Promoting health and saving money at Whole Foods Market

Finally—a major CEO steps up to the plate.

That’s right, we now have the CEO of a very large, well known and highly respected company showing us how to increase productivity, save lives and lower the cost of health care—all at the same time.

John Mackey is featured in the powerful 13-minute video that is included below—the first prominent CEO to take the bold step of personally demonstrating how all of his 62,000 employees can take charge of their own health. Without a doubt, the video that follows is the best that I have ever seen on this topic—crisp, powerful, professional and credible.

John P. Mackey, co-founder of the Company, has served as Chief Executive Officer since 1980. As the company’s visionary, he has led the development of many innovative programs such as the $10 million in low-interest loans to local farmers and food producers to help them expand their businesses. Mr. Mackey’s most recent focus is re-invigorating Whole Foods Market’s emphasis on healthy eating and lifestyle choices.

When I first began learning the truth about nutrition in the spring of 2003, I wanted to leverage my consulting and process-improvement skills to help organizations of all sizes slash their cost of health care. After learning that things like obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes could be easily reversed by simply eating the right foods; I immediately knew that billions of dollars could be saved if we could help people change the way they think about food.

“Whole Plants”

Since 2003, I have been pursuing that dream and, as always, I have tried to make the transition as simple and easy as possible. What could be simpler than two words? Whole Plants. If we just focus on those two words, we can take charge of our health. And we don’t need a medical doctor, a registered dietitian or a nutritional scientist to show us how.

But we do need those professionals to provide legitimacy for the journey of simply returning to the natural diet for our species—the diet that Nature intended for us to eat in the first place.

Credibility, legitimacy and authenticity—necessary for major change. In a population where over 90% of the people are eating meat, dairy, eggs and refined carbohydrates three meals a day—365 days a year—that style of eating has become the accepted norm. And it is the kind of diet that is regularly eaten by most of our doctors, registered dietitians and nutritional scientists.

Even though they still don’t teach the powerful truths about nutrition in our medical schools or our schools of nutritional science, there is a growing army of professionals who have learned the truth on their own—and they are sharing that powerful information the best they can. Six of those individuals were featured prominently in our book—and one of them produced the video that follows.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell (author of The China Study) provides the “scientific foundation” for the five medical doctors listed here.

  1. T. Colin Campbell, PhD, scientist, nutritional biochemistry, Cornell University, author of The China Study…and one of the three experts who influenced Bill Clinton to go plant-based.
  2. Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D., The Cleveland Clinic, former general surgeon, now Director of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Reversal at the Clinic’s Wellness Institute. Author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.
  3. Dean Ornish, M.D., UCSF School of Medicine, former consulting physician for the White House and Air Force One, author of Spectrum.
  4. Neal Barnard, M.D., Founder and CEO of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, author of Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes.
  5. Joel Fuhrman, M.D., Family physician, author of Eat to Live and prominent speaker and educator in the field of health-promoting plant-based nutrition.
  6. John McDougall, M.D., Prominent pioneer in plant-based nutrition to promote health, author of The McDougall Plan, consultant, speaker and leader of change.

All of these professionals are featured prominently in our book and five of them have written endorsements for it. They all have a few things in common: None of them were taught the truth about nutrition during their formal education—they all learned it on their own. And their “common ground” of knowledge can be described as agreement on the following statement by Dr. Campbell: “The closer we get to eating a whole foods, plant-based diet, the better off we will be.”

Dr. John McDougall

As for Dr. McDougall being listed last; it’s only because he is the one that produced the following video—highlighting the Whole Foods Market educational program at his Santa Rosa, CA, health center in October of 2011. I attended an “Advanced Study Weekend” there in 2007 and highly recommend his programs for anyone wanting to have the very best professional support and guidance during the process of taking charge of their health.

From my perspective, the big story in this video is that it features a prominent CEO—taking personal responsibility for the health and welfare of his employees. John Mackey has been a vegan since he was a young man but has only recently learned the complete truth about nutrition. And, like me,  he learned it from medical pioneers like those six professionals listed above.

Meet Dr. John McDougall, John Mackey, CEO, and their teams.


Summary. As this video so brilliantly reports; most of our chronic diseases need never exist—and if they do, many of them can be reversed within weeks or months. All we have to do to take charge of our health is make “whole plants” the number one source of calories in our diet.  But there are a tremendous numbers of barriers that one must overcome: traditional medical advice about protein, opinions of friends-family & co-workers, scarcity of healthy choices in restaurants, etc. But, with one simple ingredient, all that can change in a hurry….

Leadership. We need more leaders like John Mackey who are willing to personally lead the change within their organizations. This is not the kind of “human resource” program that can be relegated to the H.R. department. We’re talking major change—in a world of major barriers. For that kind of change, we need top management leadership. Click on this link if you’d like to learn more about an in-house health-promotion campaign within your organization.

Lowering costs and saving lives in your organization

Handy 3-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to

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To order more of my favorite books—visit our online BookStore now

J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

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Blogging daily at…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
This entry was posted in Activism & Leadership, M.D.s---Health-Promoting, Medical Experts, Testimonials. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Promoting health and saving money at Whole Foods Market

  1. Leo S. says:

    The average person needs to become aware that there are programs out there that can improve health and lower costs for both the individual and companies insurance outlays. The Pritikin Program and the Ornish Program are now available through Medicare. Progress is being made but we don’t hear about it in the media. Dr. Barnard had a similar experience with the Geico Insurance Company.—curing-geico-employees-with-vegan-diet-video.html

  2. Lester Sukenik says:

    GREAT POST JIM!!! I was worried that I did not see your post early this morning. Thought something might have happened. I’ve viewed the video the other day and agree that Mr. Mackey is doing a wonderful thing for the employees of Whole Foods. Thanks for a really great post today!! With Easter and Passover coming this weekend we will all be challenged to stay true to our whole plant lifestyle. Going to my brother-in-laws in Pittsburgh. He at least has asked what I will eat. The sad part will be having to watch all my relatives eat the traditional foods that are making them ill and over weight. I’m determined to eat at the 3 leaf level! Happy holiday to you and everyone reading your blog today!! / Les

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