If Siri sent you encouraging messages about your activity and sleep patterns, she would look a lot like Lark, a conversational wellness coaching app for iOS. Now the app is tackling food-tracking with Tuesday's update for iOS and its launch on Apple Watch.
Lark is taking a decidedly different approach to food than its meal-tracking competitors with a focus on wellness instead of guilt. Record your meals, snacks, and drinks using voice dictation on the Watch or iPhone and Lark will parse trends from your daily food log, not specific calorie counts.
"We don't want people to obsess about every calorie," Lark founder and CEO Julia Hu told Macworld during a demo at our New York offices.
Lark's mission is to help you change your habits, and Hu doesn't believe knowing how many calories you have left to eat will help you do that. Instead, the app uses natural language processing to parse what kinds of foods you should incorporate into your meals and which you should ditch.
The app uses your iPhone's M7 sensor on the iPhone 5 and the M8 sensor on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to track your activity and sleep, and it uses all of that data to give you personalized nutrition tips. For instance, if you only slept for a few hours the night before, your body will crave sugary and fatty foods to keep it going. Lark will advise you to satisfy those cravings with healthy fats like nuts.
If you have no desire to log your food, just change your goal in Lark under Settings > Edit Profile. Choosing "weight loss" will put nutrition front and center in the app, while "getting fitter" and "staying healthy and happy" will prompt fewer questions about food intake.
A few of us on Team Macworld have been using Lark since it launched alongside HealthKit last fall, even picking the app as one of our favorite new apps of 2014. The app can now pull data from about 60 different streams to give you a comprehensive look at your health--and help you make some changes without feeling bad about yourself.