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Whole Foods: America’s Temple of Pseudoscience
Daily Beast ^ | 02/24/2014 | Michael Schulson

Posted on 02/24/2014 7:41:56 PM PST by SeekAndFind

Americans get riled up about creationists and climate change deniers, but lap up the quasi-religious snake oil at Whole Foods. It’s all pseudoscience—so why are some kinds of pseudoscience more equal than others?

If you want to write about spiritually-motivated pseudoscience in America, you head to the Creation Museum in Kentucky. It’s like a Law of Journalism. The museum has inspired hundreds of book chapters and articles (some of them, admittedly, mine) since it opened up in 2007. The place is like media magnet. And our nation’s liberal, coastal journalists are so many piles of iron fillings.

But you don’t have to schlep all the way to Kentucky in order to visit America’s greatest shrine to pseudoscience. In fact, that shrine is a 15-minute trip away from most American urbanites.

I’m talking, of course, about Whole Foods Market. From the probiotics aisle to the vaguely ridiculous Organic Integrity outreach effort (more on that later), Whole Foods has all the ingredients necessary to give Richard Dawkins nightmares. And if you want a sense of how weird, and how fraught, the relationship between science, politics, and commerce is in our modern world, then there’s really no better place to go. Because anti-science isn’t just a religious, conservative phenomenon—and the way in which it crosses cultural lines can tell us a lot about why places like the Creation Museum inspire so much rage, while places like Whole Foods don’t.

My own local Whole Foods is just a block away from the campus of Duke University. Like almost everything else near downtown Durham, N.C., it’s visited by a predominantly liberal clientele that skews academic, with more science PhDs per capita than a Mensa convention.

Still, there’s a lot in your average Whole Foods that’s resolutely pseudoscientific. The homeopathy section has plenty of Latin words and mathematical terms, but many of its remedies are so diluted that, statistically speaking, they may not contain a single molecule of the substance they purport to deliver. The book section—yep, Whole Foods sells books—boasts many M.D.’s among its authors, along with titles like The Coconut Oil Miracle and Herbal Medicine, Healing, and Cancer, which was written by a theologian and based on what the author calls the Eclectic Triphasic Medical System.

CLICK ABOVE LINK FOR THE REST...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Food; Science; Society
KEYWORDS: nongmo; organic; pseudoscience; skepticultists; vegancultists; vegans; vegetarianism; vegetarians; wholefoods

1 posted on 02/24/2014 7:41:56 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Wait until you take a gander at “enviro-kids” cereal and the indoctrinating verbiage on the box. Talk about instilling guilt in the kiddies at a very young impressionable age. I consider it a form of child abuse. (I think it’s enviro-kids cereal or some other noxiously titled breakfast food.) My with talked me into going in one ONCE. Neither of us will ever set foot in one again.


2 posted on 02/24/2014 7:45:04 PM PST by rktman (Under my plan(scheme),unemployment will necessarily skyrocket! Despite the % dropping. Period.)
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To: SeekAndFind

If I were to show this to my wife, she would probably go out the door and never look back.

It is a religion.


3 posted on 02/24/2014 7:45:22 PM PST by old curmudgeon
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To: SeekAndFind

Its pricey too.


4 posted on 02/24/2014 7:47:55 PM PST by RginTN
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To: SeekAndFind

Coconut oil - great stuff. Foods not drenched in pesticides, herbicides and petrochemicals - great stuff. Probiotics - great stuff.

These days you can buy this kind of stuff in most local grocery stores.


5 posted on 02/24/2014 7:49:07 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion
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To: RginTN

It ain’t called Whole Paycheck for nothin’.


6 posted on 02/24/2014 7:53:29 PM PST by miss marmelstein (Richard Lives Yet!)
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To: SeekAndFind

Sounds like we’re ginning up support for the food industry.

Who needs dat stinkin’ healtha food.

I gots me ma kraft mac an chess from da box.


7 posted on 02/24/2014 7:53:32 PM PST by PieterCasparzen (We have to fix things ourselves)
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To: SeekAndFind

Just an anecdotal observation
When I lived in Austin many years ago I was then as now a bicycle commuter. The people who regularly ran me off the road always generally the ones with a “Whole Foods” or “Save the Earth” bumper sticker. I have always had far less trouble with red-necks than environmentalist types


8 posted on 02/24/2014 7:56:37 PM PST by Fai Mao (Genius at Large)
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To: SeekAndFind

After Katrina all of my suspicuons re. `organic` foods were confirmed. A close friend had an uncle who lost 3/4 of his citrus farm to floodwaters in Placquemine parish. He was trying to replant what land was left when he was approached by some government types to turn his farm `organic`. He said he couldn`t afford to raise anything that way and hope to make enough money_no chemicals,regulations etc. They explained he didn`t have to PROVE he was growing organically-no one would inspect- he just had to pay a yearly fee for the organic label. He said no. Don`t know if it was state or federal people but if that`s how it works the people paying exorbitant $ for `healthy` are gullible morons.


9 posted on 02/24/2014 8:00:32 PM PST by ClearBlueSky (When anyone says its not about Islam...it's about Islam. That death cult must be eradicated.)
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To: SeekAndFind

The name “Whole Foods Market” always puzzled me. Since there’s a whole foods market then there should also be a half foods market and a quarter foods market.


10 posted on 02/24/2014 8:01:30 PM PST by 1_Rain_Drop
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To: rktman

Some Whole Foods staff are really knowledgable though. One cured my gout by telling me about black currant juice. And my cousin’s gerd was relieved with ginger pills a WF staffer told him about. I’m all for avoiding big pharma.


11 posted on 02/24/2014 8:04:10 PM PST by GreatRoad (O < 0)
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To: ClearBlueSky

If something is labeled “organic” I do not buy it. Why pay double for something which might have been grown on questionable soil.


12 posted on 02/24/2014 8:07:25 PM PST by 1_Rain_Drop
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To: SeekAndFind

There’s an interesting ideological wraparound effect though. Liberals embrace the Whole Foods ethos as an extension of their anti-corporate paranoia, and some conservatives do the same out of fear of the NWO and Monsanto which are out to steal their vital essences.


13 posted on 02/24/2014 8:12:51 PM PST by Yardstick
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To: GreatRoad
Some Whole Foods staff are really knowledgable though.

That is true. The staff in the supplement department do know their stuff and they get regular ongoing training.

14 posted on 02/24/2014 8:14:45 PM PST by Slyfox (When Jesus sees a momma holding her little baby, it reminds him of his own momma.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I love Whole Foods! You can buy good beer and cheese and watch yuppies buy strange foods made out of wood chips.


15 posted on 02/24/2014 8:27:38 PM PST by RightGeek (FUBO and the donkey you rode in on)
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To: SeekAndFind
This article is a bit overwrought.

I go to Whole Foods often because they have good food. No, I don't buy the $10 Swiss chocolate bars with Kumquat and Dragon Fruit in them. I don't buy the cheese that smells like an old shoe and sells for $15 a pound. I bypass all the non-food aisles with their silly books on global warming, their clothing made out of hemp and their overpriced toothpaste and shampoos. And I especially don't bother with the "bring your own bag" nonsense. I ask for paper and make them double-bag.

But walk the perimeter of the store and you get some very good produce, fish, meat, dairy products and nuts at very reasonable prices. I especially like the section where you can grind up fresh peanut butter. Though I do get a kick out of the label that says "this product may contain traces of nuts."

Yes, much of the clientele are scowling liberals who are in between a trip to the gym and a lecture on the plight of the Kurds. But at least they aren't paying with food stamps because Whole Foods only puts their stores in high-income areas. I also love parking my Ford F150 into a spot that is reserved for "fuel efficient" cars. That will sometimes earn me a mean stare. Hey, my 8-cylinder truck is pretty efficient at burning fuel - my frequent fill-ups attest to that.

16 posted on 02/24/2014 8:29:26 PM PST by SamAdams76
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To: GreatRoad

I’m glad you were able to get someone to help “fix” your gout. Painful stuff.


17 posted on 02/24/2014 8:30:11 PM PST by rktman (Under my plan(scheme),unemployment will necessarily skyrocket! Despite the % dropping. Period.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Blah, Blah, Blah, say all you want, but their stock is fantastic. So buy it and get rich off the stupid enviro-loonies.


18 posted on 02/24/2014 8:35:59 PM PST by SgtHooper (If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I happen to love Whole Foods, the produce section is great (loved the dates rolled in walnuts, which is my afternoon snack), DH loves the beer section, lots of local micro brews and the beer is rated. I also buy artichoke hearts in olive oil for our after work happy hour snacking.

I also like going to a store where everyone BUT ME in line is using an EBT card — while driving a late model car and talking on the latest iPhone.

Yes, I may pay more when I go to Whole Foods occasionally, but I leave w/o my blood boiling from seeing all the EBT cards (this is California, where 33% of ALL welfare recipients live).


19 posted on 02/24/2014 8:46:02 PM PST by Bon of Babble (Don't want to brag...but I can still fit into the earrings I wore in high school!!)
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To: Bon of Babble
I also like going to a store where everyone BUT ME in line is using an EBT card — while driving a late model car and talking on the latest iPhone.

Should read, I also dislike...

Sometimes I wish FReep had an edit function like Disqus.

20 posted on 02/24/2014 8:48:38 PM PST by Bon of Babble (Don't want to brag...but I can still fit into the earrings I wore in high school!!)
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To: SamAdams76

“But walk the perimeter of the store and you get some very good produce, fish, meat, dairy products and nuts at very reasonable prices. “

I observe it’s all very expensive. The produce is the same brands I see at my normal grocery store. Whole Foods just marks them up.


21 posted on 02/24/2014 8:49:39 PM PST by HereInTheHeartland (Obama lied; our healthcare died.)
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To: SeekAndFind
I have said this many times on the forum...WF has a good business model, I can support......the customers who frequent WH are the most pretentious people on the planet.

In this long, cold snowy winter, I'll take my GD there to do her homework....the sunny, clean and bright eat-in restaurant is quiet and civilized...we get a nice snack and have a *girl's* moment. Grazing at WF is an art form.

The customers I see in the checkout lane are buying overpriced prepared foods that are better if you fix them at home. I know some of these people....who earn six-figures....live on the *other side of the tracks* and carry home the goods in the Benzs, Rovers and BMWs .......put their organic WF in their Sub-Zeros...in their $250K kitchens...which they don't use for food prep, except to have available when the hired chef caters their next party.

Case in point....I went to WH a few days B4 Valentine's Day to find some long-stem strawberries...for my GD to dip as a present to her Mom & dad for the holiday. WF didn't have them...which surprised me...but I found them in my cheap-as-dirt grocery store I frequent on the *other side of the tracks*. Meh.


22 posted on 02/24/2014 8:50:57 PM PST by Daffynition ("If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right." ~ Henry Ford)
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To: SeekAndFind

The “whole foods” movement is strong enough that the foods that you could only find at Whole Foods a few years ago are now cropping up in every grocery store, for a fraction of the price and with fewer scowling yuppies.

I was glad to see things like whole-milk yogurt and whole chia seeds turn up at my regular grocery store. Whole-milk yogurt tastes 100X better than the low-fat slime. And I use chia for erosion control on my land :)


23 posted on 02/24/2014 8:59:34 PM PST by Ellendra ("Laws were most numerous when the Commonwealth was most corrupt." -Tacitus)
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To: ClearBlueSky

Yeah. I’ve tasted honest-to-goodness organic free-range eggs, and they are nothing like the overpriced ones at the grocery store.


24 posted on 02/24/2014 9:02:05 PM PST by Ellendra ("Laws were most numerous when the Commonwealth was most corrupt." -Tacitus)
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To: Ellendra

Same here but they should not cost 6.00 a dozen.

Prices at Whole Foods is shocking. The meat department alone is gold plated.


25 posted on 02/24/2014 9:05:18 PM PST by warsaw44
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To: SeekAndFind

Hey, I like organic food. Free range venison and free range turkey. I can shoot it myself......


26 posted on 02/24/2014 9:16:33 PM PST by Darren McCarty (Abortion - legalized murder for convenience)
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To: SeekAndFind

Great article

whole foods is such a load of steaming crap

organic to me means insects and poop, yuck

I like kosher just fine thanks, at least it’s clean

oh the cool hoity toity shoppers at whole foods, so plastic

fruit leather indeed eye roll


27 posted on 02/24/2014 9:20:52 PM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: SeekAndFind

You know what’s worse than shopping at a Whole Foods?

Shopping at a Whole Foods in Boulder, Colorado. I kid you not. This place is infested with nothing but know-it-all limousine liberals, University of Colorado professors, professors wives, professors mistresses, professors children, professors students, rich “hippies”, and other assorted liberal scum. This place is packed tighter than sardines in a can with such people, and the amount of smugness and righteousness trapped under one roof is so thick you could cut it with a knife.


28 posted on 02/24/2014 9:27:21 PM PST by catnipman (Cat Nipman: Vote Republican in 2012 and only be called racist one more time!)
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To: SeekAndFind

I was at Whole Foods for the first time this past weekend and bought some ‘back to nature’ cookies and some chips. Neither of which gave me any headaches. I have to carefully shop to avoid msg which will ruin any snack or meal by giving me headaches.

With that said I was shocked at their $12.99 price for steak when I can buy it at $5.99 at Albertsons. Maybe there is a difference but I ain’t paying to find out!

I also was amused about their cooked chicken that displayed on the package the 5 steps in how the chicken was humanly treated. Ahem, it still ended up dead and cooked by step 6 ....!


29 posted on 02/24/2014 9:29:22 PM PST by minnesota_bound
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To: 1_Rain_Drop

There are fractions like the 7-11 stores.....


30 posted on 02/24/2014 9:30:15 PM PST by minnesota_bound
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To: SeekAndFind

Whole Foods meats and poultry are better than the common supermarket hands down. Sure there are a lot of strange looking shopper there, but their butchers are regular guys.


31 posted on 02/24/2014 9:43:27 PM PST by LoneRangerMassachusetts (The meek shall not inherit the Earth)
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To: ClearBlueSky

20-20 years ago had a segment on organic foods. The organic had a lot more bacterial.


32 posted on 02/24/2014 9:47:49 PM PST by VerySadAmerican (".....Barrack, and the horse Mohammed rode in on.")
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To: warsaw44
Same here but they should not cost 6.00 a dozen.

The ones I had were $2 a dozen, direct from the farmer :)
33 posted on 02/24/2014 9:51:12 PM PST by Ellendra ("Laws were most numerous when the Commonwealth was most corrupt." -Tacitus)
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To: LoneRangerMassachusetts

I buy most of my meat, fish, milk and eggs at WF. The butchers really know their stuff. Sure it’s usually more expensive than a traditional grocery store, but it’s cheaper than what you’d get at a restaurant. If you’re into bacon, ham, and pepperoni, check out Wellshire Farms products. Yum!


34 posted on 02/25/2014 3:23:54 AM PST by toothfairy86
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

“Coconut oil - great stuff. Foods not drenched in pesticides, herbicides and petrochemicals - great stuff. Probiotics - great stuff.”

Pure crap!!

Organic food=throw crap at it and hope for something edible full of bugs!


35 posted on 02/25/2014 3:55:33 AM PST by dalereed
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To: dalereed

“Pure crap!! Organic food=throw crap at it and hope for something edible full of bugs!”

Crap has been used as fertilizer for centuries - great fertilizer... but not the only fertilizer used in organic food production.

Other than that, the rest of your thought or exclamation is crap. I suggest you do more research. If you can back it up with a fact or two, I’m glad to discuss it. If you want to keep it as just your opinion, I respect that.


36 posted on 02/25/2014 4:41:26 AM PST by aMorePerfectUnion
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To: SeekAndFind
The homeopathy section has plenty of Latin words and mathematical terms, but many of its remedies are so diluted that, statistically speaking, they may not contain a single molecule of the substance they purport to deliver.

Mankind can pat itself of the back for microprocessors and space travel, but there's no better evidence that we're only a few thousand years out of the caves than the fact that people still buy homeopathic products.

My wife bought some homeopathic "gripe water" for our infant, and was convinced it worked, even though I poured it out and replaced it with tap water as soon as she bought it.

37 posted on 02/25/2014 9:10:04 AM PST by GunRunner
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To: Ellendra

We had chickens when I was growing up and there isn’t anything like a farm fresh egg.

So much protein the yolks are orange!


38 posted on 02/25/2014 11:47:57 AM PST by warsaw44
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