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With sales tumbling, Whole Foods CEO introduces new diet book

Book’s release comes amid criticism of the company’s operation by activist investor Jana Partners
"The Whole Foods Diet" by John Mackey, Alona Pulde, MD, and Matthew Lederman, MD (Photo: Chad and Derek Sarno of Wicked Healthy)

Whole Foods Market founder and CEO John Mackey this week released a diet book -- the positivity of which contradicts the behind-the-scenes turmoil at the organic foods retailer.

The new book, The Whole Foods Diet: The Lifesaving Plan for Health and Longevity, espouses a vegan diet. Mackey said the goal was to empower readers to make “more informed” food choices that promote health and vitality, while also promoting unity among what he described as the various health diet “tribes.”

The book was co-authored with doctors Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman, who founded the Exsalus Health & Wellness Centre in Los Angeles to promote the benefits of veganism, and went on to appear in the 2011 documentary Forks Over Knives.

Whole Foods Diet is divided into three parts: Part one discusses the science behind the diet, including the commonalities and differences that co-exist across popular diets and how health outcomes have evolved; part two provides guidance on everyday food choices with advice on how to customize the Whole Foods Diet for particular preferences and needs; and part three invites readers to take the 28-day “Eat Real Food Plan” with four weeks of recipes accompanied by shopping lists, culinary tips and other tools. The book has a suggested retail price of $28 USD.

The book’s launch comes as Mackey faces what Bloomberg described as a “looming battle” with Jana Partners. The activist investor, which upped its stake in the company to 8.3% on Monday, has criticized several facets of the Whole Foods business, from its brand development to its customer service.

In February, Whole Foods posted its sixth consecutive quarter of same-store sales declines. The Austin, TX-based company currently operates 12 stores in Canada, and has pulled back on aggressive expansion plans, announcing earlier this year that it will not proceed with planned store openings in Calgary and Edmonton.


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