Why This Vegan Will No Longer Buy ‘Food for Life’ Products

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For a long time I have purchased sprouted breads made by Food for Life. Most often I have bought their Ezekiel 4:9 bread in the low sodium version. I was drawn by the biblical verse after which the bread is named. The first portion of the verse reads like this in the New Revised Standard Version, “And you, take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them into one vessel, and make bread for yourself.”

 

Now, even though I’m a minister, I do not typically talk about religion all that much with health coaching clients. I only talk about religion within the context of the client’s belief system or what they desire out of the religious realm when putting together a healthy life. It does come up with most clients but it is usually only one piece of the healthy lifestyle puzzle. For other clients religion and spirituality play no role in their lifestyle so we do not talk about those matters at all. It is totally up to the client.

 

I do think it powerful when a client’s healthy lifestyle can be tied to other parts of their life. So, when Food for Life produces a bread with a religious name and theme it generates interest and curiosity in me. And, after consuming their breads, I believe those made by Food For Life are healthier than the vast majority of breads on the market. They are made of sprouted whole grains and they are probably about as close to the denser sort of breads our ancestors likely made. In addition to their breads, I have used their English Muffins for breakfast and enjoyed their tortillas at many a lunch.

 

I’m also interested in their Vegan story as espoused on their website. Not only do they explain forthrightly what foods they make are Vegan, they also talk about Vegan Superfoods, and produce Vegan meats. The word ‘vegan’ is all over their website. And, I guess, that’s the thing….

 

As a vegan myself, and as someone who follows a whole foods plant based diet, I can no longer purchase Food for Life products. This is what happened.

 

I was getting out a piece of Ezekiel bread and some homemade peanut butter and an apple for a snack. I’d looked at the nutritional label of the bread before, found no ingredient objectionable and knew, by their website, they were vegan friendly. But this time I saw something that had not registered with me before. There was a little note by the nutrition label that said something like, “Interested in more nutrition information? Go to ppnf.org.”

 

I’m always interested in more nutrition information so I did, I went to ppnf.org which is why I will no longer purchase Food for Life breads.

 

PPNF stands for the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation. The website says this is not the original name of the organization. It used to be called the Weston A. Price Memorial Foundation.

 

It could be that for many reading this post, the thought will flash across their mind, “Weston Price…What would a group affiliated with Weston Price be doing as the nutritional ‘advisors’ to Food for Life?”

 

That is exactly what I was thinking.

 

Now, I do not believe it my role as a health coach to tell people what to eat in order to be healthy. For the most part coaches do not teach. Though this is a little simplistic, coaches go along the journey with a client and reminds the client often of what the client has said to be important, what they hold to be valuable. I do not tell clients to be vegan, unless they want a vegan consultant (not a coach). If they want a vegan consultant I’ll be more direct. But most people just want to be healthier without being (what they view to be) extreme.

 

The Weston Price folks are not vegan, they are not plant based. Instead, they incorporate unpasteurized (raw) milk. They seek out saturated fats and cholesterol from animals.  It is completely within their right (though not the cow’s) to eat this way and to try and convince others to eat this way too. People can eat in any way they want and I have seen people eat in a variety of ways to achieve a variety of health results.

 

However, I can think of only one cause for this divergence between the Food for Life website touting veganism and the company’s support of the Price-Pottenger Foundation. It seems to me to be money, the almighty dollar.

 

A lot of vegans eat Ezekiel breads, just like I did, as a healthier alternative to what’s on the grocer’s shelf. They read the company’s website and naturally believe the organization holds similar values. Digging further we find this is apparently not the case. This appears to me to be a way of duping  vegans into buying the products and then supporting Weston Price.

 

I will no longer participate.

 

I have started buying breads made by One Degree Organic Foods. They are available at the supermarket I walk to several times a week as well as Whole Foods and, I’m sure, other stores. You can even track where the ingredients of their foods come from via a smart phone app.

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There are almost always alternatives to any product you purchase. It is important to me that I purchase foods and food products that are closely aligned with my values as often as possible. I want to support companies I believe support me in some way. And even if your values and my values are different, you might be well served to do the same.

 

What about you? I would love to hear of other healthy breads you enjoy. Is the bread readily available from an ordinary supermarket or do you have to go to a specialty or higher end store?  I look forward to learning about even more options for breads that fit with my healthy lifestyle.

 

I wish you peace,

 

Russell
The Minister of Health

 

 

  • http://www.veganostomy.ca/ VeganOstomy

    Good on you for looking deeper into the company behind the products. I’m quite surprised to see WAPF endorsed by the Food for Life brand.

    • http://www.ministerofhealth.org relleven

      Thank you VeganOstomy! It was such a surprise to me that I had to say something about it. Food For Life touts veganism prominently on their site and then *BAM* – Weston Price. Plus, One Degree is Canadian :-)

  • Dr Mary Wendt

    Great information!!! Vote with your wallet!!!

    • http://www.ministerofhealth.org relleven

      Thank you very much Dr Mary!

  • http://www.theorganicview.com/ June Stoyer

    Thanks for sharing this! I am at a point where I am rechecking every label before I buy anything. Great article!

    • http://www.ministerofhealth.org relleven

      Thank you June! I think we all want to purchase things that agree with our values:-)

  • Reed Bilz

    Is there a Sprouts grocery store in Chicago? They offer sprouted grain bread. Fort Worth is getting a Whole Foods in 2015; on Bryant Irvin across from Lockheed Martin recreation area.

    • http://www.ministerofhealth.org relleven

      Hello Reed!

      Sounds like things are happenin’ in FW! Since writing this I have starting buying the spouted bread at Trader Joe’s. I now like it much better than the Ezekiel bread I used to buy.

  • Pat11

    You probably don’t eat honey…but if you do, I recommend the Alvarado Street Bakery breads. Coop. Green.
    I love this one:
    http://www.alvaradostreetbakery.com/product_detail.php?id=36
    I can get it frozen here in Tokyo.

    • http://www.ministerofhealth.org relleven

      Right, don’t eat honey:-) Hello Tokyo!

      • Pat11

        ;-)

  • Michael Parish

    Just because a food is vegan doesn’t mean the organization is. If we start selecting food vendors based on their personal eating habits we’ll end up eating air. The fact that they produce a bread that’s vegan is good enough for me. I’ll continue buying their excellent products. I also buy refried no oil beans from a company that sells meat related Mexican products and flour products from companies that also sell products that include eggs. The Minister is a bean brain and full of himself.

    • http://www.ministerofhealth.org relleven

      Michael, thank you for bringing a new perspective to the discussion. Thank you too for being vegan. And finally, thank you for the compassion with which you made your comments.

      Wishing you well,
      Russell

  • Kathryn Polster

    Have you inquired to why they have a tie to that group?

    • http://www.ministerofhealth.org relleven

      Hi Kathryn and thank you for asking this! Yes, I did inquire as to why they supported the group. They basically just said they were sorry that I felt this way and respected my decision to buy a different bread. There was no real explanation for the support.

      My assumption is the company supports the ideas of the Weston Price Foundation. Of course, that is perfectly within their right. But it is perfectly within my right not to send my dollars to a company who will then send some of those dollars to a WPF organization.

      Wishing you well,
      Russell

      • Kathryn Polster

        Absolutely. I’m glad I ran across this (somebody in the Dr. McDougall forums shared the link). It is tough, but the best thing we can do is vote with our dollars! It is frustrating when companies with healthy foods have unfortunate ties. I’ve recently had to cut out Eden foods and that bums me out but I have to feel good about how I spend my dollars. I’m looking forward to exploring your blog further! Cheers.

        • http://www.ministerofhealth.org relleven

          Thank you Kathryn! I’m glad someone this is being talked about in McDougall’s forum. I’m a big fan of his and did one of his three day weekends. I also hear you about Eden Foods. I’ve started using Kuner’s “No Salt Added” beans at my local store.

          Wishing you well,
          Russell