Whole Foods CEO John Mackey Shares the Diet that Got Him Back to His Teenage Weight

John Mackey, the CEO and founder of Whole Foods, didn’t eat any vegetables growing up.

He discovered his love of veg in his 20s, just a few years before starting the health foods store. Now Mackey shares his story, and the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, in his new book, The Whole Foods Diet: The Lifesaving Plan for Health and Longetivity.

“In my 20s, I moved into a vegetarian co-op and that was the beginning of my own food consciousness journey. I was a very picky eater. I never ate vegetables, but within a pretty short period of time I became a vegetarian,” Mackey tells NBC News.

But he didn’t completely stick to vegetarianism, and started eating fish.

“Gradually, over time, I was starting to gain weight,” Mackey says. “My biometric measurements were not as good as they used to be. I was getting older. I just thought, ‘Oh, this is coming with age.’ ”

Then he discovered Colin Campbell’s book The China Study, which convinced him to go vegan, and ditch processed foods entirely.

“When I stopped eating all those processed foods and combined that with a plant based diet, my health was just amazing,” Mackey says. “I now weigh the same as I weighed when I was 18 years old. My cholesterol is under 140. My LDL is under 70. My blood pressure is 110 over 65. I’m an extremely healthy person now.”

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But Mackey says you don’t have to cut out meat and processed foods all at once, “move through the transition on a relatively slow basis. Mostly because we need to re-educate our taste buds. You have to expose yourself to a food about ten times before you really come to like it.”

Mackey used this method to train himself to love vegetables, which was the key to his weight loss, and what he says is the best way to eat.

“When you combine the things our body naturally craves — whole starch foods (sweet potatoes, brown rice, beans, etc.) with fruits and vegetables — you can eat all you want and you’ll lose weight,” he says.

Still, though, he isn’t perfect, and other foods slip in to his diet.

“I’m still on a health journey too,” Mackey says. “I do not put myself out as a perfect human being in terms of healthy eating. However, it’s the overall diet pattern that matters. If you occasionally make a mistake, or you occasionally indulge yourself, it doesn’t matter. It’s about the overall pattern: when you have the next meal, or the next snack, just do better.”

Dr. Kim Williams

Dr. Kim Williams, is the immediate past president of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and was the first African American ACC President. He is a nuclear cardiologist with a special interest in cardiovascular radiology and heart disease in kidney and cancer patients.

Dr. Williams, started eating a vegan diet in March of 2003. A heart patient with very high-risk findings in inspired him to try a plant-based diet. The patient initially had a heart condition that was a severe, three-vessel disease pattern of reversible ischemia. She came back to him several months later after she'd been following Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease. This includes a plant-based diet, exercise, and meditation. She told him her chest pain had resolved in about six weeks on the program. Her heart scan had also become essentially normal.

Dr. Kim Williams with home ties as he was at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, where he was a tenured professor of medicine radiology and chief of cardiology.
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Heart disease has killed more people in the United States than any other disease

The Plant-Based Nutrition Support Group(PBNSG) is excited to welcome Dr. Kim Williams (M.D., MACC, FAHA, MASNC, FESC), on Wednesday, March 29th at 6:30pm, Seaholm High School. He is the Chief, Division of Cardiology, at Rush Medical College in Chicago. Dr. Williams is the immediate past president of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) where he was the first African American ACC President. He is also a former tennis professional and follows a plant-based diet.
For most of his adult life, Williams followed what popular medical advice calls a healthy diet: no red meat, no fried foods, skinless chicken breasts, fish, fruit, vegetables, and grains. It’s the same diet that most doctors around the country tell their patients to follow right now.

He was surprised in 2003 when his LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) tested very high at 170. He did some research, looked at the published science, and changed that very day to a meat-free diet. Even after a simple web search, he realized that his skinless chicken breast had more cholesterol (84 mg/100g) than pork does (62 mg/100g). Within six weeks of going meat-free, his LDL cholesterol went down to 90 (below 100 is ideal).

Before his own switch to a plant-based diet, Williams had seen even more dramatic results in one of his own patients who made a similar change. Williams is crystal clear, in interviews and with his patients, and he doesn’t mince words when he talks about diet and heart health. He says that to prevent heart disease, “the most important things are plant-based nutrition, exercise, and weight loss. Most people will succumb to heart disease, diabetes, or hypertension on the standard American diet, which is why heart disease is the biggest killer in America. The best primary prevention strategy is improved lifestyle.”

When he speaks to patients, he tells them frankly that their health is in their own hands. “If someone already has heart disease or plaque, I will always recommend dietary change and exercise. Heart disease has killed more people in the United States than any other disease since the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-1920.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Tickets available online $20 www.pbnsg.org
Seaholm High School
2436 West Lincoln, Birmingham, MI 48009
Questions contact (248) 919-8726 or connect@pbnsg.org

To learn more and purchase tickets at Plant-Based Nutrition Support Group
Plant Based Nutrition Support Group | www.pbnsg.org| 248-919-8726

PBNSG is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to evidence-based education and advocacy of plant-based whole food nutrition and an active lifestyle, to help prevent or reverse chronic disease and achieve optimal health. Seek advice from your health care professional before making any changes to your current lifestyle.