This is a visualization in color of what I ate for two weeks.
The concept emerged from the convergence of a few ideas:
First, the public display of "what I ate today" has become widespread, especially in urbanite culture. These displays are seen on blogs, photo apps such as instagram, online websites such as foodspotting, and on Facebook profiles. The subject of these images range from meals had at restaurants and recipes conjured up at home to the exotic, outlandish, and outrageous. Clearly, the aesthetics and the aestheticization of food is becoming more important, just as the line between private and public spheres is increasingly blurred. These were ideas I wanted to explore.
Secondly, I was influenced by the advice that health professionals often give to "eat the rainbow" as a way of expanding and incorporating a wider variety of fresh produce and whole foods into one's diet. The idea that colors and hues are not only linked to the patterns of our consumption but also reflect the healthfulness of our choices is intriguing. This project derives not only from an interest in the aesthetics of food, meals, and food choices but also a desire to present a new visual understanding personal consumption and dietary patterns. Along the way, I was also very inspired by concept menus by modern restaurants such as Eleven Madison Park (New York City) and Smith (Toronto, Canada).
Here are some of the questions that I wanted to ask in the process:
-How does the visual appeal of food affect our choices of what and how much we eat?
-Does a color pattern exist in my diet?
-What colors exist in different food groups?
-How colors differ in terms of whole & processed foods?
-Does a color code exist for healthy eating?
-How diverse is my diet?
Though there were no definitive answers to the questions I was exploring, both visual and gastronomic patterns began to emerge. The analysis of these dietary patterns is aesthetic on one hand but pragmatic on another: visualizations similar to these could provide a starting point for people who want to make sure they are getting enough variety in their diet or want to know when and what types of foods they are eating without getting too bogged down in numbers, percentages, and nutrients - the latter of which could actually make the concept of healthy eating even more difficult.