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

Archive for September, 2012

5 Sep

How Common is Gluten Sensitivity?

wheatI’ve long suspected that everyone has some degree of sensitivity to gluten, even if they’ve never been formally diagnosed and even if they don’t notice any overt symptoms after eating it. Now we have concrete evidence that non-celiac gluten sensitivity actually exists. My own story was that of a lifetime grain-eater who defended my “right” to eat grains until I was 47 – until the evidence was just too overwhelming to ignore. Once I gave them up as part of a 30-day experiment, lo and behold, my arthritis cleared up, my lifelong IBS went away, and my occasional GERD disappeared. Ditching grains, especially wheat, changed my life for forever and made me understand how easy it is for so many people to overlook this possible problem. A recent study, which I highlighted in Weekend Link Love, confirmed the existence of non-celiac wheat sensitivity. Subjects without the atrophied villi (tiny projects that line the intestines and help absorb nutrients) characteristic of celiac and without positive tests for various markers that indicate celiac experienced gluten-related symptoms after a blinded wheat challenge. It doesn’t give us much of a clue as to the prevalence of sensitivity, but it establishes that such a thing might exist among the general population.

4 Sep

Is It Primal? – Chia Seeds, Black Rice, Refined Avocado Oil, and Other Foods Scrutinized

chiaseedsThe questionable foods just keep flowing in. As soon as I write a new “Is it Primal?” post, I’m inundated with new stuff to scrutinize. It’s like cutting the heads off the hydra (speaking of which, what are the nutritional qualities of hydra? talk about a sustainable animal food source). Luckily I like writing these posts, so they are probably here to stay. I hope you enjoy them. Well, let’s get on with it, shall we?

Today we’ll delve into the sordid inner world of the chia seed (of Chia Pet fame, yes), the dark underbelly of black rice, the hidden agendas of the refined avocado oil consortiums, the Communist North Korean plot to brainwash minds via sweet potato vermicelli consumption, and how strawberries might actually be trying to kill you (yeah, strawberries). Actually, we’ll just figure out if said foods are Primal or not.

Let’s go:

3 Sep

Dear Mark: Why Do We Procrastinate and How Do We Beat It?

procrastinationDo you procrastinate? If you’re an actual human being – not a replicant, nor an android, nor an AI – and you’re being honest, then you should probably be nodding your head. But what’s odd about a ubiquitous behavior like procrastination is that it’s almost unanimously regarded as being detrimental to our success, our happiness, and our progress as human beings, and yet we still put things off until later. Counterintuitive yet persistent behaviors fascinate me to no end, because they suggest (at least to me) an evolutionary incongruence at hand. They suggest that in another context, another environment, the counterintuitive was anything but.

Is procrastination just such a behavior? Let’s explore:

2 Sep

Weekend Link Love

weekend link loveResearch of the Week

Caloric restriction has been shown to increase longevity in worms, fruit flies, and certain strains of mice, but new research shows that this is not the case for rhesus monkeys. Here’s the link to the study.

Everyone’s always known that babies are incredibly nutritious, but they take too long to grow (plus, it’s illegal). A recent study shows that microgreens – young tender week-old baby greens from spinach, pea, beet, and purple mustard (just to name the specific greens in the study) – contain more vitamins and phytonutrients than their adult versions. Plus, they’re easy and quick to grow at home.

People who engaged in moderate aerobic exercise – walking and slow jogging (at a 10 or 11 minute mile pace) – lived longer than people who engaged in intense endurance exercise and people who engaged in none at all.

1 Sep

Shakshuka (Eggs Poached in Spicy Tomato Sauce)

shakshuka2Whether you’re looking for a new breakfast idea or are fond of serving breakfast for dinner, shakshuka fits the bill. Instead of calling the dish shakshuka you can also just call it “Eggs Poached in Spicy Tomato Sauce” because that’s exactly what this straightforward but surprisingly delicious meal is.

Especially popular in Israel, shakshuka is loved around the world for its comforting flavor and simple preparation. Although the sauce is often sopped up with pita bread, it’s thick enough that you can skip the bread and eat it with a spoon (or spread extra sauce over a hunk of grilled meat for a really fantastic meal.)

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