We humans have been studying our reflection in mirrors since we discovered our faces in shiny pools of water. In Greek mythology, Narcissus becomes consumed with his reflection in a pond and disappears into the water, never to be heard from again, making him perhaps the first person to fuss over a selfie. We’re kind of obsessed with this external shell we move around in every day.
Bentley Adams wants to change that. Rather than obsessing over our body image, Adams wants to see humans care more about the food they put inside of it. He sees an opportunity for people to do something daily that will change the focus of the object in the mirror. Thanks to Instagram, Snapchat and the many camera-based apps out there, many of us are already doing that “something.”
“I’m talking about taking pictures of the food we eat,” Adams says.
Adams is the CEO and founder of MealShare, an approachable platform where people can snap a picture of what they eat, press a button, and receive nutritional reviews of their food from registered dietitians, known as Pros. What would normally require one to two hours of client intake, takes 90 seconds on MealShare.
The app opens to the camera on a phone, prompting people to take pictures of their meals, rate their food choice, and receive feedback from Pros that they are connected with, or Pros that can be handpicked for them. For Bentley, the camera is a metaphor for the mirror.
“We have a marketing-driven image of what a human being should look like. MealShare is challenging that right now. We need to get to a place where we aren’t judging each other or ourselves based on our bodies or engaging in body shaming. Instead, let’s turn the camera, the mirror, on our food. Let’s start paying attention to what’s going on inside of our bodies, not how we look on the outside. Food is our freedom. The things we eat make us who we are.”
MealShare also provides a communication and engagement tool that acts as a catalyst for dietitians to grow their own practice. Think of the tool as a talking mirror, expect rather than pipe sunshine all day (surely we can’t always be the fairest of them all), the Pros become a trusted source of nutritional guidance that offers thoughtful and compassionate reflections on a client’s food choices based on goals they set in the app. To date, the app has prompted 10x higher engagement than other platforms and allows dietitians to better monitor their clients’ food habits.
Ever since Adams can remember, he’s had a deeper calling to help people live a healthy life. By his mid-twenties, he was crafting deals on the founding team of one of the fastest growing healthcare companies in U.S. history that resulted in $2 billion of total contract value in less than a year. From there, he continued to follow his passions as a health transformer, and eventually jumped off to support companies and teams in the healthcare ecosystem.
“When I was studying as a personal trainer in college, my mentor informed me that two-thirds of the U.S. adult population was unhealthy, meaning obese or overweight, and headed for a life of pain, disease, and suffering. This rocked my world. It made me sad. I know most people wouldn’t want to live the life of discomfort that lay ahead of them. So, I worked in the healthcare system,” Bentley says.
Eventually, he felt the need to come at systemic health issues from a different angle. The U.S. healthcare industry is valued at $3 trillion, yet according to the CDC’s most recent statistics, the rate of unhealthiness is now 70.7%, up from 66% a decade ago. Additionally, the value of the weight loss market continues upward, with recent estimates putting it at almost $70B. With MealShare, Bentley hopes to show people what a sustainable lifestyle of healthy eating can look like, one that lasts for 30 years versus a three-month diet fad.
“Every person who studies the human body knows that nutrition is the key to our health. Food is medicine, but we have to remember it is a slow medicine,” Bentley says. “Changes to our body can happen quickly, and fade quickly depending on how we treat it. But a sustainable lifestyle of healthy eating, that is the real goal.”