Day 153: I decided not to wing it (for once), here’s why and what I did instead

“It seems that bad advice that’s fun will always be better known than good advice that’s dull no matter how useless that fun advice is.” – Scott Berkun

As brought to light in a recent BBC documentary titled “Clean Eating’s Dirty Secrets”, there’s an unprecedented amount of nutritional advice available online nowadays. And worryingly, not all of it is good for us nor are all of the people giving the advice qualified to do so. For some, large social media followings seem to have replaced actual qualifications as the measure of whether somebody’s advice is to be trusted.

From an ethical standpoint, let alone business, this was not something I wanted Tinkerdash to fall guilty of. Any services provided should be helpful to people and not potentially harmful.

So, I decided to get in touch with an expert. Using Freelancedietitians.org, I sourced the contact details of five registered dietitians in the UK and contacted them, explaining that I’d like to work together to try to offer people a top-notch service.

(Check out this article if you’re unsure of the difference between a dietitian, nutritionist and a nutritional therapist. I opted for a registered dietitian given that their profession is regulated and hence they would each be trained to a set standard.)

From the two enthusiastic responses I received, it seemed that a consultative approach would be most suitable. The registered dietitian could provide guidance for creating meal plans to cater for a range of specific dietary needs and assist with ensuring the recipes and plans were balanced in terms of nutritional content. And at a palatable price too, perhaps £200-300 per 28-day meal plan.

A route forward was emerging but this would mean that Tinkerdash would need to provide the recipes to form the basis of the meal plans, which leads to my next point… I created the recipes.

With the copyright laws regarding the reuse of recipes that are published online somewhat unclear, and not being something I wanted to tackle just yet, I created 20 recipes that could be used for the first meal plan. These were based on meals I’d previously cooked and were vegan, which was the first dietary need that Tinkerdash would aim to help.

Finally, I transferred the recipe data to a spreadsheet, splitting up the values and units as shown in the image below, as well as converting all measurements to the Metric system. Why did I do this? Simply because I figured it’d be easier for either a human or machine to use in future, by working with this format from the start it might save hours of work down the line. Here’s an example recipe:

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There was still work to do to make the process of creating recipes and meal plans repeatable and efficient, however, Tinkerdash did have the basis for the next version of its service.

In order to launch something and get feedback from real users the next question to answer was, how would people prefer to be fed (excuse the pun) this recipes and meal plan information?