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

Archive for the ‘ Diet ’ Category

3 Dec

Should You Eat Periodic “Cheat” Meals?

I get a lot of questions about cheat meals. Are they allowed on the Primal Blueprint? Is there a reason someone should actively seek to eat unhealthy food from time to time? The allure of the cheat meal is obvious: you get to eat stuff that’s otherwise off-limits and extremely delicious. You get to throw caution […]

22 Sep

Dear Mark: High Uric Acid and Gout; From Vegetarian to Primal Without a Gallbladder

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m covering two questions. First, what’s the deal with really, really high uric acid levels? Assuming a person is fit with good body composition, feels good, and has no complaints, are they still worrisome? Can they still lead to gout? Maybe. Read on. And then I cover a question […]

4 Sep

Why We Eat: Other People

For those of you who did a double-take, how could I resist? It’s not only an example of why punctuation matters but another major reason why we hominids chow down (in addition to the hunger and cravings we discussed the last couple of weeks). Ah, the power of social suggestion… Think for a moment about […]

28 Aug

Why We Eat: Cravings

Last week I picked up the theme of hunger with an intention to visit all the angles of the instinct – the physiology behind it first – but also the outer reaches of hunger’s emotional and social sway. The fact is, I can’t think of an instinct (other than sex) that influences our evolution more […]

21 Aug

Why We Eat: Hunger

It sounds like the question of a 4-year-old making his first forays into understanding life, biology, and the nature of the universe: “Mom, why do we eat?” On some level, there’s an answer that’s both basic and true – the kind with which we’d respond to little Junior: “We eat because we’re hungry.” If it […]

6 Aug

Why the Omega-3/Omega-6 Ratio May Not Matter After All

When it comes to omega-6 fats, the quick and dirty soundbite resonating throughout the ancestral health community has been “omega-6 fats are inflammatory, omega-3s are anti-inflammatory.” Years ago, I wrote a post saying essentially the same thing – that an excessive intake of omega-6s and inadequate intake of omega-3s predispose us to an exaggerated inflammatory […]

5 Aug

Is Processed Meat Actually Bad for You?

While popular media coverage of people following a Primal way of eating tends to paint us as carnivorous meat enthusiasts gorging on steaks, bacon, bun-less hotdogs, and little else without regard for quality, in truth we are far more discerning about our choices of meat. We prefer pastured pork and poultry, grass-fed and finished beef, lamb, and […]

23 Jul

The “Dangers” of Going Gluten-Free

In just about every article discussing the growing popularity of gluten-free diets, an expert or two appears three quarters of the way down warning about the “dangers” of attempting a gluten-free diet without medical supervision. The first reaction – from people like you and me who have experienced real benefits giving up gluten-containing foods – […]

2 Jun

Dear Mark: Young Guy, Low Testosterone; RS for Babies; and Sprints vs Tempo Runs

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I answer three questions. First up is a young guy with low testosterone. He eats the right foods, does the right exercises, and has lived the right number of years, but he’s saddled with the testosterone of a much older man and wants to know why. Next, I discuss […]

20 May

Self-Experiment: No Alcohol for 45 Days and Counting

I’ve always had gut issues – IBS and related challenges. In fact, the diarrhea, bloating, gut pain, gas, and the assorted other embarrassing IBS symptoms that make life truly difficult are what led me to this lifestyle. Getting rid of grains at age 47 was life-changing, and even as gluten deniers are becoming more vocal […]

16 Apr

4 Foods That Have Surprising Medicinal Benefits

“Let food be thy medicine,” said some old Roman guy, I think. Whoever he was, he was right. Food is the foundation for preventive medicine. It’s the first thing we examine when figuring out a health issue, and successful changes to what we eat usually have the most profound effect on our health. If we […]

9 Apr

One True Paleo Diet Doesn’t Exist, but So What?

As a rule, people tend to eat whatever food they can physically access. Transcontinental shipping now allows us to access all sorts of foods – we can eat durian in California, jasmine rice in Alaska, Spam in Hawaii, and Russian caviar in Cape Town – but for most of (pre)history, humans ate only locally available […]

26 Mar

The Definitive Guide to Resistant Starch

A few years back, I briefly covered a throwaway Yahoo! article about how “carbs will make you lose weight” because so many readers had emailed about it. It turned out that the “carbs” in the article were resistant starch, a type of carbohydrate that our digestive enzymes cannot break down. I’ll admit now, with regret, […]

19 Mar

What Did Our Ancient Ancestors Actually Eat?

A few weeks ago, I made the point that even though we may not have access to our paleolithic ancestors’ (yes, all of them) food journals, and even though there were many different paleolithic diets depending on climate, latitude, topography and other environmental contexts, the ancestral eating paradigm remains viable, helpful, and relevant to contemporary […]

3 Mar

Dear Mark: Palmitic Acid and Eating Speed

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m discussing the seemingly evil qualities of palmitic acid, the preferred storage form of body fat in humans and many other mammals. Studies seem to indicate that pure palmitic acid has negative health effects, so should we be avoiding palmitic acid-containing foods like butter, meat, or palm oil? Then, […]

24 Feb

Dear Mark: Cruciferous Vegetables and Hypothyroidism, Sprint Frequency, Protein Sources for Orthodox Lent, and Saunas

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I discuss the connection – if one even exists – between cruciferous vegetables (and their goitrogens) and thyroid function. A theoretical interaction exists, but should this impact your decision to eat steamed broccoli? Next, I explain why I recommend one, maybe two days of sprinting a week, in contrast […]

19 Feb

We Don’t Know What Constitutes a True Paleo Diet

Critics often lambast the Primal Blueprint and other ancestral/paleo ways of eating for what they see as fatal flaws: First, that we don’t know what our ancestors were truly eating. Second, that there wasn’t just one paleo diet. Third, that even if we could know exactly what our ancestors were eating, it doesn’t mean those […]

12 Feb

Do You Really Need to Eat Vegetables to Be Healthy?

The idea that vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet has been hammered into our collective consciousness by every authority out there. Parents, teachers, scientists, government health “experts” all stress the importance of eating your veggies. Problem is, they also told us that butter would kill us, margarine would save us, animal protein […]

14 Jan

Why Does the Paleo Diet Continue to Receive Low Points from “Established Authorities”?

You may have heard the big news: the paleo diet ranked dead last in the US News and World Report diet rankings. When my inbox floods with links to the latest paleo bashing in the media, I don’t even get surprised or annoyed anymore. It amuses me. The one downside of this stuff is that […]

24 Dec

Dairy Intolerance: What It Is and How to Determine If You Have It

I often say that “dairy is fine and even healthy if you tolerate it.” But what exactly does that mean? How do you know if it’s “not okay”? You could be reacting poorly to the lactose, the casein, the whey, or all of it. You could just ditch all dairy forever more and be perfectly […]

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