The Hole in Whole Foods

Jun 24

The Hole in Whole Foods

For me, living in a somewhat remote rural area in upper Bucks County PA has far more rewards than hassles. The lack of traffic, less pollution, a bit slower pace of life, and the beauty of nature just outside my door is, by far, more preferable than the bustle of city or even suburban life. Having the nearest grocery store more than 10 miles away is a good thing in my mind.

That being said, for my hobby/profession and my business, there are some drawbacks.  Imagine a whole foods chef who had never shopped in a Whole Foods Market….that was me, up until a week ago.  Of course, I knew of Whole Foods Market, which I believed to be a great place to go if you want organic, whole foods. Not processed, canned food, not boxes of macaroni & cheese mix, not foods made w/ GMO ingredients, and a minimum of the disingenuously labeled “natural” foods.  So I was happy when  I had the opportunity to go with friends to a Whole Foods Market.

As you walk into the store, the artfully arranged produce is gorgeous, the lighting perfectly bringing out the brilliant colors of the large variety of vegetables.  It surprised me to see , however, that there were many produce items without organic labels. As I walked the aisles of the store I saw more and more non-organic items, and worse, the word “natural” was EVERYWHERE. Top that with many items (such as Kashi cereals) that are made with GMO grains, and my happy little delusion of Whole Foods being an organic Mecca was destroyed.

“Natural” means nothing. Arsenic is a “natural” product, but we don’t want to eat it. “Natural” meats  from beef cattle, chickens, pigs, and lambs that are fed gmo grains cannot be labeled organic, but they can still be called “natural” and so we think they are safe to eat. In reality, we are just guinea pigs for the companies that genetically engineer crops that are raised for eventual human consumption. There are no long term studies to show how GMO’s affect humans….We are the studies, our children are the studies. These companies (such as Monsanto) are so powerful that they have been successful in fighting the labelingof GMO foods and have made large companies such as Whole Foods Markets roll over and agree to “co-exist”. By quietly kowtowing to these GMO giants, Whole Foods has in truth, become one of them, a collaborator in the worldwide experiment of the effects of genetically  engineered foods on human beings.

The aisles of canned soups, boxes of just-add-water instant foods, GMO grains and the toxin laced personal care products (albeit with the “natural” label), all of them far more expensive than comparable or the same products that I could buy at the supermarket closest to my home, left me surprised and dismayed, and in the end, angry, angry at feeling like I had been duped, like all of the other people shopping there, people who think that they are buying wholesome foods for their families.

I was not surprised afterwards to read that the CEO of Whole Foods Markets had some interesting things to say about his ideas on health care (or lack thereof) for his employees(he’s against ‘Obamacare’)he voted for Mitt Romney, not exactly an environmentally friendly guy, and in reading his comments, finding that he is an arrogant, sanctimonious man who values the bottom line over the health and welfare of his employees and his customers.

I will be shopping at my local health food store where I can find mostly USDA certified organic food. I will continue to lobby for GMO labeling, as I hope everyone who reads this will. My life is half over, and I have been exposed to and consumed my share of toxins in my 54 years. I have had a cancer diagnosis. I believe that it is late for me to make a huge difference in my own exposure, but in promoting this lifestyle for my clients and their families and in cooking organic for them I, by default, consume mostly organic foods. However, it is the children that worry me, with their growing bodies that absorb and store toxins far more readily.

If you have bought into the big lie that is Whole Foods Market, I hope that you will think again before handing over your hard earned cash for over-priced non-whole foods.  Check out the link below for more information.

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