Monthly Archives: January 2015

Healthy Snacking / Good or Bad for the new system design?

“Consumer Attitudes Show Positive Change About Healthy Snacking

Ref.: http://www.foodprocessing.com/articles/2013/consumer-attitudes-positive-snacks/

I was always told by my personal trainer that it is good to have several snacks a day instead of filling myself with different foods during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Eating 6 times a day in small portions actually stabilises your digestion and helps to prevent overeating during three main meals. Also, being a busy person, I don’t have time to cook for myself or sometimes even buy a meal. Snacking saved me a lot of time and health, it brings a balance to my diet when I’m under pressure or have a lot of work.

During my placement, I looked what other people were eating. As we had only one hour of break each day and not man shops around to buy a full meal (Tesco doesn’t count), most of my co-workers were constantly snacking on something. Two girls were ordering Graze every two weeks to avoid spending extra time on shopping. Others were bringing vegetable and fruit snacks (also salads) from home and were eating them during 5-minute break each hour. Snacking definitely kept the energy flowing during the day.

I would definitely include this tip for women on periods or just as a healthy lifestyle tip. It also breaks our routine at some point which could lead us to new thinking thus new ideas and hopefully positive mood everyday.

Video Suggestions – Which foods to embrace / avoid during PMS

She looks and sound like a character that would be ideal for describing and suggesting for the system visual language! Making women comfortable with trying something new for them through the video – amazing. I must admit that I felt like drinking tea straight away and feel the warm coming from it. This girl not only says what is better for you but also mentions some warnings and comments on each food/drink. She also uses some references as Asian medicine and other facts which makes me believe that everything she wrote will help me out and feel more comfortable with my body.

Pregnancy Calendar / Emotional and Educational Guide

Interesting idea that makes you aware of how the fetus is developing in women’s body. No nasty scientific stuff, no scary medical language, just mom and her baby. The whole visual language, simple shapes and patterns, black and white theme, simple cut-outs on pages made this book very special and emotionally tied with the owner.

“But it’s the designs that swirl around this pregnant belly that are the true draw for me. Designed by ad agency Dentsu for Kishokai Medical Corporation, a Japanese medical services firm, they’re a playful take on what actually occurs with the fetus during each week of pregnancy. For example, to show when the size of the baby first becomes measurable, there’s a ruler on the side of week 6. In week 15, fingerprints begin to form on the baby, which you can see embossed into the page. A Coriolis effect swirls around week 25, marking when the baby first begins to swim in amniotic fluids. And so on.

Better yet, this beautiful papercraft representation isn’t just some concept: Kishokai Medical Corporation started distributing copies to pregnant mothers in September.”

Ref.: http://www.spoon-tamago.com/2014/11/07/mother-book-a-pregnancy-diary-that-grows-with-the-mothers-belly/

UI/UX Design / Vocabulary

As my project turned out to be a UI/UX design, I have to figure out what visual and verbal languages to use for the system.

After reading many books and guides about the overall health, well-being, I figured out what was missing in most of them. We want to introduce healthy lifestyle and menstrual cycle awareness to women but not limit their lives with forcing dieting and exercising for a certain period of time. We have to use words that would suggest, not limit everything.. introduce and embrace, not force to do something.. avoid, not eliminate or exclude. Use words, that would have associations with common sense and the menstrual cycle and its importance in womens lives.

It should not be viewed as a celebration but as an appreciation and understanding of one’s bodies. Another idea is to let women know that menstrual cycle is not associated with medicine and diseases. Most of the scientific and medical terminology should be avoided for easier understanding. Women should trust the information described and scientific language would only confuse them. Moreover, third language should be used less as we want this

Words I’ve picked for some rules and suggestions:

suggest, avoid, embrace, welcome, care, acknowledge, appreciate, enjoy, value, digest, think, apprehend, harm…

Interesting Articles / Cravings, Hyper-Awareness and Premature Ageing

“Guilt over pre-menstrual carb and chocolate cravings can trigger eating disorders in some women, doctors warn”

Link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2877299/Guilt-pre-menstrual-chocolate-cravings-trigger-eating-disorders-women-doctors-warn.html

“The new study found cravings for food also correlate with women becoming more preoccupied with their bodies and more aware of their weight and shape.”

It’s interesting that in 21st century we know about our bodies a lot. Even stuff that we do not need, we know thanks to the open online resources. But sometimes this awareness might be a bad influence for some. For example, the trend of the last year was all around the well-being, fitness, being fit and healthy. All the wearable devices, fit apps and other products made a lot of fuss during the year but I’ve never seen these products related to something that would sound or look happy or exciting for a person (really don’t want to put “user” word, it became too techy).

As mentioned in this article: “This hyper-awareness, combined with craving more food, can cause some women to develop symptoms of an eating disorder”. When craving supposed to be something as a natural process of women’s menstrual cycle or pre-pregnancy period, now it is connected to the “fit” concepts.

Good point was raised in this article that I almost forgot about. Sugars and fats. The most beloved craving food is usually chocolate, biscuits, sweets etc. Women have craving as sometimes the levels of sugars and other vitamins gets low during the pre-menstrual period. It is totally fine to have these cravings and eat a bit more that usually but women have to keep in mind that there are different kind of sugars. Some can stabilise your sugar levels but some can not only add more waistline after the menstruation but also cause premature ageing. We have to teach women why craving happens and how to work with it without harming their bodies.

Also read the comments section. I was happy to see that some women realise that their weight goes back to normal after the menstruation. However, some agree that they eat a lot of unhealthy snacks as they do not know or think that healthy food might be less effective than sweets.

“The research, published in the journal Appetite in 2009 found women who no longer had periods still craved chocolate, suggesting it is unlikely to be completely related to changes in hormones.

They concluded chocolate cravings at certain times of the month were probably because women associate chocolate with making them feel better, so they use it to cope with stress or negative emotions.”

It will be a challenge for me. I have to find a new way of introducing alternative foods for period cravings. Chocolate will always be that is associated with happiness and stress-relief but it is not more effective than other natural foods containing natural sugars for stress-relief etc. Making a list of foods that are affordable for most women and are as tasty as chocolate or sweets will be the next step.