You’ve overslept by fifteen minutes, and you have a killer headache. A couple of Aspirins take care of that. Grapefruit and yogurt for breakfast, a 20 minute jog, and then off to work. You’ve just gotten a promotion and a new office with a gorgeous view, so you’re feeling pretty good about your career. At the end of the day you catch an hour of T.V., hop on the bathroom scale, and hit the hay.
This is the raw data of your life, the cold hard facts of diet, exercise, and attitude that determine your wellbeing, and TheCarrot is dedicated to measuring it. TheCarrot is an online and mobile collection of trackers that collect and calculate data pertaining to a wide range of health concerns. If you’re looking to lose a little weight, plug in what you eat at each meal or log your workout routine. Feeling stressed? You can log and rate your general mood, your quality of sleep, even your job satisfaction. For users with more specialized concerns, there are specific trackers for diabetes, menopause, hypertension, and a sort of WebMD-lite which tracks various individual symptoms.
What distinguishes TheCarrot from similar sites is the focus on mobility and, perhaps more importantly, on a full integration of all the above-mentioned aspects into a gestalt look at wellbeing. The platform’s Iphone app allows users to log in their meals and activities as they happen, even inviting users to upload snapshots of their food into a database. While a seemingly small point to tout, entering the contents of a meal is much easier and salient on the subway ride home than it is hours later, racking your brains for if you had the risotto or the orzo.
The platform’s integration of every tracker into your daily report is similarly based on small, intuitive touches. How many times have you patted yourself on the back for jogging two miles, and rewarded yourself with an ice-cream sundae, or offset a diet with an afternoon sitting around on the couch? TheCarrot, by collecting up all of your lifestyle trackers into one collated chart, stresses the importance of all-around health and wellness.
As Douglas Trauner, CEO of TheCarrot’s parent company, Healthcare Analytic Services, puts it, “until now there wasn’t a mobile, one-stop option for all areas of [health] interest.” This all-in-one, integrated method is what really sets TheCarrot apart.
However, this emphasis on breadth of content may come at the expense of depth in any one area. While the nutrition tracker is admirably well fleshed-out, with a nice range of customization regarding what information shows up on your reports (ranging from a simple calorie count to detailed data on sodium, protein, and more) and a stocked pantry of over 20,000 pre-selectable food entries, other trackers are less comprehensive. It’s great to be able to hold your exercise regimen up side-by-side to your daily diet, but without even giving a broad estimate of the amount of calories burnt by each activity at various durations, the actual functionality is sadly limited.
Other areas of the platform are similarly bare-bones, sometimes in surprisingly fundamental ways. Some, such as Energy Level, Sex, and Job Satisfaction, are merely sliding scales ranging from Low Satisfaction/Energy/Libido to high-a totally subjective criteria that fails to offer much meaningful data. Sleep is structured similarly, with an entirely separate tracker set up for wake-up time. The result is a jumble of trackers ranging from comprehensive and useful, to somewhat confusing, to the useless and/or redundant.
The site and its Iphone companion have undergone a general upgrade since August of 2009, adding numerous features and trackers to its original configuration. While the platform as it is today is far from perfect, TheCarrot’s ambitious scope and convenient, mobile-friendly approach make it a fascinating experiment and a worthy (if flawed) eFitness contender.