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

Archive for December, 2010

31 Dec

Taking Stock of 2010: Your Annual Health Review

reviewThe time leading up to New Year’s is typically about everything but resolutions – or related reflection. With the seasonal slew of parties, shopping, and travel, resolutions too often emerge spontaneously from the hazy shadow of holiday recovery. Little wonder these last minute, little thought out pledges barely make it beyond the starting gate. Here’s a modest proposal to consider: forget the resolutions (for now). Instead of planning for 2011, take the day (or more) to mull, ponder, scrutinize, dissect, chew on, and generally pore over 2010. Think long and hard – from where you were sitting last January 1st to now. What kind of year was it for your health and overall well-being? (Do I hear applause, sighs, groans?) What were your successes? Your failures? Unfinished business? New or ongoing excuses? (Hint: Brutal honesty and unbridled inquest are key here.) Wherever you are in your Primal journey, this New Year’s Eve there’s a lot to gain from a serious and thorough self-review.

30 Dec

Ignoring the Naysayers

real life stories stories 1 2Camzin is from South Africa. When she moved to America, the Standard American Diet greeted her with open arms. Today I get to share with you her journey to overcome flawed conventional wisdom, the world of carbs, and the naysayers.

If you have your own Primal Blueprint success story and you’d like to share it with me and the community please contact me here. Have a wonderful Thursday, everyone, and thanks for reading!

Dear Mark,

My story begins when I stopped doing gymnastics as a teenager. I had practiced 20-40 hours a week for three years as a gymnast before my family and I moved to America. When we moved here there was no gymnastics facility around and we settled into an American diet of large portions and lots of carbs. I found gym workouts boring and tiresome, and consequently my activity levels also declined. I steadily gained weight over the next four years.

29 Dec

Caviar Served Three Ways (plus a Primal Blini Recipe)

servingcaviar2Even if you’ve tried to keep your head buried in the sand and avoid the media headlines this year, the onslaught of bad economic news has been hard to ignore. Unemployment, defaulted mortgages, a tanking economy…it’s no wonder we’re looking forward to New Year’s Eve more than ever, a holiday that celebrates moving forward and starting fresh. It’s a holiday that encourages even the scrooges among us to be hopeful. It’s also a holiday that puts us in the mood to ignore the headlines and splurge a little bit, and few foods make us feel more extravagant than caviar.

I usually publish recipes here on Mark’s Daily Apple on Saturdays, but I thought you might like a little lead time so you can hunt down these delicious little fish eggs before the 31st. That and I’ve got something else planned for the 31st (stay tuned!). In any case, back to caviar.

28 Dec

15 Ways to Fight Stress

relaxDo I need to really even say the holidays are a stressful time of year? Every lifestyle blog, magazine, evening news program, and newspaper will have a stress-related feature right about now. I bet Dr. Oz has a “holiday stress relief” show airing. It’s part of the culture – we expect holiday stress and seem to love wallowing in it. So I’m not going to go on and on about how stress is a problem, or even why it’s a problem (I’ve already done that), because we know it. So, how do we avoid it and, once it’s here, how do we deal with it? That’s the important part. How do we hack it?

Well, we don’t want to hack it all to pieces. We need stress, too – just not too much. It bears mentioning that many things can be considered stressors depending on the context. Lifting heavy things is a stressor, and the right amount causes muscles, connective tissue, and bones to respond by getting stronger, which are desirable; too much, or too little recovery, and muscles, connective tissue, and bones suffer and atrophy, which is undesirable. It’s about context, quantity, and quality. With that in mind, I’m going to break down anti-stress strategies into categories.

27 Dec

Monday Musings: Dairy Fat Good and Placebos Win (with a twist)

milkglassesDairy resides in a murky area for some of you guys, but I think most of us can appreciate a good slab of grass-fed butter, maybe a bit of raw cheese, and some fermented dairy, either kefir or yogurt. A select few may not. If dairy makes you feel bad, don’t use it – it’s unnecessary – but if your avoidance stems purely from principle (ie, “it’s a little too Neolithic for me; I’ll just play it safe and avoid it altogether”), the latest study on dairy fat might nudge you toward its thick, viscous, white embrace. Researchers found that patients who ate the most dairy fat, from things like cream, whole milk, and butter, had a 60% lower risk of developing diabetes than patients eating the least dairy fat.

Those who ate the most dairy fat also showed the highest plasma levels of a fatty acid called trans-palmitoleic acid, prompting the study’s authors to zero in on that particular fatty acid as the potentially causative factor. There is a tendency to reduce foods to their individual constituents. Individual constituents, after all, can be “candidates for potential enrichment… and supplementation,” which makes a doctor’s job that much easier, and makes it easy to explain away “paradoxes.” Just wait: trans-palmitoleic acid is gonna be the new red wine when it comes to explaining the “French paradox.” At the end of the day, though, they do admit that “efforts to promote exclusive consumption of low-fat and nonfat dairy products … may be premature.” Hey, it ain’t much, but I’ll take it.

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