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

Mark's Daily Apple

27 Mar

Cultivating Health During Crisis

crisisSo often we associate the two together – health and crisis. You can’t blame us really. The headlines brim with the concept weekly. Newscasts run their stock video of obese or frail forms walking down a city street. I have something else in mind here, however – inspired by some friends and readers who I’ve talked to lately. Their stories run a gamut of scenarios from cancer diagnoses to divorce, personal loss to geographic moves to name just a few. The underlying commonality of them all, of course, is major life challenge and/or transition. Upheaval of this magnitude has a way of knocking us out of our orbits. Emotionally disoriented and fatigued, we can feel out of sync, stuck in an oddly passive or at least awkward pattern. Life can feel like it’s happening around us. Even our routines can feel foreign as we navigate days with an unusual detachment. So often we talk about crisis as something solved outside ourselves. We turn ourselves over to a team of physicians and specialists in a health crisis. In times of loss or transition, we access resources, including – again – professionals. While I wholeheartedly believe in availing oneself of every benefit possible, I think something else critical gets lost in shuffle. How do we care for ourselves during crisis?

Keep reading…

26 Mar

The Definitive Guide to Resistant Starch

floursA 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, that I didn’t look as deeply into the matter as I might have. I didn’t dismiss resistant starch, but I did downplay its importance, characterizing it as “just another type of prebiotic” – important but not necessary so long as you were eating other fermentable fibers. While technically true, we’re fast learning that resistant starch may be a special type of prebiotic with a special place in the human diet.

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25 Mar

Why Squatting Is So Important (plus Tips on How to Do It Right)

squatting 1Just as we should eat the foods our bodies were designed to eat, we should move our bodies the way they were meant to move and impose the stressors they were meant to bear. That means squatting, and squatting often. Our hips flex, knees bend, and ankles dorsiflex so that we can rest comfortably in a squat position.

Okay, but isn’t the squat a bit outdated? Why not just use a chair?

You’ve probably heard how modern processed foods use refined sugar, salt, and seed oils to hijack our natural desires for fruits, animal fat, and animal meat. They exploit our wiring and provide hyper-stimulation to our senses, prompting massive overconsumption; some refer to this as “Food Reward.” In a similar vein, chairs hijack our anthropometry, which was designed for squatting. Just look at yourself in a chair:

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24 Mar

Dear Mark: Aloe Vera for Leaky Gut, One Meal a Day, and Glyphosate and Celiac Disease

aloeveraFor today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a three-parter. First I discuss the effect of aloe vera on gut function. Is there evidence that it’s a panacea for intestinal permeability, as so often is claimed? Next, I help an extremely active reader who’s considering switching to one meal a day to lose the last few stubborn pounds of body fat figure out what his next move should be. And finally, I explore the evidence for a connection between the herbicide glyphosate and celiac disease.

Let’s go:

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23 Mar

Weekend Link Love

weekend link love2Both The Primal Connection (Amazon, Audible, iTunes) and The Primal Blueprint (Amazon, Audible, iTunes) are now available in audiobook form. If you’ve been reading MDA for awhile but have yet to read the definitive texts that expand upon the message, these audiobooks are a great way to get caught up in a few hours.

Episode #11 of The Primal Blueprint Podcast is now live. I answer your questions and give a quick recap of PrimalCon Vacation Tulum. If you haven’t already subscribed on iTunes, do so now and you’ll never miss an episode.

Research of the Week

In addition to being a source of healthy fats and polyphenols, dark chocolate also provides benefits by acting as a prebiotic, feeding good gut bacteria, and spurring the creation of anti-inflammatory fermentation products.

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