Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.

Archive for December, 2006

22 Dec

Did You Know?

WORKER BEES’ DAILY BITES

Did you know?

Gut bugs don’t just make you gain weight – bacteria cause ulcers, too.

Ulcers cause inflammation elsewhere in the body – enough to cause atherosclerosis!

In terms of blood sugar impact, yams (sweet potatoes) typically have half the sugar of regular potatoes.

Now there’s some health knowledge to whip out at tonight’s festivities!

Be sure to check out these fun and informative bites, and have a great weekend, Apples.

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22 Dec

Fun Clicks

WORKER BEES’ DAILY BITES

1) Mistletoe Won’t Cure Anything…But It Still Breaks the Ice

The holiday version of snake oil?

mistletoe

2) Baby Einstein or Go Fish?

Fish oil is superior to both olive oil and annoying videos when it comes to raising smart kids.

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22 Dec

The Trees Aren’t Stressin’

Of course, they are trees.

trees

Sara here, with a few extra holiday tips:

- Consider having your holiday meal delivered from a nice restaurant. No one will know. Really. And you can always bribe that little nephew who figures it out. (There’s always one, isn’t there?)

- Hire a maid service from one of those quick-n-cheap housekeeping companies. Relatives can pitch a few dollars in if they want, but a one-time basic cleaning after the big day is surprisingly inexpensive. And it might be better than a massage.

- Enlist the children to complete forced labor. It builds character. As soon as they go outside to hurl snowballs and/or smaller cousins at each other, they’ll forget all about having to take out the trash.

- Take the phone off the hook after 8 p.m.

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22 Dec

Holiday Survival Guide, Part II

Isn’t it telling that we even think of the holidays as something to survive? And yet, we do. If that’s not a clear indicator of stress, I don’t know what is. I think a great deal of the immune suppression, weight gain and poor moods many people experience during the holiday season is not necessarily food-related but rather stress-related (though unhealthy foods are themselves a stress to the body). Here are my suggestions for alleviating stress during this time – as well as some culprits to be aware of that we often simply miss.

Tips to Stop Stress:

Step 1: Insist upon 30 minutes of “me time” every day. This should include some physical activity, such as a walk or quick work-out, and ideally some meditation, prayer or other time to reflect peacefully. Do more if you can, but treat yourself to 30 minutes at the very minimum. Anything that allows for you to breathe deeply, gather your thoughts, and refresh yourself is the ticket. Absolutely insist on this for yourself – you can gain more benefit from this than any other single action you take to be healthy during the holidays.

Step 2: Limit your driving time as much as possible. Stopping at several parties, giving rides or running to the store for the tenth time to get that last ingredient can be incredibly stressful, especially during traffic peaks. “Save up” your errands and tasks, coordinate driving and party stops ahead of time, and skip as much as you can. I’m always surprised by how simple it is to just say no to something I thought was needed – often, it turns out to be just a “want”, and the stress I save myself is something far more desirable.

Step 3: Get good sleep. It’s more important to get six or seven hours of good sleep than a lot of bad sleep. If you’re in bed for eight hours but spend three of them thinking of all you have to do, you’re not going to be refreshed. You might get a little less sleep during this time of year – that’s okay. Give yourself a break and focus on making time for enough quality sleep, not just “enough” sleep.

Step 4: Do it later. This is not the time of year to attempt any 11th-hour goals, such as home improvement projects (your guests won’t mind working around a problem – really). Forgot to renew your license or get the kids to the dentist after the Halloween sugar siege? Save it for January. It won’t matter.

Stress Comes in Many Forms:

There are also plenty of unlikely stress factors we forget about. First of all, consider that any change – even a good change – can be incredibly stressful to the mind and body. Good things can be stressful in their own way. It’s things like the “come-down” on the drive home from a festive gathering or the unexpected (but strangely inevitable) bickering after a long day flying to see beloved friends or relatives. It really is critical not to overload activities, daily goals or your general schedule. Give yourself and your loved ones adequate time to enjoy each good thing.

Second, the psychological impact of the “end” of the year – and the national pastime of making “New Year’s Resolutions” – can be overwhelming and depressing for many people. The holidays are one of the most stressful, serious, difficult times of year for many – everything in one’s life comes into sharp focus in the midst of a distracting whirl of activity and ritual. I encourage my loved ones to avoid any serious reflection or making resolutions if it feels at all like unhealthy pressure. Setting goals for self-improvement is a sign of a healthy and motivated mind – but personally, it’s something I like to do before the holidays even start. Self-improvement is a year-round activity, not a December obligation. When a goal pops into your mind and you weigh it, try taking the first step right then – and if you can’t, choose the right time, not an arbitrary time based on everyone else. Don’t put the pressure of “once a year” on a healthy ambition. Let it begin when you’re ready to begin it. You’ll be more successful that way, anyway – and your holidays will be more relaxed.

Finally, it can help to remember to focus on others, not yourself – give yourself a little break. We’re often our own worst critics. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should let your diet or good habits slide. (Think of healthy choices as gifts to yourself – don’t you deserve to feel good?) But I’m confident you’re already making many wise health decisions, so remember to focus on the positive.

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22 Dec

Smart People Eat Sulfur

SMART FUEL

This week’s Smart Fuel is a collection of foods that are sulfur-rich. Such foods are excellent for inflammation-related complaints ranging from arthritis to skin rashes. (Sulfur is necessary to help repair and rebuild tissues, bones and cartilage.) These foods are especially great to eat in winter, when both skin and joints can take a beating from changes in air temperate and moisture.

Eggs

egg

Asparagus

asparagus

Onions

onion

Garlic (fresh only – not chopped, powdered or peeled cloves)

garlic

Psst…Another excellent anti-inflammatory food is fresh pineapple. This fibrous fruit contains bromelain (in fact, it’s the only food on earth that does). Bromelain is an enzyme that digests certain proteins. It’s great for helping skin look younger, and it’s also an anti-inflammatory.

Pineapple ranks around 50 on the glycemic index, so it’s not a fruit you should consume too frequently. But, as an alternative to desserts, this is a healthy treat to enjoy during the holidays, when fresh pineapples are often on sale.

pineapple

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