I hesitate to write an article about David Wolfe, a man who thrives on attention. For months, I refrained from talking about him under some bizarre fear that it would just make him stronger, that it would just make more people aware of his sad little existence. But I am done ignoring him. David Wolfe is one of the most dangerous people alive and we as a society need to be aware of this if we want to curb his influence. Described on his website as “the rock star and Indiana Jones of the superfoods and longevity universe,” David Wolfe is an author and passionate advocate for “raw veganism,” a dietary practice in which people are encouraged to only eat raw, unprocessed, unheated and completely uncooked plant-based foods (David Wolfe, “About Me,” 2018).
Many of you more likely know him from his click-baity, vaguely left-leaning Facebook page that, unfortunately, has almost 12 million followers. The page mostly shares inoffensive videos and memes alongside occasional posts about foods that are supposedly healthy for you or fighting cancer. There are a million other Facebook pages just like it, and it’s easy to share his content without coming across as hateful or out-of-touch. It paints a very appealing portrait of Wolfe.
That’s what makes it so terrifying. I very frequently see friends share his more innocuous content online, oblivious to the caliber of the man who created it. This platform allows him to spread his—to put it lightly—unorthodox ideas. Wolfe once explained that “Chocolate is an octave of sun energy,” whatever that means (YouTube, “David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe Explains How Chocolate is an Octave of the Sun,” 04.18.2017). He also claimed that mushrooms grow in outer space (YouTube, “David Wolfe – Chaga and mushrooms – Interview at LONGEVITY 2015,” 05.13.2015) and promotes the idea that the earth is flat (YouTube, “David ‘Avocado Wolfe talks about Flat Earth!!,” 06.05.2016).
These ideas range from odd to bizarre to dangerous. Yet, they are not the target of my ire today—although those beliefs alone would be reason enough to fling him into the sun of which his chocolates are supposedly octaves. David Wolfe is a con man and a murderer who takes advantage of vulnerable people desperate for help in order to make a quick buck. He is the left’s Alex Jones combined with Mehmet Oz and just as dangerous as them both. David Wolfe attacks real medical science in order to sell his pseudoscientific medicine.
For example, Wolfe advocates against chemotherapy, which his website claims is more deadly than cancer itself (David Wolfe, “Doctor States Patients Die from Chemo, Not Cancer, 07.16.2016”). Instead, Wolfe advocates that cancer patients should seek out Vitamin D in mushrooms, which he believes come from space and also happen to fight cancer (David Wolfe, “Mushrooms: 6 Surprising Health Benefits,” 01.26.2018).
As a result, his website features the immuno mushrooms heart bar, a vegan and “organic” creation of Sacred Chocolate’s CEOs David Wolfe and Steve Adler (Sacred Chocolate, “Immuno Mushroom – 1.44oz Heart Bar,” 2018). While the website never makes the direct claim that this product cures or even helps treat cancer, it is the only product that comes up when you search for cancer cures at Longevity Warehouse, a website for which Wolfe is the spokesperson.
In addition, Wolfe demonstrates a fairly dismal view of “big pharma.” For instance, Wolfe claims that antidepressants are not as effective at treating depression as psilocybin, “a compound found in psychedelic mushrooms” (David Wolfe, “Antidepressants Overshadowed By Controversial Substance That Reverses Depression,” 01.22.2018). Once again, Wolfe, Sacred Chocolates and Longevity Warehouse sell a wide variety of mushroom-related products, including something called the Goji Schizandra Drops. At no point does Wolfe explicitly claim that these drops can be used to treat or cure depression. However, he does refer to it as “Happy Fruit” and he claims that “people who eat it regularly become happy and find themselves laughing all the time” (David Wolfe, “Goji Schizandra Drops,” 2018). He goes on to claim that a “research study conducted in England,” which he never cites, “has shown that consumption of Goji berries for several months significantly enhanced people’s moods” (David Wolfe). While he never plainly states that the drops were a cure for depression, he heavily implies it by arguing that they improve a person’s mood. Thus, Wolfe profits off of desperate people who, because of what Wolfe says, are distrustful of their antidepressants.
This is not even the most flagrant example of what Wolfe does, however. As recently as October 2017, he has claimed that vaccines cause autism (David Wolfe, “Cover-Up Exposed: Medical Professionals Hide Evidence Linking Vaccines to Neurodevelopmental Disorders,” 10.14.2017). As a lifelong committed anti-vaxxer who believes, embraces and promotes the discredited theory that autism is really caused by vaccinations, Wolfe provides some solutions of his own. He sells a product called “Longevity Drops,” which are intended to support the “immune system” and the “body’s natural healing response,” although these claims have never been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (Longevity Warehouse, “Longevity Drops, 50 ML”).
The pattern is clear: David Wolfe demonizes an accepted scientific practice, he promotes his own alternative and then he sells that alternative while keeping his language carefully within the law. His claims generally have no basis in scientific fact, and even when they do, they are significantly and inappropriately exaggerated.
Whether David Wolfe truly believes in what he says is irrelevant: what matters is the impact. He encourages desperate people to forgo medicine in favor of pseudoscience. For many cancer patients, the alternative to chemotherapy is death. For many suffering from severe chronic depression, the alternative to antidepressants is death. For many children, the alternative to vaccines is death. Yet, an alternative to all of those treatments are extremely appealing. Chemotherapy is not a pleasant process, antidepressants can have nasty, life-altering side effects and vaccines are scary-sounding shots that feel wrong.
Wolfe supplies an alternative. Instead of going through valid yet unpleasant-sounding medical practice, you can go through David Wolfe, your friendly neighborhood vegan. Wolfe tells you that you don’t need to listen to big pharma, because there are other ways to get well. You don’t need to undergo chemotherapy, take antidepressants or get a nasty shot; you can get well by eating raw vegan chocolate and mushrooms. It’s appealing, it’s easy, it’s inexpensive and, most importantly, it’s natural. It’s so easy to trust Wolfe instead of your doctor because Wolfe provides easy solutions.
But David Wolfe lies. Either he knows that what he says is a lie and he is continuing to say it because it makes him money, or he is just as convinced of the rightness of his beliefs as his followers are. The former makes him a murderer, while the latter makes him a dangerous idiot. Either way, he poses a serious risk to society and to everyone who comes in contact with him or his beliefs.
Do not buy David Wolfe’s products. Do not share his content. Do not associate yourself with any business or individual who works alongside him. Do not go to his Facebook page or visit his website. By sharing his content, regardless of the topic matter, you are not only hurting yourself.
Even if you would never buy into his lies, you are inadvertently introducing him to his next victim. David Wolfe spreads his ideology online by putting forward an appealing vision of himself that is left-wing, environmentally-friendly, and extremely relaxed. The reality is that he is a snake oil salesman on an international level.