Brian Kateman is co-founder of the Reducetarian Foundation, dedicated to the very uncontroversial idea that we should all be eating fewer animal products.
And he's the co-director and star of a new documentary, “Meat Me Halfway,” which just premiered on iTunes, Amazon Prime, Vimeo on Demand, Google Play, YouTube, and Vudu.
I watched the movie last week, and was struck by how it took a common artistic device – the “naive” narrator who stands in for the audience and takes them on a journey of discovery – and subverted it by, well, actually grappling with tough issues rather than driving to a foregone conclusion.
The one thing Kateman and the film are sure about, is that factory farming is an unmitigated disaster and needs to be replaced by something better.
Whether that “better” is plant-based meats, cell-cultured meats, or regenerative animal agriculture, Kateman doesn't know.
What he does know, after years working to reduce meat consumption, is that most people will not go vegan, ever. And insisting that only 100% abstinence from meat, dairy, and fish is the only acceptable outcome is doomed to failure.
Kateman is wonderfully humble about solutions, strategies, and tactics. In his conversations with animal rights activists who criticism reducetarianism for not being enough, for tacitly approving of the murder of animals, he seeks to understand their point of view rather than defend his own.
Indeed, his acceptance of an invitation to a “pig save” vigil helps him sympathize with their critique of his own advocacy.
Kateman also challenges himself to visit a regenerative farm in which animals are slaughtered, seeking to understand the farmer who has rejected generations of factory farming for a different system that he regards as far more humane and natural.
This is a film that plays against this cultural moment. It rejects the easy polarization and the dopamine rush we get from being “right” and vilifying those who disagree with us. It seeks compassion, common ground, and respectful dialog.
And it's a damn good story about one man's honest search for truth.
Our conversation ranged from anecdotes about filming, to the unflinching commitment to connection and exploration, to why the first scene with Kateman's parents featured (brace yourself) commercially produced guacamole.
If you are in the mood to learn, to grapple, to empathize, to cry, to laugh, and to see the good in others, this conversation and this film will do the trick.
The Reducetarian Solution book (I contributed a chapter)
“Meat is a Liberal Issue. It Shouldn't Be.” – Brian's article in Forbes 2 August 2021
Looking for Transformational Change?
You know how when you discovered plant-based eating, you basically went, “Holy shit, how come the entire healthcare system isn't totally embracing this as one of the most powerful keys to disease prevention and reversal!”?
That's how I feel now about a psychological approach to transformational change called “Memory Reconsolidation.” Few psychologists have heard about it, and when they do hear the radical transformations it can bring about in a very short time, they're often skeptical to the point of disbelief.
But I've added Memory Reconsolidation work to my own coaching, and can attest to its amazing efficacy. So much so, that I'm devoting the next year to mastering it, studying with the best clinicians and teachers in the world, and then introducing it into health coaching through my trainings.
Right now, I want to triple my coaching practice to get more and more opportunities to do this work. And I'm lowering my fees – a lot – to make it easier for people to work with me.
If you're interested in working with me (and willing to commit to a minimum of 2 months), click the link below to open the form in a new browser tab and I'll get back to you within 3 business days.
You CAN Change Other People!
Well, that's what Peter Bregman and I claim in our provocative book of that title.
What we really mean is, you can help the people around you make behavioral changes in their own best interests. If you think you're powerless to help people change, it's because you've been going about it the wrong way.
Discover our straightforward, replicable process here: You Can Change Other People.
Audiobook: Use the Weight to Lose the Weight
Listen to Josh LaJaunie and me narrate our latest audiobook, about how to start moving when you're obese.
It's $10, and Josh and I split it evenly 🙂
This podcast is not underwritten by advertising, so I can experience complete editorial autonomy without worrying about pissing off the person paying the bills. Instead, I pay the bills, with your help. It's free for those who can't afford to pay, and supported by those who can. You can contribute to the growth and improvement of the podcast by clicking the “Support on Patreon” or “Donate” buttons on the right to help out.
The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.
It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.
You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.
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