Unfortunately many of our health-care problems are self-inflicted: two-thirds of Americans are now overweight and one-third are obese. Most of the diseases that kill us and account for about 70% of all health-care spending—heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and obesity—are mostly preventable through proper diet, exercise, not smoking, minimal alcohol consumption and other healthy lifestyle choices.
Recent scientific and medical evidence shows that a diet consisting of foods that are plant-based, nutrient dense and low-fat will help prevent and often reverse most degenerative diseases that kill us and are expensive to treat. We should be able to live largely disease-free lives until we are well into our 90s and even past 100 years of age. — John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods
I recently moved from Manhattan’s East Village to Bushwick, Brooklyn. One of the first things I noticed in my neighborhood, aside from the complete demographic change, was the lack of any real grocery stores. In Manhattan, I could find all kinds of produce, specialty stores, grocery stores, pretty much anything. Of course I had a liquor store and many delis in my direct surrondings, but I could find quality food very easily.
My new neighborhood consists of basically nothing but Chinese take-out, delis, liquor stores, fast food chains, and laundromats. On Saturday, I biked around 25 miles, roundtrip, through Brooklyn to go to the beach with some friends. I saw maybe three grocery stores along my whole trip.
It’s as though John Mackey, in his recent Wall Street Journal opinion article, is completely (or conveniently) ignorant of the fact that access to organic and healthy food in industrialized and massive cities is a luxury for those living in marginalized communities, and obviously completely linked to socioeconomic conditions, which, for a lot of people, are out of their control. In The Omnivore’s Dilemma, author Michael Pollan points out that it’s a lot cheaper to feed a family on greasy fast food than it is to buy healthy, organic products. How many organic carrots can you buy for the price of any item off a $1 menu? And especially now, it’s not as though all Americans are opting to spend extra money at organic markets.
In the article, Mackey also says that the right to healthcare, food, and shelter have never been American, as they were never mentioned in neither the Constitution nor the Declaration of Independence. He suggests that healthcare isn’t something all Americans should have, but instead is best provided by “mutually beneficial market exchanges,” which, of course, is only convenient if you can afford it.
Doesn’t Mackey know the kind of people that shop at Whole Foods, and have made him into a many-times-over millionaire? I don’t think most of them take well to articles that open with a Margaret Thatcher quote about the evils of socialism.
I guess I’m glad, nonetheless, that people are now boycotting Whole Foods and aren’t so clueless about what a well-oiled and evil company it is.