Why This Vegan Will No Longer Buy ‘Food for Life’ Products
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.
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.
Until next time, I’m…
Wishing you well,
Rev. Russell Elleven, DMin, BCC, CWP
The Minister of Health
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