There have to be at least 1,000 different diets you can choose from today. From low-carb, paleo, vegan, and everything in between, there is hardly a shortage of options … or information about those options out there for people. While some turn to their diets when they are struggling with their health, it can be extremely confusing and overwhelming to know exactly what to put on your plate to start feeling better. Now, of course, following one particular diet may not work for everyone, and professionals are generally the best purveyors of advice to those who are having problems with certain foods, but amidst all the debate over whether gluten is healthy or if coconut oil is good or evil, there is undoubtedly a set of basic guidelines that most people can agree on.

Similarly, if you’re looking to refine your food choices to have the least negative impact on the planet and animals, you might find yourself bombarded with labels that boast “sustainable” or “humane”… but there is a pretty simple solution that can help you get the most personal benefit while having the least impact on the planet.

So what is the catch-all solution to our looming health and environmental concerns? Well, if you ask John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, you need look no further than the ground.

As a pioneer in the organic and natural food space, Mackey has likely seen thousands of products bearing every “free-from” label possible … and though his stores might be known for their impressive array of fancy, and healthy, frozen and packaged foods … he sticks to one simple dogma: eat a primarily whole foods, plant-based diet.

In a recent episode of #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias, Mackey details the in-depth research he did to develop his latest book The Whole Foods Dietand shares the tips that he picked up from Blue Zone areas, regions of the world with the highest life expectancy. In addition to sharing tips for optimal longevity, Mackey gives his thoughts on plant-based proteins and “clean” lab-grown meat. As a vegan, he has some opinions that might make others angry in regards to his stance of processed meat alternatives – but Mackey’s goal isn’t to please people, it’s to help keep them healthy and he is very unapologetic about this.

The bottom line is we are in the midst of a global health and environmental crisis that is very closely tied to our food choices. If we continue to maintain a food system that favors meat, dairy, and processed foods – although it is conspicuously making people sick and hindering our future ability to produce food – we simply won’t be able to feed a population of 9.7 billion people by the year  2050. Now, Mackey knows this and he has grand plans to live past the age of 100, so when he lays out a whole foods, plant-based diet as a solution to both these burning issues, he means it.

For more tips on how Mackey eats well while on the road and other practices he has fostered to ensure his own optimal performance, check out the episode!


You can listen to the full episode on the following platforms: iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher



If you like this episode, be sure to subscribe to the #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias podcast for new episodes with food industry leaders, health and sustainability experts, as well as entrepreneurs and creative minds who are redefining the future of food.