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Dizzy
02-24-2014, 02:29 PM
Damning.

Whole Foods: Americaís Temple of Pseudoscience (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/23/whole-foods-america-s-temple-of-pseudoscience.html)

But you donít have to schlep all the way to Kentucky in order to visit Americaís greatest shrine to pseudoscience. In fact, that shrine is a 15-minute trip away from most American urbanites.

Iím 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 thereís really no better place to go. Because anti-science isnít just a religious, conservative phenomenonóand 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 donít.

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., itís visited by a predominantly liberal clientele that skews academic, with more science PhDs per capita than a Mensa convention.

estragon
02-24-2014, 02:38 PM
Whole Foods is like any other grocery store. Some things there are cheaper and better than Safeway/Trader Joe's, some things there are more expensive and worse. We pick out our weekly grocery shopping destination(s) based on what items we need at the time. Sometimes the Whole Foods version is the cheapest and best. (example:Whole Foods branded tomato paste in a tube)

All the love/hate toward Whole Foods is irrational. Outrageous health claims are not limited to Whole Foods anymore, I assure you. Just learn to comparison shop.

Dizzy
02-24-2014, 02:50 PM
Good point... but I don't see how that bears any relevance to the article at hand.

estragon
02-24-2014, 02:53 PM
Nothing in the article is particularly worth commenting on.

People with Science PhDs shop at Whole Foods because of social signaling and good fresh produce, not because they believe in the obviously ridiculous claims of marketing gobbledygook. If your focus is on psuedo-scientific claims, you could just as easily write this article about a supermarket that caters to less wealthy clientele. I don't think the scientists who shop at whole foods for fresh produce bear any moral responsibility for the hippies who shop there to buy rip off supplements. Again, you can find psuedo-science in pretty much any grocery store.

The only thing successful about this article is that they wrote it about Whole Foods, so a lot of people will share it on social media because it's a polarizing brand name. It's boring, thoughtless, and perfectly engineered for people to share.

Dizzy
02-24-2014, 03:24 PM
Thanks. I don't know why you bothered posting in this thread then. I guess the person who wrote this article isn't the only one who shares in boring and thoughtless points.

You still haven't tied what you've said here to the article itself or demonstrated how its own points are faulty. That I can find pseudoscience in pretty much any grocery store isn't interesting; that I can find it in Whole Foods and there is an ideological reason behind why it doesn't receive as much heated criticism for it it is interesting. Hence the reason why this article was written.

If you don't care for it... whatever. Thanks for sharing.

Loki
02-24-2014, 03:31 PM
I went to Vitamin Cottage once and there was a sign up that was like "There's a BILL that will force the FDA to grant approval to herbal supplements. Keep government out of your vitamins, call your congressman today!"

And I was like, man really? I couldn't tell if it was genuine fear that people don't understand alternative medicine or cynical "the FDA will put a lid on our snake oil profits!" Either way I can only see the FDA checking out stuff you put in your body as a good thing.

estragon
02-24-2014, 03:33 PM
Either way I can only see the FDA checking out stuff you put in your body as a good thing.

For real.

Thanks. I don't know why you bothered posting in this thread then.

I wanted to comment on the way that Whole Foods is frequently invoked in really bad arguments as a symbol of some larger phenomenon, but that it's actually basically just a grocery store (see my first post).

The premise of the article assumes a special degree of hypocrisy and complicity on behalf of Whole Foods shoppers that doesn't exist. It also assumes that scientists aren't challenging claims about this kind of psuedo-science by corporations, which is not true. Without that, the ideological argument also doesn't follow.

The ideological component in the article would be stronger if it dropped the sensationalist "but scientists shop at Whole Foods!" angle, but then it couldn't be published on The Daily Beast and shared on Twitter by people who irrationally love/hate Whole Foods.

Falselogic
02-24-2014, 03:53 PM
We don't shop at Whole Foods... We're lucky enough to live in a community that has a food co-op! But, our co-op does have a large section of homeopathic medicine and other leftist woo-woo.

Me and others have written to the board about this before but the response we get back is this is what our members want us to carry and so we carry it. Just like the Co-op carries Coke despite some members hating that it is on the shelf.

Balrog
02-24-2014, 04:55 PM
More like Whole Paycheck, amirite?

Paul le Fou
02-24-2014, 07:11 PM
Yuppie health trends like ANTIOXIDANTS! GLUTEN FREE! ORGANIC! and paleo diets, vitamin supplements, not to mention whole-cloth bullshit like homeopathy, aren't limited to Whole Foods. And I'm sure you can get, like, regular old Real Food at Whole Foods as well.

But Whole Foods really has built its brand around that stuff, to the point where when you think Whole Foods you think Organic non-GMO gluten free hemp muffins or whatever. It's how they've marketed themselves, and it's the niche they've successfully carved out.

So, uh, if that bothers you, stop shopping there and uh I guess tell your friends not to either?

Isrieri
02-24-2014, 08:11 PM
Right now, I'm eating frozen rolls. And a glass of Coke.

The Raider Dr. Jones
02-24-2014, 08:57 PM
My own local Whole Foods is just a block away from the campus of Duke University.

Hey, neat, I shop at that one sometimes.

Dizzy
02-25-2014, 07:28 AM
I have never been to Whole Foods.

Red Hedgehog
02-25-2014, 07:48 AM
People with Science PhDs shop at Whole Foods because of ... good fresh produce.

Yeah, when it's winter and I can't get local farm produce, it has by far the best stuff of any supermarket.

jpfriction
02-25-2014, 09:58 AM
I shop at target. Oreos are cheap there.

Excitemike
02-25-2014, 10:27 AM
I used to eat whole foods but now I'm better at portion control.

Violentvixen
02-25-2014, 10:39 AM
I agree with everything Estragon said and don't understand why you think it's irrelevant. Half the store is bullshit, yes, but the other half is awesome. It's strange to get so angry that someone pointed out the benefits of a store.

Anyway, I'm another person who appreciates Whole Foods for being the only place where I can get good produce and healthy meat.

upupdowndown
02-25-2014, 10:54 AM
I agree with everything Estragon said and don't understand why you think it's irrelevant. Half the store is bullshit, yes, but the other half is awesome. It's strange to get so angry that someone pointed out the benefits of a store.


this.

also, the way this article has been shared on social media is weird - one of my FB acquaintances posted it and said, basically, that Whole Foods shoppers were worse than young earth Creationists because they were snobby AND pseudo-scientific.

this strikes me as wrong, in part because young earth creationism correlates so strongly with a bunch of other crappy beliefs that really just need to go away.

Dizzy
02-25-2014, 11:29 AM
I don't understand why I'm seeing the word "anger" crop up here. I'm certainly not angry about Whole Foods myself, nor am I seeking to wage food jihad on them. The article raises criticisms I found provocative and reasonable. I didn't detect any bestial frothing.

Wolfgang
02-25-2014, 11:33 AM
They have amazing fruit - as has been pointed out - but they're just too overpriced to be worth shopping at regularly. That is the sum of my feelings about Whole Foods.

Then again, if you REALLY need a reason to not want to shop there, do a search for articles that discuss the CEO's politics and company policies. That's actually much more damning and anger-inducing.

Teaspoon
02-25-2014, 12:07 PM
CEO's politics and company policies

This is hardly unique to Whole Foods, on the other hand.

pointzeroeight
02-25-2014, 12:46 PM
Yuppie health trends like ANTIOXIDANTS! GLUTEN FREE! ORGANIC! and paleo diets, vitamin supplements, not to mention whole-cloth bullshit like homeopathy, aren't limited to Whole Foods. And I'm sure you can get, like, regular old Real Food at Whole Foods as well
While in some ways some of these things are bullshit, the fact that stores like Whole Foods carry a wide selection of "non-standard" foods (ie. gluten-free, vegan, etc) is great for those for whom it's either a health restriction and/or an ethical choice.
More like Whole Paycheck, amirite?
For the stuff I buy from Whole Foods, it's a hell of a lot cheaper than buying the same things anywhere else. Having it be a common item rather than specialty definitely impacts its price, in a very positive way for some of us.

Wolfgang
02-25-2014, 12:50 PM
This is hardly unique to Whole Foods, on the other hand.

I don't eat Papa John's pizza, either, though. It's also completely against the image Whole Foods is trying to cultivate. Harebrained pseudoscience is very low on the list of reasons to avoid the place.

On the other hand, their paper bags are really convenient cat litter disposal containers.

Violentvixen
02-25-2014, 02:50 PM
I don't understand why I'm seeing the word "anger" crop up here. I'm certainly not angry about Whole Foods myself, nor am I seeking to wage food jihad on them. The article raises criticisms I found provocative and reasonable. I didn't detect any bestial frothing.

I was saying you seemed angry at Estragon, not at Whole Foods.

While in some ways some of these things are bullshit, the fact that stores like Whole Foods carry a wide selection of "non-standard" foods (ie. gluten-free, vegan, etc) is great for those for whom it's either a health restriction and/or an ethical choice.

For the stuff I buy from Whole Foods, it's a hell of a lot cheaper than buying the same things anywhere else. Having it be a common item rather than specialty definitely impacts its price, in a very positive way for some of us.

This is what makes it so hard to hate them sometimes.

My family always shopped at Eherwhon (or however you spell it), Wild Oats and Mrs. Gooch's for special products that you simply could not get anywhere else (especially since this was pre-internet). Now Safeway has a lot of the products that we used to have to make special trips for, and a lot of that is thanks to Whole Foods which made people more aware of the options and made other companies notice people were buying them.

Sarcasmorator
02-25-2014, 02:58 PM
I don't shop at Whole Foods (expensive, not around here), but bullshit is bullshit, wherever it's sold.

MikeDinosaur
02-25-2014, 11:01 PM
To be fair, the line between bullshit and not-bullshit is very hard to define in food science, because it all has such notoriously spotty methodology (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/09/opinion/sunday/why-nutrition-is-so-confusing.html?_r=0). So yeah, I laugh at my friends who choke down colloidal silver or torture themselves with the master cleanse every few months, but I'm pretty big on sourdough-culture-grown bread and non-gmo produce, and who's to say I'm not being a dink too? I just feel more comfortable believing the way my food is grown resembles farming practices that predate the obesity epidemic. *Shrug*

Lady
02-25-2014, 11:51 PM
I like the pseudo-science hippies as long as they're encouraging discussion about conservation of earth resources, turning farming into a sustainable (for the earth and for the people performing the labor) practice. In AR, I shopped at the local co-op (not fancy enough for a Whole Foods back then) when I could afford it, and a regular grocery store when I couldn't, and here, I'm lucky that the cheapest groceries are often these kinds of places, although more local/small scale than Whole Foods.