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

Mark's Daily Apple

14 May

Banish Nervousness Forever in 1 Easy Step

A Monday Moment

You’re about to pitch the boldest idea of your life to the board of directors.

You’re going to ask your boss for a raise. A big one.

You’re giving a speech at the upcoming fundraiser. It has to be memorable and inspiring.

You know all eyes will be on you as you toast the bride and groom.

Nervous yet?

We all face situations where nerves can seize us and make presenting a terrifying prospect. Whether it’s in the workplace, at the courthouse, or even on celebratory occasions, having to present yourself and your thoughts is stressful to even the most outgoing and charming folks.

You can try all kinds of techniques and tips for banishing your nerves and boosting your confidence, but perhaps the best way to overcome the nervousness of “putting yourself out there” is in shifting one’s perspective. This is easier and more effective. There is but a single, key step to take to banish your nerves forever.

Embrace your nervousness.

That’s it. Rather than feel bad or embarrassed or even panicky about your nervous state, welcome it! Embrace it! Fear is a good thing. Don’t fight it. As Soren Kierkegaard said, “Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” Nervous? Good. It’s a sign that you’re living your life with boldness and authenticity. If you’re feeling nervous, that’s a sign you’ve got a pulse.

The important thing is to channel this nervousness into positive energy. That’s where success comes – it’s not in “beating” nerves. Attempting to fight or ignore or beat your nervousness is an exercise in futility. What’s more effective is welcoming your nervous flutters and in fact feeling grateful for them. Stage fright is wonderful. If you’re nervous, that’s a sign that you have energy and enthusiasm for your daunting task. In fact, you should be more worried if you aren’t nervous.

The best presenters and performers in the world get nervous. Nervousness isn’t a bad thing. It’s a prerequisite to a life of adventure and satisfaction. Embrace your nervousness in every endeavor. It means your whole body is tuned in to what you’re about to do. That’s living in the moment – the healthiest thing of all.

Go get ‘em!

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11 May

My, You’ve Got Beautiful Skin!

Have you noticed the flood of moisturizers for use in the shower? These lotions come in several formulas, from moisturizing washes to rinse-off lotions. The latter confuses me a bit: is it conditioner for skin, or is it creating a protective barrier that clings even when the goop is washed away? And do I want anything that durable anywhere near my living, breathing skin? And what is with the sparkles?

Lotion: the thing we use to replace the moisture we just removed with soap. Soap dries our skin out, and moisturizer – depending on the ingredients – can both replenish the moisture and form a protective barrier.

While I admire the brilliant marketing – even better than meeting a need is creating one – I’m not fooled by the in-showerness of this new product category. Most of these new products contain very cheap ingredients. Despite the pennies that go into production, once they hit the shelves, these products come with some serious sticker shock. They range between $5-9. (Caress is around $5, Dove around $7.) While five bucks may not seem like much, and my healthy alternative is in the same price range, a major difference is that these in-shower moisturizers only provide a handful of uses and mine will last you all month. That is, unless you’re a person who actually follows the “quarter-sized dollop” recommendation. (Does anyone really do this? It’s like the seven chip or two Oreo serving size. Right!)
caressdove

And with Gatsby Ice Deodorant Shower Lotion, the guys aren’t in the clear, either. (I’m ignoring Nivea on principle.)

ice

Moisturizing on either side of the shower curtain is a bright idea. The key is to moisturize healthily. Despite the “newness” of in-shower lotions, you’ll notice they contain the same ingredients found in most lotions, soaps, bath washes, conditioners and shampoos. These ingredients are typically derived from petroleum or rendered animal fat. Shower lotions are gunked up with mineral oil, a friendly-sounding euphemism for the same stuff that makes plastic and runs cars. Naturally, I’m just dying to get this all over my skin and into my pores. Yum! I bet you are, too! Other petroleum-based products include “baby oil” and “bath oil”.

There’s an alternative that is:

- luxurious

- healthy for you

- healthy for the planet

- natural

- rich in vitamins, antioxidants and beneficial fatty acids

- naturally cleansing and exfoliating

- edible

- inexpensive

- completely customizable!

Apples, I present, for your savings, health and shower time enjoyment: almond oil.

almondoil

Almond oil is excellent for your skin. Just a few tablespoons post-soapage will leave your skin glowing and soft all day long. You’ll smell wonderful, too – and naturally so, rather than adding to the office or store potpourri of artificial shampoo, conditioner, lotion, perfume, cologne, deodorant, detergent and aftershave fragrances.

On top of saving money, using something really healthy for you, and looking great, here’s the best part: the personalization factor.

Purchase a few different essential oils at any beauty supply or natural health store (they last forever). Lavender, peppermint, lemon, sandalwood, and cedar are some of the most therapeutic, and are completely sparkle-free. Add a few drops to your almond oil and enjoy!

Great for the girls: floral and food scents (especially citrus and vanilla)

Great for the boys: natural and herbacious scents (but no patchouli, pulllllease!)

And, for a natural, extra-rich skin scrub, try coarse sea salt. It might seem odd at first, but I think slathering the body with all kinds of surfactants and chemicals is really the odd thing. Salt draws out toxins and stress naturally. It can be a little drying, so if you have very dry skin, try fresh shredded coconut instead. I learned these natural tension-busting tips from a masseuse I used to go to after the fast-paced, intense production days on the set of Responsible Health. (Thanks, Brooke!) Whether you’re active all day on a whirling set, logging lots of focused computer-hunching time, or chasing after an energetic toddler, the satisfying rush of productivity becomes stressful to your body as the hours fly by. The salt really melts the stress away!

Note: Don’t bother with the pricey almond oils in beauty stores. Just pick up the one hanging out right next to the olive oil at your grocery store. I also suggest buying vegetable glycerin soaps so your skin doesn’t need so much moisturizer to begin with.

Let me know how you customize your moisturizer. Do you have any natural cosmetic health tips you’d like to share? Tell us!

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10 May

School Serves Veggies & Kids Eat Them: Scientists Prepare for Porcine Wing Epidemic

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

This is the last FDA news bite for a while*. Be sure to read the school lunch clickativity – it’s an encouraging sign of progress!

FDA: But We Believe Your Food and Drugs Are Safe

If you don’t mind a PG-13 name and some liberal politics, this blog has a hilarious post on the FDA’s “faith-based” initiatives when it comes to contaminated food that’s endangering millions of humans and pets alike. Like Mark always says, when it comes to health, beliefs and facts are not the same thing no matter how much we wish they were.

Healthy School Lunches Stop Obesity!

This town put veggies to the test and has successfully kept their school kids slim. Cool, huh? Share the news with your local school if this is an issue you care about.

Obesity in low-income communities: is it because of the high cost of produce, or the lack of access to grocery stores to begin with? Are these things more perception than reality? Or is it simply that people like their Snickers bars? This controversial news piece asks tough questions.

At the risk of sounding glib, the obesity epidemic is probably a combination of all of these things. People become who they are because of a multitude of environmental and biological factors. It’s reasonable to assert that people choose what they choose because they are influenced by an equally varied set of factors, ranging from education to income to personal preference to parental and social influence. Some factors are within a person’s control, and some aren’t. Combine enough factors and you’re going to get a predictable result. Now, how do we change things, Apples? One town has figured out how. What else can we do?
lunchbox

This is Hanuman’s Flickr Photo

Bloggy Hangouts

The Fit Shack is a great new blog we’re having fun perusing. We especially love this post about positive motivation. If you think exclusively about your health problems or the areas of your body that are not up to snuff, that sort of negative approach is demoralizing and depressing. Focusing on positive outcomes instead is more likely to get you the results you desire. This doesn’t mean we should ignore our problems or underrate the value of getting fired up, but it is a reminder to stay away from problem thinking and to try outcome thinking instead. (We blogged it: Scroll to the bottom of this post to learn great outcome thinking tips!)

Symptom searchers, this is for you: there’s a handy new interactive site, TauMed, where hypochondriacs with modems can diagnose all their various diseases and conditions to their hearts’ content. Enjoy!

*Fish in a barrel.

10 May

The Solution to the Bottled Water Problem!

How could I forget? Duh! Just Make Every Drop Count!

bevs

An easy solution to the bottled water problem is to slurp soda and sugary drinks. I mean, sparkling beverages. The body gets thirsty, and liquids make it, you know, unthirsty, or something. Being thirsty is bad. Being unthirsty is good! This is healthy, and fortunately, it’s also environmentally friendly, because many of these sparkling beverages come in cans instead of plastic! Did I mention that beverages quench thirst, so this makes all beverages healthy? Because, you know, they quench thirst? Coca-Cola says so, and the American Dietetic Association agrees, so this must be healthy.

hydrate

Isn’t is great to know that coffee and soda are hydration alternatives to water? Now, if this little pipsqueak would just drink from a metal can instead of a plastic bottle, she’d be showing us how to stay hydrated, healthy and environmentally safe! I was really concerned about what alternatives might be available now that I’m avoiding buying bottled water. Sodas, I mean, sparkling beverages, come in cans, which are better for the environment. But until now, I thought sodas, I mean, sparkling beverages, were unhealthy. That just goes to show, boy, what do I know! All this time, the real health issue has been hydration. Nothing more, nothing less. Thanks, Coca-Cola!

girl

Why Hydrate? Coffee, water, sparkling beverages. Every drop you drink makes a difference.”

A “difference”. That’s one way of putting it, all right.

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