When Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams realized he was headed towards blindness caused by diabetes, he turned to a treatment you buy from a grocery store, not a pharmacy: his food. He switched from the typical “American” diet, heavy on the meat, to a plant-based one, and within the span of just a few weeks he regained his eyesight and had effectively reversed Type 2 diabetes. Better yet, not much later, he convinced his mom to do the same thing, to similar results.
“When it comes to chronic disease, it’s not our lineage, it’s our lunch,” Alexis Fox, CEO of Lighter, explained onstage this morning at Smart Kitchen Summit.
Fox, whose company provides a B2B meal-planning tool to the healthcare industry and to athletes (among others), used Eric Adams’ story as a way to illustrate the impact the right foods can have on our health — and how devastating the wrong ones can be for our bodies. Among the facts Fox cited onstage were: 33.9 percent of adults in the U.S. have pre-diabetes, heart disease is the leading cause of death in this country, and childhood obesity has nearly tripled.
But she, along with her co-founder Micah Risk, believe there’s a way out, and it’s by helping people rethink the way they choose and eat food. Their tool shows users which foods they should be buying, based on each individual user, and how to prepare and shop for a recipe. It’s a personalized food service built around the idea of plant-based eating and sustainability — two things we’re going to see a lot more of, if today’s SKS talks and panels are any indicator.
Given that, you won’t find any recommendations for meat-based dishes with Lighter. The service is about providing 100 percent vegan meal recommendations; something that’s as important for the environment as it is for the human body.
“Most of the energy we put into animals does not get converted into energy [for] humans,” Fox said onstage, as a way of underscoring how unsustainable current practices around animal agriculture are.
And Lighter’s not the only company aware of this. During her talk, Fox cited WeWork — a company currently valued at more than $20 billion — and its recent decision to ban all meat onsite and at company events.
“Our medical community and every entity concerned with sustainability is encouraging us to decrease our meat consumption,” said Fox. And with companies like WeWork also onboard, we may be able to include the startup and tech communities on that list of entities, too.