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

Mark's Daily Apple

7 Jun

The Cardiac Insider Is Back: Nurses, Put Down Your Cheesesteaks

Now, you need to exercise at least 5 times a week, cardio wise. You should really try to do weight training as well, to make you stronger. Do you have a gym membership? Do you have any gym equipment at your house? And don’t forget to follow your low fat, low salt, low cholesterol diet. Here are your 13 drug prescriptions. Do you have any questions?

… And this all happens in the 15 minutes before we discharge you from the hospital. That is, after you have had a 4-day stay with us. And 50% of the time, it is being said by a very overweight, under exercised, cheese-steak-eating nurse! I am not a mean person, but come on! This is yet another little gripe form your friendly nurse at Diabetes Notes and A Hearty Life.

Did your mother ever teach you the phrase, “practice what you preach”? I know I learned manners from observing my mom and dad. So how can a cardiac patient that is being discharged from a hospital take you seriously if you look like you have never walked a flight of stairs yourself? I am by no means a lean, mean machine. But I do try to stay heart-healthy by exercise and a moderated diet. I am also a diabetic, so while I can commiserate with my patients, I can also call their bluffs.

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Adrian Clark Flickr Photo

Why do clinicians who have all the resources in the world choose to do themselves wrong? I don’t know.

And why do we decide to do teaching with our patients 30 minutes before they are discharged?

By the way, those last few minutes are when our patients are most anxious. They are going out on their own, having to deal with their cardiac issues without the guidance and security of the hospital staff. Why not start the nutrition and heart health education the day of admission? Allow a few days for the patients to absorb the info and formulate some questions they might have.

After all, isn’t that part of our job? Making sure that the patient has all the resources and information they need to ensure success! Not that success always happens. Believe me, I don’t always see rainbows and roses, just read my last post here at Mark’s blog. And I get just as frustrated as the next nurse with noncompliance and neglect, but I think we are all at fault. We can’t just point our fingers, you know?

What do you think? Have you ever been a patient and had a similar situation happen to you? Do you think we need to rethink our ways of teaching as clinicians? I want to hear it. The good, the bad and the ugly…except if you have a story about me, haha.

Editor’s note:

Was Kendra’s post insightful for you? How ’bout those cheesesteaks! You can discuss this post in the forum. Would you like to read more from Kendra about health care in the trenches? Let us know! And, for more great insights and heart-healthy tips from this cardiac care insider, be sure to visit Kendra’s blog.

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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

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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.

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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:

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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!

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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?

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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.

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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!

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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!

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