As the world slowly crawls out of the long, suffocating shadow of hunger, the regions having fully escaped find themselves confronted by another monster. One of a wholly different variety. This new monster used to prey solely upon the wealthy but now prays on the poor and the sick. This is the multi-headed hydra of abundance; more specifically of abundance, poorly managed. There is today unbridled access to foods that were once to be moderated by scarcity. And having been so long accustomed to the moderation of the environment, human consumption has not adapted to moderate itself.
The effects of this change have been slow and insidious – creeping into our newly content households. The effects can be seen all around us. Obesity is reaching all time highs, diabetes rates continue to rise, childhood obesity, heart attacks, strokes – all stemming from one treatable source. That source is our diets, specifically the form they have taken over the last fifty years of unprecedented prosperity. Enormous rises in consumption of sugar and carbohydrates, the creation and consumption of substances that didn’t even exist a decades ago such as cola and soft drinks, processed snacks and fast food.
The aid of this hydra could have been greatly mitigated by the maintenance of an active lifestyle, but the world has become more sedentary than ever. That is not to say lazy, the majority is spending more time at work than was the norm a generation ago. But now this time is spent sitting. And when they return how, almost all entertainment is consumed (and it is consumed rather than made) seated. Almost inconceivably, physical exercise and training is becoming the domain of the rich and upper class.
Theirs is a symbiotic relationship, the one is infinitely stronger with the other. The one causes far less harm when the other isn’t a problem. So if we focus on one we can greatly reduce the negative effects of the two. In this case we have chosen to focus on fixing the dietary issues of the day. For not only does a sense for activity return with a better diet, but one could even retain their sedentary lifestyle – just with far, far fewer negative health effects.
Changing the nature of our work place would be a noble goal, however it is not an attainable one. Work today has naturally become more sedentary as the work has become less manual. Almost all popular entertainment is sedentary. So it is diet that is left to be changed. If we are to begin turning the tide on these novel ailments which plague our world, we must begin with diet. One has to eat, the time commitment is already there, we just have to make the healthier option as appealing as the unhealthy option. And the majority of the time the healthier option is better tasting, the unhealthy one just tastes good enough and is cheaper/can be made more quickly.
So in our quest to start turning the dietary tide, we found two major problems that need to be sorted out. The first is the fact that the actual nutritional value of meals is too nebulous because so many different things go into making them. Does anyone really want to look at the packaging for the five different ingredients for their lunch and figure out how all the proportions work out to understand the total nutritional value? Oftentimes it would involve weighing the produce, looking up their value on the internet, then working that in with the total volume of x ingredient.
In short, it is a nightmare.
The digital transition has really not affected this aspect of cooking at all. There are plenty of blogs and websites replete with recipes, but none are really helping you understand just how much of what is being consumed. And to figure it all out and do the math is both tedious and far more complicated than it initially appears. Further, a lot of the additives in food are the opposite of self explanatory. They are polysyllabic chemical compounds that have unknown origins and the the result of complicated chemical processes. For people like vegans and vegetarians these can be a large problem because one has to know which ones are animal derived in some way.
With the ability to buy groceries online and with the very complete databases offered by the USDA and other organizations we have a Lot of information to offer people about what they are consuming and what effects these substances are known to have. This is on top of the normal nutritional information such as amount of carbs, fats, etc. This kind of information could be used to analyze a cart before someone buys their food – so they know exactly how healthy their food for that week is.
The second problem that many who want to eat healthier face is the amount of time and work that has to go into it all. People are working more than ever and the time it takes to go out and go shopping for shopping for groceries seems more and more like a waste. This is why people are increasingly likely to buy their groceries online through one of the many rapidly growing online fresh food retailers. But that still doesn’t help them make the food or understand exactly how healthy their meal is or how it fits into their long term diet goals. So the discovery of recipes that are both tasty and healthy is crucial. It must be fast and it must be measurable.
Enter Avocadoo. Our solution to these problems it too fold. One, we help people buy their groceries online and give them a real time analysis of their cart. In this way they have a broad overview of how healthily they will be eating for that week or month. They’ll also be able to see exactly how much of what additives they are consuming and the research associated with them. This kind of broad overview and tracking makes it much more difficult to stray from dietary decisions. You can’t say ‘oh there’s not that much sugar in these cookies, I can have them’ because you will see the sugar portion of the pie graph expand substantially. Further for people with celiac or who just don’t want to eat animal products or have some other dietary restriction – it is now impossible to accidentally consume carbs or a milk product.
Perhaps more importantly Avocadoo also aggregates recipes from blogs all over the internet. And taking the ingredient list, Avocadoo creates a graphical depiction of the nutritional value of the recipe. This lets the user see exactly how healthy it is and how it fits into their short and long term health plans.
Furthermore Avocadoo allows users to build their entire week’s meal plan and build just one shopping cart containing all the food that need need to make their recipes for the week. In this way it is very, very easy to prepare fresh, tasty recipes and the problem of spoilage is almost wholly mitigated because you are only buying exactly the amount you need. There is less waste and errant vegetables don’t end up spending a month in the back of your refrigerator.
Between nutritional analysis, cart building, and recipe aggregation, Avocadoo makes planning your meals, finding recipes, and buying your groceries a streamlined and data-driven experience.