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

Archive for November, 2012

20 Nov

Alcohol: The Good and the Bad

alcoholWhat do we make of alcohol? In sufficient amounts, it’s a poison. It’s incredibly addictive. It destroys entire communities. It tears families apart and compels otherwise reasonable, upstanding individuals to commit terribly senseless acts. On the other hand, it’s a powerful social lubricant. The good stuff tastes great and can enhance the healthfulness of certain foods while inhibiting the unhealthfulness of others. It’s fun, it’s pleasurable, and it brings real (if chemically enhanced) joy to people. Moreover, we have a long and storied history with alcohol; it’s been an integral part of human culture and society for thousands, if not tens of thousands, of years.

So, what’s the deal? Is it good, or is it bad? Is it poison, or is it a gift? Let’s take a look at both sides of the story, which, as is often the case, isn’t exactly black and white:

First, the downsides.

19 Nov

Dear Mark: Wheat and Asthma, Minimalist Winter Shoes, High-Fat Rat Cognition Study, and Sun Exposure Timing

wheat4Today’s edition of “Dear Mark” runs the gamut. The topics will be somewhat familiar, since I tackle wheat, minimalist shoes, high-fat diets in the news, and vitamin D, but with interesting spins on each. First, I discuss the link between wheat and asthma. Next, I do a somewhat exhaustive search of the available winter minimalist shoe options, a topic that I’ve never had cause to explore for myself. Since I do this for you guys, though, I tried to help out. After that, it’s my quick but (in my mind) pretty conclusive take on the latest article to pin cognitive decline on a high-fat diet for a reader who’s dealing with a similar condition herself (or himself; the gender of the name “Jo” is somewhat ambiguous). And finally, I discuss whether or not there’s a best time of day to obtain vitamin D from the sun.

Let’s get going:

18 Nov

Weekend Link Love

weekend link loveResearch of the Week

In elite gymnasts, a three month stint on a very low carb ketogenic diet had no (negative or positive) effect on their performance and explosive strength levels. Gymnasts on the ketogenic diet, however, did lose a considerable amount of fat mass.

A new meta-analysis concludes that protein supplementation increases both strength and muscle mass in younger and older trainees engaged in prolonged resistance exercise.

Interesting Blog Posts

The Sock Doc breaks down how our hormones can affect the health and stability of our ligaments.

17 Nov

Succulent Roast Goose

whole roast gooseRoasting a goose makes any holiday feast merrier. Not only because it’s not the same old turkey or beef roast, but because goose meat is intensely meaty and flavorful and cloaked in a layer of unbelievably rich, crispy skin.

As an extra bonus, a goose also leaves behind a gift: lots of delicious goose fat. You’re likely to run out of the fat before you run out of ways to use it. Roast or sauté vegetables, pan-sear seafood, fry chicken, make duck or goose confit or chicken liver pate…the possibilities are endless. Rendered goose fat keeps for months in the refrigerator and up to a year in a good freezer.

16 Nov

I Will Never Go Back to the Broken Conventional Wisdom of My Past

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

real life stories stories 1 2Dear Mark,

I first heard about the Primal Blueprint from Slick Rick, the long haired, five fingered shoe wearing odd ball my cousin married. He had ditched grains four years before and never looked back, and was always dropping jokes about how he loved bacon. I thought he was crazy with his caveman talk and dismissed his low carb philosophy as one that didn’t fit into my modern diet.

You see, I took carb-a-holic to an extreme, consuming well past the 600 carb a day average of most Americans. I maintained a medium body size until I hit college, when I gradually began to pack on the pounds. By the time I was married at 28, I was overweight headed to obese, suffering from gastric reflux, fatigued, and unmotivated. The big blow came when my general practitioner diagnosed me with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) after several unsuccessful months of trying to get pregnant with an irregular cycle. I assumed this was some genetic curse (after all, that’s what every doctor I talked to told me) and started down the path of Metformin and fertility drugs. I felt miserable, the meds made me crazy, and I got fatter on my SAD. After two years of failure, we took a break. I hated the way I looked and felt now 60+ pounds overweight and still without a baby. I joined a gym and hired a personal trainer determined to at least feel good about my body. Following six months of cardio four days a week, light weight training, and a restricted diet of healthy whole grains and low fat tasteless foods, I had a pathetic 15 pound weight loss, raging appetite, and shin splints to show for it. By this time my husband and I had decided to adopt, and brought home our little boy in October of 2009. I had a renewed “healthy” outlook and was determined to feed our growing family the best balanced nutrition I knew. We had the food pyramid down pat. Our diet was filled with whole grains, lean meats, and processed carbs and over the next two years I continued to gradually gain another 20 pounds.

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