Well Being

Why Is Whole Foods Pushing The Master Cleanse?

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master cleanse

I have nothing against lemons, cayenne pepper, or maple syrup. But when I saw them on display at Whole Foods with a copy of of “The Master Cleanser” by Stanley Burroughs, I felt kind of disappointed in my go-to healthy grocery store.

First, to explain: I'm temporarily residing in Los Angeles for the first time–far from my beloved Park Slope Food Coop in Brooklyn, where I usually pick up all the local produce and hippi-fied health food I can get at bargain prices (and next to zero advertising or promotional displays). So I'm turning to Whole Foods and Trader Joe's: The nearest grocery stores stocked with all the fruits, vegetables and California health food trends I can handle.

I've been dazzled by the selection here; Californian Whole Foods take energy bars and health drinks to a whole other level, and I've been falling in love. Until I walked in the other day to find their Master Cleanse display (pictured above).

As many of our Facebook commenters have pointed out, Whole foods is a business, and if customers are interested in something, then it's only natural that they're interested in selling it to them. (Although I'd like to point out the irony that when on the Master Cleanse–which is supposed to involve 14 days of consuming nothing but a lemonade blend–customers are likely to be spending a whole lot less on groceries.)

But Whole Foods has also built their brand on prioritizing customers' health: The pride themselves on only carrying “natural” foods, and they have an admirably tough policy against carrying beauty products and personal care products that contain toxins and chemicals that have been shown to be unsafe. And while the Master Cleanse can certain be made with all organic ingredients, it's just not healthy. In fact, a lot of people would say that extreme 14-day calorie deprivation (which is based on the advice of a man who was convicted of second-degree felony murder, felony practicing medicine without a license, and unlawful sale of cancer treatments) is pretty dangerous. (And, for what it's worth, there are plenty of healthy ways to detox and cleanse responsibly that Whole Foods could be promoting, instead.)

Maybe I just haven't quite adjusted to my West Coast surroundings, but Whole Foods, I expected better from you.

Photo: my own