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

Mark's Daily Apple

2 Jan

Second Opinions

Sometimes I just think the world is collapsing under the weight of its own complexity. My water bill last month was twice its usual already-outrageous amount. Since we hadn’t (to my knowledge) taken any more showers than normal, I figured there had to be a leak somewhere. Duh, right? I did a cursory review of all toilets and faucets in the house. Nothing. I had my gardeners check out the landscape irrigation system. Nothing. So I called my plumber/golf buddy Ted who said he had a guy who did leak detection and this guy was the best there is. Twenty years in the business and that’s all he does. Leaks. So I told Ted to send him on over, because this hydro-hemorhhage was mounting up fast.

Twenty minutes later the guy shows up and immediately starts diagnosing. He turns off the main valve at the house and sees that the meter wheel stops spinning, so he figures since it’s not between the meter and the house, it has to be inside the house. That’s bad.

Keep reading…

31 Dec

Reflect, Regroup, Resolve

Christmas Bulb ReflectionNew Year’s Eve: parties (whether they be grand galas, small social gatherings, cozy dinners with partners/friends, or living room camp-outs with the kids), champagne, evening appetizers, brunch buffets, noisemakers, balloons and glittery hats, kisses at midnight or perhaps turning in early. Each of us will be doing something different this evening, but somehow the occasion sparks a similar sentiment in everyone. Reflection, contemplation – a mental review of good times during the year and perhaps regret of a few unfortunate moments. We think about not just what happened, per se, but how we view the pattern or progression along the way. What has the year meant for us? How far have we come? What were the highlights, and where were the low points? In our professional lives? In our personal lives? In our families and social circles? And, of course, in our health?

Keep reading…

30 Dec

Aflatoxins, or Another Reason to Shun Peanuts

We already tend to steer clear of peanuts for some obvious (to our readers) reasons: the fact that they’re legumes, rather than actual nuts; the potentially dangerous, “anti-nutrient” lectins found in them; and their prominent spot in the upper echelons of the “Most Common Food Allergens” list. But there’s another reason to steer clear of peanuts, something we’ve touched on briefly in the past but never expounded upon. Peanuts, along with a couple other crops we tend to avoid, like corn and cereals, are especially susceptible to a mold that produces a mycotoxin called aflatoxin.

Aflatoxin is a carcinogen that has been shown to cause liver cancer in rats (and, presumably, in humans). The amounts given to the rats in the study were highly concentrated, of course, with the express intent to study the effects of acute aflatoxicosis. You won’t be getting a couple grams of aflatoxin with every bag of peanuts or anything, so acute aflatoxicosis isn’t a big issue for people – at least in the US.

Keep reading…

29 Dec

Dear Mark: Sunglasses and Sunlamps

Dear Mark,

We’re heading into the winter months (it’s chilly even here in Atlanta!) and the days are getting shorter. As “Lights out: sleep, sugar, survival” taught us, we’re wired to handle seasonal patterns of sunlight exposure. What are your thoughts on maintaining a tan year round? Would you be better off letting your tan wane in the winter and switching from regular fish oil to cod liver oil to compensate for the vitamin D? To maintain a tan in the winter months would probably require a tanning booth, and I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on using those, even very occasionally. I’d love to see an article discussing this topic if you can get around to it. If you’ve already written one, could you point me in the direction of it?

Keep reading…

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