Whole Foods CEO John Mackey Talks Health and Ethical Veganism to Men's Journal
John Mackey, CEO of the goliath health supermarket Whole Foods, recently spoke with Men’s Journal about swallowing his pride and accepting the challenge of learning more about animal welfare – and ultimately choosing to become vegan. He details his time living in a vegetarian co-op after growing up on the standard 1960s diet of, as he calls it, “crap.”
“I taught myself to eat all kinds of food I originally didn’t like but now prefer — kale, collard greens, mustard greens.”
Mackey shares how he was confronted by a woman at an annual Whole Foods meeting about the treatment of ducks being raised for food. The interaction blossomed into an email correspondence and a learning opportunity for Mackey, who then consumed book after book on animal welfare and made the switch to veganism in 2003.
“After reading the books, I knew too much to keep eating meat. Remember The Matrix? Take the blue pill or the red pill? I didn’t want to go back to sleep.”
The CEO now spends his time focusing on strength and fitness. The 62 year old has hiked trails in over a dozen different countries, beginning with the Appalachian Trail after witnessing the sobering events of September 11th, 2001. He says “The longer I stay on the trail, the better I feel” and will take weeks-long treks alone, surrounded by nature. Mackey discusses how he is taking his health more seriously now than he ever has.
He also recognizes the constraints of running a business which caters to the 97 percent of the population who are (for now) omnivorous, yet encourages people to soul-search. For him, that soul-searching led to a vibrant and fulfilling life embracing ethical veganism.
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