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

Mark's Daily Apple

7 Aug

What Difference Can Being Present Make?

attentionAn old friend who is in town recently shared with me, “I look back on life and can’t believe the amount of time and energy I’ve put into events that never even happened.” His observation, which I think more of us identify with than we’d care to admit, was testament to the massive power of self-talk and the endless tributaries it sweeps us down. “What about this?” “How would that work?” “What if x, y or z happen?” The infamous tides of when, where, how, and if drag us through the currents of hypothetical conversations, speculative planning, strategizing retorts and other means of conjectured insanity – most of which lead to total dead ends, blatant non-occurrences. Over time, many of us realize, as my friend did, that we’ve spent enormous amounts of effort and anguish living for these non-starters. Likewise, it may be the external obsessions as much as the emotional rabbit holes that snatch us away – the lure of gadgets and overworking among many others. In a culture where the mundane is viewed as undesirable, we’re convinced we need all manner of distractions just to tolerate much of everyday life, and so we absorb and increasingly apply the practice of checking out. Whatever the source of our diversion, what are the real implications of this mental absence? On the flip side, what’s possible when we can operate more fully in the moment?

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6 Aug

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

unsaturatedfatsWhen 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 response. This sounds right. And the huge discrepancy between the estimated ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats in ancestral human diets – 1:3, 1:2, or even 1:1 – and the ratio in modern diets – ranging from 1:25 to 1:10 – just looks pathological. Then, bringing up the rear, you’ve got Bill Lands’ work showing that human populations with low levels of omega-3s and higher levels of omega-6s in their tissues are at greater risk for many diseases like heart disease. It all seems clear cut, no?

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5 Aug

Is Processed Meat Actually Bad for You?

processedmeatWhile 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 bison, and generally deplore the conditions of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). And many of us actively limit processed meat – sausages, bologna, lunch meats, bacon, and the like. You’ll often catch us coming down quite hard on processed meat altogether, making a point to distinguish between its health effects and those of unprocessed meat when responding to studies that lump the two together as “meat.”

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4 Aug

Dear Mark: Does Resistant Starch Cause Colon Cancer?

greenbananasFor today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m handling just one question. I originally planned to answer more reader questions, but it turned into a complex answer that really made me dig deeper into something – butyric acid – I’d assumed was completely benign. I still do, mind you, for the most part. The position has just become more nuanced. Anyway, the question is from a reader who’s just seen a study that seems to implicate butyric acid, the primary short chain fatty acid that resistant starch-eating gut bacteria produce, in colon cancer. Was my ringing endorsement of resistant starch a mistake after all?

Let’s go:

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3 Aug

Weekend Link Love – Edition 307

weekend link love2Episode #30 of The Primal Blueprint Podcast is now live. I read another essay, this time an excerpt from The Primal Connection about the pursuit of Primal thrills – safe (but not too safe), exciting, healthy ways to sate that very human desire for adventure. If you have any ideas for future podcasts, please let us know by using the blue “Submit a Question” button in the sidebar!

The Primal Blueprint Transformation Seminar is coming to you, West Bloomfield! If you live in Michigan and want to learn more about Primally transforming your life, come join us Thursday, August 7, at 7 PM.

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