What Nutragenomics, custom Nikes, and ordering take out tell us about American political life

Originally posted on http://www.andrewdwelch.com at http://www.andrewdwelch.com/2010/04/what-nutritional-genomics-custom-nikes.html

Have you ever heard of Nutritional Genomics? “Nutragenomics,” they call it, it’s a science I have been told has revealed much about the complex interactions between diet and genes. I’ve even been told that it could make possible what is called “personalized nutrition,” whereby in several years one might expect to walk into a restaurant and be handed a menu personalized to their own very unique nutritional needs.

Of course, if you prefer to get healthy the old fashioned way you can go running. My girlfriend just bought a pair of running shoes online; Nike let her customize the style, the individual colors, the shocks, and even get her initials monogrammed on the side.

You might alternatively try sitting at home on your couch, watching whatever reruns you long for on your Apple TV. You and a friend can order fast food delivery to forget that you had ever even heard of nutrition or running. Don’t worry, you can order steak tacos and he can order a triple-thick burger; you can do it online to have it all delivered to your door, while you stay at home enjoying that Sam Adams mix pack you picked up earlier at the store.

What’s fascinating, though, is that in an age of extraordinary personalized choice — newsfeeds, podcasts, even food, shoes, and drink — the big political parties haven’t divined a way the get on the bandwagon. They both seem to be in the business of telling the American people not just what we need, but surely what we want as well, so doesn’t it seem odd that USA Today reported yesterday that “The nation’s fastest-growing political party is ‘none of the above…'”?

Now, I am not a political luminary, and in fact I like to keep my personal beliefs just that — personal. I find that whether at work for a company charged with securing our nation under contract or in the Coast Guard Auxiliary charged with keeping our own people safe, it is just better to do my job and live my life as best I know how. But as an avid observer of people, society, and the organizations that people construct within that society, isn’t it interesting how we indeed live in this age of choice, yet are still expected to fit into clean little “liberal” and “conservative” belief boxes?

I suspect that a number of people in North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Nevada all wondered the same thing. Fascinating.

But it’s lunchtime. I think I’ll have some pizza… two slices, one with pepperoni and one with sausage and mushroom. Perhaps later I’ll put on my heart rate monitor (personalized by my height, weight, and age of course) and go running. I enjoy those runs — good thinking time, making everything right in my own little world.

Oh, and if you’re still scratching your head about the “personalized nutrition” idea, have a look at the video below.

Originally posted on http://www.andrewdwelch.com at http://www.andrewdwelch.com/2010/04/what-nutritional-genomics-custom-nikes.html

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