Introducing The Wellness Club at Whole Foods Market
After attending the Every Health Bloggers Meet-up and later the John Mackey presentation at the Whole Foods Wellness Club. I became really curious to learn more about the services offered. Last week I had the opportunity to talk to Drew Rosen, Team Leader of the Tribeca Club. Here are some highlights from our conversation and more information on their programs.
The Wellness Club came as a result of John Mackey’s vision to change the American population by the way we eat. It all started with the Health Starts Here program 3 years ago. Using this model, it has progressed to include nutrition-based recipes, lifestyle education, (unlimited) cooking classes, a community supper club, support meetings, yoga, meditation, and collaborations with local businesses, etc… In addition to all these services, as a member they offer 10% off many items in the store including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, low-sodium canned goods, fish, grass-fed meats, and salad/hot bar items.
Drew gave me the inside scoop on a program that is going to be rolled out soon where they actually show customers how affordable eating a plant-based diet can be as compared to an animal-based one. This can help to debunk the myth that healthy food is actually more expensive. He gave me the example of cherries which costs about $5.99 per pound. When you compare it to the same amount of fish, it can add about $10 more to your total shopping costs. This type of customer education will become available to all very soon. He also said they are working on an app and an online version of the Wellness Club which will offer it’s virtual members nutrition education, cooking classes, recipes, and more.
Only a couple months old, the Wellness Club has about 300 members and when I asked Drew about his proudest moment, he quickly responded that it is the personal transformations he has witnessed. One member, for instance, was able to completely get off of her insulin prescription to treat diabetes in less than 3 months! After listening to a testimonial like that, I wanted to know how soon before other stores would offer similar programs. The exciting news is, (at least for New Yorkers and eventually other locations in the tri-state area) individual markets will begin hosting events in the next few weeks.
For those in a health-related field who may be interested in working at the Wellness Club, you should note that they are currently only using their own internal resources to coordinate these services with the oversight of it’s scientific advisory board and others including Dr.’s Joel Fuhrman, Caldwell Esselstyn.
In summary, $45/month for all these services is more than reasonable, particularly when you compare it to the costs of existing gym memberships and weight loss programs. Keep in mind that this is a pilot program only available in 5 locations so your support is strongly encouraged if we intend to keep it around. I’ll be taking part in some of their classes very soon and will surely share my experience.
A big thank you to Drew Rosen for taking the time to talk to me. I wish you much success in your new role!
To learn more, visit the Wellness Club website.