The Whole Foods’ CEO says you can learn to love any food—here’s how


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If you’re a healthy food junkie, wandering the aisles of Whole Foods can make you feel like a kid in a candy store.

So imagine how much more amazing that experience is when you’re John Mackey, the co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods. You can make sure your favorite vegan cheese is always stocked (for Mackey, it’s Kite Hill), you know when it’s $1 kale day, and you know what’s new at the hot foods bar.

When Mackey stopped by Well+Good HQ this week to talk about his new book, The Whole Foods Cookbook, and the future of grocery shopping, I couldn’t resist asking him how he fills his grocery basket. Does he stock up on Siete chips (a W+G team fave, FIY) and cauliflower crust pizza?

Surprisingly, no. It turns out his daily diet—which is plant-based, BTW—is pretty no-fuss.

“I eat very simple foods,” he says. “More than half the food I buy is fresh produce.” Besides fruits and veggies, Mackey says some other staples he always has at home are beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.

“I’ve taught myself to love every vegetable.” —John Mackey, Whole Foods co-founder and CEO

For breakfast, he’s into steel cut oats. In fact, he even travels with a mini rice cooker so he can make it on the road. That’s dedication.

For lunch and dinner, Mackey says bean and vegetable stews are often on the menu. “You can vary that tremendously based on what vegetables, sauces, or spices you want to use,” he says.

As you can imagine, the Mackey fam has a pretty tricked-out kitchen. Besides a Vitamix, Mackey says they have a steam oven, which he likes using to make veggie-forward dishes. He cuts up veggies like sweet potato or cauliflower, pops them in the oven for 15 minutes, drizzles a homemade sauce over it, and voilà—dinner.

“I’ve taught myself to love every vegetable,” Mackey says. “Basically, whatever you eat, your palate gets used to it. So you can teach your palate to like any food, but you have to expose yourself to it maybe up to 10 times, and you’ll slowly grow to like it.”

Hmm…maybe I should give corn another try. Or 10.

If Whole Foods is your go-to grocery store, check out these shopping tips from someone who works there.  Just be careful not to make these shopping mistakes even healthy eaters make.

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