“My philosophy is that life is all about learning and growing, and that life can be a real adventure of learning, growing, compassion, and joyfulness.”
Creating a huge business is one thing. Building it on principles of conscious awareness? Another thing altogether.
This week I sit down with John Mackey, the father of conscious capitalism and the unlikely entrepreneur behind a $16 billion grocery behemoth that ushered in a global organic food movement and permanently changed the way we eat, live and think about business.
The Bill Gates of organic food, John is the original, current and sole CEO of Whole Foods Markets, which he founded in 1980 and has parented to Fortune 500 status, employing over 90,000 people across 450+ stores in the United States, Canada and the UK.
A strong believer in free market principles, Mackey is the co-founder of the Conscious Capitalism Movement and co-authored the New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller Conscious Capitalism, which encourages business grounded in principles of ethical consciousness.
Consistent with this ethos, John has birthed a myriad of philanthropic efforts, including the Whole Planet Foundation to help end poverty in developing nations, the Local Producer Loan Program to help local food producers expand their businesses, The Global Animal Partnership’s rating scale for humane farm animal treatment, and the Health Starts Here initiative to promote health and wellness.
Mackey has been recognized as Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Overall Winner for the United States, Institutional Investor’s Best CEO in America, Barron’s World’s Best CEO, MarketWatch’s CEO of the Year, FORTUNE’s Businessperson of the Year, and Esquire’s Most Inspiring CEO.
Aligning his actions with his values, John embraces an extremely grounded lifestyle in stark contrast to his means. This is a guy who in 2006 cut his annual pay to $1, donates all his stock options to charity, walks to work, cooks his own meals and meditates daily.
A vegan for many years, John recently released The Whole Foods Diet*. Co-authored by Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman of Forks Over Knives, it’s a powerful primer that unequivocally establishes a whole foods, plant-based diet as the optimum protocol for health, disease prevention and longevity based on the huge body of science, research, and advice that is available today.
This is an amazing conversation about:
- John’s entrepreneurial journey
- The popularization of fad diets based on misinformation and industry-financed science
- The current state of the food industry
- Our toxic food culture and the addictions that are fueling disease
- The distinction between conscious capitalism and social entrepreneurship
- John’s ethical compunction to educate people about lifestyle disease prevention; and
- Purism versus pragmatism: how John balances his personal values with his fiduciary duties
But most of all, this is a powerful dialog about the incredible power of a plant-based lifestyle to prevent and reverse disease, enhance optimum health and increase longevity — things we all aspire to achieve.
I had been wanting to connect with John for years, and our meeting in Austin at Whole Foods HQ didn’t disappoint. I love this exchange — a passionate and contemplateive discussion packed with great takeaways certain to leave you rethinking your daily plate and daily priorities. I sincerely hope you enjoy it!
Peace + Plants,
Thanks to this week’s sponsors:
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Check out John’s latest book: The Whole Foods Diet: The Lifesaving Plan for Health and Longevity*
- Connect with John: Whole Foods Market Blog
- John’s NY Times and WSJ Best-Seller: Conscious Capitalism: Liberating The Heroic Spirit of Business*
- Whole Foods Market: Website | Twitter | Instagram
- Conscious Capitalism: Website | Twitter
- NBC News: Whole Foods CEO John Mackey On The Secret To Eating Healthy | Better | NBC News
- OWN: How Whole Foods Co-Founder John Mackey Found His Purpose with Oprah Winfrey
- NPR One: How I Built This | Whole Foods Market: John Mackey
- Inc.: What ‘Conscious Capitalism’ Means by Lewis Schiff
- People: Whole Foods CEO John Mackey Shares the Diet that Got Him Back to His Teenage Weight by Julie Mazziotta
- Fortune: How to Eat Healthier According to Whole Foods’ CEO by John Kell
- Blue Zones: What Whole Foods Market CEO has in his grocery cart | 9 Questions for John Mackey
- San Francisco Chronicle: Q&A: Whole Foods CEO John Mackey on organics and e-commerce by Tara Duggan
- The Stanford Daily: Q&A with John Mackey and Bruce Friedrich
- Stanford Law School: Debate | Eating Meat is Neither Ethical Nor Healthy
- John Mackey at TEDMED 2010
- Documentary: Forks Over Knives*
- Documentary: What The Health*
Notable People Discussed
- Dr. Garth Davis: Plant-based bariatric surgeon & author of Proteinaholic*
- Alona Pulde M.D.: Health and wellness medical expert. Co-author of The Whole Foods Diet*
- Matthew Lederman M.D.: Health and wellness medical expert. Co-author of The Whole Foods Diet*
- Dr. John McDougall: Physician & author who has written extensively on the benefits of a low-fat, whole foods, plant-based vegan diet
- Dr. Joel Fuhrman: Physician and author of: Eat to Live*
- Dr. Scott Stoll: Board certified specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
- Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn: American physician, author and former Olympic rowing champion
- Rip Esselstyn: Former fire-fighter and author of The Engine 2 Diet*
- Adam Sud: Film maker, whole food, plant-based advocate
- Doug Lisle: Author of The Pleasure Trap*
- Dan Buettner: National Geographic Fellow, Blue Zones founder and NY Times bestselling author of The Blue Zones Solution*
- Lauren T. Ornelas: Founder and executive director at Food Empowerment Project
- Bruce Friedrich: Executive director at The Good Food Institute and founding partner at New Crop Capital
- Uma Valeti, MD: Cardiologist, entrepreneur and CEO of Memphis Meats
- Gary Fraccione: Legal scholar, animal rights activist at The Abolitionist Approach
Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy
- RRP #150: Garth Davis, MD On Our Obsession With Protein
- RRP #175:How Adam Sud Lost 100 Pounds, Kicked Adderall, Reversed His Diabetes & Found A Life
- RRP #286: Bruce Friedrich Is Innovating The Future Of Food
- RRP #028: Plant-Based Nutritionist Andy Bellatti M.S., RD
- RRP #044: Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease With Joel Kahn, MD
- RRP #128: Cardiologist Joel Kahn, MD: Is Butter Really Back?
- RRP #068: Matt Ruscigno: Plantpowered Dietitian
- RRP#077: Dr. Michael Klaper On Plant-Based Nutrition To Treat & Prevent Disease
- RRP #079: T. Colin Campbell on Disease Prevention/Reversal
- RRP #192: Robynne Chutkan, MD on Everything Microbiome
- RRP #199: Michael Greger, M.D. On How Not To Die
- RRP# 278: “What The Health” – How Corporate Collusion Is Making Us Sick & Costing Us Trillions
*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
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