About the Super Shrink Me Project

by Greg Johnson

A few years ago, I was visiting with a friend of mine, Dave Burt, who is a vegetarian chef and cooking instructor. At the time, he was running an organic vegan restaurant (The Red Avocado).

Inspired by the Morgan Spurlock film Super Size Me, I proposed an idea to Dave that we create a documentary called Super Shrink Me. I planned to be the guinea pig, and like Morgan Spurlock, I would eat only food from his restaurant for 30-days.

It was a great idea, but the project never came together. I think in part, the timing wasn’t right.

In May 2012, I was visiting with Dr. Jason Bradley, an integrative medicine provider in Iowa City, and mentioned the Super Shrink Me idea to him as a project to demonstrate the powerful benefits of integrative-medicine. He loved the idea. The pieces had fallen into place. The Super Shrink Me project was brought into being. In a few minutes, the domain name was secured. We began brainstorming about the project, and it quickly took shape.

I realized that the Super Shrink Me project couldn’t simply be about food. Wellness and weight management involve so much more than what we eat.

At the hub of the Super Shrink Me project needed to be some kind of wellness center.

Having started attending the Washington Street Wellness Center, I knew this would be a perfect source of inspiration for the Super Shrink Me project.

It made sense to bring other partners in on the project. In addition to the Washington Street Wellness Center, these are some other sources of inspiration for the project:

  • Dave Burt. Dave Burt, the original inspiration for the Super Shrink Me project, is now operating a vegetarian food service business featuring locally grown foods. The meals are similar to the vegan, organic, locally grown offerings previously available at The Red Avocado.
  • Downtown Bicycle Shops. There are a few downtown bicycle shops that I rely on regularly for service and supplies, so I wanted to make them part of the project: 30th Century BicycleGeoff’s Bike & Ski, and World of Bikes. Bicycling is a great way to stay active, save money, burn calories, eliminate road noise, reduce pollution, save time, and lose weight. For this reason, it’s an important part of the Super Shrink Me project. The organization Think Bicycles deserves thanks as well for their role in promoting bicycling in Iowa City.
  • New Pioneer Co-op. Iowa City has many sources of nutritious foods. However, a pioneer in the area for organic and locally grown foods is the New Pioneer Co-op. So, we’ve partnered with them as the preferred food provider for the project.
  • Trumpet Blossom Cafe. In April 2012, I’d written an article about the Trumpet Blossom Cafe, describing how the food on their menu was precisely what my wellness doctor had prescribed for me. It’s the only such restaurant in Iowa City (and perhaps the region) with such foods. So, they are a natural resource for the project.

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