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

Archive for July, 2007

6 Jul

How to Dog Whisper Your Food Cravings

Warm, fudgy chocolate cake.

Melt-in-your-mouth fettuccine alfredo.

An icy flute of champagne.

Gee, thanks a lot, MDA.

Whether it’s for garlic knots or a tuna melt, the temptation to indulge in delicious but unhealthy fare catches up with even the most disciplined among us from time to time. (Except Mark. He’s immune. It just took a lot of ice cream to develop.)

The body tends to crave what it is used to, which is why breaking out of the chips ‘n cookie regimen foils so many folks. There is a silver lining, however: given enough practice, you’ll actually miss brussels sprouts and feel sickened by ice cream. You just have to habituate your body. Many times, “cravings” that we experience are not indicators of any real nutritional need the body has, but simply a powerful psychological response to a habit gone cruelly unfed.

That said, sometimes a strong craving for a certain food (coughchocolatecough) can signal that you may be in need of a particular nutrient. Mark’s Daily Apple to the rescue: when you feel the urge to nosh on something you just know you shouldn’t, there’s guaranteed to be a healthy alternative. Take charge of those cravings and make them work for you, not against you!

When you are just about ready to kill for:

Salty foods like chips and pizza – you may just need some tryptophan or chloride. Try organic cheese, unsalted cottage cheese, fish, sweet potatoes (or yams), spinach, and authentic sea salt.

cottagecheese

Doeth Flickr Photo (CC)

Chocolate – you may be in need of magnesium. Instead, eat…chocolate! Yes! (Or nuts. But chocolate is actually healthy, if it’s dark and eaten in small doses.)

chocolate 1

Sarah Reed Flickr Photo (CC)

Sugary snacks and starches such as donuts and bread – you might be dehydrated. Drink some water and get a little nutritional acid by way of a piece of fruit, such as an apple.

apple

Aquave1vet’s Flickr Photo (CC)

Carbonated beverages – you might need to up your mineral intake. Try spinach, kale, collard greens, and legumes.

spinach

Kevin Donahue Flickr Photo (CC)

Fatty foods – some sources will tell you to drink water and eat fruit, but we say eat that fat! Fat is nutritious: it aids digestion, improves vitamin absorption, and can even boost brain health. Just watch the salt. Good fats: fish, olive oil, nuts, butter, cream, eggs.

fat

In Praise of Sardines’ Flickr Photo (CC)

Are you overeating or feeling general cravings? You may need tyrosine, found in citrus fruits. You might also be in need of a shot of zinc, so have a grass-fed steak or shellfish such as shrimp or oysters.

citrus

Jim Moran Flickr Photo (CC)

Craving candy? You may need sulfur, you inflammatory little nugget, you. Try garlic, onions, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or brussels sprouts. And pineapple works wonders.

brussels 1

Esteban Cavrico Flickr Photo (CC)

Outsmart your body. You are the alpha, so you best be dog whisperin’ those wacky cravings!

Whether your specific craving signals a nutritional deficiency, hormonal imbalance, or simply a pesky bad habit you went and taught yourself, choosing healthy alternatives will satisfy your body’s needs and retrain your brain to get excited about things like lettuce. Which really isn’t so bad, now, is it? As Mark always says, vegetables don’t meow, people.

Further reading:

Smart Fuel

Interesting Vegetables

Source 1

Source 2

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6 Jul

Money Buys Happiness (But Health Buys More)

As Daily Mail reports, a new study conducted at the University of London has found that money can indeed buy happiness. After finding a correlation between money and happiness the researchers went on to attach monetary values to other aspects of life that bring happiness – namely health and social relations.

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Mark the Legend Foster’s Flickr Photo (CC)

Any idea how much happiness people derive from excellent health? According to this study it is equivalent to the amount of happiness a 304,000 (roughly $600,000) a year raise would provide.

According to my quick calculation that would make the information and advice found on Mark’s Daily Apple worth about $273 trillion – give or take a few trillion. Or in the almost-played-out word of those enviable MasterCard marketers: priceless.

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Moral of the Story: Money may make you slightly happier, but it pales in comparison to the importance of health, friends and family.

Further Reading:

Can Money Buy Happiness?

Does Money Buy Happiness?

Study: Money Does Not Buy Much Happiness

Money ‘Can Buy You Happiness’

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5 Jul

The Definitive Guide to Stress, Cortisol, and the Adrenals: When ‘Fight or Flight’ Meets the Modern World

One of my goals with this weekly column is to make significant human health issues easy to understand and discuss. I was pleased that last week’s piece, the Definitive Guide to Insulin, Blood Sugar & Type 2 Diabetes, garnered some rave reviews. The Case Against Cardio piqued some great conversation and interesting criticisms (one soul out there in the webosphere took issue with the fact that I positioned Cardio exclusively from my personal perspective as a runner rather than authoring a more scholarly article. Well wasn’t that spot on. It’s called my blog.) My opinions can’t please everyone, of course, but – based on my experiences and understanding – I am certain that contributing some insights on health in light of our (all together now) genetic blueprint is a worthwhile and timely endeavor.

Now to the topic at hand. Stress can make you gain weight, and it contributes to premature aging. Understanding how stress is related to your overall health and potentially even longevity is essential to achieving your health goals. But do not, repeat, do not go and buy yourself a bottle of Cortislim – just read this quick summary and you’ll know all you need to know.

walnut

Ariel Amanda Flickr Photo (CC)

The adrenal glands are not unlike a walnut.

5 Jul

Simple Fruit Salad

While there is a time and place for everything, when it comes to fruit salad my motto is keep it simple! This means no sugar – brown, granulated, confectioner’s, caster or otherwise. No simple syrup. No cream cheese, heavy cream or mayonnaise. No mustard (yes, some recipes call for mustard). No granola or marshmallows. No whipped cream. No gelatin. No instant vanilla pudding. No sour cream. And no shrimp paste. Whew! Am I forgetting anything? Oh, yeah. No canned fruit! Who needs all this nonsense when you can enjoy delectable, naturally-sweet, fresh fruit on its own. Let the fruit shine, people!

I was surprised to find how difficult it was to track down a simple fruit salad that wasn’t marred by the addition of so many superfluous ingredients. This one comes close. (I’d personally add some fresh blueberries and raspberries.) Enjoy!

800px Fruit salad closeup

Photo (CC)

Smart Fuel Posts

Most Popular Posts

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5 Jul

3 Healing Herbal Teas You Can Make in No Time at Home

We hope you all had a relaxing and enjoyable holiday!

Here are three healthy, soothing herbal infusions you can make at home. Herbal teas, of course, are not technically “tea”, but the combinations of herbs, fruit and spices promote many aspects of wellness. These are some of our favorites:

Cleansing & Rejuvenation

Recovering from illness? Or maybe a little too much festivity? Here’s a refreshing, stimulating blend.

1 or 2 strips fresh sliced ginger

2 teaspoons peppermint leaves (basil can work, as well, but won’t be as tasty)

1 teaspoon dried lavender

This herbaceous, spicy blend is wonderful for the stomach and digestion. For an extra herbal note you can add a dash of oregano or a sprig of rosemary.

mint

Sir Iwan Flickr Photo (CC)

Stress

Feeling ragged and overwhelmed? On edge? This infusion is guaranteed to relax.

1 rosehip

1 teaspoon linden flowers

1 teaspoon chamomile flowers

This gentle, sweet blend will help you sleep and promote calm. Add an orange peel twist for extra interest.

chamomile

Matsuyuki Flickr Photo (CC)

“Stomach Upset”

Why did I eat that? Here’s a natural tonic that will relieve cramps, gas and digestive complaints.

1 heaping tablespoon blueberries (boil and mash – don’t just use jam!)

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 sprig peppermint

This tasty, light syrup will have you feeling settled and restored in no time.

blueberries

Lori D Stone Flickr Photo (CC)

Infusion confusion? Here’s how to do it:

Infusion is very simple. You’ll generally want to use about 1 teaspoon of each herb to 1 cup of water, but if you are using dried herbs you may need an extra teaspoon or so. Add the herbs or flowers to water you’ve just boiled (wait for the boiling to settle down before adding the herbage). Cover and wait 10 minutes – presto, infusion! Strain and enjoy.

Source

Further Reading:

Types of tea

Cooking with tea

More Smart Fuel

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