Tales of trouble at grocery store

My wife says I’m not a spiritual person, but I believe I could be someday. I mean, you have to have faith.

The most spiritual thing I do is shop at Whole Foods, a supermarket that caters to people who opt for a diet that is organic, pure and chemical-free. However, I prefer food with preservatives. It’s cheaper than a facelift.

My wife is really the big fan of this store, and whenever we are headed in that direction, she says, “Let’s stop at Whole Foods.” Sometimes we don’t even go in. We simply look in the huge window and watch people shop and eat vegan pizza. It’s all about the journey, isn’t it? See, I’m getting more spiritual already.

Over the years, Mary Ellen and I have shopped at various supermarket chains. I don’t like buying eggs and milk in the same place you can buy snow boots, an unassembled chest of drawers and treadmills, like Super Target or Meijer. They’re really Half Foods. But at Whole Foods, almost everything on the shelves is edible, except stuff that is fat-free, gluten-free or sugar-free … which, come to think of it, is almost everything.

Last week, I bought an organic bar of soap, wrapped in clear shrink wrap. When I got out of the shower the next morning, I told my wife that I didn’t think it lathered very well. “Is it because it’s organic?” I asked Mary Ellen.

“No, it’s because you just washed yourself with a wedge of cheese.”

Mary Ellen’s shopping list is a model for all Americans who want to eat healthy. She buys skim milk, low-fat cottage cheese, broccoli, skinless chicken breasts and granola. When I have a chance to shop on my own at the traditional chain stores, I smuggle in the white bread, hard salami, doughnuts and the frozen creamed spinach soufflé (which sounds healthy, but it contains an alarming 27 grams of fat). When we go shopping anywhere together, I’m on a very short leash, and the chances of getting any treats are zero — even if I beg. I wish my wife would treat me more like a dog. I deserve it.

All the magazines at Whole Foods promote a healthy lifestyle. The words “yoga,” “yogi” or “yogurt” are always somewhere on the cover. One that caught my eye was called Spiritual Re-awakening. If you turn the magazine over and then upside down, it reveals a totally different publication called The Road to Renewal. I thought this was another approach to reaching nirvana, but it may have been a subliminal reminder that your subscription is about to expire.

The alternative cover has a headline revealing an article with a check-list for what to take on your next journey. Already feeling my otherworldly side, I predicted they would advise bringing a positive attitude, a degree of self-reflection and a measure of introspection. Actually, the top three were underwear, white socks and sandals. These were items to take on one of the several dozen mind/body retreats they were offering around the world, and at a very lofty price, I might add.

I guess you can be a new-age, Whole-Foods-shopping, transcendental-meditation-loving, yoga-practicing, Buddha fan, and still believe in capitalism in the real world.

That’s the spirit.