Whole Foods Market may sell animal products along with its plant-based offerings, but its founder, John Mackey, became a vegan in 2003. Mackey, of course, is aware of the contradiction.
“People often ask me, ‘How can you feel this way and still sell meat at Whole Foods Market?’” he writes in The Whole Foods Diet: The Lifesaving Plan for Health and Longevity.
Mackey observes that while he can’t force his customers to go plant-based, his hugely successful stores have become a platform for raising the vegan-diet profile. His stated goal?
“I would love it if Whole Foods were pushed to sell only plant foods because that’s what consumers demanded!”
The chain he founded nearly four decades ago has become one of the best-known supermarket brands in the United States. And it all began after Mackey adopted veganism for ethical reasons and read Dr. Colin Campbell’s landmark book The China Study.
Campbell’s research intrigued him so much that he continued reading every book or study he could find on plant-based nutrition. By then, however, Whole Foods had grown so much that he couldn’t impose his personal food preferences on the corporation’s buying decisions.
Mackey co-authored The Whole Foods Diet with Alona Pulde, MD and Matthew Lederer, MD. They’re the husband-and-wife physicians featured in filmmaker Brian Wendel’s revolutionary Forks Over Knives documentary.
He says, of working with his long-time friends:
“Matt and Alona bring their combined three decades of real-world medical practice… and I add my four decades of intensively studying food and diet… at the forefront of the natural and organic foods revolution.”
The Whole Foods Diet, in other words, is the work of three crusaders committed to focusing, not on the differences among those in the plant-based movement, but on their commonalities!