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

Mark's Daily Apple

6 Jun

Breaking News: Study Proves Common Sense Has Promise

WORKER BEES’ DAILY BITES HAS BEEN HIJACKED BY THE MONTHLY SHERLOCK AWARD.

Some days, it’s just too easy.

Teenagers Are Selfish, Study Finds

Love Is Blind

Self-Funded Study Shows Avandia to Be Perfectly Safe

Diet Water: It Really Works!

Shoes with Wheels Are Dangerous

TV Watching Takes Away from Study Time

moto

Who knows what news tomorrow may bring. Next they’ll be telling us that exercise is healthy, food contains calories, and teenagers make bad choices when they’re drunk.

More Awards

Most Popular Posts

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

6 Jun

Which Fork Is for the Grubs?

Sometimes, I really miss the old days of tearing into mouthfuls of raw carcass and foraging for bulging grubs on the forest floor. Other days, it’s the memory of cliffside danglings in pursuit of a choice lingonberry that mists my eyes. In this era of vending machine manna from carb heaven and canned chemical sweetness and gleaming aisles of ever-sturdy trans-fat delicacies, living life on the primal side of health ain’t easy. Here’s how I cope.

What is Primal Health?

Last week I riffed at length about my passionate philosophy I’ve nicknamed “primal health”. Don’t worry – no grub ingestion required.

Quick recap: I believe human health issues – from nutrition to stress to weight loss to fitness – must be considered from a biological perspective. Our Primal blueprints – our DNA – tell us everything we need to know about optimal health. The reasons for my point of view are many, but primarily, I’m a biology buff and I love a bloody steak. To borrow an apt phrase I once overheard, if the cow stood in the sun, that’s cooked enough for me. (OK, OK, I’m kidding! I’ve gone years at a time without eating red meat.)

We’ve all heard the commonly asserted “fact” that humans are living longer than they ever have in history. You hear about people in the Middle Ages dying at 35, and early humans evidently fared even worse.

This is a little misleading. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, lived longer than most Americans do today – well into his 80s by most accounts. The reason people “back then” croaked so soon was because they had to worry about tribal wars, broken limbs, deficiency diseases and starvation. And because humans had recently decided it would be cool to live together in really crowded conditions – but hadn’t yet invented sewers – millions died from infectious diseases and plagues. It’s not as if the absolute human lifespan was any shorter than it is now. There just happened to be a lot more obstacles getting in the way of a decent lifespan.

Going back further, the earliest humans had to concern themselves with such pleasantries as ice storms and mammoths, and pesky campfire annoyances such as marauding wolves and tigers with four-inch teeth. But provided you (you’re now my proverbial early human) didn’t fall off a cliff, starve for lack of roots and berries, or become lunch for a predator, you could live a nice, long life not unlike people today. Those ice age ancestors were – to borrow a tech phrase – extremely robust. In fact, more than most of us today.

Which brings me to people today. We don’t have to worry about the elements, the animals, or starving to death (in this country, anyway). And it gets better: we don’t have to stress too much over broken limbs, infections and epidemics. The flu killed 50 million people just a few generations back. Now it typically kills a few thousand people every year – not a happy number, but certainly an improvement. However, I don’t think our high success rate, defined in terms of the majority of people making it to their 70s, is much of a success. I don’t want to “make it” – I want to relish every second. We “make it” by hobbling along with multiple drugs and surgeries, but are we really doing any better than the folks of yesteryear who had to deal with beriberi and scurvy? (Deficiency, by the way, is a problem right here in the United States, right now.)

We’re living longer, on average, but are we living better?

We have tremendous potential to harness our critical intelligence, myriad resources and powerful knowledge into a truly healthy society. But something’s been lost in translation. And the past, as represented in our DNA, offers clarity. As my contractor friends say, “When in doubt, refer to the blueprints.”

While I’m not advocating a diet of slimy grubs and still-steaming flesh, it is clear that humans evolved following some basic parameters:

- Diet: mostly raw, always whole, generally fresh foods.

Modern translation: meat, seafood, eggs, berries, roots, fruits, nuts and greens.

- Exercise in spurts: occasional cardio, but mostly walking, pushing, pulling, heaving, and hauling.

Modern translation: resistance training, weight-bearing activity, hiking, sports, yoga, stretching, pilates, walking.

- Appropriate stress response: “fight or flight” kept early humans alive and kicking (often literally).

Modern translation: address the stress of commutes, bills, and teenagers sensibly, because your body still thinks it’s fighting those mammoths, tigers, and wolves.

That’s how our DNA blueprints were drafted and, like it or not, that’s what our bodies still expect of us. How we choose to “adapt” to those primal instructions can determine whether we thrive and enjoy a long fulfilled life or whether we start down that slippery slope towards illness, depression and dependency.

In the coming weeks, I’ll address each of these issues specifically, offering my perspective, practical applications, and helpful references (including, of course, insightful scientific studies). Taking a walk on the primal side is actually incredibly easy, intuitive and natural. And I’ll show you how.

What are your thoughts? What lifestyle works best for you?

Further reading:

Most Popular Posts

My Carb Pyramid

My Thoughts on Carbs

My Thoughts on Fat

Sponsor note:
This post was brought to you by the Damage Control Master Formula, independently proven as the most comprehensive high-potency antioxidant multivitamin available anywhere. With the highest antioxidant per dollar value and a complete anti-aging, stress, and cognition profile, the Master Formula is truly the only multivitamin supplement you will ever need. Toss out the drawers full of dozens of different supplements with questionable potency and efficacy and experience the proven Damage Control difference!

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

5 Jun

What’s Behind the #1 Cause of Death? (psst: it’s not cholesterol)

WORKER BEES’ DAILY BITES

Mark wants us to make sure we share a very important study about inflammation and heart disease. Sisson’s been grousing about this for years, and you can read some of his choice thoughts on why cholesterol is just one of many important factors for heart health. Cholesterol drugs aren’t the best approach to reducing coronary heart disease rates (CHD is our #1 killer). But still totally the best way to afford a house in the Hamptons.

The “Hot” Heart Disease Marker

Men who have a particular antibody indicating widespread inflammation have triple the risk of heart disease.

As usual, they’ll get around to testing the women when they feel like it.

Nevertheless, triple is a huge deal. Inflammation is also linked to type 2 diabetes and arthritis (which increases the risk for heart attacks as well). In fact, metabolism, immunity, and obesity are all linked to inflammation. These issues are often referred to as the umbrella-ish Syndrome X.

What We Need Is Another C-O-M-M-I-T-T-E-E!

The FDA released a statement addressing the can’t-keep-track-of-all-the-scandals issue. Their brilliant solution? An oversight committee! Aha! Perfect! Except, isn’t the FDA an oversight committee? Mark’s Daily Apple predicts a long and delicious line of self-sustaining bureaucratic complexity coming to a tax hike near you.

Michael Moore Is At it Again

Mike is taking on Big Pharma and HMOs with the soon-to-debut documentary, Sicko. He was on Oprah today and he’s hitting Letterman and Leno next. Will you be weighing in on Sicko?

More Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

Most Popular Posts

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

RSS: Feed Shark

5 Jun

What Does 4,000 Calories a Day Look Like?

The average American consumes almost 4,000 calories every day and counting! That’s anywhere from 1500 to 2500 more calories than the average man or woman really needs (children and athletes have different needs).

Translation: 3500 calories is equivalent to one pound. If you’re an “average American”, you could be eating anywhere from 12 to 15 excess pounds every month, adding fat to your body, increasing the pressure on your heart, and stressing your organs (not to mention the environmental impact of all this gluttony).

But why are we eating so much?

I decided to see what it would be like to eat the way the average American supposedly eats.

Breakfast: How about McDonald’s? That’s a typical choice for millions of Americans every day.

mcdsbreakfast

To be an average American, you need to eat at least 700 calories and up to 1300 calories at each setting. McDonald’s can help you with that. Another tip: it helps to drink your calories, so remember to wash it all down with a big slosh of soda or juice! Or a nice venti mocha will do the trick.

Lunch: I know Burger King is bad. I’ll go for Subway. Subway is fresh, so I’m sure whatever I eat there is going to be good, right?

steakandcheese

Well, maybe if you get a 6″ whole-grain sandwich with vegetables or a salad. But according to Subway, the most popular Subway item in the world is the toasted steak and cheese sandwich. This will give you a very generous 400 calories per 6″ section. Don’t forget the chips and soda (an extra 300 calories!), and you’re easily on your way to 4,000 calories today! It’s nice that convenience chains are offering slightly more healthy options these days, but it’s still disingenuous counter-marketing to offer it along side the regular high-calorie fare. Eat fresh, indeed.

Dinner: Pizza and burgers are beloved American foods. Sign me up!

burgercarls

Carl’s Jr. says there’s only one thing that can “slay the hunger of a young guy on the move”. Hey, that’s me! I can even get their burger for breakfast. But wait, am I really that starving that I need to be slaying my stomach? The six-dollar burger with a large Coke and a side of fries will round out my day with an additional 1,200 calories (give or take a few).

(Honestly, I’ve always thought it’s sort of sad that the most famous American foods – pie, burgers, pizza, hot dogs, French fries – are all junk foods. The French get cheese, wine and sauces, and Asia’s got vegetables down cold, but when it comes to cuisines of the world, we can sure be proud of our corn, salt, sugar and trans fat, all right.)

Conclusion:

I thought it would be a little bit of a challenge to eat 4,000 calories, but thanks to the vast majority of what’s available at every restaurant these days, it’s actually pretty hard not to consume twice as many calories as you need – and that’s the whole problem. It shouldn’t require a degree in nutrition or hours of online research to know what’s reasonable to eat and what isn’t. Stopping in at Subway to eat lunch shouldn’t be an obesity challenge.

Of course, what really helps is all that soda! We each drink approximately 50 gallons of soda every year. We eat twice as many calories daily as we need by some estimates, and about 1,000 excess calories a day by more conservative estimates (seems a little more accurate to me, but then again…) Whether we’re overeating a lot or overeating a lot, it’s not healthy and it’s no wonder the majority of Americans are overweight.

That’s why I’m giving this month’s Impossible Calorie Award to the Standard American Diet!

impossiblecalorieaward

Tomorrow Mark will be bringing you the second installment of his new syndicated column, Primal Health, which covers fitness, diet and nutrition issues from a biology buff’s evolutionary perspective. And Sara will be dragging the Fuming Fuji kicking and screaming into yet another review of sneaky marketers’ attempts to toxify the seedlings. (Good luck with that, Sara.) I’ll be back Thursday with another round of 3 More (Sorta) Healthy Fast Foods. Stick around for the daily news bites!

Previous Awards

Most Popular Posts

What Mark Eats in a day

What do you eat in a day? Tell us!

Sponsor note:

This post was brought to you by the Damage Control Master Formula, independently proven as the most comprehensive high-potency antioxidant multivitamin available anywhere. With the highest antioxidant per dollar value and a complete anti-aging, stress, and cognition profile, the Master Formula is truly the only multivitamin supplement you will ever need. Toss out the drawers full of dozens of different supplements with questionable potency and efficacy and experience the proven Damage Control difference!

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

5 Jun

How to Eat More Chocolate and Drink More Wine Every Day

322520944 487ca30b56

How can you turn this down?

Health, in my view, is really about enjoyment and quality of life. It’s not all celery sticks and cardio – far from it. Dark chocolate and red wine shouldn’t be consumed with the reckless abandon I sincerely hope you reserve for vegetables, but they are reasonably healthy indulgences. Here’s how to indulge a little more (am I looking out for you or what?).

10. Drunk Marinara

My editor, Sara, shares this tip: wash and chop up 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes. (Don’t bother with that canned stuff if you want the healthiest possible sauce. This is easy.) Add in half your normal amount of water or broth (you’ll see why in a second). Next add several fresh garlic cloves and any other spices or herbs you fancy in your tomato sauce. The antioxidant boost: after the tomatoes have simmered and stewed for a while, pour in 1 cup of red wine. Between the cooked tomatoes, garlic and wine, you’ll have a sauce so good, you’ll want to drink it and forget about whatever you were going to pour it on (better not be pasta).

9. Chocolate, Meet Meat

Buy the darkest, most bitter, pure chocolate you can find. Even mass chocolate manufacturers like Hershey’s are pushing darker and darker chocolates. You can find upwards of 70% these days without breaking a sweat. Melt a bar in a saucepan with a big dash of cayenne pepper, a generous pinch of oregano or marjoram, a touch of olive oil, and a decent sprinkle of sea salt. You now have a very interesting and incredible reduction to drizzle over your pork chops. Just trust me.

8. Drink Wine at Lunch

1129609642 acde36f731

A necessary word of caution: I am not recommending a future career as a lush here. But you might enjoy splitting up that nightly glass of red into two small glasses (emphasis on small) and having a splash of wine at lunch. Many cultures around the world enjoy a little swill at noon. Obviously, this won’t work for everyone depending on schedules and workplace expectations. And, if alcohol is something that you tend to indulge too much in, then skip this tip (matter of fact, skip this post).

7. Goodbye Coffee, Hello Chocolate

Chocolate for breakfast? Sure. This tip is for the morning vice crowd. If you want whiter teeth and you never seem to eat anything for breakfast, tackle both issues by eating a piece of dark chocolate instead of coffee. You’ll get some fat and caffeine to nourish your brain, quell your starving stomach and stimulate your nerves. I think some sliced tomatoes or scrambled eggs are both obviously better ideas for your mornings, but if you’re a coffee junkie and you have trouble ingesting a morning dose of calories, hey, I say work with the problem instead of fighting it. Dark chocolate still has some sugar, so if you’re trying to lose weight or if you need to watch your blood sugar, stick to the scrambled eggs.

6. Drink Wine at Breakfast

Just kidding! Don’t do that.

5. Dump Carbs, Promptly Reward Self

1796022433 635942e5a2

Do you need to cut out refined carbohydrates like pasta, candy, pastries and soda? Everyone does. Eliminating refined carbohydrate intake is a critical first step in losing weight, ridding yourself of mood swings, and simply improving your overall health. But be sure you create a system to reward yourself a little for each step you take to better health. For example, you might eliminate your three biggest vices (let’s say they’re pasta, potatoes, and soda). For each day you avoid these three vices, you get three small squares of dark chocolate. Eat them at night for a serotonin boost that will improve your sleep and make you feel happy. Three squares typically contain around 10 grams of sugar. While not ideal, that’s a lot better than several hundred grams from a serving of refined carbs at each meal.

4. Quit Wining and Eat Your Greens

Skip the sugary, trans-fat-clogged, chemical-laden store salad dressings and whip up an antioxidant- and immune-boosting dressing at home. Mix equal parts red wine with a tasty vinegar. Next, blend equal parts of this mixture and olive oil. This is an easy, healthy dressing that will liven up your greens (which I hope you’re eating every day).

Note: wine doesn’t last more than a few days at most, so don’t make big batches of the stuff. Just enough for a few meals.

3. Forget Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

This is not really something to eat daily, but if you’re a candy lover and you’re in need of a healthier substitute, have a square of dark chocolate with some fresh-roasted, organic, sugar-free almond butter. After a few weeks of this, if you try out the ole Cups, you’ll be put off by the chemical taste. Guaranteed candy cure. (You MDA frequent fliers know I’m really not a substitute kind of guy – to be healthy, you gotta eat healthy, end of story. I happen to think salads and grilled lean meats taste amazing and I think living on indulgent junk food is anything but living. However, some treats really are pretty decent for you – almond butter is full of Omega-3′s and fiber, and a little dark chocolate is fine.)

2. Yo, Sodaholics!

Think about switching your soda to wine. Again, huge disclaimer: this is not a recommendation to become Peter O’Toole. This is strictly for soda addicts. The purpose is to get you to realize what you’re actually doing to your body. For most folks – I’m not talking about alcoholics – soda is far worse for the body than wine (and unlike wine, has zero marginally redeeming health benefits). Downing multiple sodas may be socially acceptable, but it’s addictive and enormously destructive to health. The problem is that it intoxicates your body in an entirely different – and perhaps more insidious – way than alcohol. Soda does terrible damage, but you don’t “feel” the damage immediately. The closest thing is a sugar crash, in which case, most people just have another soda to stave it off. The problem with soda is that the internal destruction isn’t really noticeable until you’re overweight, diabetic, depressed and wondering why you have a mood crash every day at 3 p.m. If you drink a glass of wine, however, you feel it. You don’t need a second (I hope). So just imagine what all those sodas were actually doing to your body.

Gee, that’s just super, Mark, but I drink soda at work. No problem: to get off the lunchtime soda habit, have a glass of water and a piece of fruit. You’re just dehydrated.

1. What’s Your Best Chocolate or Wine Tip?

jypsygen, polifemus (out of order), suavehouse113 Flickr Photos (CC)

Helpful reads and references:

White chocolate is not chocolate!

Health benefits of chocolate

Wine beats juice for antioxidant absorption

Problems with soda

Is this guy nuts? My most popular articles

More Tuesday 10 articles

The idea for this headline came from Lyndon. Thanks!

If you like this post please share it with StumbleUpon.

Subscribe to Mark’s Daily Apple

Sponsor note:
This post was brought to you by the Damage Control Master Formula, independently proven as the most comprehensive high-potency antioxidant multivitamin available anywhere. With the highest antioxidant per dollar value and a complete anti-aging, stress, and cognition profile, the Master Formula is truly the only multivitamin supplement you will ever need. Toss out the drawers full of dozens of different supplements with questionable potency and efficacy and experience the proven Damage Control difference

© 2014 Mark's Daily Apple