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Whole Paycheck

In 2011, I had quadruple bypass surgery at the age of 40.  My wife and I decided to change our ways.  Six days after having my chest sawed open, we were Plant-Based.

A no-brainer decision in our eyes.  Continue eating the American buffet presented to us in the form of fat, white flour, and corn syrups or move to a diet filled with nutrients.

Initially we looked for products in our local grocery; being in South Florida we have Publix.  Our new ingredient list was confined to about 500 sq/feet of a 50,000 sq/foot store.  We outgrew Publix very quickly.  It’s absolutely a fact.  If you eliminate sugar, flour and corn; there isn’t much left to a major grocery store.

My wife became certified in Plant-Based nutrition through Cornell University and we were ready. She began offering informal walk-through to friends, touring the products WholeFoods offers.  We were particularly interested in using Organic & Non-GMO whenever possible.  (By 2018 all products sold in WholeFoods will be Non-GMO certified.)  


So our major shopping moved to Whole Foods.  We used Amazon for the non-essentials; cleaning products and toiletries.  Costco has added quite an extensive list of organic plant-based products in recent years and we use them for: frozen berries, rice milk, flax-seed, coconut oil, quinoa and veggie broth.

Now, almost 4 years later, we use Whole Foods for 90% of our food bill.  We eat a simple, yet highly diverse diet of nuts, plants, and grains.  We start the day with homemade muffins or pancakes.  Using sprouted flours when possible, flax & hemp seeds.  We use fresh coconut milk, I crack them open myself.  We eat beans, oats and quinoa daily.  Fresh breads from the freezer with whole grains and pita.  We make daily juices; I focus on ginger, turmeric & beets for my inflammation.

My Fridge is in Rehab for Attempted Murder (Click picture to see post)

My Fridge on a Whole Foods diet

My wife and son love their green juices; kale, parsley, apple, celery.   We eat every vegetable imaginable from eggplants to grape tomatoes.  We make potato pancakes and homemade veggie burgers with cashews as the fat.  Pizza night is still the best with an array of toppings on a freshly made dough.  We eat pasta and “balls” on Sundays.  I forgot fruit, we eat across the spectrum there as well.  Wine anyone?

What does all that cost?  For 2 adults and a small child… $21 a day / $7,699 for the year.

I am in no position to argue the affordability of that number with anyone else; it works for us.  However, I am pretty sure eating for three at McDonald’s will cost $20.  How much is a pound of factory raised, antibiotic laden steak?  Cutting out meat is also a no-brainer, it is a poor form of nutrition and very expensive.  Six Reasons to Adopt a Plant-Based Diet.

Yes, arguably Whole Foods is expensive in comparison to mega-stores but you have to consider the product.  The irony is you pay for less ingredients.  The goal of eating healthier is knowing how to pronounce the ingredients in your food.  Then it’s having a good idea where that food came from and how it was cared for from seed to harvest.

Whole Foods takes it on the chin from the media and the public but the fact remains they have created a semi-monopolistic empire with a big head start on their competition. Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal & Palantir, wrote in Zero to One; in order to be highly successful offer a product that is a 10X improvement to the consumer. Then find a small group of fanatics to embrace it.

What is the alternative?  We know that 80% of all chronic disease is a result of poor nutritional choices.  For $21 /day I can move the statistics drastically in my favor.

Mark Bittman wrote a piece in New York Times yesterday entitled: (Only) Two Rules for a Good Diet.  He writes “I’m especially impressed with the way Whole Foods is innovating in the arena of labeling, gradually extending its own internal labeling system from fish to meats and now to fruits and vegetables. Marketing is of course part of it, but shoppers who want to talk back to the supply chain by knowing where their food comes from don’t otherwise have a way to do that. If Whole Foods gives them what they want, then despite the “Whole Paycheck” nickname (and there’s some evidence that Whole Foods is starting to compete on price as well), those who can get there and afford it will favor it. This is progress, doing well by doing at least some good, and that can’t be said about most corporations involved in food.”

“Whole PayChecks” is a choice.  Until you determine the cost of a major disease it might be the only choice.