Whole Foods Is An Organic 7-Eleven

Whole Food is a Junk Food Store

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately at a big Whole Foods not too far from my apartment here in Chicago. It's got a cozy atmosphere, yummy black tea, and Wifi decent enough to set me up for a productive work day. Yesterday, I arrived a few minutes early for a meeting in their café and decided to look around for something to eat. While walking up and down the aisles I realized something pretty scary: these days the store is filled with a whole bunch of crap we used to eat only on special occasions and lazy nights when we didn't feel like cooking. Am I the only one aside from the company's founder, John Mackey, ready to face the truth, which is that Whole Foods has become an organic 7-Eleven?

Over in the bakery, which was overflowing with every form of pastry imaginable, I thought about my first trip to Whole Foods about ten years ago when I lived in New York. Back then, all it took was a quick visit to this beautiful grocery store to get me excited about food – how it’s grown, where it comes from, and what it can or can’t do for my body. I learned about the chemicals we put into the animals we eat and how they could impact our health. Not a cook by any stretch of the imagination, I started to search for healthy recipes and was pleasantly surprised at how even the most exotic ingredients were almost always available. Judging by the long lines in every store, a new food culture was emerging (granted, it was a culture limited to those who could afford the outrageous prices), and it was thrilling.

But if my cooking habits or the products I saw on the shelves at Whole Foods today are any indication, that era is over. Done. Kaputski. What we have instead is a 75,000 square foot storinghourse of junk food codependence for parents like me who cringe every time we’re asked, “What’s for dinner?”

Cakes, cookies, quesedillas, macaroni and cheese, pizza, and who doesn’t love that burger joint off to the side with the big, juicy french fries? Long aisles of junk food, pre-processed snacks, frozen dinners; Whole Foods has it all, if by “all” we mean easy, quick, and with the word "organic" slapped somewhere on the package. Sure, someone on the staff is still checking for pesticides and transfats, but then what? Whole Foods is now like every other grocery store, supporting our collective laziness and our refusal to learn how to properly cook for ourselves and our families.

No one is guiltier of this than I am. In the years since having a kid, any desire I may have had to cook is gone. I loathe the kitchen. I ignore my blender, reject my measuring cups, and give my extra virgin olive oil the cold shoulder. Not only do I dislike cooking, I don't even enjoy food shopping. I've become the perfect contestant for Worst Cooks in America, even though I know my family and I eat healthier when we eat at home and that doing so saves us money and helps cut back on waste. But each time I enter my kitchen I feel like I’m stepping into a traditional role I want nothing to do with. Cooking for me isn’t about providing love and sustenance for my family. It’s about being chained, against my will, to a stove.

Which is why I go straight to Whole Foods. Oh boy, do they get me, big time. I enter the store, throw a few things in a biodegradable container and voila, dinner is served. And it’s a dinner that I delude myself into thinking is healthy, even if it is lasagna, pierogi, or chicken fingers, because if Whole Foods prepares or sells it then it’s got to be good for us, right?

So now that I'm finally acknowledging what Whole Foods (an organic 7-Elevan) and I have become (the laziest mom on earth), it's time to make some important decisions. I can learn how to cook, think more carefully about the food I’m putting in my and family’s bodies, or keep shopping in a way that perpetuates my apathy and ignorance. Seems like an easy choice. Or does it?

[Photo credit: Sommai/FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

For those you waiting patiently to chat about Week Two of the Are You Mom Enough Sex Challenge, that'll be back next week. All I can say for now is that we have lots to talk about!

Leave a comment