I want to preface this by saying: I do still shop at Whole Foods. sometimes.
I buy my nut milk there. I buy my tahini. I buy certain sauces, some bulk foods, and some specialty snacks that I have a hard time finding anywhere else.
But there are things I just will NOT purchase there anymore.
I’m making the decision to no longer buy my vegetables and fruits there (unless it is REALLY last minute and I just need easy- I am a big believer that vegetables and fruits of any kind are better than none at all.) More on that later…
I also don’t buy from their salad or hot bar…
I waste so, so much money overall when I shop there. I mean, I knew it was more money since day one of shopping there but recently I’ve done more intensive price comparisons and I am shocked. The other day, Dan and I were doing some grocery shopping at HEB and I couldn’t control myself from saying, “WOW, that’s it!?” when they rang us up. Totally looked like a goofball to others in line, but you know, that’s me 😛
Let’s get into ALL of these things and why I am staunch on this.
CONSUMER EDUCATION IS SO IMPORTANT!
Problems With Whole Foods
1. Their organic labeling for fruits and vegetables is so shady. Recently, I was going to buy strawberries. I opt for organic as I normally do (I am more lenient to go non-organic on the “clean 15” list) and I was like, “Ummm why are these strawberries so BIG?” Listen, natural berries are usually smaller. They aren’t supposed to be super large ESPECIALLY if they are organic. But the ones at Whole Foods are mega big. What’s up with that? (Hidden GMO’s!!!!!!)
I also started realizing how “perfect” their organic produce looks. Have you ever looked at organic produce from a local Farmer’s Market? You will see rips and holes and dirt and misshapes. That’s how it’s supposed to be. That’s what vegetables without a ton of GMOs looks like. What’s up with this “perfection”? (Hidden GMO’s!!!!!!)…. that said, they DO throw away “ugly” looking produce. ***I am also aware that sommmeeeetimes there will be a large organic berry in the bunch. But not often!
I went to lunch with some girlfriends of mine that are SUPER on the pulse with health and consumerism. We were all talking about the “organic” produce at Whole Foods and how we just don’t believe it’s the best for us. How smaller grocers who carry local (so rarely does Whole Foods carry local- often their produce, even organic, is shipped in from other places)… grocers who carry local have more “normal” looking fruits and vegetables. How nature intended! Way fewer GMOs. These local grocers have clear labeling and can point blank tell you exactly where each item came from.
I’m not against non-organic, I’m against lying to the public and trying to keep certain truths hidden. Best believe it, dig deep and you will see that Whole Foods has sat at the table (favorably) with GMO giant Monsanto. They have signed agreements that agree to hide certain GMOs. Whole Foods is all about the profit margin! It’s so messed up. (Read this article, this one, and this one— the last has more to do about USDA labeling in general, which is a whole other basket of worms.)
Listen, I wholeheartedly understand that being able to buy organic is a privilege. Feeding a family of 5 on nothing but organic adds up. It’s no joke. And believe me, there are times when I really just can’t afford organic all the time. But my point here is that Whole Foods charges high prices for “organic” food, yet they skimp out on the quality. My motto: I’m fine with cheap and low-quality food and I’m fine with expensive high-quality food. I’m NOT fine with expensive low-quality food.
Bottom line: There are hidden GMOs in many of their “organic” produce and I don’t support that.
2. They drench their salad bar and hot bar food in vegetable oils: canola oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, soybean oil, corn oil.
UGH, this one makes me so mad- how many times have we “grabbed a quick meal at Whole Foods” because we have trust in them that they are healthy? Vegetable oils are SO UNHEALTHY FOR US. They age us! Over 90% of them are genetically modified! They imbalance our omega 3s because they are so high in omega 6s. These vegetable oils can cause so much inflammation in our bodies. It also triggers weight gain and auto-immune diseases. Violets, I can’t even get into how horrible these oils are for our bodies and Whole Foods uses SO MUCH OF THEM. Even in their pre-made packaged foods! It would NOT be tough to swap it out for healthier oils. I’m sure they could find a way to make it cost effective as well. Again: I’m fine with cheap and low-quality food and I’m fine with expensive high-quality food. I’m not fine with expensive low-quality food.
Something to think about: Since Whole Foods was bought buy Amazon, they are trying to stay competitive with pricing which is why they skimp out on quality…. yet they still market themselves to be the “cleanest.” I don’t think so with that dishonesty!(Article on that here.)
3. They are way overpriced. Look, I know Whole Foods is expensive. I’m not making TONS of money, I prioritize health when it comes to how I spend my earned income, but omg… I can prioritize my spending habits elsewhere LOL. I get a lot of the same things every single week, some things for Dan and I both, some just for him… some just for me. Often this list includes about 8 different organic veggies or herbs, organic eggs, nut milk, a couple of gluten-free packaged snacks, coconut yogurt, and frozen dragon fruit and frozen wild blueberries. Anytime I make this same “run” at a smaller grocer or even a big one like Sprouts or Central Market… I save so much money! Like $20 worth! If I am making this same trip every week that comes out to $80 a month I could be saving! Whole Foods is convenient but… is it worth the extra cost? In my opinion, not if they don’t step up the quality.
Whole Foods Dishonesty
I’m not angrily typing this, it’s just that I study these kinds of things and am always reading up and Violet Fog being a holistic health blog- it’s important to get opinions and research out there. Again- I still shop at Whole Foods! Just not NEARLY as much anymore.
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