A year ago, Mackey came across a book called “The Engine 2 Diet,” by an Austin, Texas, firefighter and former professional triathlete named Rip Esselstyn. Basically, you eat plants: you are a rabbit with a skillet. Mackey had been a vegetarian for more than thirty years, and a vegan for five, but the Engine 2 book, among others, helped get him to give up vegetable oils, sugar, and pretty much anything processed. He lost fifteen pounds. This thinking about his body dovetailed with a recession that left many shoppers reluctant or unable to spend much money on the fancy or well-sourced food that had been the stores’ mainstay. Mackey, in a stroke of corporate transubstantiation, declared that Whole Foods would go on a diet, too. It would focus on stripped-down healthy eating. Fewer organic potato chips, more actual potatoes. He told the Wall Street Journal in August, “We sell a bunch of junk.”
Yep, Whole Foods isn’t really ALL whole foods but increasingly processed stuff with labels like "organic," "vegetarian," "vegan." The tofu processed "food" section is an abomination and probably — given the unfermented soy — worse than Hot Pockets. On the other hand of being fair, a vegan that gives up vegetable oils (go Nutiva coconut oil, John! You sell it and that’s where I buy it), sugar and processed food just might be reasonably OK. But at least understand Kleiber’s Law, and realize that we had to evolve eating meat to get a big brain and small gut, unlike our primate ancestors. And John? Read The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith who spent 20 years as a vegan.
As to the environment, I suppose that in one respect it’s a sliding scale for me. Going to Costco is always depressing, and if not for the junk, the QUANTITIES in the shopping carts — though I realize that for some it’s the equivalent of a small restaurant supply. Next is the standard supermarket and I just marvel at the crap people fill their carts with (do I need to elaborate?). Next would be Trader Joe’s. Far better than the previous two. Then there’s Whole Foods. The environment is nice, and ditching the upscale crap, which is still crap, would be a very positive change.