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

Archive for the ‘ Nutrition ’ Category

17 Jan

The Buckler Brief


WHAT IT IS: Part of the B-complex of vitamins, Pantothenic Acid is a water-soluble vitamin. This particular B is unique because it forms two co-enzymes, making it a vital component of good supplementation.

WHAT IT DOES: Pantothenic acid helps to oxidize fatty acids and sugars (part of the fueling process that gives us energy). Pantothenic acid also serves many other important functions.

To name a few: synthesizing fatty acids, lipids, cholesterol, hormones, proteins and ketones (the unfortunate byproduct of proteins). Especially for athletes and those who consume large amounts of protein, pantothenic acid is essential. Fortunately, it’s difficult to become deficient in pantothenic acid, but many people do not derive enough from their daily diets.

STUDIES SHOW: Pantothenic acid is a cofactor, which means it assists in a variety of essential enzyme functions. Because of its role in metabolizing fats and cholesterol, pantothenic acid is thought to help reduce high cholesterol levels.

Pantothenic acid may also help to increase energy, especially in aerobic exertion, because the acid may help to break down lactic acid, which often builds up in muscles. Experts also think that pantothenic acid may be one of the key cofactors involved in ATP production.

WHY WE LIKE IT: There are many reasons to make pantothenic acid part of your supplement regimen. Aside from helping to reduce cholesterol and the potential energy-boost, pantothenic acid is thought to be an excellent therapy for those suffering from arthritis. Many experts also think people suffering from anxiety, depression, and stress may benefit from simply upping their pantothenic acid intake.

15 Jan

Get Your Buzz On

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

1) Why aren’t there teenage carrots?

Oh yeah, because they’d be unwashed, spoiled rotten and absolutely refuse to participate in any recipe.


2) Um, gross.

Thanks again, FDA. You guys continue to inspire. Who needs strict slaughterhouse standards when you can just spray your meat clean?


3) Skinny Fat

It’s what we’ve been saying all along. Skinny can still be fat. This study reveals that being thin but having a high percentage of body fat causes inflammation and all the problems that go with it. It’s actually better to be a little bigger, but really fit, than it is to be stick-thin but as strong as a noodle. There’s an actual medical term for it: “normal-weight obese”. Check out the article for all the details, and check out tomorrow’s Tuesday 10 for ways to get super-fit in no time.

4) Med McNugget?

We’re bothered, disturbed, and just generally in a big hot fuss over the ethical and health implications of using chickens to manufacture drugs. Doesn’t anyone stop and ask: wait, are we supposed to be doing this? Why don’t we just prevent health problems before they start and let the chickens stick to their own egg-laying pursuits? When you’re living in a world where people are so unhealthy even the chickens have to get involved, it’s time to change. Besides, the whole “Which Came First?” chicken-or-the-egg riddle was so fun. Chicken-or-the-pill, on the other hand, is just stupid.

15 Jan

I Can’t Eat Anything!

Junior Apple Mike F. writes:

“Mark, what can I eat? I hear dairy is bad, fat is bad, then fat is good, but some fat is bad, carbs are bad, but fiber is good. There is nothing left. I can’t even have milk in my tea now – not that I would be caught sipping tea. But if I wanted to is the point. What’s a guy supposed to eat?”

Good question, Mike. The answer: just about everything.

I am pretty disciplined (according to my kids, I’m a drill sergeant). I don’t really “do” carbs, I definitely avoid any junk or processed food, and I try to eat organic. But even being so careful about what goes on my plate, I’d say honestly I get a lot more flavor and variety than some people I know who insist on a steady diet of burgers, beers and pizzas. The truth is, “fun” foods like nachos, pizza and tacos all taste the same: the texture is usually a mix of creamy or crunchy, there’s a lot of salt, some meat-type seasoning, and sugar. Eat that stuff and you’re starving the next hour.
You can eat salad and be a man about it. Seriously. I’m fitter, have more muscle mass and I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been at 5’10″, 165 lbs. and 8% body fat. I do it with a heavy supply of vegetables, of all things. I never worry too much about fat because I eat a lot of “good” fats, which really aren’t too hard to identify. More on that in a moment. But honestly, I never am deprived, hungry or suffer from any cravings. Actually, I refuse to eat something that isn’t delicious, period. To me, the relentlessly boring, salty, familiar flavor of most processed foods is not delicious. The fact that they’re also totally unhealthy is almost a side issue.

This morning, for example, I had my cup of joe with a little organic H&H. I don’t always eat breakfast (there I go breaking all the holy grails of health). This morning I had some scrambled Omega-enhanced eggs, and sometimes I’ll have a piece of fruit or a protein smoothie. I confess I don’t eat a lot of fruit (my wife jokes that men like the idea of fruit but don’t always know what to do with it). I like to get my fiber from vegetables since they’re lower in sugar and have more nutrients than fruit.


For a snack I’ll grab a piece of fruit, cherry tomatoes or some almonds. I completely avoid processed snacks like chips and candy. Fresh stuff just tastes better – but it will take your body some time to readjust its tastes if you’ve been a junk food kind of guy.


For lunch (speaking of lunch…): I always eat a huge salad. I’ve done so for 20 years. But no regular salad – I add in seafood or turkey, mountains of colorful chopped up veggies, and drizzle some balsamic vinegar on it. I do different greens on different days, but I never really put much planning into it. I just grab my favorite big bowl, toss in whatever veggies and greens we have on hand that day, and chow. This keeps me full and the flavor is unbeatable.


In the afternoon, if I didn’t have a morning protein boost, I’ll do a shake, sometimes adding in a banana or other fruit.


For dinner, we always have a meal focusing on fresh steamed, stir-fried or baked vegetables of some sort. The flavor and spice combinations are endless. Some broiled fish or occasional organic chicken is plenty – I don’t like a big dinner. Sometimes I enjoy a glass or wine or a beer, but in general I keep the evenings light on calories.


In my early competition days, I could consume – indeed, I had to consume – two or three times what most people need to eat in a day. No six-pack of beer or carton of ice cream stood a chance around me. It’s hard to understand the incredible calorie vacuum that goes on unless you’ve competed as a marathoner or other pro athlete. Some days you literally can’t get enough fuel. When I retired from sports, obviously that had to change. I won’t say it was a piece of cake (and did I ever eat plenty of those) – but with time my body began to crave smaller portions and healthy foods that have enabled me to look fitter and be stronger than a lot of guys in their 20s.

You can eat flavor and variety. I say I eat salads every day, but they’re always different. There are hundreds of different types of fish, vegetables, fruits and herbs from all over the world that are far more exciting and interesting to eat than your average mashed potato-peas-pork chop combo. You don’t have to be a great cook, either. The great thing about eating fresh and clean is that these things don’t take much time or creativity to taste great – they’re sort of fool-proof (the ideal guy food).

I’d encourage you not to worry too much about what you can or can’t eat. It can seem like everything is bad if you listen to some of the more negative health news. But eating healthy is actually pretty simple. We do learn new things about what foods to eat and what to avoid, but in general, the rules don’t change too much.

So trans fat and too much saturated fat is bad? Sugar and starches are harmful to health? Processed, hormone-injected, and chemically-altered foods are dangerous?

Well, yeah. But if you focus on the positive: eat fresh, eat whole, eat clean, you’ll tend to automatically avoid all the latest food scares and any of the really bad stuff.

Make fresh (yes, organic) vegetables, lean seafood or meat, and some flavorful seasonings and fats the basis of your diet, and you’ll be 99% there.

By the way, “good” fats are just about anything that isn’t highly processed.

Highly processed fats: cheese, fat in snacks and packaged foods, refined oils, fried meats or fried snacks

Minimally processed fats: nuts, eggs, lean grass-fed or free-range meats, seafood, cottage cheese, avocados, certain cold-pressed oils (avocado oil, olive oil, walnut oil, coconut oil)

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15 Jan

Mark’s Weekly Health Challenge

This week, Apples, let’s cut out all refined grains of any kind. You’ll give your blood, pancreas, digestive tract, and waistline a very healthy break.

There are lots of refined offenders, but here are the most common: white rice, white bread, so-called “multi-grain” bread, pre-made waffles and pancakes, dinner rolls, white pasta, crackers, cookies, cakes, processed foods made with corn syrup or corn starch, and of course, desserts and candies. Whew! These foods are cheap for manufacturers to produce – and admittedly, they are tasty. But they don’t offer much nutrition, and they can cause serious harm to your health if eaten frequently. Try cutting out refined sugars and starches for a week and you’ll notice a real difference in your mood, digestion, mental clarity, sleep, and energy level.

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