Eating Our Own Dogfood

As part of the Prevent program, we have a library of skill modules designed to help participants develop healthy eating and exercise habits. One of these modules extols the virtues of eating not one, but two apples a day. The psychology that underpins that particular tip is that, while eating a single apple a day is certainly a healthy practice, eating two will up the odds that the behavior will graduate from the “chore” into the “habit” column in your brain.

So why not three apples? Well, that’s just a lot of apples.

Of course, it’s not really a secret that apples are generally good for you. From promoting digestive health to beating back the risk of scurvy during your next seafaring adventure, apples have a multitude of positive effects on the body.

But designers are always looking for ways to put themselves in their users’ shoes. So it was no surprise that one of our super-talented designers, Jared Erondu, suggested that the landlubbers at Omada Health eat two apples a day for a week along with our Prevent Program participants. Not only would it be a fun, team-building exercise, but we’d collectively have the opportunity to “eat own own dogfood” as it relates to the skill modules.

And so we did.

Some of us took down our two daily apples with gusto, while for others it was a bit of a slog. To provide motivation for those with a less intense apple predilection, Cameron Sepah, Omada Health’s Medical Director, brought in this apple peeler/medieval torture device.

If you do acquire said apple torturer, you’re guaranteed to eat at least one more apple just to see how the device works. Failing that, you’ll at least have something interesting to put out on the front-stoop to scare neighborhood children on Halloween.

In the end, I have to admit the second daily apple wasn’t nearly as refreshing as the first, but the positive peer pressure helped me power through it. That said, it’s over a month later and I’m still managing two apples a day on average.

But the big lesson for me is knowing that while any nutritional advice within Prevent is backed up with rigorous science, it never hurts to take that science for a little road test yourself and see how it feels. That helps us achieve our goal of making any advice we give forever easier to swallow.