Part II of my 2013 Joe Rogan interview exclusive centers around meat consumption and fake meat, how he maintains himself physically and his thoughts on wildlife conservation. If you missed part one of this three part series, you can catch it here.
Steph: Please tell me about the fake meat thing. I saw this on your twitter and I'm very interested in it.
Joe: Well, they've figured out a way to make synthetic meat. They're essentially cloning cow tissue. They take cow tissue and clone it. I think it costs several hundred thousand dollars for one cheeseburger, because it's really expensive to clone meat in this day and age. But what was expensive in 1969, like a supercomputer, now that sits in your pocket. Your phone is much stronger than the supercomputers they had that filled up buildings. The idea is today it costs several hundred thousand dollars to make this cheeseburger, but within several decades it will be just a couple of dollars.
It's interesting. If we do that, we would eliminate the need to have slaughterhouses and eliminate the need to feed these animals all sorts of different antibiotics as well. It's interesting. But it's also kind of freaky. There are a lot of problems with it.
Steph: When you have companies like Monsanto that are out there genetically modifying our food already, that's kind of scary.
Joe: It certainly is. What gets scary about that, and this is the real important point, is the bottom line. When I say the bottom line, what I mean is money. When you have a company like Monsanto, what's scary about what they're doing is that their goal is not to make a healthier world. Their goal is not to make babies more resistant to diseases and have everyone happier and living in a world with less pollution. That's not their goal. Their goal is to make f**kloads of money. That's the most important thing. Make as much money as is humanly possible.
There is so much shady shit attached to Monsanto that it hurts your feelings when you read it. There was speculation a few years back that Monsanto bought Blackwater. I don't know if that's true, and I don't know if it could even be traced, but when you're talking about a company that makes genetically modified foods, a company that is responsible for thousands and thousands of farmers committing suicide because they can't keep paying for seeds and go into massive amounts of debt? Just look up the amount of people in India that have committed suicide because of Monsanto, it's insane. In Brazil they've actually sued Monsanto and won. All these farmers in Brazil sued Monsanto because of their practices.
It's an incredibly shady organization. When you ask why, it's because it's a corporation. The most important thing for a corporation is to make money. That's what they're trying to do. They're trying to make assloads of money, and along the way you've got to break a few eggs, so that's what they do. The way they have it set up with seeds that only grow for one season, and seeds that grow plants you can't get seeds from, there's so much shady shit involved in that. It's just so completely f**ked.
If Monsanto was just genetically modifying food to make them more nutritious, or make them resistant to certain bugs, that would be one thing. That's not what's going on. There's evidence that these genetically modified plants kill bees. There's a lot of evidence that pesticides are involved in the massive decline in bee populations. You don't hear Monsanto jumping forward saying, ‘We're doing everything we can to make sure that bee populations stay healthy.' No. They sweep that shit under the rug as quickly as possible, because they don't want to get sued, because they don't want to lose money, and that's the bottom line.
We have a real problem with corporations. It's not that corporations are necessarily evil, because corporations create all the cool shit that we enjoy. They make televisions and computers and cars, and all the shit that makes life fun. The problem is that we live in this weird world, where it's ok to put money ahead of humanity. That should never be the case, but until we have that established, until that's pumped into business schools and pumped into our society, that it should be ethics and morals first [it will be]. It should be the happiness of the community first. Do as little damage as possible while achieving the desired means of helping people. Making money? Yes, but helping people. People need to realize, they're going to f**king die someday. This shit is not forever, it's temporary, and along the way you're going to have to make some choices. Those choices seem like the right choices when you can get away with it. It seems like the right choice to make a shitload of money and f**k a bunch of people over as long as people have done it already.
I have a joke in my act that guys like to keep really fucked up friends around, because all a guy needs is one friend who is way more fucked up than him and he feels fine. No matter how crazy you are, you can always go, ‘Hey, at least I'm not like Tommy!' People love to do that. It's a rationalization that people love to make. I think corporations get away with looking at the past and the history of corporations and what they've done.
Look at when Eisenhower warned people about the military industrial complex in the 1950's. Look at what has existed throughout time. There have always been corporations that have controlled resources, or have cut corners by polluting the environment, instead of properly disposing of waste, because it was more profitable to do it that way. There is a long, rich history of corporations doing that. That's always going to be a problem.
Steph: You sir, are a meat eater, but you're also super health conscious. Is there ever going to come a point where you stop eating meat?
Joe: No, meat is healthy. It's unquestionably healthy. In fact, I read something that may or may not be true, but I'm going to stick with it because it suits my needs, that all of the people that have lived to be over 100 have eaten meat. I don't know if that's true, but it sounds good, doesn't it? [Laughs]
What I like to do is eat wild game. I think that's the healthiest food. I like to eat wild fish whenever possible. I recently ate some bear that I got from a friend recently who went bear hunting, and that tasted pretty good too. I think that's the most ethical way to acquire food and also the healthiest way to acquire food.
When you eat a deer that has been hunted, that deer didn't even know you were there until it was too late. It's not like it lived its entire life in fear in a barn, worrying about when it was going to be killed, seeing its friends killed and confined to a tiny space. No, a free range deer is in the wild, running around as if humans didn't exist at all. I went hunting last season and shot a deer in the bad lands of Montana, which is an incredibly wild place. Over the course of 5 days we saw maybe three people the entire time, and they were on canoes coming down the Missouri river, just like we were.
So, the deer that I ran into? It's very possible they've never seen a person, ever. If I didn't shoot that deer, it probably would have been eaten by a predator or frozen to death. That, to me, is the most ethical and healthiest way to acquire meat. It's also going to give you the most nutrients. Those animals are eating just grass, the stuff they've been eating for thousands of years before humans even came here.
I think that animal protein has a lot of health benefits. What people are worried about is saturated fats and cholesterol and all sorts of things. Some of that comes from animals eating corn. It's not unhealthy to eat animal protein. What's unhealthy is to eat too much animal protein, and the sedentary lifestyle of Americans.
When you talk about the average person's diet, a lot of people have a really shitty diet. You know who else has a really shitty diet? Michael Phelps. Michael Phelps eats like 10,000 f**king calories a day. The guy eats gigantic cheeseburgers and huge pizzas, but the difference is Michael Phelps works out like a f**king demon all day. He needs thousands and thousands of calories. If the average person ate what Michael Phelps does, they would be incredibly unhealthy, but you look at him and he's ripped and sexy.
It's all a matter of how much food you're getting in compared to how much you need, and what kind of nutrients you're getting. I think we can learn a lot about diet. There is so much to learn. We're still discovering things every day. There are all sorts of studies coming out saying, ‘oh, fish oil is causing cancer.' Then you look deeper into that study and the study gets debunked a few weeks later. It doesn't cause cancer, it's just a shitty study. It's very difficult to figure out what the f**k is actually going on. It's really hard. We can certainly learn more about diet and the human body, but we do already know a lot.
One of the things we do know is you need a lot of leafy green vegetables in your diet. You need fruit, you need vegetables and you need protein. I know healthy people who get their protein completely from plant matter, it is possible, but you have to be very diligent about that. You have to make sure you get a variety of different types of plant protein, because most plant protein is not complete.
The difference between plant protein and animal protein is pretty distinct. There are a few types of plant protein that are fairly complete; hemp protein is very good, quinoa is very good and there are other plants that are rich in all the amino acids, but it's more tricky. There were some people recently who were vegans that were arrested because their kid died from malnutrition. The mother was breastfeeding and the child didn't get enough vitamin B12. You have to supplement with vitamins sometimes if your diet isn't complete and you're trying to go vegan.
The animal eating issue for a lot of people is more of a moral issue than a health issue, because when it comes down to a health issue, there's not much evidence that eating animal protein is bad for you, and there's plenty that it's good for you.
Steph: What are your thoughts on conservation programs to keep areas of land where wild game can thrive?
Joe: I think we definitely need a certain amount of wild area in this country, just to appreciate it. One of the things that I really love about Boulder, Colorado is Boulder sets up a lot of what they call "open space", where they don't let people build. You can't just put up giant stacks of condominiums and turn Boulder into New York City, they're not going to allow it. I think that's important. It preserves the beauty of the environment.
We have cities already. We have Los Angeles. We already have places that we fucked up. We can go there and see that. I think there's plenty of evidence showing that's not the way to do it, that there's probably a better way than living like that. Living like that all over the whole planet would really suck. If the whole planet was New York City and we lost Yellowstone, man, what the f**k? You would miss out on a giant chunk of what makes life majestic. One of the most majestic things about life is nature.
To me, one of the most beautiful forms of artwork that a human being can experience is just nature itself. We'll pay thousands of dollars for paintings and sculptures and different things that people love to look but, and we're just trying to get that feeling that you get when you stare at something beautiful. That feeling you get when you see something artistic, whether it's the human body, or an incredible looking car, there's a cool feeling we get when we see things. The best version of that is nature. The best version of getting that good feeling from seeing something artistic is seeing nature itself; seeing mountains and oceans and coral reefs. If that stuffs all gone and we're just living in big stone and cement houses? Fuck, we ruined it. We missed out on one of the most important aspects of being a human being.
Steph: You're 46 but you have the body of a 25 year old, you really do. You are in immaculate shape. You work hard for that. You eat right, you exercise and you do all the right things. Is that for quality of life now, or is it more for longevity reasons to be around longer for your children and their children?
Joe: It's certainly both. I would love to be around for my children, no doubt about it. I love being a dad and the last thing I would want is my kids to miss me because I was an idiot and didn't eat right, but It's not totally selfless; I would still do it even if I didn't have children. I would still take care of my body. One, because I'm sane, two because I love doing jiu-jitsu. I'm on a hiatus right now from jiu-jitsu because I've been having back problems, but they're almost entirely worked out now, I'm almost 100%. I'm giving myself the right amount of time for rehabilitation this time. To enjoy jiu-jitsu you have to be in good shape, otherwise you just get f**king strangled all the time. I've been doing Jiu-jitsu for a huge part of my life; it's been a big part of my life since 1996, so that's another reason why I enjoy exercise.
Also, I like blowing off stress. One of the most underrated aspects of exercise is the effect on the mind. I have friends that are really intelligent who sort of pooh-pooh taking care of the body as if it's some sort of egotistical, vapid approach. I think they're doing their mind a disservice by not clearing out all the cobwebs that come from stress and hormones building up. There is all sorts of fight or flight shit going on and reward systems that are in place in your body that are not being managed by day to day society working in a cubicle or sitting in your car in traffic. There are all sorts of things that your body doesn't do that it's sort of designed to do.
For me, one of the best ways of staying level is forcing myself to exercise extremely hard. Extreme, rigorous exercise. I have two gyms in my house. I have one gym that's set up full of weights, kettle bells, chin ups and stuff like that. I have an elliptical machine in there and all sorts of different weights and a gravity bar to hang from my ankles. My other gym is an MMA gym. It's in my garage and it's all matted. It has heavy bags and it has a TV that I watch fights on to get motivated, and I work out there. That keeps me sane. It keeps my stress level low.
There's a big difference between how I respond to situations in life when I've been working out hard on a regular basis and not. If I get out of jiu-jitsu class after a really hard roll and a boulder landed on my car, I'd be bummed out, but my reaction would be so different than if I was on my way to class all tense and angry cause I haven't had a chance to work out for a few weeks, and a boulder landed on my car. Then I would be like, ‘What the f**k!?' The perspective changes depending on the stress level.
Do you ever run into someone, like in a traffic situation, maybe you didn't let him in when he wanted to get in or whatever, but the person reacts like you tried to fucking kill their children? They scream at you, they're flipping the finger and getting in front of you and hitting the brakes. I think we've all experienced someone in the middle of severe road rage. A lot of the times when you're dealing with a person like that, you're catching them at 9 on the stress scale, and this one little incident sets them to 10 instantly, which doesn't make any sense to you. If that person just took a vacation and worked out every day, or took a yoga class then got in their car and the same incident happened, they'd honk the horn, you'd lift your hand up to say sorry, and they'd lift theirs back. The same scenario, but approached by a person who has extracted the stress from their body, has a wildly different result.
I think we would all do ourselves a world of good if we removed the stress from our lives and took care of our bodies. If I had a company, a place where everybody showed up at work, one of the things I would do is set up a fucking gym. Set it up, have it be free and give people an hour every day, even if it means they only work seven hours a day instead of eight. I would be happy to have someone who only works seven hours a day instead of eight, but they work out for an hour. Then I would think I'm giving them something back, giving them something for free, alleviating their stress, lightening their load and, I would assume, improving their quality of life. I think most people burden themselves down with a lot of stress and don't give themselves nearly enough release from that stress.
You can catch the final segment of this exclusive interview feature tomorrow. If you missed part I, you can catch it here.
You can follow Joe via his Twitter account, @JoeRogan