Living more ethically and sustainably for many of us goes hand in hand with trying to live more healthily too. Just like making ethical choices, making healthy ones can be difficult too. Greenwashing occurs when brands claim to be more sustainable than they really are and often it’s left to consumers to cut through the mixed and confusing messaging on labels and packaging. Eating healthily can be the same way – making the right choices isn’t always clear and easy.
This week Temi from nutrition tech company joins us to help us understand how healthy eating and ethical choices go hand in hand…
‘If you want to eat healthy, just eat more fruits and vegetables’…I’ve heard that too many times.
Since I started Whatsinit?, a nutrition tech company in 2015, I have met several people who believe that we can solve the entire obesity/type 2-diabetes/preventative cancer and heart disease epidemic if we simply educated people to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Will we all be healthier if we eat more vegetables? Yes.
Is telling people to do this going to solve the obesity epidemic? No.
I don’t know about you but I have had plenty of education on eating more fruits and vegetables and while my meals are reasonably healthy, I like to treat myself, perhaps more often than I should, and my weakness is carrot cake.
It’s no coincidence that since the rise of the ‘free-from’, we have vegan bakeries popping up in trendy towns and cities everywhere. Yes, people do want a plant-based diet. No, they don’t want to eat salads all day every day. Even Jamie Oliver with his crusade against sugar uses some surprising amounts of the sweet white stuff in his dessert recipes.
A Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) study in 2016 found that 45% of the British population say that they would like to eat healthier. Yet health organisations warn that, as a population, we are getting sicker from our high fat, high sugar, high salt diet.
Did you know that heart disease is Britain’s biggest killer? 90% of deaths are preventable with changes to diet and lifestyle.
So, people want to eat healthier but they aren’t ready to start a quinoa, avocado juice diet just yet.
But what if there was a way that people could start their health journey but still treat themselves in a safer way with healthier, heart-friendly options that taste just as good (if not better), are all-natural, nasties-free and lower in calories, fat, sugar and salt?
Whatsinit? was created to do just that.
My journey into nutrition began in 2015. I and my husband were out of work for about 6 months. Since we lived in London, rent and the cost of living had eaten through our savings. So much so that we found ourselves increasingly dependent on a processed food diet simply because they were often cheaper and had a longer shelf life.
Born with a genetic disease called sickle cell anaemia, I have always been reasonably cautious about what I eat so I would check the ingredients and nutritional labels on the foods we bought to make sure that nothing in it could do any harm.
What I found was distressing.
‘Healthy’ whole-wheat breads with 20 ingredients, half of which were just additives and one of which was a transfat! And ‘healthy cereals that had more than 50% of your recommended daily allowance of sugar in just one bowl.
I was so concerned about this that I consulted with nutritionists and built the free Whatsinit? app which tells you what ingredients are in your food; how nutritious it is and whether or not you should eat it based on your dietary preferences.
Now, Whatsinit? is making healthier eating even easier by simplifying food labels which the British Heart Foundation refers to as ‘containing so much information, it’s difficult to know what you are looking for and what it all means’.
How are we solving this problem? We are building a Whatsinit? assistant, a non-invasive browser extension that works in the background to help you eat healthier. Think ad blocker that protects you from unhealthy food.
Your assistant works as you do your online grocery shop and scores the foods you browse with a single number from 1-10 and a colour-code.
It also scores your entire basket so you can see how healthy you shop.
This score is based on an algorithm that combines recommended daily guidelines for fat, sugar and salt and the product’s ingredients.
It will then suggest healthier swaps for your not-so healthy choices.
These swaps are tried and tested, scrutinised by nutritionists, free from all nasties and they taste amazing.
They are also sourced from small health food producers so you will eat healthy and help small businesses flourish.
Your assistant can be personalised according to your dietary and nutritional requirements. So, whether you are vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, organic, gluten-free, additive-free or absolutely nothing-free, it’ll find the right healthier swap for you…
At whatsinit? we believe that empowering people to make small, progressive changes to their diet when they eat, drink, treat or snack is an effective and sustainable way to improve nutrition and prevent diet-related diseases. Support us as we empower people to understand their food and make healthier choices.
The whatsinit? Love food. Trust food campaign is live on crowdfunder.co.uk. Support us now and get healthy and delicious artisanal treats delivered right to your door, worldwide.
Find out more about the Whatsinit? assistant and how it can help you eat healthier by visiting their website here.