Oscar Miranda is living his dream with Wholesome Grub, shattering misconceptions by offering healthy, organic salads and grass-fed meat in a quick-serve restaurant.
He took over the old Wendy’s on Park Boulevard in Plano in 2014, selling nutritionally dense salads, wraps, tacos, and salmon fillet sandwiches through the drive-thru or walk-up counter. His goal is to be just as fast as the building’s predecessor, but much healthier and environmentally conscious.
“We’re a true health hub where you can order in line, drive through, or do your own meal customization,” Miranda said. “There hasn’t been a restaurant that’s full service in the QSR [quick-serve restaurant] category that’s health focused.”
“We’re a true health hub where you can order in line, drive through, or do your own meal customization.”
But Miranda has much bigger ambitions to merge health and technology in new and exciting ways. He’s exploring and embracing the cutting edge of what’s possible to help people become healthier.
That includes doing in-depth genetic testing to see what foods are best for every individual, and creating a new cryptocurrency based on healthy choices — a literal sweat-equity approach that pairs with Fitbits and other Internet of Thing devices. There are DNA sequencing chips that can monitor internal organs and make recommendations through a digital avatar.
There are fundamental questions that need to be answered before people turn their bodies into IoT devices, Miranda said.
“There’s a lot of ethical stuff we need to answer first,” Miranda said. “We need to start with DNA sequencing chips that are going to IoT phone devices that already exist and from there have a human council on what’s the best way to do this. If we truly want that singularity of technology as we’d like, we’ve got to be willing to all operate within these standards.”
The former U.S. Army cook started with just a restaurant, but his goals are to take what we know about food and health into the future.
“We’re literally at the point where we can either coast it or push the boundaries,” he said.
HYPER-PERSONALIZED MEAL PREP
A simple cheek swab could reveal more than just your parentage or ethnicity, but the very essence of what food ingredients suit you best. Miranda has partnered with dietitians, yoga instructors, chiropractors, and physicians on a pilot program that breaks down what types of food best suit an individual. Scientists are understanding how human cells respond to the foods we eat, and that might differ from person to person. Instead of taking supplements or vitamins to make up for a deficiency, Miranda proposed a meal program.
At the same time Miranda was looking for specialists who understood DNA’s relationship with food, Rajesh Moorjani, vice president for strategy and operations for Infinity Health Group, was looking for a restaurant that could prepare healthy meals.
Historically, people who want to lose weight or eat right cut either carbohydrates or sugars. Maybe they eat less red meat. It’s a trial-and-error effort to find something that works. Research into genetics finally gives an answer to why some diets don’t work for certain people.
“We are recommending people diet based on their genome. The results are going to be extreme.”
“We are trying to take the doubt out of it,” Moorjani said. “We are recommending people diet based on their genome. The results are going to be extreme. We know this particular diet or this particular nutrient is good for that person.”
The two make a perfect match as Moorjani analyzes the DNA tests and Miranda uses that data to create meals.
“We found out that we already had a natural symbiotic relationship with a lot of our health professionals,” Miranda said. “We all work together to design them a hyper-specialized meal prep program.”
Results come back in two weeks to a month.
Every item in the meal is specifically designed for that person to meet that individual’s nutrition genome.
“If you’re low on a particular component, you’re not going to be able to function effectively, maybe it’s producing testosterone, maybe it’s your muscle fibers tighten up at the end of the night, you get cramps, maybe your stomach hurts, or you get random headaches,” Miranda said.
The genome project is being done under the Wholesome Grub umbrella, but Miranda envisions someday making that a separate startup.
FOOD FOR THE FUTURE
Futuristic concepts that are fast becoming reality include turning the human body into one big Internet of Things device where sensors can detect health issues or nutritional deficiencies and alert the person.
The idea of merging technology with the human body raises lots of questions, but Miranda said it’s definitely coming.
“That’s here today, but everyone’s using it in parcels,” Miranda said. “It doesn’t exist in its entirety, yet. We need large populations using it first to really fine tune it.”
The technology would lead to the development of human avatars that show how the heart, lungs, kidneys, the stomach, and other organs are working.
CRYPTOCURRENCY AS SMART-HEALTH REWARDS
The concept of using cryptocurrency to reward people for smart health decisions, such as eating a salad or exercising, is also coming. Much like car insurance companies reward drivers who install monitors in their vehicle by lowering rates, Miranda envisions a world where the blockchain rewards that person by making them a net zero insurance risk.
“You’ve effectively helped people save money and you’ve given them a better outcome in life,” Miranda said.
And that gets at the heart of what Miranda wants to do with his restaurant, Wholesome Grub, and the other side projects he’s got working on.
He said he wants to “push the boundaries of health interoperability to truly assess the population’s health.”
Updated 11:16 a.m. April 4
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