Cook & Count Carbs is a new app that allows users to count the carbohydrate content of home-made food.
"Cook & Count Carbs is a beautifully designed, simple to use app that takes the guesswork out of carbs counting. A vital tool for those with diabetes that will encourage and inspire home food preparation and cooking." - Taken from the Cook & Count Carbs press release.
After speaking to the app's creator on twitter a few times she asked if I'd like to try the app and see what I thought. I didn't need much persuasion as I'm a bit of an app geek and I'll give anything a go once! However I was dubious as to whether or not this app would remain as a a permanent feature on my beloved iPad (myPad).
You see I've tried all sorts of diabetes apps in the past but none of them have lasted for longer than a week! I find that they just don't excite me enough and capture my attention or offer me anything that I don't already know, or indeed something that my blood glucose meter doesn't already tell me or store for me. All of the diabetes apps that I've tried in the past seem to be very similar to each other and don't offer much that makes them stand out from the crowd - this always disappoints me. In the past I have tried carb counting apps, but after experiencing a rather nasty hypo due to some inaccurate carb info on one of them I made sure I stayed away from them. This has lead to me having a rather boring diet consisting of (and I hate to admit this) mostly packaged food (anything that has carb info) or if having home cooked food, making an educated carb counting guess (which almost always leaves me with high or low sugars).
Anyway, here's my experience using the Cook and Count Carbs app for the first time...
I decided to bake a chocolate cake as I'm not much of a cook (possibly down to not being able to carb count for home cooked food). The cake turned out pretty well...
I'd already downloaded the app and had a quick look through the options it gave. The app itself is very clear and well laid out, the font is easy to read and is large enough for people like me (who refuse to wear their glasses) to read. The only info that is on the screen is info that needs to be there - options, features and directions.
The features include:
Build a recipe - I used this to store my home made cake recipe on. You add ingredients by searching for them with the search option, you then add the weight in grams or ounces, you do this for all ingredients in the recipe and then click save. This then allows you to take a photo of the finished product (I love taking photos of food!), to name the recipe and an option to share it on twitter or facebook. You can also add and save a method and by using the 'total' option you can divide the recipe into portions and this will total the amount of carbs per portion.
Recipe book - Includes ideas for starters, mains, baking and pudding, low carb and gluten free. Each recipe includes the ingredients, weight in grams, crabs per 100g and the total carbs, the method to make the recipe, an option to share the recipe on twitter and facebook and a total button which will divide the recipe into portions and give the total amount of carbs per portion
Information - This page includes: Search tips, preferences, cookery tips and measures, about carb counting, tips for healthy eating and living and about.
So what did I think about this app?
The maths... I know that I'm not very good when it comes to maths but knowing that the app is adding the carbs for me and then dividing it into carbs per portion takes a lot of the worry about getting it wrong away from me. Not only that but knowing that the carb content for ingredients has been calculated for me takes away the guessing game that often stops me from eating home made-food and getting it wrong.
What I love about it is that it is so simple, but so effective. The way that it's laid out makes searching for info incredibly easy - navigation and being user friendly is very important to me as someone who uses technology day in day out for my diabetes and for daily activities. I felt that the whole experience seemed very effortless - there was no going back and forth looking for different pages or lost data - the process of adding ingredients, taking photos, sharing on social media and totalling carbs flowed in the perfect order to make the process easier.
I really liked the layout and design of the app - the bright colours and large text, no overcrowding of information and very tempting looking photos. I think this would encourage me to share my pics via facebook and twitter because in a way I want to say "Look at me! Look at what I created with this app!" As I said I don't cook very often but it's something that I would like to start doing and part of trying something new, for me, is also about sharing that with others.
Did I come across any problems?
I did, but the first was down to me. When I was adding the icing sugar to my list of ingredients I automatically searched for icing, this then took me to the option for royal icing and I added 250 grams. What I should have searched for was icing sugar which would have given me the correct option. So adding royal icing gave me a higher carb total per portion that it would have if I'd entered the correct info (icing sugar).
The only real problem that I had was that I couldn't find an option to delete recipes that I had saved, though the app creator has said that this will be an option with the next update That's it though... there was nothing else that I could find and if there was then I would be digging for the sake of finding something to write.
So this app will indeed be staying on my iPad! For those of you who see me (in person, not via social media) you are very welcome to check up on that as most of you will know my iPad is just an extension of my arm now... It never leaves my side!
Check out the Cook and Count Carbs website, twitter account and facebook page.