Summary
Research Synthesis Design Solution

Low-Carb Life  

Research

02 Directed Storytelling

about the subjects

This portion of our research process consisted of retrospective accounts or "directed story telling" from real Atkins and South Beach dieters. The stories and other info they told us is detailed below.


User 1

A husband who plans his own South Beach meals

Has been on South Beach for 1 year along with his wife. Currently on phase 1

Recipe sources:

1. "South Beach Diet" by Arthur Agatston. This was his first book for the diet.

This book spends half its pages on a introduction to the diet and the other half recipes is used for recipes. He used it for about six months but got bored of it and went looking for another book.

2. "South Beach Diet Cookbook" by Arthur Agatston. This is the second book he got which he likes much better. He saw it on TV and decided to get it.

3. Kraft South Beach pamphlet. He found this in the supermarket and noticed that it has good recipes. It has about 30 recipes.

There is recipe overlap between the books.

Recipe Selection:

On saturday, he and his wife plan what dinners they are going to make.

Then on Sunday, they go grocery shopping. They rotate through about about 20 different recipes.

They are mostly different versions of chicken. 1/3 of them are from the pamphlets. The rest of the time from the South Beach Diet Cookbook.

20 recipes is just enough for 3 weeks without too much repeating. Most of the recipes he selects are from phase 1.

Other info:

  • They make a week's supply at once and freeze it. For lunch, they both have a chicken salad which is made fresh every day.
  • The most important thing is taste. He was on the "Zone" diet for a while and complained it mostly consisted of chicken teriyaki.
  • He uses the internet often but never to find recipes.
  • He splits the meal preparation responsibilities with his wife.
  • Likes challenging recipes occasionally.
  • Doesn't know anyone else who knows South Beach recipes.
  • He used to be strict about carb counting but not anymore.


Goal: to maintain his weight. He's been through other phases but he got sloppier the second time around.



User 2

A mother of two on South Beach

Works full time and cooks dinner or her family.

Recipe sources:

1. "South Beach Diet" by Arthur Agatston. This was his first book for the diet.

She uses this book for a quick reference to recipes

2. Others - a healthy social life awards her a variety of recipes. Even from the butcher at the supermarket.
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Recipe Selection:

Story 1:

-Felt like having some fish - wanted a fish recipe
-Looked in fish section of South Beach Diet Book
-Read all recipes on fish - wanted to be inspired and try new thing and a new flavor - doesn't like things that don't "sound" good
-Looks at some, ingredients look plain - wants something out of the ordinary
-Found red snapper recipe and hadn't had for a while, so saw a lot of great ingredients in the recipe

Story 2:

-found cheap meat in market
-asked someone how they cook it.
-gave her a tip on marinade.
-asked fish man how to cook shrimp on BBQ
-likes to cook whatever is on sale.

Other info:

  • It is very important that recipes are not too difficult or intimidating, but likes a long list of ingredients. Intimidating = unfamiliar techniques - labor intensive and time consuming
  • writes on each recipe - who likes it  - general reviews - change of ingredients
  • looks at carb contents
  • some are high - doesn't know why they are in there.

    looks at others, but they don't matter much

    used to care a lot about fat and calories and cholesterol

  • if a dinner party, looks for anything that looks good
  • sometimes, just feels like a certain thing
  • would like to look for things that have interchangeable meats - for what you have on hand.



User 3

A graduate student

27 year-old graduate student. Introduced to low-carb dieting in 1997 by college rowing team.
Drifts in and out of the Atkins diet.

Currently tries to find recipes which are high in protein.

Recipe sources:

1. Uses fatfree.com quite a bit. It's a vegetarian recipe site. The categorization is pretty weak as many of the dishes end up in the "General" category.

2. Others - a healthy social life awards her a variety of recipes. Even from the butcher at the supermarket.

Recipe Selection:

Story 1:

-Opened up his copy of Joy of Cooking.
-Turned to the legumes sections.
-Most of the recipes looked like Americanized Asian or Mexican dishes.
-So he fell back to using a recipe which he had tried before in the book, which was just lentils, carrots, spinach, soy sauce, garlic, olive oil.

Story 2:

-This took place during college break in 1997.
-He was trying out the Zone diet.
-He found a recipe where that called for carrots, spinach, soy sauce, and garlic.
-He had a huge bag of carrots in the fridge and soy sauce. All he needed was spinach and garlic.

Other info:

  • It is very important that recipes are not too difficult or intimidating, but likes a long list of
  • In order to stay on the diet, it has to be interesting.
  • I want a recipe which is high in protein and doesn't have meat.
  • I want a recipe which uses stuff which is already in my fridge.
  • If I can't find a new recipe which is interesting and fits my ingredients requirements, I'll just fall back on something reliable that I've tried before.
  • I want to use stuff which is already in my fridge.



User 4

An undergrad student

Got on Atkins while working at school over the summer. Her mom suggested Atkins because she wanted to lose some weight. The diet worked for a while but she only made it to phase 2.

It was difficult to maintain once school started again because she was eating out so much.

While she was on the diet, she could plan her meals. She saved her carbs for dinner time and made a lot of salads otherwise.

Recipe sources:

1. Her mom sent her a Word document full of recipes.

The recipes were things that her mom knew she like and knew she had equipment for. Many of the recipes could be easily modified to produce tasty variants.

2. She went on the Atkins web site to look for recipes and claimed that she would use it to plan meals including what to buy from the market after work.

She would bring lunch to work and plan her dinner. She would log into the Atkins web site and use their tools to track her carb consumption.

She usually did go online to look for recipes and save them. She would often look for foods in her phase and often searched by ingredient.

4. She used the Joy of Cooking for steak at times

Other info:

  • She found Atkins recipes complicated.
  • She regularly rotated between 5 or 6 recipes.
  • In phase 1, she would "eat whatever she wanted."

IID 2005 . Human-Computer Interaction Institute . Carnegie Mellon University