The Crowd-Sourced Menu

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Technology, Social Media and the power of online social networks is a very healthy concoction to help you accomplish your health goals for 2010.

I was stuck, and it was my own fault. After a long flight delay, I found myself in New York City, walking toward one of the most challenging places in which to find a healthy meal: Times Square. Beyond pizza, hot cashew nuts and a pastrami sandwich bigger than my head, I had no idea where to turn. So I turned to Twitter and sent out a request to my online community for a healthy, fast and fairly priced meal. I wasn’t expecting much. Maybe “What? Are you saying that the Carnegie Deli is not fat-free?” But within a few minutes, I had the information I needed and, based on multiple recommendations, managed to eat a lightly seared piece of fresh tuna with vegetables at Blue Fin (attached to the W New York Hotel in Times Square). The “wisdom of crowds” (a term coined by James Surowiecki in his bestselling business book of the same name) prevailed. Amazingly, Blue Fin was also on Twitter and even thanked me for my patronage.

Without question, using hardware, software and mobile applications in order to adopt a healthier lifestyle is one of the best uses of technology for health-conscious road warriors. And it’s more than just restaurant recommendations. Travel and tech really come together in connecting you to other like-minded people.

Sure, if you’re looking to, say, monitor your running, you can grab the amazing Nike + tech for your iPod/iPhone to tell you how fast you’re going or to help you choose a playlist to keep your pace up. But along with Nike + comes an amazing online community that includes iPhone apps and discussion groups, where people are connecting to organize running groups and create running routes based on things like length of run, difficulty and even scenery. (There’s also lots of conversation around healthy meals and dieting tips for both pre- and post-runs.) So even when you’re out on the road and away from your regular routine, technology and online communities are there to help keep you both motivated and healthy.

Whether you’re looking for a delicious smoothie, a way to track your fitness or someone to connect with for dinner or a game of Ultimate Frisbee, technology can help you surround yourself with the right people. In other words, with a little research, business travel doesn’t have to mean taking time out from your health.

Does technology help you stay healthy on the road?

The above posting is my monthly tech and gadget column for enRoute Magazine called, Ultraportable. I cross-post it here with all of the links and tags for your reading pleasure, but you can check out the original versions online here:

enRoute Magazine – January 2010 – The Crowd-Sourced Menu.


  1. I definitely can relate. I regularly tweet to my twitter community for local restaurant/activity ideas to share with on our social network for women in montreal & toronto. We’re always looking for new ideas and what better way to than to tap into a community that’s eager to share and provide reviews that you can trust.

  2. Mitch,
    We were in Stratford, Ont. over the holidays, and looking for a place to eat a hearty lunch on a cold day. We asked a local who suggested a place that unfortunately ended up being mediocre. I thought about asking the Twittersphere but figured a local would know where to go. 🙂
    cheers, Mark

  3. How did you discern which choice was better in addressing your needs mitch? Is there a rating system in the software? or did you go with the recommendation of someone you know?

  4. Forgive my ignorance since I didn’t read the book but when you are choosing based on recommendations from people you know is that still considered ‘crowd sourcing’. (really don’t mean to sound like a wise a@#.

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