February 24th, 2014

The pseudoscience of Whole Foods

Whole Foods peddles a lot of stuff that makes upscale liberals feel good about themselves but has little evidence to back it up as especially healthful.

But Whole Foods continues to rake it in. That’s because, IMHO, Whole Foods is actually a place where the health-conscious can go to get really decadent food and not feel so bad about it. Much of what is sold there is dessert that’s every bit as fat-filled and sugar-laden as anywhere, but it looks beautiful and most of it tastes pretty darn good and after all, we bought it at Whole Foods, so the calorie count doesn’t matter.

I am as guilty as the next person, although my relative but not absolute distance from a Whole Foods protects me somewhat:

Yesterday I went to Whole Foods.

I don’t live very close to one. But not too very far away, either. Perhaps just right (in the Goldilocks sense), because any closer and I’d be a lot poorer and a lot fatter, and any further away and I’d be sadder.

Yesterday I succumbed, as I sometimes do, to the seductive call of a piece of Whole Foods almond cream cake. After I’d partaken of its delicately perfumed, almond scented, moist and tender—well, you get the idea—it occurred to me that, unlike its policy with much of the rest of its food, Whole Foods is mum on the calorie content.

That stuff is ambrosia. I’d better stop writing right now before I get a yen for it that I’ll need to satisfy.

27 Responses to “The pseudoscience of Whole Foods”

  1. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Is Whole Foods pseudoscience really surprising? Liberals value feelings and appearance far more than content and facts. Just liberal attachment to the new religion of environmentalism demonstrates that truism.

  2. JimG33 Says:

    We live in the East Village in Manhattan. There’s a Whole Foods two blocks away, and another across the street from my doctor’s office. As opposed to any of the other markets in this area WF carries Chilean Sea Bass, certified sustainable. How can I resist even at $28 a pound. Maybe once a year, OK?

  3. Gringo Says:

    I stopped any purchasing of necessary foods at Whole Foods when it stopped stocking bulk soy flour. When you have twenty :) different types of granola in bulk, can’t you at least stock soy flour in bulk?

    As Neo points out, Whole Foods has some delicious but decadent baked goods. I did occasionally purchase them, with an eye to my waistline. Then they stopped stocking “Italian” Cream Cake [in quotation marks because it appears to me it would be more accurately called Southwestern], probably because sales didn’t keep up. It was very popular since the 1970s, but it appears that Tres Leches has taken over. A shame, because Whole Foods made a very good version of “Italian” Cream Cake. As Whole Foods has stopped making “Italian” Cream Cake, and stopped stocking bulk soy flour, my trips there have gone towards zero.

  4. vanderleun Says:

    One would think that Whole Foods would continue to rake it in rather than “rack it in,” but that’s just one/me.

  5. vanderleun Says:

    I would of course love to sample “Whole Foods almond cream cake.” but my Virgil forbids me.

  6. expat Says:

    I went to the Whole Foods in Princeton twice last year when we were in the states. I was totally turned off by the vegan chicken salad and vegan crab cakes (I’m a Marylander) that they offered. The whole place just reeks of moral superiority. I’ll bake my own cakes. They will be far better for my blood pressure than dealing with Whole Foods.

  7. Ymarsakar Says:

    Zombies must feel good… instinct is all they have left.

  8. Sgt. Mom Says:

    Eh … I like Trader Joes better – the house brands are fantastic, and we have a local organic food place which used to be called Sun Harvest Farms (now called Sprouts) – which has the same kind of ethic as Whole Paycheck, but a bit less damaging on the pocketbook. And their bulk foods and spices offerings are at least as good and as varied.

  9. JuliB Says:

    I prefer to buy seafood and some meats at Whole Foods. Their rankings are important to me. I don’t care about the organic produce, etc. And the desserts do not tempt me at all.

  10. Tara Says:

    I was about to comment about liking Whole Foods because they carry so many interesting types of candies and pasta, but then I realized I was getting Whole Foods mixed up with World Market.

    So… I don’t know about Whole Foods, but World Market has some pretty cool stuff.

  11. Doom Says:

    I enjoy WFs as much as the next, for select items. And, for the things I like there, while the quality is much better, the prices really aren’t higher. Not on everything. Salami and other dried meats cost no more than at my local store but are worlds apart in quality. And, sea food usually isn’t more expensive, but they ship and treat it right, and pull it not only before it is bad but before it is dull. Cheeses, on the other hand, are ungodly expensive there, while the quality/taste difference can be iffy. Some of their cheeses can’t be found almost anywhere else though too.

    I have a suspicion that the two groups who shop there, and at other coops, are the high end liberal minded and… drug dealers. Well, and a few of us who have gained a taste for some specialty items, if we are vastly the minority. It’s a good place for both the typical sorts to bury cash, sort of.

    As for produce, or anything else like it, from what I have found in tons of cooking experiments on my own? Go with fresh. Drop the organic, or super organic, or whatever else, and pick the freshest. That really will see a difference at the table, but that is it. I used my last organo-Gaia-treehugger gal-pal to test. Not honestly, mind you, she is a snob otherwise, and couldn’t be counted on to be honest. “Not organic? Then I am allergic!” she might well have said. Freshness, that’s about it. IMNSHO. :p

  12. Lurch Says:

    This “whole” foods store is proof of the old adage “There’s a sucker born every minute.” They found a niche in the market and exploited it to the max. Good for them.

  13. physics geek Says:

    I don’t shop at Whole Foods mainly because I don’t get any sense of moral superiority from doubling my grocery bill. Also, since most of their moral preening about how healthy their food is is nonsense on stilts, I would probably not shop there because the place irritates me. I will say that if I’m in the mood for high quality and/or organic food, I would rather stop by Trader Joe’s. They stock delicious high quality food and manage to keep their prices in a reasonable range.

  14. John Dough Says:

    I believe the founders and owners of WF are conservative and founded WF to appeal to the arrogant liberal attitude willing to pay 2 or 3 times for food to make them feel superior. I believe they could sell rubber tire pieces to the Libs if they put “Organic” on the label and charged $25 per pound.

  15. Gringo Says:

    John Dough

    I believe the founders and owners of WF are conservative and founded WF to appeal to the arrogant liberal attitude willing to pay 2 or 3 times for food to make them feel superior.

    John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, has made comments about health care insurance which have not gone over well with the prog crowd that shops at Whole Foods.

    I believe they could sell rubber tire pieces to the Libs if they put “Organic” on the label and charged $25 per pound.

    Yes, they could, but they have standards. The rubber must come from trees from the Amazon rain forest and not from a chemical plant that manufactures synthetic rubber.

  16. waltj Says:

    You mean “Whole Paycheck”? I checked out one in the Tampa Bay area when I was back in the States recently, and while it had some things I liked, the local Publix had many of the same or very similar items, for way less money. Organic? Check. Free-range? Check. Hormone-and-antibiotic free? Check. And, horror of horrors, both the Super Wal-Mart and the Super Target also had many of these same buzzword-laden foods, at even lower cost. Although my wannabe foodie nephew (otherwise a good kid) and his wife love WF, I’d rather keep the b.s. content to a minimum and pay restaurant prices for food only when I’m at a restaurant.

  17. Paul A'Barge Says:

    rake it in, not rack

  18. neo-neocon Says:

    Paul A’Barge:

    Will fix it, thanks!

  19. vanderleun Says:

    And about time too!

  20. vanderleun Says:

    I mean I told you over a day ago ….. but do you ever listen to me? NOOOOOOooooooooo!

  21. neo-neocon Says:


    Quit racking me over the coals.

  22. vanderleun Says:

    Ay, let herpass. She hates him that would upon the rack of this tough world stretch her out longer. Except he be her chiropractor.

  23. vanderleun Says:

    For lo in a world of rack and ruin only the chiropractor is not the one that would ruin thy rack.

  24. vanderleun Says:

    Which, if thy rack was ruined, the only known cure would be extended rack time.

  25. vanderleun Says:

    And after, being well rested from my extended rack time I could rise from my rack for a game of pool and say, with all those great Fats of Minnesota, “Rack ‘em up.”

  26. vanderleun Says:

    A clean break after such a racking would only be the beginning to my quest to rack up points in pool.

  27. vanderleun Says:

    All things considered in that run above one would have to say that I have a great rack racket.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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