When doctors tell patients to change the way they eat for health, 7 times out of 10, they give the patient a list of foods to eat or avoid. If you’re that patient, you’re sent out of the doctor’s office wondering what to do with the list. Planning meals, cooking for your kids, or accommodating your lifestyle and food traditions becomes a time-consuming challenge. And if the doctor diagnosed you with a chronic disease, that challenge can be overwhelming. No wonder most patients let old habits override medical advice. That where LVNGbook comes in.
LVNGbook is a customizable cookbook generator that helps consumers who have been recently diagnosed, are living with a chronic disease, or are seeking proactive prevention. The company enlisted the help of Ntegral, an Atlanta-based company, to build a platform that would provide customers with an experience that was easy-to-use and accessible from any device. Through the digital platform, consumers can choose from different customizable covers, quotes, and other design aspects, along with their medical, religious, and personal preferences. Each book is also shoppable. Every recipe has a QR code that can be scanned with the Camera app on iPhone or Android phones to give users an instantly-shoppable grocery list powered by Whisk. Whisk’s grocery lists are integrated with each user’s local grocery stores for easy in-store pick-up and delivery, making planning and shopping that much simpler.
“The concept for LVNGbook came after a friend had been diagnosed with a chronic disease,” said founder Shaun Chavis, a former Time, Inc. cookbook editor who worked on titles for brands such as Cooking Light and Weight Watchers. “Her doctor gave her this long, random list of foods she couldn’t eat anymore, and she literally called me, crying, asking for help figuring out what to eat.”
“I thought about my own personal struggles to find recipes that brought me back to my childhood while still being healthy,” explained Chavis. “When you layer on figuring out how to cook for your kids, how to enjoy social time with family and friends, or how to enjoy your own food traditions, it’s really overwhelming.”
Through extensive research and more than 100 interviews, Chavis discovered that many families cook two meals per night – one for the person with chronic disease and the other for the rest of the family – at least three times per week. Understanding that this was not sustainable, Chavis set out to develop recipes that would satisfy all members of the family.
“After working as a magazine and cookbook editor for eight years, it made sense to help people create cookbooks filled with healthy, tasty options that they would be happy to share with friends and family,” Chavis said.
While developing the recipes for LVNGbook, Founder and CEO Shaun Chavis was cognizant underserved populations. “People who trace their roots to places like Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and West Africa told me that if they got any recipes from a doctor or dietitian, they didn’t reflect the food they grew up with that tastes good to them,” Chavis said. “People who love regional US cooking such as Cajun, Italian American, and soul food felt that a diagnosis meant they had to give up their food traditions.” Recipes in the database take into account diverse backgrounds, religious restrictions, and regional preferences to make sure that the flavors evoke feelings of nostalgia and pride in one’s ethnicity and culture. To assure that the recipes are nutritionally sound, Chavis brought on Jessica Ivey, a registered dietician, trained chef, and former colleague from Time Inc.’s cookbook publishing division to make sure the recipes meet each condition’s recommended guidelines.
In addition, Chavis consulted with Julie O’Brien, a behavioral scientist from Duke University, to help understand how to change habits and create a new lifestyle. LVNGbook offers a habit change guide and journal in addition to recipes.
In the beginning, the company will focus on heart disease will adapt future recipes to incorporate additional restrictions and guidelines. Early access to LVNGbook will be available in January, with the official launch coming later in 2020. To learn more about LVNGbook, visit www.LVNGbook.com or follow the company on Facebook and Instagram.