Longtime vegan and entrepreneur John Mackey co-founded Whole Foods Market with wellness in mind in Austin, TX in 1980—an era marked by the rise of processed convenience foods. Four decades later, Mackey is turning his attention to a new project: Love.Life, a multi-pronged wellness platform with which he seeks to give consumers access to optimal health with a focus on a whole foods, plant-based diet.
As the next step in this mission, this month, Mackey’s Love.Life acquired Plant Based TeleHealth, a virtual medical care company. Rebranded as Love.Life.Telehealth, the new portal is dedicated to helping people lead healthier lives with access to licensed physicians who approach illness and wellness through a lifestyle medicine model—that focuses on fostering healthy habits rather than pharmaceuticals.
As part of the acquisition, Anthony Masiello—Plant Based Telehealth co-founder and CEO—will join the leadership team of Love.Life.Telehealth.
“Whether you’re someone seeking overall wellness, preventative care, or a better path for treating existing conditions, our physicians make achieving personal health goals attainable by looking at the total health of an individual, addressing root cause of disease, and creating an environment where the body can heal,” Masiello said in a statement.
In addition to Masiello and Mackey, the Love.Life platform includes other former executives from Whole Foods, including Walter Robb (former co-CEO) and Betsy Foster.
Beyond Whole Foods: John Mackey’s new vegan ventures
Whole Foods was acquired by Amazon in 2017 for $13.7 billion and, after more than 40 years, Mackey left his position as CEO in 2022. Since then, he’s turned his focus to Healthy America, a venture he co-founded in 2020 with other Whole Foods executives—Walter Robb (former co-CEO) and Betsy Foster—that includes the Love.Life platform. Ultimately, just like Whole Foods, Healthy America’s goal is plainly stated in its name.
For Mackey, the telehealth portion of the platform removes geographical limits to accessing plant-based healthcare, giving people with chronic diseases or medical conditions the chance to achieve a happy, healthy, active, and long life.
The new platform is now taking patients from all 50 states and Washington, DC who can sign up for 30- and 60-minute appointments ($175 and $350, respectively) using its online portal. The plant-based lifestyle medicine platform is also available internationally in 27 countries.
“Our doctors are fantastic, and the collective knowledge of the group is part of what makes our telehealth care so special,” Mackey tells VegNews. “There are many other services that we will be introducing in the coming months that will enhance the experience for patients, so this is really just the beginning.”
Mackey aims to open physical Love.Life wellness centers in 2024 which will incorporate the telehealth medical and lifestyle services, and restaurants that serve a plant-based menu, alongside other services.
Plant-based diet for optimal health
While Love.Life.Telehealth addresses the idea of wellness with a holistic approach based on the best available science—which is increasingly pointing to the health benefits of a plant-based diet.
And dietary interventions have been shown to improve many common chronic and debilitating illnesses. When it comes to type 2 diabetes, the most recent study—published last month in medical journal Diabetes Care—found that a low-carbohydrate diet slashed the risk of premature death among people with the illness by 24 percent.
Heart disease has been the leading cause of death in the US since the 1950s with more than 640,000 Americans dying of the illness every year. Numerous studies have linked a plant-based diet to reduced heart disease risk.
And when it comes to overall longevity, a plant-based diet has proven results. A study published in 2022 in PLOS Medicine found that people who follow a plant-based diet, especially early in life, can increase their life expectancy by up to 10 years.
Whole foods-focused diets that are free from animal products have also been associated with improving cholesterol levels, lowering risks of certain cancers, and contributing to gut health, among other benefits.
“Plant Based TeleHealth and Love.Life are both mission-based companies and we’re thrilled to be part of an integrated health solution that aspires to move beyond medical care that simply treats symptoms and manages disease with medications,” Masiello said.