Restaurants don’t mind
In 2011, Americans were reportedly getting a third of their calories from restaurants. Now, if these calories were coming from healthy meals—nutritionally beneficial food of normal portion sizes—then seemingly there would be nothing wrong with that. However, studies have found a direct link between eating out and higher percentages of body fat and weight. It isn’t too difficult to imagine why we’re getting fatter from eating at restaurants. Going to your favorite food destination with your favorite people often means you’re going to end up purchasing your favorite meal. And let’s be honest, your favorite dinner most likely isn’t beet salad. Okay, so what’s wrong with ordering the tastiest food every time you go to a restaurant?
Portions have become massive. According to the popular health blog Greatist, “since the 1950’s, restaurant portion sizes have grown tremendously, so that what once was a 3.9-ounce hamburger is now a whopping 12 ounces on average.” We—and by “we” I mean mostly Americans—have taken the consumption of food to a grotesque extreme.
Here’s a small example to help put things into perspective: humans living today have the same dietary needs as hunter-gatherer humans did over 10k years ago—before the invention of agriculture. The !Kung are a living example of a hunter-gatherer community that subsists on roots, nuts, berries, and occasionally meat.
This means that if the !Kung people of the Kalahari Desert were to adopt an American boy, and had western medicines (soaps, antibiotics, etc.), that boy would grow up to be just as strong and healthy as any other American—and probably wouldn’t get heart disease or any other obesity-related illness.
After reading this, many people will scoff and say yeah right; no one will ever live like that again. This is true—most people in America will never rummage for berries and hunt deer on the weekends just to feed their families. But, what if technology and the Internet made growing and gathering natural foods a real possibility for the modern family?
The dawn of the smart house
Smart devices will hopefully not only make working around the house more efficient—but also entice families to eat at home more. A “smart” appliance is a household item that’s connected to WiFi or the Internet in someway, and allows the user to control it via a remote system that’s also connected to the Internet—usually a smartphone. Because the Millennial and subsequent generations are attached to their smartphones 24/7, these “smart” devices and appliances should fly off the shelves. What appliances would actually make you want to eat at home?
Growing fruits and vegetables at home seemed like a huge hassle…up until now. Niwa, a giant glass cube that grows anything you want via a touch of a button on your smartphone, “is the first fully automated hydroponic system that attends to all of your plants’ needs so you don’t have to.” This vegetable aquarium has settings built into it for all kinds of edible goodies. For example, after purchasing cucumber seeds, you would simply put them in the designated pod and press the button for “cucumber” on your smartphone. The Niwa would then use automated irrigation, climate control, smart lighting, and ventilation to create some perfect cucumbers.
What drains your pockets every month, is necessary to get through the day, and is enjoyed by practically everyone in the world? Coffee is something we rarely look at as a “restaurant” purchase. This is because, besides it being a necessary stimulant for many, it is also used in our culture (and many others) as a device for social gathering. Unfortunately, we have once again taken something as simple as meeting over a cup of coffee to an extreme—and loaded it with extra mocha and cream.
Coffee, without all the glorious Starbucks additives, is very good for you. Dr. Rob van Dam, Harvard’s expert on coffee and health, said in an interview, “research over the past few years suggests that coffee consumption may protect against type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver cancer, and liver cirrhosis.” After hearing that, even non-coffee consumers might want to reconsider the beverage at breakfast. What can help encourage people—at least active smartphone users—to start brewing coffee at home?
Mr. Coffee is about to release their version of a “smart” appliance very soon. Because it will be connected to WiFi, you can set up timers and brew your coffee from anywhere—as long as you have your phone. You can imagine a scenario not too far into the future where your phone has a sensor on it that detects when you wake up—which, through the power of home WiFi, could automatically trigger your coffee pot to start grinding those fantastic beans you recently harvested from the Niwa in your living room.