Monday, July 14, 2008

Whole Foods Market

Yesterday was "Raphy Day," as my family calls it. It wasn't my birthday, but it was the day in which the whole family is forced to be together, give me gifts, and potentially have a good time. Key word here is potential. Yesterday had the potential to be fun (and it was at the beginning) but one of my sisters left grumpy and my mom cried because, and I quote, "we're never all five of us together!" In the midst of this mini emotional hurricaine, I decided that I wanted to pay a visit to Whole Foods Market.
Whole Foods has had a rise in popularity recently, due to various current events. Let's discuss the recent obsession by our culture to suddenly purchase everything in it's natural and organic state. The idea of Whole Foods is to have a place where one can go and have a "Garden of Eden" experience. It's all about absolute raw. No pesticides, no hormones, no chemicals, and thus, no mercy on your shopping budget.
Another contributor to the rise in popularity is a result of the popular reality T.V. show, and one of my current obsessions, Top Chef. Whole Foods Market is the supplier for the majority of the food that the chefs in this competition work with. It is the store that they're given a certain amount of time to run around in and find the freshest fruit, the most peculiar animal products (such as lime-tequila marinated sardine heads) and the most unique condiments (try cashew butter).
Because of this rise in publicity and popularity, a Whole Foods Market moved right around the corner to my house, about five minutes away. My first impression as I walked in through the sliding glass doors that boldy displayed their "guaranteed organic" mantra, I felt out of place, and very... toxic. I felt as if my processed-food consuming body was contaminating the air in which these frequent shoppers breathed. I was ruining their oasis! Frantically, I attempted to blend in, and wishing I had worn earthtones instead of my bright blue dress, I quickly picked up a basket by the door and walked with determination to the juice shelf of the produce section.
I am positive the look of sheer confusion must have crossed my face, because instead of the comforting familiarity of Tropicana, I was faced with some clear liquid labeled a word I knew all the linguistics training in the world wouldn't help me pronounce. I watched as a tall skinny man in earthy clothing that resembled a potato sack woven together to make a flowing pair of pants, frantically grab as many of the clear liquid bottles (that were currently buy one get one free and at the bargain price of 3.99) and place them into his shopping cart. As my curious nature took over my body I reached for the bottle and read that this was a somewhat "mystical" Chinese tea, capable of healing and rejuvinating the body. I started laughing as I continued to read all the benefits that this herbal remedy boasted. The man that was grabbing these teas looked at me with a belittling expression on his face and in a tone as if I was the most ignorant human being asked, "I take it you don't know what KUM-Ka-Cha is?" His long, dirty, blonde hair shook as he pronounced the name of the drink. I looked at him and responded, in my smart aleck way, "Is it magic juice?" I must have sounded incredibly rude, because he did not respond and continued to grab the bottles and place them into his cart and walked away with an indignant look accross his face. I figured he himself probably didn't know what it was, and I continued on to the unrefrigerated juice section.
As I was walking past the 100% fruit juice boxes for kids, the most peculiar sight crossed my range of vision. A mother, with two children in her cart was grabbing juice off of the shelf and placing them in her cart. It wasn't the mother, however, that caught my attention, but rather the children, who were calm, quiet and seemingly sedated. As I watched them silently looking around them with a behaved curiosity I couldn't help but mention to the mother that her children were extremely well-behaved. Her response: processed foods never enter their body.
As I walked through the "make your own almond butter" section, I had visions of me with a leaner body (because, in this day dream, I did yoga every day) a plant based diet, and a glow in my presence because I drank wheatgrass and whey protein. I had two gorgeous children who never screamed or cried, but rather who developed a fondness for protecting their environment. Still in the midst of my day dream I walked towards the wheatgrass section and looked at this "superfood" mix that one could place into their morning protein shake. It was gluten free, soy free, whey free, lactose free, nut free, and environment friendly. I had forgotten all about my day dream and tried hard to decipher what exactly was in this powder. Confused and slightly distraught, I walked toward my final destination.
The "Naked Juice" section. This amazing juice cures the common cold in about 5 hours and has a week-long shelf life. I grabbed as many as I could and determined, I walked to the cash register. As the cashier rang up my juice I fell back into my daydream of living a disciplined and healthy vegan lifestyle and living to be about 90 years old while drinking my daily shot of wheatgrass. As the total of my 6, 15 oz juice bottles rang up to an astronomical amount, the dream once again evaporated, along with the fleeting thought of abandoning meat and oreos. And as I walked out into the Florida sunshine, and breathed in the polluted air, I came to the happy realization that everything was as it should be, processed, toxic, and I was, once again, living my blissfully ignorant life.

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