Monday, February 8, 2010

The Wholesomeness of Whole Foods

A brand new Whole Foods store opened near my job last month. There was already a Whole Foods just a few minutes from my apartment, but this one was huge, it was new, it was special. I had to go. And there I was on the opening day...

in. complete. awe.

It is gigantic, it has agave nectar and brown rice syrup on tap. There is a pub inside of it, and a prepared foods bar that rivals no other that I have seen.

That first day was kind of crazy, so I grabbed my favorite craving, the avocado sushi. But when I work full days I spend my lunch hour there, which is only once or twice a week...but I look forward to it all morning.

I have to tell you though, I feel a little guilty. It feels a little wrong, walking around this place which undeniably caters to vegans, and provides plenty of vegan options and products that are hard to find elsewhere; but also shamelessly supports the idea of the organic/humane/natural/grass-fed meat movement.

I know a lot of people who are into this movement. And I am not trying to offend any of them because I know many of them read my blog...and there are probably some who I don't even know read my blog. So my point, will be brief. Eating meat, no matter what kind, still perpetuates the demand for meat. I also know people who completely refuse to shop here altogether, and even protest it.

So what is a vegan to do? Whole Foods is so convenient, makes so easy to find vegan oddities, and frankly, has a delicious selection of prepared foods.

Vegan mac-and-cheese with maple mashed sweet potatoes and steamed veggies

Braised seitan with sage roasted veggies and squash, grilled asparagus, fennel orange salad, and steamed kale

It adequately filled our "junk food" craving this past weekend also:

Whole wheat pizza with LOTS of veggies

Raw macaroons. Yum.

For more information on the "humane meat myth", pop over here.

That being said, I am curious. What do you do? Even if you aren't vegan, I'm curious. I'm not a Whole Foods bunny, mainly because I think everyday things are too expensive, and I don't support their stance on meat. In fact, I am usually the first to suggest a local, non-chain, but there is only one around here, and it is painfully even more than Whole Foods. So I will buy things like umeboshi vinegar and vital wheat gluten; things I know I can't find at my grocery store.

I want to know your opinion. Vote!!
Wholly into Whole Foods?
I do all my shopping at Whole Foods
I don't live near a Whole Foods, but I would shop at one
I buy select items there I can't buy elsewhere
I refuse to shop at Whole Foods
Other free polls

Stay tuned for later this week! I'm going to celebrate my 100th follower with a giveaway!!


  1. They DO offer lots of vegan items, so I shop there (Princeton) once every 3 or 4 weeks (when I also hit up the new Trader Joe's just across the highway). I also occasionally drink at Starbucks, because they offer soymilk. They may not be perfect, but they both make my life better and more delicious, so I don't mind supporting them. Come summer, I rely on local farm stands, and if a local coffee shop has soymilk, I'd go there first. But that's not always an option and any company supporting veganism in some way deserves my business.

  2. While Whole Foods does offer meat, I think it also opens a window into the vegan lifestyle for people. It's a peek, but it may convert some!

  3. Are you talking about the WF in Plymouth Meeting?? I was there on opening night too!! And I defintely get what you are saying.. on the one hand, they cater to vegans, which is awesome & unlike most other places, but on the other, there is still so much meat, & it definitely makes me cringe. I also left there a little dissapointed. I was in California last summer & went to a whole foods in Venice Beach that was amazing & I fell in love. It had SO MUCH vegan food (pizza, a whole mexican food bar with burritoes, quesadillas, tacos, a whole separate vegan hot bar, AND soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, & hazelnut milk & their coffee bar!!) I want to go back to CA just to visit that Whole Foods. But anyway, I guess I was expecting this huge brand new Whole Foods to be just like that.. and it definitely wasn't. I still love it though & I try to look at it that at least having vegan offerings is a step in the right direction :)

  4. Brown rice syrup on tap?! And a pub?! That sounds crazy and awesome.

    I'm vegan, but I do shop at Whole Foods. While of course I would prefer to shop at a place with no meat at all, we live in a time where all-veg stores/restaurants/etc don't totally thrive on this economy - at least where I live. And I suppose that if I HAD to chose, I would rather support a place where they endorse better animal treatment (...while they're alive :( ). I do appreciate their open-mindedness and extensive inventory that DOES cater to vegans.

  5. Im a WF junkie. I love it. I find that their prices arent too bad actually. Where I live everything is overpriced even regular grocery stores. So to me Id rather get more quality for my bucks! Plus Id rather spend more money on good foods. So I dunno...just my views on things. I know alot of people consider it "Whole paycheck" but I really dont pay more than others. Have a wonderful day!!

  6. Im so jealous of you! Agave on tap? Delicious prepared vegan foods? Sounds like heaven to me. I unfortunatly dont live anywhere near a WF's so ill be sticking to my local health food stores. But just wait until I make it to one, Im sure I would be like a kid in a candy store.

  7. Oh the jealousy! I want agave on tap!! I dont' have anything against Whole Foods, and I would shop there weekly if we had one around here.

    Congrats on your 100 followers! :-)

  8. I clicked other, because I have the luxury of not having WF around -- I don't have to make the decision! However, I have read and thought a lot about this case in particular, and if there were a WF plopped into my town, I think I probably wouldn't frequent it too often. I would still prefer to buy my produce from the local farmer's market, my bulk goods (beans, grains, spices and tea) from the super cheap asian grocery store, and the other things are probably cheaper at a regular supermarket. I would probably go every now and then for a treat, but Andy and I try to avoid processed foods where possible (easy here, since they're so hard to find) and I think WF would make it harder to do so.

  9. I prefer to shop at my local health food store. Not only are the prices better, but the selection and quality of the produce is sooo much better.

  10. I've only been to WF once, back in the states. I was in awe. We don't have any good grocery stores here in Saudi so that one was a little overwhelming to say the least.

    The way I feel about them...well, I obviously hate their 'happy meat' stance, but it isn't any different than any other grocery store. If I lived in the US I would shop there all the time, if I could afford it. A store that caters to me and my eclectic vegan needs with SO many amazing vegan options is going to get my money over a regular grocery store that has all the same meat products, but hardly any of the vegan ones.

    Although, I would most likely seek out a smaller, more independently owned grocery store that had the stuff that I need!

  11. HEY! Finding good vegetarian options at my grocery store is not feasible... I think I am part of maybe 1% of my area's population that is vegetarian. At my store they sell tofu and some of the "deli meat" but that is about it. What's a girl to do? My husband and I recently started taking mini road trips to other grocery stores. I love the time we spend together hunting for new foods but it gets so frustrating driving an hour or two to find food.

  12. You know, I went to an organic co-op yesterday and it was harder for me to find things there? At least for the outset of my vegan/vegetarian adventure I am much more comfortable at the whole foods grocery because I still don't know what I am "looking" for... if that makes sense.I love that whole foods has so much available to me, even in the German Midwest!