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

Archive for the ‘ Personal Improvement ’ Category

23 Jan

Out and About

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

Juicy picks!

1) Then what does a microwave do to food?

You can sterilize your sponges by tossing them in the microwave for two minutes. Details here. Oh, make sure the sponge is wet.

This handy trick kills all germs, spores, and is also useful for eliciting befuddled looks from your guests. Be casual about it, now.

sponges

2) The Worst Food on Planet Earth

The EPA won’t allow disgusting leftover grease sludge to be disposed of in drains (mostly because the stuff is too thick to even make it down the drain). Unfortunately, the FDA is not so vigilant. Here’s what happens to this grease. And why you’ll never eat another chip as long as you live.

donut

3) Vitamins Versus Drugs…Again

Pfizer had to scrap plans to release cholesterol drug torcetrapib (wow, that sounds like a real blast) because it was killing people. Oops. As it turns out, doctors are beginning to prescribe good old vitamins – niacin in particular – for cholesterol concerns. Why? For one thing, they work. For another, vitamins don’t kill people.

Though vitamins aren’t regulated by the FDA (making it important to buy from a quality source), consider: just what is regulation? Drugs that are “regulated” sicken and kill millions every year, right under our noses. This isn’t “secret” information, either; the records are there for all to see.

Big Pharma spends a lot of money sending press releases to media outlets attempting to scare people into thinking vitamins are dangerous. This is funny, because niacin doesn’t make people have heart attacks or go blind or die. We’re just sayin’.

pills

4) How to Quit Coffee

Addicted to caffeine? This is an excellent guide to getting over the java jones. Like alcohol, we think caffeine in moderation can be just fine. But if you are interested in cutting back or cutting out caffeine altogether, check out the clickativity.

caffeine

5) Does this mean they’ll stop turning it into food?

Yet another use for corn. If it can be made into plastic, and fuel, and clothing, should we really be eating it anymore?

23 Jan

The Tuesday 10

The Top 10 Ways to Beat Stressthis week!

Thanks to all Apples who participated in last week’s how-to-beat-stress contest. Our winner, junior Apple Sandra W., had some excellent suggestions we’re adding to today’s 10 (and a free month’s supply of all-natural stress-busting Proloftin is on the way, Sandra!).

Thanks to the rest of you for the additional good tips! Here they are:

10. Choose your friends wisely.

This is possibly the most important thing you can do to manage stress in your life. It’s often overlooked, too. Choosing your relationships from a proactive, positive mindset is critical to your well-being. We all have people who “drain” us or bring negative situations or thoughts into our lives. And sometimes it’s hard to admit this – and even harder to take action. As much as you can, let these people go. Sometimes it’s not immediately possible to weed them all out, but over time, work to surround yourself with good, kind people who offer you true love, true support, and true reciprocity. Life’s too short to short-change yourself in the joy department. Really.

handshake

9. Get exercise – and get grounded.

Daily exercise regulates the delicate balance of hormones in your body. It’s the best way to relieve stress, tension and anxiety – plus it’s great for your body. Even better, exercise that literally gets you grounded (walking, hiking, or running) gives you an additional mental boost. Exercise doesn’t have to be lengthy or intense. A daily walk is the most natural and effective workout for both your mind and your body.

shoes

8. Listen to uplifting music.

Sound is very important. Think about the sounds you encounter and surround yourself with every day – and take steps to limit stressful sounds and noises like traffic, yelling, negative television news, and jarring music. Listen to music that makes you happy.

note
7. Swim.

Swimming is a wonderful stress-reliever, and it’s gentle on your joints, too.

pool

6. Stretch.

Stretching loosens muscle tension, releases nerve “kinks”, massages your internal organs, helps flush toxins and just makes you feel great! Try to stretch gently for a few minutes every day. Hint: never stretch until it hurts.

Learn about yoga here.

yoga

5. Surround yourself with pleasant objects and belongings.

We’re not talking about expensive items or materialistic pursuits. But surrounding yourself with personal mementos, cherished objects and pleasant things to touch and look at – both at home and at work – does wonders for your sense of well-being. These things needn’t be pricey, just special to you. The same goes for clutter and objects you don’t like – toss them out and make room for things that make you happy.

4. Pray or meditate.

Calm yourself and renew your spirits with 5 to 20 minutes daily spent in quiet introspection. Whether you prefer to think through your day, think about your loved ones, or think about nothing at all, meditative activities literally reset brain waves and restore a sense of peace and serenity. Don’t neglect the need to “chill out” for a few minutes every day. Even better, get consistent about the time of day you spend with yourself; your brain will become accustomed to it and your body will get even more out of the sessions.

3. Express yourself.

Whether through music, singing, dance, art, sports or cooking, find ways to express yourself several times a week. Even sketching daydreams or tackling a minor project can be therapeutic. Whatever gets you in the moment is a wonderful energy booster and tension reliever. Many times, activities that involve your hands or require some movement do a better job of relieving chaotic and pent-up emotions than hours spent thinking about such feelings.

brushes

2. Breathe.

Some people call it heart math. Some call it soul breathing. Whatever you want to call it, try this out: take 5 or 10 deep breaths now and again. Concentrate on filling your entire body with air, then release it slowly. Imagine that you are made of mesh and the breath is entering and exiting gently through the mesh. You’ll be amazed at how good this feels.

Art: Deep Breath by Melanie Weidner.

breatheeeee

1. Find an organization method that works for you.

Successful people often spend an entire day each week simply organizing their tasks, goals and thoughts. Even an hour a week can make a big difference in your stress level and your feeling of control. Whether you like to keep things organized with a notepad or a Blackberry, find a method, a time of the week, and a length of time that works for you. Even if you don’t accomplish everything, you’ll feel better just knowing you’re at the helm. (And remember not to give yourself too many tasks. Most people give themselves about twice as much as they can realistically expect to accomplish. Remember that many tasks actually involve several smaller tasks.)

notepad

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22 Jan

Sting Operation

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

News for the men, news for the women, news for the kidlets…

1) First there was cellulite cream…now this?

This week in quackery: was it the metrosexual trend that got men worrying about things like body wash and, now, testosterone cream? We’re not complaining about the body wash, but who needs one more unhealthy, questionable miracle cure on the market?

Testosterone does diminish with age. But supplementing with hormones is a dicey proposition that we don’t recommend unless there’s a medical need. A better way to keep those hormones pumping naturally (make that several ways):

- Pump some iron, guys!

- For goodness’ sakes, go to bed before midnight once in a while.

- Easy on the beer.

- Overcome vegetable aversion. It’s not like they meow.

- Express yourself. You don’t have to start writing poetry, but find ways to let those feelings out once in a while. Sports count.

- Get plenty of antioxidants in your diet and enhance your intake with a good, potent multivitamin.

- Stick to healthy friendships and relationships as much as humanly possible. It’s good to be responsible and reliable, but don’t overlook the damage that too much stress can do to your body’s regulatory functions. We all age (well, except that guy in sales who thinks he does a great Austin Powers imitation). But stress has a big impact on how you age. Cutting back on stress does a lot more for your mojo than any Rx.

dumbbells

2) No one said it was fun…

Women, especially young women, are avoiding their annual female exam like the plague. Hey, no one loves it. But five minutes now means prevention of potentially fatal STDs and cancer. Yeah, it’s annoying. And?

To learn about the new vaccine for cervical cancer, check this out. Your insurance should cover it, and if not, it’s pretty inexpensive.

3) If you want to live to 100, move here.

Just leave a note for the kids first. Or not.

tropics
Web it out:

For the girls (but we know you’re looking, boys):

How Much Energy Is In a Kiss?

The reason for this clickativity: remember that it doesn’t really take a lot of calories to fuel your body, so choose them wisely. A little food goes a long way. Choose the foods that pack the most nutrition. Which definitely does not include a Hershey’s Kiss. Check out the category “Healthy Tastes Great!” at right for simultaneously delicious and nutritious foods.

Dog People: 1, Cat People: 0.

At any rate, this is cool health news. Remember that good health is a holistic, comprehensive endeavor. Concentrate on improving quality of life at home, at work, and at the dinner table, and you’ll feel great!

puppy
Charity-Challenged Brains?

This is going to be all over the news in about 20 minutes. That’s because drug merchants (ahem) some people might not want this important news about antidepressants to get out. Though depression varies in magnitude and therefore treatment needs vary, there are many natural, safe ways to help improve brain function, mood, emotional health and overall wellbeing. Tomorrow’s Tuesday 10 will help get you started. Until then – stay healthy!

hipbonesconnectedtothe
22 Jan

A Monday Moment

The Monday Moment is all about taking a minute to laugh, reflect, and step outside the work whirlwind that blows in every Monday morning.

This week, I’d like to point out Time‘s special edition issue entitled, simply, The Brain. I really recommend checking it out. There are plenty of fascinating ideas explored, but here are a few gems I want to highlight:

- The brain can rewire itself, even in old age. How you think and act literally becomes engraved in the mind over time. The good news is that you can forge new pathways. The significance of this is huge: the more time you spend thinking positive thoughts about yourself and others, the more your brain becomes trained to operate according to those thoughts. It’s not “fooling” your brain – it’s simply healthy for you, both emotionally and physically. Like the old proverb says, being cheerful really does keep you healthy!

- This really sinks in when you take a look at an astounding graphic that’s become a famous example of just how powerful our thoughts are. When scientists examined brain activity patterns, they found that reflecting on memories of faces and places is nearly as powerful as the initial, real interaction with those faces and places. Reflecting on people, events and places that are uplifting is nearly as powerful as the initial experience. The same goes for negative experiences. It’s something to think about.

You can check it out: clickativity.

brain 1
22 Jan

Mark’s Weekly Health Challenge

This week I’m going to challenge you to take care of your emotional and psychological well-being. We often overlook dealing with emotional or psychological stress because other things seem more important – work, the kids, the bills, the endless errands. But it’s absolutely okay to be a little “selfish” once in a while and nurture yourself. You may have a weakness for never saying “no.” Perhaps you’re taking on too much, or feeling under pressure about something. We all deal with stress. Whatever it is, this week, it’s on us. Let it go to the extent that you can, and indulge in guilt-free “me-time”. Turn off the phone. Go see a movie. Spend an hour or two with yourself. Maybe even call in sick. This week’s challenge is to address your stress – and don’t feel guilty about it!

© 2014 Mark's Daily Apple