthy Rebellion Radio.

Nicki: The contents of this show are for entertainment and educational purposes only. Nothing in this podcast should be considered medical advice. Please consult your licensed and credentialed functional medicine practitioner before embarking on any health, dietary, or fitness change.

Nicki: Warning, when Robb gets passionate, he’s been known to use the occasional expletive. If foul language is not your thing, if it gets your breeches in a bunch, well, there’s always Disney Plus.

Robb: Howdy, folks? We are back with another-

Nicki: Episode-

Robb: Of the Healthy Rebellion Radio.

Nicki: Of the Healthy Rebellion Radio. This is episode 118, and coming in hot from the heat wave that is Northwestern Montana right now.

Robb: We got it pretty easy.

Nicki: We do.

Robb: We’re mid-90s.

Nicki: We do.

Robb: We’re pretty easy.

Nicki: But it’s hot-

Robb: For here it’s hot.

Nicki: … relative to what temperatures we normally get, but feels good. I was just out picking raspberries with Sagan. She wants to make some jam and we’ve never made jam before, so I’m excited to do that. We were out for about, oh, only 20 minutes. We have four cups of luscious raspberries. Unfortunately, the way these raspberries were planted, there was not much thought to them, so they are just this giant mass of raspberries, and so you have to boots and jeans and long sleeves and wade into the-

Robb: Then you end up breaking some of them. We’re going to transplant some of them next year. Yep.

Nicki: Yeah, because otherwise there are so many in the middle, but you can’t get to them without wading in. Anyway, that’s fun. Fun things happening in this neck of the woods. That, and trying to teach our pup how to… Teaching him to recall. We’re working on that, because right now-

Robb: Because he’s been trying to jailbreak a couple of times.

Nicki: Right now his recall is not so good. He knows his name, but if he’s got other interesting things he’d like to explore, he can pretend that he’s deaf and not hear you when you call him. We’re working on that. Let’s see. I did want to share a couple of listener comments, emails that came in from listeners this past week. One is from Mark. He said, “Robb and Nicki, just started listening to the Healthy Rebellion Radio podcast a few months ago.

Nicki: I love the work you all are doing and appreciate all the knowledge you share in a frank and honest way. I turned 50 this year and decided I wanted to get my health back. I started working out, attempting to eat healthier more days than not, and your podcast has been a great accountability partner and motivator. I have gone from 204 pounds to 187 pounds, and my goal is 175. I’m still educating myself on paleo versus keto, et cetera, but I’m getting there, so thank you.”

Robb: Awesome.

Nicki: Yeah, that was a super, super cool note to see. I know a lot of people that are part of our community, we see feedback of what the community brings to them, but I know listeners out there are making changes and they’re changing their lives and we’re happy to be a part of that journey.

Robb: When you dig into change, whenever folks change significant behaviors, whether it’s stopping smoking or what have you, usually peer group and some sort of support network ends up being huge. Sometimes people just change. I remember my mom just decided she was going to quit smoking one day and she stopped and my mom was a battle ax and she didn’t change a lot of things, but when she decided to change something, she did it.

Robb: In a time before welfare and social support and stuff like that, her first husband was quite abusive and she had three young kids and she squirreled away money. Then one day he left for work and right on the heels of that she left. It was quite a harrowing experience for her, so some people are able to bootstrap this stuff, but good community and even virtual community can be a key feature of making you successful.

Nicki: For sure. Then our next email that we received is from John, “Robb and Nicki, you guys rock. Thank you so much for addressing my question about my meat-induced face rash. Thanks for sharing the subsequent comment from another listener regarding seborrheic dermatitis. I have had some bouts with toenail fungus, jock itch, dandruff, et cetera, so it looks like I’m just a big fungal overgrowth waiting to happen.

Nicki: Robb, I’m nine days into taking the S. boulardii and I feel better overall. I guess it’s time for me to take my gut health more seriously. Again, thank you guys so much. These are the best leads I’ve had on this issue in a long time.”

Robb: That’s cool. That’s cool. Just to refresh folks’ memory on that, when John would eat red meat, he got just almost like a raccoon rash right around his eyes. Some folks had suggested… And he had some other descriptions of what was going on. Some folks had suggested maybe a histamine response and whatnot. Not a doctor, not playing a doctor, but just looking at this thing overall, it really struck me that this was a really localized issue.

Robb: Localized issues are often something like a fungal infection, can be a big deal, and not my first rodeo on this, so I’m glad… And also the kind of cool-

Nicki: Thankful to the listener that chimed in that she had experienced-

Robb: Similar to you.

Nicki: … something very similar and that was very helpful. Appreciate that.

Robb: I think the nice thing about tinkering with stuff like this, I’ve tinkered with innumerable probiotics, prebiotics, sometimes it’ll make me feel worse. We were having a discussion with one of our jujitsu coaches who has had some good success with chiropractic, but then sometimes he’ll get adjusted and he actually feels less good. Like it tightens some muscles up and he’s actually been on a little bit of a hiatus from getting adjusted and he’s doing better currently.

Robb: Anything that we choose to do intervention-wise has some risk profile to it. I got up a little bit early today and did my 35 minutes of zone two cardio, and I guess in the risk analysis of the universe, that could have heightened my risk of having AM heart attack and I could have died out here. You guys could have seen a moldering stew when you guys got up. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.

Nicki: Thank God that was not the case.

Robb: But there’s this upside part, which is that I did some zone two cardio and that overall should further reduce my risk of dying from a heart attack, which both my parents died of cardiovascular disease. My lipoproteins are better than what they’ve been in the past, but they’re still higher than what some people would like, and so I probably have some degree of a risk profile there.

Robb: But when we consider how I feel, the way that I would need to eat in order to have my lipoproteins look the way that I think most people would want them to look, I’d feel like shit and I would probably have some other problems. We have these give and take of risk profiles, but recommending something like an S. boulardii or something like that is pretty benign. This is the way that I try to think through these things, what is the most catastrophic consequence to this?

Robb: So long as they’re pretty benign and people could decide to change their diet for a host of reasons, and so things like that, getting exercise, getting out in the sun, all of them do have some potential downside. When we get sun on our skin, we make-

Nicki: As does staying inside and sitting on the couch.

Robb: As does staying inside. Yeah. Like Greg Glassman artfully pointed out that our couches and TV should have a warning that this will shorten your life, like that. That is the flip side to this, for sure. Yeah.

Nicki: Cool. Well, thank you for those comments. Couple of things coming up inside the Healthy Rebellion community, as you know, our next reset begins in September. As we get closer to that, we will share exact dates. If you’re not yet a member and want to participate in that, keep that in mind, coming up here mid-September. Then August 8th, we have an awesome expert interview.

Nicki: One of our rebels, Whitney, will be interviewing a mushroom expert, talking all things mushroom, medicinal uses, nutritional benefits, et cetera, et cetera. That is an interview that is exclusive for Healthy Rebellion members. It’ll be recorded so if you do decide to join in the future, you can either watch live on August 8th or-

Robb: Check that out later.

Nicki: … or check out that recording. Yep. I think that’s all for my housekeeping notes. Robb, what do you have for us for a news topic?

Robb: Oh, some protein, carbs, fat.

Nicki: Shocker.

Robb: It’s funny on this diet change topic. I don’t know if I’ve ossified or I’m just over it, but I feel like maybe I’m just at this spot and I’ve been here for a long time where I feel like we have enough information that from just a clinical intervention perspective, we have a way of helping just about anybody. As an example, within the Reno risk assessment program, when people came in and they flagged as poor metabolic health and maybe elevated lipoproteins, we tended to recommend a lower carb paleo type diet.

Robb: For 90, 95% of people that was bang on and it worked really well. For a small cross-section of people, we saw really wacky lipid changes, like triglycerides went up, lipoproteins went up. For those people, we actually shifted gears dramatically and went a low carb, not vegan, but a moderate protein, lower fat, whole food based primarily carbohydrate diet. Those folks tended to do great on that.

Robb: Some of the challenge there was that if people were on shift work, they oftentimes had some metabolic insulin resistance from the shift work that became difficult to manage because when you don’t sleep, you become insulin resistant. At the same time, they had genetic polymorphisms that really didn’t make them great candidates for a super low carb diet. That’s a challenge. Yeah, you have to get in and motor through that.

Robb: But the folks who still care about this stuff, and there are some great people, Dr. David Ludwig, Gary Taubes, Nina, Ty Schultz, they’re still in battling this what is the root theory of say, like diabesity, weight gain and whatnot? They’re still very much in that carb-insulin model. There’s a new paper that they’ve released, Competing paradigms of obesity pathogenesis: energy balance versus carbohydrate-insulin models.

Robb: There’s both the paper what I have linked here is a Twitter thread where David Ludwig basically goes through and lays out his case for the carb-insulin model. I think personally, both camps are still missing the boat. I think that there’s some synthesis here in which different macronutrients absolutely have different metabolic impacts. At the end of the day calories still matter. I see both of these personally as missing the boat.

Robb: I don’t know how I would synthesize that. I don’t even know how I would specifically design a study for that. Honestly, I don’t care anymore because again, at the end of the day, we just have to figure out ways of getting people to eat better. That really is the thing. I think some of these folks feel like if we could really solidify this is the paradigm to rule them all, that maybe that would shift research, maybe that would shift funding, and it might.

Robb: It might. That’s where I do give a hat tip to the folks that are in still fighting this. For me, it’s-

Nicki: I don’t know, the pessimist in me just thinks that the industry coffers that fund so much of it, they would just ignore… Even if they came and had this conclusive thing, like big sugar and all of the food companies that benefit from that gravy train. I don’t know.

Robb: Yeah. Yeah. You know, it’s-

Nicki: It’s got to come from a societal level and demand and-

Robb: That’s what I feel and that’s where… Like when CrossFit was on and Ascension, at least as part of their health discussion, a root piece of that was the… It’s funny, they were very energy balance, even though they’ve been very, very friendly with Gary and having him speak at a number of their events, which is interesting because Gary is absolutely not in the energy balance camp.

Robb: But what CrossFit was in a position to do was help millions of people, tens of millions of people, change the way that they ate and have a social support network that facilitated that process. That could have been really, really good. It still motors forward. I think it’s really lost a lot of the chutzpah that it had, unfortunately, but-

Nicki: It’s helped… Well, let’s not minimize it, that the impact has been significant, right?

Robb: Yeah. Yeah.

Nicki: Lots of people have changed the way that they eat and feed their families because of-

Robb: And continue to.

Nicki: … initial exposure via CrossFit, so we don’t want to minimize that, but it could have been-

Robb: Orders of magnitude larger.

Nicki: … orders of magnitude bigger. Yeah.

Robb: Yeah. Anyway, that is in the show notes. I think it’s interesting. Dig in, have fun.

Nicki: All right. Healthy Rebellion radio is sponsored by our salty AF electrolyte company, LMNT. As I mentioned, it’s that time of summer when many areas are experiencing a heat wave. Some people have been experiencing heat wave for far longer. We are just now getting it, but stay prepared, stay hydrated with electrolytes. You want all the electrolytes you need, none of the crap you don’t, and that’s why you need LMNT.

Nicki: You can grab yours at That’s drink I have to say, we don’t go probably every couple of days without hearing some sort of a report from a customer or an LMNT ambassador who shared the product with friends or members of their community who haven’t reported back, especially in the summer, in this heat, like, “I was hiking with my wife or we were on a walk and then this happened.”

Nicki: Then they weren’t feeling well, had LMNT and improved almost immediately. It’s pretty cool to hear those reports. I think if you’re doing anything where exertion is at hand and heat is at hand, having some packets on hand is important.

Robb: Might be smart.

Nicki: Might be smart. Yep. Okay. We’ve got three questions for you guys today. This first one is on chronic wasting disease in deer and elk. It’s from Christie, “Hi Rob and Nick. I have a new fear just when I’m already worried about the future of meat, transportation, the economy, et cetera. I bought some elk liver from a ranch that sells grass-fed bison, elk, and beef. I went to fry it and it did not smell the same as bison or beef liver.

Nicki: While I’m sure that’s just how elk liver smells, I started worrying about chronic wasting disease which Joe Rogan brought up on the March 2020 episode with the infectious disease epidemiologist, Michael Osterholm. The episode that in my mind started off the COVID pandemic. I ended up throwing away the elk meat and then looked into chronic wasting disease more. So far, no known cases have spread to humans as VCJD, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s disease.

Nicki: But that was also true of mad cow disease. I’m sure chronic wasting disease showing up in humans will take longer since way fewer people eat elk or deer. I’m in one of the areas of North America where chronic wasting disease is present, and since I bought this meat from a farm, the elk is apparently tested. They send away the heads to get tested. However, it says this doesn’t guarantee they’re free of CWD, chronic wasting disease.

Nicki: Now I think I should just stick to beef and bison since the downside of Jakob Creutzfeldt disease is so terrible, but I was also thinking if I do this, I shouldn’t even buy bison or beef from the same farm since prions are notoriously hard to destroy and would stick around on the butchering equipment. Do you have any knowledge or insight on this topic? Am I overreacting?”

Robb: Man, it’s a really good question. I do know that folks take this seriously. People get their deer and elk and other wild game tested. Prions are shockingly difficult to deal with. When they do autopsies on people who have the prion diseases, the physicians wear basically chainmail armor, and then they have surgical equipment that is specific to that. Like the scalpels and saws and everything, because even… I think that they’ll survive up to like 500 degrees. It’s crazy.

Nicki: Oh, wow.

Robb: They’re crazy robust. These prions are. Just as a little aside, I’ll also throw out there, within biology we’ve had all these different layers of understanding. Watson and Crick gave us the elucidation of the double helix of DNA, which is basically the central dogma of biology and biochemistry. You’ve got genes. Those genes are transcribed into RNA, translated into proteins.

Robb: Then when this prion disease topic came up, it was suggested that these proteins were themselves altered and then when they interacted with other proteins, they could alter those proteins, perpetuating the prion disease. Basically perpetuating the prions. This was very novel. It should be met with skepticism. It’s a big claim, so you need to support it with appropriate support. It was ridiculed and chased out of town and it ended up being true.

Robb: Now, there are lots and lots of theories that ended up not being true, but this is again one of these cautionary tales where just scientists are as dumb and predatorial and religious as everybody else. They really generally don’t do all that good of a job of being faced with new information and having it at sway them. This is one of these interesting footnotes in history, kind of like Ignaz Semmelweis and washing your hands between-

Nicki: Autopsies and delivering babies.

Robb: … autopsies and delivering babies. It’s one of those interesting footnotes that everybody should just take a Valium, maybe two, calm down and just… Okay, these are interesting things and whatnot. That’s just an aside. I don’t know how serious to take this stuff. I will say that the testing is very, very good. From a legal standpoint, I could see where this outfit can’t 100% take legal responsibility for this stuff.

Robb: But the testing is very, very good. I believe it’s radioimmunoassays that are used to determine the presence of the prions, these things are… Because they’re very robust. They don’t degrade. I believe even the false positives are very rare, the false negatives are quite rare. It’s a very robust testing process.

Nicki: Do you know how they clean the butchering equipment? This is her concern that it would stick around on there.

Robb: Well, I mean, it doesn’t matter how they clean it, if there was some there.

Nicki: Okay. If you found some, and let’s say you owned the farm and you found some in one of your animals, you’d have to replace all of your equipment.

Robb: Or you’d… It’s shocking.

Nicki: Because if 500 degrees you can’t… How would you-

Robb: You would really need some-

Nicki: Maybe there are some chemical or something.

Robb: There probably is way, but I mean, it’s difficult. Again, autopsy equipment, they clean it, but it’s assumed to still be contaminated with prions, at least. I haven’t looked into this in some time, but the stuff sticks around. You could get a prion disease from anywhere. They check the general beef populations. This is one of the challenges and difficulties of the industrial food system that we have.

Robb: Any given piece of ground beef can have up to like 600 individual animals’ protein in it. This is the problem for salmonella and just run-of-the-mill bacterial problems. When animals are processed in a more decentralized smaller system, the package of meat that you get is typically an animal. If there’s a contamination there, it tends to be largely constrained to that animal.

Robb: In the case of the prions, any subsequent animals could in theory, be infected with that because the prions don’t really go away all that effectively. But I think that the likelihood of these things happening is very, very low. I do think that folks take it very seriously. It would be catastrophic for an operation to end up with a problem.

Robb: Personally, if I were to hunt a deer or an elk, and I’m going to be taking it to some place to get it processed, that processor is relying on people to get their animals checked. Again, we’re talking about some degree of risk exposure with this stuff. For me, personally, the system seems good enough currently that I’m largely comfortable coloring within those lines. But you’re not a hundred percent free of risk, for sure.

Nicki: You got to go with your gut on that one.

Robb: Yeah.

Nicki: Okay. This question is from Kelly on some digestion woes, “Hey, Robb and Nicki, hoping you can help me with everyone’s favorite topic. Poo. I’ll cut to the chase. My BMs are a six or a seven on the Bristol Stool Chart every day. Usually three times per day and all before 9:00 AM. This has been going on for a few months now. I don’t have any stomach pain or bloating, just really liquid poo. My diet is good.

Nicki: I eat mostly red meat, eggs, fruit, white rice, and I don’t exclude dairy or gluten because I’ve never had any sensitivity to it, but maybe that’s a good place to start. I do drink alcohol a couple of times per week, but I haven’t noticed a difference when I remove alcohol. I’m also a coffee drinker, but I hope that’s not the culprit. Just looking for your thoughts on the best place to start.

Nicki: Anything I should ask my doctor to run test-wise? I had an IgG test done a couple of years ago that didn’t show anything to avoid, except things like chia seeds and some random things like that. Thank you for all you do. Me and my hubs listen every week and appreciate your common sense approach to health and recent policy topics. Robb and Nicki for president.”

Robb: Good God, no.

Nicki: That is a no, no, no, no, no.

Robb: Nope. Kelly, I mean, the places that I would start, like testing-wise you could do some of the comprehensive microbiome testing, but more looking at just pathogens. Do you have some sort of fungal overgrowth? Do you have one of these gnarlier bugs? The C. difficile-

Nicki: Some kind of parasite, or?

Robb: … or something like that? Yeah. Could certainly look there because if it’s been happening for a couple of months, maybe you traveled abroad, maybe you swam in a creek and maybe picked up something a little funky that’s bothering you. Some people can end up with a low-grade Giardia infection and it’ll last for decades. It definitely loosens the stools.

Robb: I would put that as probably a pretty low likelihood, because it usually makes you pretty sick too, but some people are largely asymptomatic with Giardia unless they get immune compromised and they’re just awesome spreaders of Giardia. Could certainly look into some stuff like that, but I would be looking more like the ova and parasite and some of the standard medical screening for things that would be causing problems.

Robb: From there, certainly the food sensitivity story, like we’ve heard so many times since carnivore has been taking more of a central place in this ancestral health story, is that people don’t respond well to things like histamine-producing foods, FODMAPs, fiber, and on and on and on. This is where it becomes interesting to unpack that and also paints carnivore in a pretty good light, carnivore can be histamine-rich depending on how you’re tackling that.

Robb: Like the bone broth and slow-cooked meats can be a significant histamine source, but it removes the bulk of the things that cause problems. That could be a good elimination diet spot to start. I know that gluten thing, can’t say how many times we’ve had folks say, “Oh, I don’t have any problems with gluten.” Then when they really do a come to Jesus elimination, that ends up being this huge deal.

Robb: For years, I had some amount of dairy protein in my diet and didn’t notice the usual things that I was experiencing, like acne, but it ended up being the irritant that was probably keeping my rheumatoid arthritis in some amount of low grade flare. Then it really exploded at the first year. I think I detailed that in the podcast then. I would do some screening. I would look at some type of an elimination diet, and there’s just going to be a certain amount of work that you need to do with this.

Robb: I do still use a little bit of Imodium, the loperamide, about two to four milligrams a day, because even eating a little bit more carnivore-esque, I just have better bowel movements and I feel better. It’s weird when I have that really loose stool after that, I don’t feel good. I don’t know if that’s because I dump some electrolytes or… I frankly don’t know why it is, but I feel pretty good until I have the bowel movement. Then after the bowel movement, I have foggy headedness and just don’t feel well.

Robb: I have been using the Imodium for 10 years, eight years. Like quite a while now and I definitely feel better with that. It is covering up some type of symptom, but in theory, I’m kind of a world expert on this stuff and I don’t know what else to do. That is maybe a way of helping to deal with some of the symptoms on this.

Nicki: I feel like this only started a few months ago, so I would be curious to know, to your point, did she travel somewhere? Did something happen? Did she get exposed? Why did it-

Robb: There’s probably something else going on.

Nicki: … pop up three months ago? There’s something there. I would noodle on that.

Robb: Dig into that.

Nicki: Dig into that and see if you can pinpoint what might have been the-

Robb: Precipitating.

Nicki: … precipitating situation. Okay.

Robb: Kelly, if you do any tinkering, let us know. We’d be happy to hear what the story is on that and what’s happening.

Nicki: For sure. Okay. Our third and final question this week is from Mark on organic food items, “Hi Robb and Nicki. I’ve read Wired to Eat and Sacred Cow, and I drink LMNT. I love Chocolate Salt in goat milk. It’s a favorite. I’ve been reading some of the comments from The Farm Babe, basically that she now goes out of the way not to buy and eat food labeled organic. She seems not to like Stonyfield or at least would them to stop spreading misinformation.

Nicki: I’ve also read some of her battles with Bobby aka FlavCity. It’s hard to sort out if what she’s saying is true, or if as a non-organic farmer she’s biased in any way. Any insight would be helpful, especially considering current food prices. I seem to always want to buy organic, but am I wasting my money?”

Robb: Mark, it’s a great question and historically I’ve made the case that organic is generally probably better for the environment, but organic said, a funny thing, it became this-

Nicki: Buzzword?

Robb: … buzzword, but maybe more importantly, this money grab certification that is really involved. There’s some wacky shit in it. Within organic certification, you can’t go buy a bag of nitrogen fertilizer to put on your crops. You can get a bag of fish meal to put on your crops. This is perplexing to me.

Robb: Now, on the one hand, I could make the case that the fish meal is probably a better option for the microbiome of the soil and things like that, but you’ve got to catch, harvest, process, dry, ship, distribute this fish meal to put on your soil to get some nitrogen on there. This is where I think both Diana and I run afoul of folks both in the conventional farming ranching scene and the alternative regenerative ag scene, is that I don’t know that that particular thing about organic farming is the bag of nitrogen fertilizer a win?

Robb: It might be from a sustainability and carbon footprint. I don’t know that going and catching fish and turning it into meal to be a nitrogen fertilizer source is really all that smart of a use of that fish. It’s kind of perplexing, and it has some minerals in it and everything, and there are some reasons to do that but when we’re really… The thing is a lot of this stuff is super arbitrary. Between the two of us, Nicki has been more fired up about this thing needs to be organic, that thing needs to be organic.

Nicki: Well, I’m just really picky about strawberries, whatever the top 10-

Robb: The dirty dozen or whatever. Yeah.

Nicki: The dirty dozen or whatever. Yeah. I’m pretty picky about that, but otherwise we don’t always… I mean, our apples are not always… We try to get things locally, farmer’s market or neighbors and whatnot or what we can grow, but the stuff we buy at the store isn’t always organic.

Robb: Right. Right. One thing I’ve noticed is I just like organic carrots more. I just feel like they taste better and they tend to be in better condition for the most part.

Nicki: Tomatoes, strawberries.

Robb: Tomatoes, some strawberries, so mine’s become a little bit more of a qualitative thing. Does it seem to taste better? Does it just seem to be in better shape? Then I’ll go that way. But for a family that’s, again, trying to balance a tight budget… And God, I read this thing the other day that the reported inflation rate is like 9. something percent.

Nicki: 1%.

Robb: Which I think we’ve mentioned in other podcasts. If we still looked at inflation the way that they used to up until the mid-1990s, that inflation rate is probably really double that. But food inflation, the reported stuff with current monkey business included is something like 15% inflation. That’s like, holy shit, you know? In that case, it’s like your Costco or Walmart flat of ground beef, your giant sack of white potatoes, your big bag of white rice, a big thing of salad greens, whatever, I think you just do whatever you can do to stay in the fight.

Robb: Again, I think that all of that stuff is better versus going for the processed food and the lower quality food, the lower nutrient density food. This is again where we end up on the bad side of the regenerative side, where you have some people like Dave Asprey made this statement that if people can’t afford… He was emphatic that people should only eat grass-fed meat. Then somebody said, “Well, what if they can’t afford it?” Then he said, “Then they should fast.”

Robb: I was like, “For how fucking long?” This just shows how disconnected some assholes are from the world. It’s like, oh, so a family of four, husband and wife, they’re just getting going, they’ve got two kids, they’re trying to do right. Trying to feed them well.

Nicki: They’re going to have their kids fast.

Robb: The kids fast? Again, for how long? Versus like, no, the conventional meat is just fine. The conventional carrots are just fine. All of that is still so orders of magnitude better than eating a primarily processed food diet. Period. Full stop. Done. This is where the perfectionism becomes the antithesis or antagonistic to good enough. Just whole foods are good enough.

Robb: There may be some downsides to them again, but the upsides so outweigh the downsides, in my opinion, that it’s huge. If, and when it makes sense that you want to buy organic or that’s amenable to you, that’s great, but it’s a really not perfect certification.

Nicki: It’s also very costly on the part of the farmer to get that certification, so a lot of people do organic farming, but they can’t have the label, or they can’t technically use that term because they haven’t paid to have the proper certification.

Robb: We’ve had friends that they were doing amazing regenerative farming. They had both animals and their plant material and everything, but they would have a fence set up that the fence posts had been there for 20 years and had been treated and they would need to tear up their whole fencing operation, put in more fencing, like a hundred thousand dollars of infrastructure. I just don’t think… Okay, these treated fence posts have some creosote in them.

Robb: From my risk assessment world, if you’re Dave Asprey and you’ve got money falling out of your asshole and you want to do every little thing and dot every i and cross every t, great. That is not the other 99% of us. I think that that’s the type of stuff. Nicki’s point is really well made. There are lots of people producing lots of great food. Sometimes they can’t do the certification because maybe their neighbor isn’t organic and so they’re like, “Well, you might get some overspray and whatnot.” It’s still probably amazing food.

Robb: Also, it is really cost-prohibitive and these folks… The margins on farming and ranching are skinny as hell and particularly for the small-time operators. It’s just all these layers that make the organic certification just questionable. I think it was well-intentioned and then like most certifications, it became more about making the certifiers money than actually providing a legitimate consumer protection module or mode.

Robb: Yeah. Now we end up with situations where people are like, “Well, I can’t afford organic meat and so I’ll eat a bagel.” Which was… From my old-

Nicki: Early on. Yeah.

Robb: … paleo solution days, like early, early, I literally would have people say stuff like that. It’s like, “No, no, this isn’t [inaudible] for you.”

Nicki: The bagel is not the way. All right. Anything else?

Robb: Always more, but I’ll shut my mouth in.

Nicki: Okay. Thank you all for listening to another episode of the Healthy Rebellion Radio. Please check out our show sponsor, LMNT, for all of your electrolyte needs. You can grab those at, with two Bs. Hope you all have a fabulous weekend, get some sun, and we’ll see you next week.

Robb: Bye everybody.

Nicki: Bye.

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