How to Mastermind World Domination, Fight Acne with Fruits and Veggies, and GMO-Full Whole Foods : The 7 Things I Learned This Week

Sunday Jul 31, 2011 | BY |
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world domination gmo labeling
Jonny 5 is incubating his world domination plans secretively. This list: non-GMO cat nip, non-toxic scratching posts, and peace in the Middle East.

This week, I’m a mini-activist.

We’ve set up a few things to make change in our new state, so this week I want to talk about them.

In this 7 Things I Learned This Week, I cover how to create a strong community, how one of our own got rid of her acne, my reasoning for giving up on Whole Foods, how to help us push for GMO labeling and more.

Let’s get started…

1. How to mastermind world domination.

Well, maybe not world domination, but…

When we moved to the Bay Area, I was excited.

I was excited for the weather, the access to nature and city, the great food and markets and hundreds of other things. Every day when I walk outside I tell Annmarie how much I love it here. (Ask her, it’s true. Some days she’s counted up to 10 times.)

Another thing I was excited about was being a part of a community.

As you may know the Bay Area is quite progressive in many ways and grassroots community activism is what gets a lot of things done around here. It’s been my dream to not only talk about change, but actually personally help make it happen (there’s more about this in a later item in this column!)

One way to help make change is to unite community leaders.

Last Thursday night, Annmarie and I hosted a dinner for small group of community leaders from around the Bay that have been doing some amazing things long before we got here. We thought it would be fun to get together with them to let them know we support what they’re doing and see what we could do together to collaborate.

We’ve been around the country now more than a few times and we’ve seen cities where communities are divided and others that are together. Of course, as always, the groups that come together get more accomplished (plus, there’s definitely a lot less time-sucking gossip!)

So this was our goal with our dinner. To bring people together. (Luckily, here everyone is pretty much together anyway, LOL! We’re the outcasts…)

The reason why doing this important, is because anything that’s ever happened – that’s made national or global change – has been a collaboration.

Do you think that Martin Luther King did his work alone? Do you think one person fought hard enough to get gay marriage passed in New York? Of course not. These were huge movements with many leaders working together. (So, there is a link to taking over the world after all!)

So my question to you – if you really want to make change – is how can you bring people together? How can you unite leaders and members of your community?

It’s something to think about.

Can you host a dinner with some leaders – authors, meet-up group organizers, political figures? Can you have a meeting based around a common theme or mission? Can you connect leaders who may not know each other?

You’d be surprised at what doing just one of these things can do to help create relationships and friendships that last a lifetime.

Keep in mind, when doing this, you can’t have any ulterior motives here like selling your product or getting people to subscribe to your beliefs as a host or as a leader. The idea is to let ideas organically surface and create bonds and friendships that last. You can have an agenda, but let it take a backseat until someone asks you about it.

So my challenge to you is this, now that you know how to do it, are you going to do something about it? Or are you going to sit on the sidelines?

(Just a little fire under the seat for ya… LOL!)

2. Raw Food Challenge success.

This week we took hundreds of people through the Raw Food Challenge.

This is a 7 day raw food cleansing program that we started last year. Since then we’ve taken over 3500 people through it and had some amazing results.

One of the best results have come from our own team member Ashley who started working with us about a month and a half ago.

When we started promoting our 2011 Raw Food Challenge back in June, she came up with the idea to do it along with everyone else and blog about her process. I thought it was a great idea and a great way to introduce her to you, so we ran with it.

Each day this week, she’s written a fun and insightful blog about her journey.

What’s even better is that she’s got some great results along the way.

As a long term vegetarian, she still had some issues with allergies and acne that wouldn’t go away. She had seen doctors, specialists, you name it – with little results.

Within four days of the Raw Food Challenge, her acne started to disappear.

I know how frustrating (and psychologically trying) acne can be, so I’m thrilled this program worked for her.

She’s now eliminating dairy from her diet for a while to see if she will continue to get the same results.

On a larger scale, others doing the Challenge have shared their success stories as well. They’ve experienced everything from weight loss, increased energy, allergies gone, and more.

It’s amazing what eating some fruits and vegetables can do, isn’t it?

(If you’re interested, here’s where you can read more about the Challenge: Raw Food Challenge 2011)

3. Are these really great things about America?

About a month ago, I found an article on CNN Money (Fortune) that listed the 100 great things about America. Here are a few “American” things that have made the top 25:

– Sears Tower (Willis Tower) #3.
– Whole Foods is #9.
– The Rockefeller Family #12.
– Geico Commercials #24.

Of course everyone’s list will be different, but I have to think as a whole population (or at least the editors over at Fortune Magazine), we have our priorities mixed up when a building, a cartoon lizard, a dubious family and a fake health food store make the first 25 of this list.

Lists like these rarely mean anything, but at the same time they do. This one expresses the common stereotype of the American. It highlights our pop culture. What’s important and what grabs our attention.

Do you want to be perceived this way? Take a look at the list and let me know (here)… (if you’re American or not.)

Good news, is that the list isn’t all duds.

Here are some that I agree on in that top 25 (maybe not their ranking number, but their inclusion.):

– Opportunity #1: Yes, regardless of what you think, we do have opportunity.
– The Interstate Highway System #2: It is one of the reasons we have opportunity.
– Steve Jobs #8: It’s Steve Jobs.
– The Kindle #15: Amazing tool. Save up and get one. (Though this may be made in China…)

BTW: Blogging came in at #82.

(Here’s the full article: http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2011/07/01/100-great-things-about-america-part-1-2/)

4. Branding has a lot to do with it…

Under the listing for Whole Foods in the Fortune Top 100 things American, the description starts: “It’s a locavore market…”

I laughed a little when I read that.

In defense of Whole Foods, they do make it easier for local businesses to be included on their store shelves, but it’s hardly a locavore market. In fact, the store is what many locavores want to see disappear.

If you were to item by item identify the origin of each product in the store, I guarantee, you’d find at least 80-90% of the items either originated in another place (non-local), or were shipped off somewhere else (non-local) to be boxed, labeled, packaged or processed. Not exactly a locavore’s dream.

It’s their branding that has made you believe they are a big, local market (maybe not you, but at least the editors of Fortune!)

My biggest gripe about the store (no, not their high prices) is that they’ve chosen to take a relatively hands off approach to selling genetically modified foods. Their stance is that GMOs are ubiquitous, so there’s nothing they can do about it.

From Whole Foods…

“The reality is that no grocery store in the United States, no matter what size or type of business, can claim they are GMO-free. While we have been and will continue to be staunch supporters of non-GMO foods, we are not going to mislead our customers with an inaccurate claim (and you should question anyone who does). Here’s why: the pervasive planting of GMO crops in the U.S. and their subsequent use in our national food supply. 93% of soy, 86% of corn, 93% of cotton, and 93% of canola seed planted in the U.S. in 2010 were genetically engineered. Since these crops are commonly present in a wide variety of foods, a GMO-free store is currently not possible in the U.S. (Unless the store sells only organic foods.)”

In a time when we need corporate support, they’ve let the consumer down by acting like any old grocery store – caring about what sells, not what’s right.

They’ve also done some corporate speak as well. They say they care, but their actions show otherwise.

So, what’s wrong with selling all organic food? Why can’t they make the switch?

They can’t because they’ve gotten too big. Their overhead is too great. They have too many stores, employees and shareholders. Big bulky businesses are tough to budge.

But for the long term, it might be a better approach.

Here’s why…

It distinguishes them from everyone else. Eventually, Whole Foods will find itself just like every other store and wonder what happened – they may even go out of business (See Borders, Circuit City). They’ll have lost the distinction that got them going in the first place.

From a marketing perspective, if they were to sell only organic food (even at the prices they have now) they would create a seriously passionate fan base and a very strong market distinction. That market distinction, may be smaller than their existing customer base, but it would be more recession and trend proof than their existing model. Passionate people pledge allegiance to a business with a cause.

The reason they can’t do this now, like I said before, is because they are too big. A move like this would close stores, lose customers and put the business under. But if done, it would create a brand that is worth talking about – and most importantly “partnering with” by shopping there.

Sometimes bigger isn’t better.

(NOTE: How can I shop at other stores that aren’t all GMO? It’s a good question, and the answer is that Whole Foods is the most capable of doing something that will actually make change. So I’m disappointed in them like I disappointed in the star athlete that doesn’t show up and make a difference in the championship game. My expectation was higher and I’ve been let down.)

5. The push for GMO labeling…

You and I both want GMO labeling, but how is it going to happen?

Here in California, we’ve met a few people who I think can help push a law through legislation and we’re joining forces with them.

It’s been one thing to complain about things over the last few years on the blog. Now, since we’re settled, it’s time to take action.

I’ve always wanted to play a larger role in policy change. I think action like that really stands up with our philosophy of changing the world. Policy like GMO labeling in California or elsewhere can send waves through other states and cause them to adopt similar laws – eventually squashing all GMO technology and products – or at least giving the consumer a choice.

If you want to help, and you’re in the Bay Area, please come to this small meeting on August 7th with us. We’ll have activist Pamm Larry here to show us how to organize local representatives so we can make a serious push in Sacramento.

Here’s where to check this out…

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=235788419794348

6. Annmarie Skin Care samples were a BIG hit.

So big, we’re out of them.

Over the last year or so, we’ve heard your feedback that you wanted to try a few before you bought the products and we listened. (Yes, it took a while, but we came though!)

I think the sample model works well. You get a sample pack of 3 products for $10.00 (including shipping in the US) and we give you a coupon for $10.00 off a full sized product.

So if you like the samples and you buy a product, you get the samples for free.

If you don’t like the samples (which is rare!), then you’ve only invested $10.00 – which is the cost of a movie ticket. Not so bad and definitely low risk.

If you missed the deal, it will be back again soon. This first go-around was a test run to make sure everything went as planned. It’s always good to test before you do something too large.

Stay tuned…

7. Goodbye Sunday.

The NFL lockout has been lifted. Football season starts in September. My Sundays are now booked for as far as the Steelers get this season.

I was secretly wishing for the season to be cancelled because I know how much of a roller coaster it can be for a die-hard fan like me. But at the same time, everyone needs an outlet – something that they can put their attention toward that isn’t as serious as the other things they do.

Mine is football – and, yes, it’s violent, it’s barbaric, and it’s definitely “American,” but I love it just like I love green smoothies.

(Or maybe a little less.)

I want to know your thoughts: What is out outlet? What do you do that gives let’s you escape from everyday life?

**
Never Be Sick Again?

Find out if it’s true here…

http://www.renegadehealth.com/immunity/

Live Awesome!
Kev

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

65 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. manorama says:

    Do your own research a about this issue.
    Always read ingredients list and avoid those that contain any well known GMO. Whole Foods also sells non-GMO, organic, etc.

    On the other hand, labeling has become a joke, like the “organic” and “free range” (FDA definition of a food label is highly questionable this days)

  2. andy says:

    Generally speaking, all orgainics are gmo free. And, as an organic certified grocery store, Whole Foods maintains organic integrity from farm to store shelf unlike other grocers. WFM private label, 365, both organic and nonorganic, contain no intentional gmos. Additionally, Whole Foods participates with the 3rd party certifier “NonGmo Project” to further promote nongmo foods and is in the process of re-lableing their labels as such.

    The horse is outta the barn. GMOs are prevelant. Rather than rant, let’s give credit to where efforts are being made to reign in this catastrophy here in the U.S.

    • Kevin Gianni Kevin Gianni says:

      @Andy: You sound like you’re from their PR department. (Maybe you are…) “Organic certified grocery store?” What does that mean? If the store carries non-organic foods, it’s a worthless certification. That’s like saying I’m a certified recovering alcoholic, but I still get fall-over wasted 4 times a week. 🙂 There is a huge difference between PR spin and actually making a difference.

      Kev

  3. Erina says:

    i love making art and or creating things and i love being in nature walking the beach or in the woods or playing in the ocean is insanely great escape – but lately playing the words with friends app. has been a good but lame escape too

  4. Marlene says:

    What,a die-hard football fan and you aren’t in Canton, Ohio this week? We live just 5 min from the Football Hall of Fame but it would not be in our Top Ten of Stark County things to do.

    Your comments about GMO’s is why I support Organic Consumer’s Assoc..hope you have read their latest newsletter on Whole Foods and GMO’s

    Marlene
    Canton, OH

  5. Steph says:

    Does anyone (kev/annmarie) have any contacts for southern cal? I want to get involved, no gmo!

  6. lori says:

    Kevin’s rant on Whole Foods was interesting. There are always downsides to anything, a successful natural foods store chain included. I’m just glad that they’ve taken the stigma out of eating a healthier, cleaner diet for the general population.

  7. Anita says:

    So if we can’t buy Organic at Whole Foods what other choice do we have?

    • Kevin Gianni Kevin Gianni says:

      @Larry: I don’t think I’m throwing the baby out with the bathwater. There was never a point where I said that we shouldn’t shop at Whole Foods. I was voicing my disappointment at their corporate speak and what actions they’re actually taking.

      @Anita: Shop at Whole Foods if you like! I write these posts to encourage other options that may be better.

      Kev

  8. Larry says:

    Your throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
    My local Whole Foods in Florida isn’t perfect.
    But they’re Light Years better than the competition….in a GMO/Organic comparison.
    The other choices are all worse.
    As far as Locavore goes…I expected more variety at the local Greenmarkets here.
    There are none in the summer months.
    And even in the winter the varieties are quite limited.
    I agree, you have to read the labels in WF.
    But to say no to them on a blanket level, only would spite myself and the family.
    I’m more ticked off that they stopped selling Raw Milk a while ago.
    That one suggests weakness – maybe even some corruption – to their original goals.
    All one can do is be alert and aware when buying everything lately.
    Let’s go Dolphins.

  9. brian pulver says:

    Kevin, You appear to support an all natural lifestyle yet you also appear to support gay marriage. Please look up the meaning of “natural”

  10. Nice article, Kev.

    I really resonate with what you’re saying about Wholefoods becoming too big and drifting too far from their original non-gmo stance.

    It’s interesting how when I was in WF the other day here in Austin (world headquarters) that more produce seemed to be ‘conventional’ (a term that in itself is misleading) than organic.

    Yet I go to Wheatsville Coop 10 minutes away and every bit of their huge and beautiful produce section is organic. I’ve become an owner in that coop and will continue to support them.

    I’ll watch your progress on gmo labelling with interest.

  11. Mark Lloyd says:

    I have read many of the response re: Whole Foods Market and by being on the Fortune 500 list speaks volumes to me. The bottom line is the dollar and I’m certain everyone understands that.If you really want to do something it maybe time to look into getting together and start a cooperative. I know of a dozen plus coops that are thriving and never have to compromise selling GMO food. I believe it’s a matter of ethics and looking at the grand picture, our GMO’s damage the natural world and then place control of our food in the hands of a small number of individuals who dictate what you eat, the varieties available, the size, shape etc. It’s amatter of getting involved and making a difference. I too have joined the Organic Consumers Assoc.as well as exploring what it requires to start a coop. There’s a cornacopia of information out there, it just requires the intent and willingness to invest time.

  12. Sarah says:

    I have mixed feelings about Whole Foods. I want to like them, I really really do! I mean, they have given some of my friends jobs and those friends say they are a really great employer to work for. (That counts for something, doesn’t it?) But I agree with you about the GMO thing. I look carefully for the organic produce and avoid the coventional. But in the bay area we are also very spoiled and lucky. (I really love Good Earth in Fairfax). There are many places in the U.S. where organic food is incredibly difficult to find. It is more likely that a big Whole Foods store would come into areas like that than a small boutique store would. And what about places like Phoenix, Arizona? there are places where humans live but a diversity of locally grown organic crops is unlikely. (Due to climate). Sooooo, for me, mixed feelings.

    And Kevin: Steelers?? Really??? What about the Pats or the Cowboys?

  13. Sarah says:

    And by the way, is #14 commenter Russel above, the same Russell James who creates the most fantastic raw food recipes ever?? If you are, let me say your recipes are amazing!

  14. Heidi says:

    It seems strange that you would attack the Whole Foods strategy when it is the same as your own business strategy. You are upset because Whole Foods does not sell only organic foods, allows conventional foods and in not a true local store. You also mention dislike for products that are made, labeled or packaged elsewhere. Yet, your own annemarie skincare line cleary states that it only uses high quality, organic ingredients to the extent possible. So, Kevin, why are you dinging Whole Foods? Why aren’t you using only organic ingredients? Because of price demands, right? And, unless you and Annemarie are actually making and bottling your product in your kitchen yourselves and using homemade labels, how can you be upset with other companies not being local? Best to clear your own house before commenting on others.

    • Kevin Gianni Kevin Gianni says:

      @Heidi: I think you’ve read WAY to far into this and started to make some assumptions that aren’t true. All our ingredients are organic OR wildcrafted with the exception of vitamin E which is non-GMO. So the reason we don’t use all organic ingredients, unlike what you falsely suspect, is because we believe some of the wildcrafted herbs are more potent. You cannot get an organic certification on these wildcrafted herbs. I also think, just like Andy points out (in an inverse type way), that certifications are somewhat unreliable, so we’ve decided to grow our company without getting our products certified. I don’t want to pay organizations that don’t hold up to our standards of quality.

      As for the local argument, I never said I was against trade and commerce. I think getting a large portion of foods locally is best practice – maybe 80% local / 20% non. (I’ve written about this in the past.) My commentary on local here was based on the fact that Whole Foods has branded itself as local when it’s clearly not. I didn’t say anything more than that.

      Best to come over to our house, hang out, have some cinnamon tea (from Costa Rica) and clear up your assumptions, before you comment. 😉

      Kev

      @Everyone: I have no issue with opposition to my opinions and writing. In fact, I learn from many of you. I do take issue with critical assumptions that have little fact or knowledge to back them up.

  15. emma says:

    Bravo! I like where you are headed!! Thank you!

  16. Faye says:

    Whether one agrees with the comments here or not, it’s about what we buy, isn’t it? If we are looking for products that are nongmo and find them somewhere and choose to shop there, and everyone does this, the place that sells the nongmo product will get our business. I think this speaks for itself, doesn’t it.
    I live in China where if it’s organic or not, I don’t know because everything is written in Chinese! It’s also a communist country so nothing I do can help this (at least at this point in time) but I can tell others how unhealthy gmo produce are and perhaps they, in turn, can make the difference. BTW…food (all food!) has become increasingly expensive over here!

  17. kt_mm says:

    I think the point about Whole Foods is that it is in a unique position to make a difference. CEOs that stand up against the status quo do run the risk of losing it all, but there are many companies that will try to make a difference anyway and still profit by it. To put it simply, Whole Foods chickened out, let it’s base down. Whole Foods could put the pressure on it’s suppliers to label products. As for locavore, Co-ops are becoming more and more prevalent these days. As a member, what is on the shelves can be directly influenced by you. I am fortunate to have a Co-op near and it works hard to support local farms and CSA’s.

  18. Marilyn says:

    You can download a free non-gmo shopping guide at http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/.

    Jeffrey Smith leads the anti-gmo movement and has written two compelling books on reasons to avoid gmo: “Seeds of Deception” and “Genetic Roulette”. According to him 5% of the population boycotting gmo’s will create a tipping point that will put enough economic pressure on food manufactures to stop using them. They did it in Europe, we can and are doing it here in the US.

  19. Yakitah says:

    Attention Kevin,

    I would like to know if it is possible to get
    Dr.Stevens “Complete Immune Health Program via
    mail with CD’s i saw on the display advert with the book or Manual. I would prefer that
    to the MP3audio and PDF.

    I am very interested, would you please speak on that if not directly email me about it.

    Thanks
    Yakitah Jones

  20. Mary says:

    Bravo! Nos. 18 & 19.
    I like Kevin’s comments “as much as possible.” He seems to be parroting something he learned since coming to California. Been there, done that. Do something new.

  21. Kevin Gianni Kevin Gianni says:

    @Mary: Don’t understand what you’re getting at here.

  22. Darlene says:

    If not shopping at a farm market, I mainly shop at health food stores, and even there, products are on the shelves that I would not buy. I have noticed that at Whole Foods, at least where I live, there seems to be less and less organic produce available. But for certain things I buy, they are the best source. Wegmans, a local market where live, actually has a fairly large organic section with very good prices. I urge clients that they MUST READ LABELS, if they are buying any boxed products, but buying whole foods from Nature are the best choices anyway. Our best defense, now and always, is being educated consumers.

  23. Sherri says:

    Kevin,
    One is also powerful.
    Please look up “Jane Burgermeister” on Google and watch the video from Project Camelot… talk about CONSPIRACY, you will be in for a shocker.

    To me she is a true HERO of our times, as in “NOW” and no one even knows it…!!!!! She saved all of our lives.
    A “Must Watch” 😉

    And yes community is also very powerful, especially when common people are up against the “rulers” so to say.

  24. Angie says:

    I’m extremely fortunate (and GRATEFUL!) to be able to shop at a store that only sells organic food, and only nutrient-dense organic food at that. They do their research on companies and ingredients, and if a product has even one ingredient they don’t like, they don’t carry it. I have great peace of mind (and tummy) when I eat only what is sold at Real Foods Market. I wish there were stores like this everywhere!

  25. Electricmel says:

    I see your point and I feel Whole Foods could be doing more to educate their consumers about GM foods. I wonder how many items in the store would remain if they removed all products with known GM ingredients? Half? It Ain’t happening – so like much in life…educate yourself.

    On the other hand…You and your wife have been fortunate to chart your destiny and live in an area of the US with many options for local, organically grown produce. Like another commenter said, locavore shopping works well in climate specific areas. The Whole Foods stores in New Orleans offers me the chance to shop organically for my family, if I prefer, in a city with extremely limited options.

    I like to play with my children, walk the dogs, hang out with friends, listen to music and podcasts, play the guitar, cook, garden and read. And Go Dawgs (Georgia)!!!

    • Kevin Gianni Kevin Gianni says:

      @Everyone: Please! I did not say don’t shop at Whole Foods! I just said I was disappointed in them because they are in a strong position to make change. Squandered opportunities… 🙂

  26. Bt says:

    I think # 20 says it all. No matter where we live or shop, WE are the ones voting with our dollars. If you want non-gmo, buy only organic. If you want local, buy local.

    I buy nothing thats not organic, and I shop only at Whole Foods, our local coop (more limited selection), and farmers markets. Educate your families, encourage your friends: no matter what the business, theyll carry more of what people buy, and will stop carrying what people dont buy.

  27. Darlena says:

    I noticed this about Whole Foods almost a year ago….lots of GMO Canola oil, etc. I live just a few miles from you (Kevin and AnnMarie) and I shop at New Leaf Market in Santa Cruz or Half Moon Bay. It’s worth the 20-50 mile trip once a week and fill in with the local farmer’s markets. The only things I buy at Whole Foods (I live just a few miles from 5 of them so it’s convenient) is organic fresh foods, because even with organic processed, from my understanding, they don’t have to be 100% organic…. I also sometimes shop at Sprouts or Sunflower….

  28. EL says:

    Hi, Chemtrails and Morgellons are of great concern to me. They are spraying everyday/planes/jets emitting trails that create feathery cloud cover to depopulate, block the sun. Also, the HAARP Program in AK and other such sites in the world that create over 1 billion radio waves of power and go up into the ionsphere, the GWEN towers that deflect the low ELF waves that are deadly to our bodies and killing us. Cell towers, wind turbines and mind control and controlling weather creating earthquakes, tornadoes and violent weather, working on fault lines, etc. It is the shadow government and elite with the big money who are controlling the world. This is definitely the end times and is biblical. I have health issues I haven’t had quite like this before. Very scarey. My ears ring constantly. We all need to detox the metals out of ourselves they are raining on us (mercury, strontium, barium, aluminum,fungus and molds, etc.) God help us.
    Yes, we definitely need to be activists and band together to stop this beast. I know that the west coast is more aware than here on the east coast. Thinking of moving to coastal or higher ground, but it is impossible to completely get away from it all. Horrible, criminal stuff going on by our own government.

  29. EL says:

    Yes, also afraid that Whole Foods compromises.
    The government controls and regulates. You have to be really careful.

  30. Josette says:

    Yes I do agree that Wholefood Market compromises, but where I live now in Florida West Coast, it is a desert when it comes to health food! I am obliged to drive to the nearest Wholefood Market 20 miles away if I want to have a choice in choosing healthy vegan foods. Reading labels is so essential in shopping anywhere these days. I miss the West Coast so much as it is a lot easier to find organic products (coops, Sprouts, Sunflower). Really bad for the health conscious here!!
    The local Farmer’s market is not very good and I am not sure that you can trust the sellers when you can see under their stalls carton packagings from all over the country with the name of the product that they have on their tables. Very sad!
    Not talking about gmo foods, we even don’t have a Trader Joes here!
    I missed the Annmarie samples and hope that you will offer them again very soon.

  31. rachel says:

    I am lucky to live in a smaller area where there are 3 HF stores. WF is not my first choice and I do believe money is their motivating factor. I also love farmers markets and choose they continue as a healthy option.
    Grow your own food whenever possible to allow self-reliance and independence. Buy/save organic and heirloom seeds. I’ve purchased $300 worth from Turtle Tree seeds (NY) and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (VA), both sell organic.
    The most powerful thing we all can do is to FOCUS ON THE WORLD WE CHOOSE TO HAVE. Visualize, write it down, join friends doing it. Thats’ much much more powerful than focusing on the problems and trying to “fight”
    against them. Wars do not work.
    I went kayaking this morning at 5:30 for a few hours, and dog walking, thats’ my peace and quiet… namaste’, rachel

  32. donna says:

    I’m in complete agreement about Whole Foods, the Walmart of the health food industry. And I make it a point to NOT shop at either. Support your local independent health food stores, most of which really DO care, because if you don’t, pretty soon they won’t be there, and corpamerica WF will be your only option!!!!

  33. Ginny Fisher says:

    Whole Foods is a huge problem~~but only for those unaware, and those who don’t read labels. Sure wish GMO was labeled!

    I love growers/farmers markets and we have several good ones. Getting there is easier said than done for me. I used to be a huge Whole Foods shopper, but learned my lesson when trying to find raw almonds.

    Two stores and four managers later I finally found someone who at least listened to my frustration about pasteurized almonds being labeled raw! Now I do still shop there, but have gone from about a 60% customer to a less than 5% customer.

    Thanks guys, for all the great info. Keep up the super work! ginny

  34. DENISE says:

    I live near Park City Utah, a beautiful ski town in the mountains above Salt Lake City.
    When Whole Foods bought out our beloved Wild Oats in our area a few years ago, I was disheartened to see their lack of commitment to health. They discontinued many good products, raised prices on pretty much everything across the board and replaced a really nice juice bar in favor of a really nice coffee station. So disappointing!
    Where’s the Health Food?!
    I have since taken a stand in the area and try to steer clear of WFM whenever possible, have a pretty successful garden in the back yard and buy at the farmers markets as much as possible.

  35. Sabrina says:

    I agree with an earlier post where it was stated to grow your own food. It is simply the most effective way to know exactly what you are consuming, praying that the seeds are not gmo. Getting back to making your own everything is the ultimate way to counteract greed and deception in industry. We are tooooo dependent on them. And frankly, sicker because of the dependence. You say, well, I don’t or we dont have the time. We cannot complain! We act like infants waiting to be fed, when we are in fact not. We need to do as our ancestors did.

  36. Sabrina says:

    And when that is not possible, shop at the farmers market or WF. Read labels. Pray that God will protect your food.

  37. Brion Oliver says:

    A few things about Whole Foods, organic produce, and the locavore movement. I myself am “anti-Whole Foods”, but think the company deserves some thanks from us all (and could be an interesting study for us to learn from). I get my data and understanding from working as a competitor to them in a local natural grocery chain and my own business running a local monthly buying club for organic raw foodstuffs. Some of my data may be outdated, as it’s been a few years since I was involved in the corporate side of things.

    1. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Whole Foods for creating an infrastructure for the transportation of organic produce. Before Whole Foods came along, this infrastructure did not exist, and it exists largely due to WF’s growing need for it. It is likely that the scale of organic produce being grown in the US and abroad for US consumption is directly due in significant part to Whole Foods.

    2. Going “all-organic”, even just for produce, was a risky proposition in the ’90’s. It may be less so now. In Portland, OR, People’s Food Co-Op really championed the idea of an all-organic produce section, and they’ve made it work. Part of the success formula involved including a local year-round Farmers’ Market. The Market, positioned in the courtyard, is actually an economic benefit to the store instead of a detractor.

    3. I’ve been told by corporate buyers for a competitor that Whole Foods’ produce distribution network now results in produce bought near your hometown being shipped hundreds of miles to a regional warehouse and then re-shipped back to your locale. In Portland, OR, this means local produce gets shipped to Northern California and back again. Their local competitor here (New Seasons Market), because they are solely a local chain, are better able to buy local produce on a corporate scale and keep it truly local.

    4. While Whole Foods isn’t efficient for local produce, they are pretty amazing for stocking local food vendors (at least here in Portland). They are much better at giving opportunities to local manufacturers of foodstuffs than even our truly local chain. The co-ops are also quite good at sponsoring local folks, but the volume they provide isn’t remotely equivalent.

    5. People’s Food Co-op is also an excellent model for extraordinarily conscious organizational buying practices. Their buyers work tirelessly, due to co-op guidelines devised by the member-owners of the store (its customers), to source all products in the store through rigorous guidelines. It can be done.

    6. Wherever you are, there are trucks nearby delivering organic foodstuffs. Banding together and pooling the resources in your community by forming a buying club or a co-operative grocery is entirely possible in any community in the US. There are people like myself who are available to help you do this. A great place to start is at the more naturally-minded stores in your region; there’ll be somebody there who can help you get rolling. The next phase of my business is helping others start local buying clubs; feel free to contact me if you wish.

    Brion Oliver
    Our Community Pantry

  38. PE says:

    I read your statements, Kevin: Whole Paycheck- er Foods- not quite right about GMOs, check; legalizing gay marriage, check. Then I thought, neither of those will go without rabid opposition. And so it was.
    I know of no Federal law that certifies a grocery chain as ‘organic.’ If there were, Sacramento Naturasl Foods Co-op would be certified; yes, it shows the farm (often with pics) where produce was just grown, refuses GMOs and doesn’t break a sweat doing it. Shame Wholy Foods, your halo’s atilt!
    As for gay marriage not being ‘natural:’ ho hum. Same old misinformation. First, marriage is human institution that varies over the world. If we took the prevalent form, in terms of how many different societies practice that form, it would be polygyny. (one man, several women) Not what the anti-gays want, is it? When it comes to behavior ‘we’ call gay, some condemn it, some accept it. (It seems that some societies don’t have it enough to give it a name, but that may be a problem of the data gatherers.)
    Then in the animal world as a whole, well just mammals and birds, ok? There’s no marriage, though pairs of some species do mate for life. And what Americans call ‘gay’ behavior exists throughout nature, male-male and female-female. Blame nature for being so unnatural.
    And organizing locally, hosting people to meet and maybe spark, without explicit agenda, double check. I await the opposition to that, after the Mad Tea Party controls Congress. (Ever read what John Adams, Father of the Revolution, said about Congress (and law firms)?
    But football? There you have me. September’s another reason to avoid the TV.

  39. Julius says:

    Kev, I totally agree about you on the disappointment factor! When I heard last year what went down and how Whole Foods didn’t stand up at the table when they had an opportunity to make life better for all of us, but chose the “corporate” way out – TOTAL DISAPPOINTMENT! I do still shop there (if there are no known alternatives in the particular area) but, as much as is feasible, I will find some other place to put my dollars.

  40. R F says:

    GMO has to go. I’ve become an owner of the Santa Monica Co-Opportunity, full of organic foods, much local, well marked re local or not, large deli section of raw vegan take-out,yay. Feels much better to shop there than at corporate-ethic Whole Phoods. Feels more like the old days of single-owner or family owned “health food” stores (though much larger store). Here is a link to their stance on GMOs from their blog page in Feb 2011 – http://coopportunity.blogspot.com/2011/02/co-opportunitys-stance-on-gmos.html – seems like they are at least working on figuring out the best thing to do. World Domination by J5, sure, kitties rule. First thing J5 will decree is plently of sleep for everyone.

  41. Honey says:

    Hey, I thought this particular post was about community and that the blog in general is promoting an e- community who are committed to healthy living. In response to the interchange above between Kev and Brian Pulver: if everyone in a community has to think exactly alike, a community becomes ingrown. Brian should be able to respectfully express his opinion and not be excluded because of it.

  42. Rae says:

    Kevin, did you see the letter of the former Whole Foods employee that just went viral? I checked Google and there are several results for such former employees who were disgusted with Whole Foods for many reasons. Anyway, wouldn’t an easy first step to making them clean up their act with regard to GM produce be to launch a Care 2 petition?
    BTW, I’m so happy that you and Ann are becoming activists. Before when I used to write about how GM foods, irradiation, chemtrails, etc. were making the goal of healthy eating so difficult, I had the impression that maybe you just ignored my comments, but now I see you’ve taken the time to write several replies. I would very much like to know whether your contacts have any definite answers about whether nonorganic corn on the cob is GM. Raw corn should be one of the best treats of summer, but has it been ruined too? I can rarely find organic corn on the cob.
    Now that you’re living in the Bay Area you’ll probably run across a lot of people that say GM foods are intended to promote the Illuminati plan to exterminate most of the population, along with vaccine campaigns and so forth. Recently Diamond Walnuts was attacked by the USDA because they quoted the USDA’s own studies about the health benefits of walnut oil. See Rima Laibov’s Health Freedom site for more about these issues. I check the David Icke headlines every day and he constantly features stories about outrages such as the Diamond Walnuts case.

  43. Velda says:

    Kevin, I’ve been wondering about GMO labeling. I think it is going to be a big, big battle to get the GMO guys to label their products. Wouldn’t it be easier to have a drive on to get the non-GMO people to label their food “NON-GMO”? Seems like companies would be willing to do that, given the attitudes about GMOs. That might be a more effective and successful campaign…. just a thought.

  44. Asia says:

    if you want to get involved in the california 2012 initiative to require all gmo foods be labeled, contact http://www.labelgmos.org. they need volunteers, donations, ideas to spread the word and educate people, speakers. free public screenings of “the future of food” are happening all over the state, as well as free public speaking trainings.

    another resource is responsibletechnology.org.

    see also, “food, inc.” and “the world according to monsanto” if you like having nightmares.

    keep in mind, it only took about 5% of u.s. shoppers refusing to buy rBGH, for stores to stop ordering it. another monsanto creation, it is now being phased out of production!

    for the love of food, asia

  45. Sarah says:

    Sarah again:

    Kevin: You and AnnMArie are terrific and offer us a wonderful resource for information and services. Many of us appreciate the services you offer and the platform you provide.

    I am confused by a few commenter comments:

    What did commenter Mary mean about California? And I am totally lost regarding the significance of gay marriage as a topic for discussion here. (I am pro gay marriage by the way – I really don’t understand why some people spend so much time lobbying against the idea of two people loving each other. It is beyond me).

    I do want to back up what another commenter said about Jeffrey Smith. He is a wealth of information about what to do about GMOs and ironically, perhaps, his organization provides great anti-GMO info kits to get for display in stores to hand out free information about the perils of GMO, and for a while at least, our local Whole Foods store had one of these kits on display!

  46. Sarah says:

    To Rae: If you are in the bay area, Good Earth in Fairfax (Marin) often has organic corn on the cob and from time to time, the Whole Foods store in San Rafael does as well.

  47. Honey says:

    I agree with Sarah about being totally lost as to the relevance of gay-marriage in this discussion. Kev kicked it off in his blog – but it’s his blog so whatever. But since he brought it up that Brian guy has a right to respond without be shut down, doesn’t he? Tolerance and respect should go both ways – except for GMO food.

  48. Lynn says:

    Love the idea of any GMO product being labelled. The nice thing about eating the way I am learning to do is; no packaging, no labelling, little waste and all fresh. I just pick through the organic sections of the few stores we have in this tiny town and make it work. I think I could do it for a family too. I fed 4 kids and a husband for 25 yrs. I know I could do this too. Thank you, Kevin and AM for getting into the organized part of this fight, it will make a difference. the thing that is most important to the rest of us who can’t get there is to buy only those items we can support and not the GMO products. Gone are the days of the roadside stands, but I am going to find a local farm coop to join. They are around even in places you wouldn’t expect. Good discussion. LynnCS

  49. Brion Oliver says:

    @ Velda: If it’s non-regulated, and just a non-GMO opt-in for a food manufacturer, then there’s nothing to stop any food vendor from claiming they are non-GMO, whether they are or not. You also run into problems where a food vendor may believe they are non-GMO and actually aren’t, because a manufacturer of an ingredient they use has failed to identify that ingredient as GMO.

    It’s any form of regulation that is being fought, and voluntary identification isn’t enough of a factual assurance. Things need to be tested, and not just to verify the veracity of the manufacturer — contamination occurs and needs to be tested for as well.

    @ Rae: non-organic corn is an unknown. There are incidents of manufacturers of GMO corn suing nearby farmers because of cross-pollination into the non-GMO fields. I suspect it has become increasingly difficult to ascertain whether any corn has been polluted, short of testing. Does your corn farmer know with absolute assurance that none of the corn farmers anywhere near them are using GMO seed? If not, it’s possible you’re eating GMO corn.

  50. Jeni says:

    Hi Kev

    I would say;

    Join Avaaz.org – they are making headway in so many areas and GMO has strong following in Europe.

    For an outlet? Get an allotment – cut out going to the Supermarkets so much and get yor Vit D levels up.

    Support a local delivery scheme that is trying to do the right thing and grow local foods.

  51. I fell for the raw foods will clear your acne, Kevin I’ve been watching you for some time and I know you strugled with acne even on a raw food diet too. Right now my acne is cleared because I reintroduced some animal foods to my diet! raw foods are not the answer to acne, at least not for all people!

  52. Linda says:

    Our local food co-op of over 20 years closed and I don’t know why.

  53. Betsy says:

    I don’t know if this is true or not-but I just read in Down East Mag that Maine has more organic farms than California-Go Maine!! A lot of road side vegetables now – 25 cent cukes!

  54. Lorna says:

    Very interested to hear your views on Wholefoods Market. Here in the UK, it bought up and then closed down a really good, mostly organic health food chain which I loved.

    However I was excited to have Wholefoods coming here as I’d hear so many good things about it. But I was so disappointed. All our supermarkets are as good if not better than this so called health food shop: considerably more organic fruit and veg, more local food, no GM food, just better all round – especially Waitrose.

    Some of the things it stocks are truely shocking: chemical laden, mass produced lager anyone?!

    The prices were no more than I would pay anywhere else – maybe in the UK we just expect quality food to cost money and are used to paying for it. It still hurts, but we expect it and save in other areas. (although not petrol – don’t start me on that one…)

  55. Barbara says:

    Oh, I know this is somewhat off topic, OK OFF topic.
    but it ties in with chemicals in our foods, Frankenfoods can be the topic.

    GMO’s unknown for they are not labeled.
    BUT THIS IS !
    I just saw a commercial for Splenda.

    OK, This is the first time I have seen this…. get ready… Splenda is now putting Vitamin B supplements in their product and touting it as “good for You” !!!!!
    Chemical sweetener with chemical vitamins… what could be better?

    I don’t know, putting my hand in an open flame?

    Of course you will see the young 30 something women at the kitchen table, smiling as she opens that little packet and pours her chemical concoction into her coffee…
    There should be a skull and cross bones on the pk. !!
    Like big pharma commercials… which do you get, what they are saying ( yes you could die from this drug) or the picture of the happy people dancing in a field of butterflies.
    OMG !!!

    This is false advertising at it‘s corporate best.
    The first question they asked themselves is… how dumb do we think the American public is? Ans. Very, apparently, so I’m sure the “Stepford” citizens will clamor for it.
    ( the movie “The Stepford Wives”. Google it).
    You see if you can’t see it, smell it, or hear it… it’s ok to ingest.

    I’ve never been able to understand how saving 20 calories from sugar is better than cancer of the liver or kidney.
    But that’s me. ; )

  56. Clori says:

    Lots of good comments and passionate folks. PLEASE remember in an economy driven by consumerism, your PURCHASE is your VOTE! If you shop at Whole Foods, then be smart, buy ONLY the quality organic products that you believe in!!
    Your dollar spent is a vote cast for how business is run-

  57. Jen says:

    My comment is a slight tangent form the topic but I feel this blog is an appropriate place for it… it goes beyond supporting/not supporting WF. I think we have a much larger problem at hand and my personal concept of the problem comes from a recent read: Ishmael (http://www.ishmael.org/index1.cfm). I highly suggest that those of you who consume yourself in reading up on these topics, such as health/nutrition/sustainability/etc read this book (if you haven’t already).

    The author, Daniel Quinn, offers one very interesting and relevant perspective, and that is that a lot of our problems as a human race came when we started “locking up the food” and taking over all the land (yes, even farming). Not sure exactly how to take a step in the right direction in order to help change this, but I figure spreading the word is a start!

  58. Lisa says:

    In regard to PE’s comments in support of the natural connotation to gay behavior – Founding father John Adams also had this piece of wisdom after the Constitution was drafted.
    This constitution is ONLY for a religious and moral people. No other will do. We’ve experienced the decline of society no more in history than in the last 50 years and that’s in part due to the relaxing of moral standards and rules and man’s adopting the pluralistic view that there’s no absolute truth and morality is relative. Right and wrong can not be changed and will never be seen as a concept that’s up for debate, unless of course, you compromise your convictions and accept moral relativism
    as your pop culture endorsed worldview. It’s just a big lie, as are the lies that spew from the mouths of those businesses that will sacrifice their original standards for the compromise they find themselves accepting so they can ascend in the corporate world. All truth is found in the inerrant word of God in our bible. In Leviticus, God is plain and clear when he says man shall not lie with mankind as he does with woman and women shall not exchange their unnatural affections for each other. I’m paraphrasing somewhat but what part of this succinctly clear edict in the bible do you not understand? But man has always strayed from the word of God to do “what’s right in his own eyes.” Also, since this column is so heartily devoted to health, anybody want to explain how getting a disease like HIV is normal or natural. Any diseased state in the body is not natural so any behavior that provokes, promotes or facilitates this disease can’t be good behavior, conduct or lifestyle. Argue with that. Did everybody in this politically correct country of ours forget about that little biological fact? Can’t argue with science and biology. The scientists and doctors know this and are pressured to keep quiet about this HIV epidemic because of PC. That’s really immoral. Just let HIV continue to spread at epidemic proportions but condone the main reason (gay living) for its cause and spread. Sheer stupidity!!

  59. Kathy says:

    The Whole Foods Maui website has a list of the non-GMO products carried by them and most other Whole Food stores. Saves reading a lot of labels.

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