When you’re Whole Foods CEO and you show up on Joe Rogan’s podcast— currently the most popular podcast on Spotify—you show up with groceries, of course. For John Mackey, that meant bringing along some tasty vegan cream cheese with chives made out of almonds.

On a new episode of Rogan’s wildly popular Spotify podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” the comedian caught up with Mackey about coronavirus lockdowns, co-founding Whole Foods, current-day politics, eating plant-based and much more. In the nearly three-hour-and-forty-minute episode, they cover a lot of ground, but what most piqued our interest is hearing more about Mackey’s plant-based ways.

Courtesy of JRE

“I was vegetarian in my early 20s and then I added fish and then back in 2003, I became 100% plant-based, but for ethical reasons,” Mackey shares. “There’s been only one diet to reverse heart disease. And that is a whole-food, plant-based diet,” he also states, reminding us of the transformative power of going vegan for your health. (Need some more convincing? Plenty of studies will support the health benefits of eating vegan, but we’ll be surprised if this one man’s story, “I Had a Heart Attack at 49, Went Vegan, and It Saved My Life” doesn’t blow you away.)

Later in the discussion, Mackey also schools Rogan on the protein myths surrounding the vegan diet.

“You ever heard anybody being deficient in protein that's not also calorie deficient?” he says. “You have to have enough protein so your body can repair itself so that if you're lifting weights, you're going to grow muscles. You have to have enough. You have to have adequate protein stores. But the extra protein, your body has to then go through complicated reactions to convert that into fuel, which actually puts the stress on the kidneys. On average, Americans eat about twice as much protein as they actually need.”

Curious to learn more from their conversation? Read the full transcript of the podcast episode on HappyScribe or listen to the episode on Spotify here.

At times, the conversation gets more than a little heated, but considering how impressed we were by the 67-year-old’s energy for the lengthy conversation, we definitely think whatever he’s putting in his plant-based oatmeal is working for him. Here’s to a future when walking into Whole Foods’ meat department is stacks of animal-free fare.