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

Mark's Daily Apple

17 Jul

Fat-Oxidation Damage Control

Red Wine and SteakEarlier this week we watched Mark make his signature salad: a veritable cornucopia of vegetable wonder (and anti-oxidant powerhouse). We’ve also heard Mark talk about his personal penchant for a good glass of red wine (another bearer of anti-oxidant goodness). It seems we primal types can’t get enough of those polyphenols, can we? And, wouldn’t you know it? These two primal “treats” (salad as PB staple, red wine as very sensible vice) are at the center of some very intriguing research on reducing the harmful effects of fat oxidation during digestion.

Fats – harmful? We surely haven’t given into the manipulation of all those fat slanderers out there? You know, the ones who say that fat is the center of all health evils? Not to worry. Fat is still our friend, especially when it’s not overcooked and loaded with the modern cocktail of pesticides, hormones and anti-biotics. But we love good research that not only illuminates the natural workings of the human system but suggests profoundly easy ways to make good food that much healthier.

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17 Jul

Primal Health Challenge Week 2 Results

Primal Challenge Week 2 ResultsOk. I admit that this post has a ton of information. But instead of editing or paraphrasing any reader’s results (that just wouldn’t be fair!) I’ve included it all. Pick a participant or two and read them as case studies. This is just a small sample of the people that are taking the challenge (we receive inspiring emails everyday) – those that are kind enough to send in their weekly updates for your enjoyment and edification. So take a look, share your thoughts, help fellow participants through the challenge and/or hit me and other Apples up with a question in the comment board.

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16 Jul

Unrestricted Low-Carb Diet Wins Hands Down

Steak SaladThe New England Journal of Medicine has just come out with perhaps the most definitive comparison of low-fat, Mediterranean and low-carb diets ever, and the findings dovetail very nicely with what we’ve been discussing here recently about the merits of the Primal Blueprint. I think it also addresses some of the concerns shared about the so-called “restrictiveness” of my PB plan.

This study looked at over 300 people who followed their assigned diets strictly for two years, making this one of the longest diet studies in recent history. The bottom line was that the low-carb diet was hands-down the most impressive at improving health in all areas. Those on the low-carb plan lost more weight, experienced a greater reduction in the dangerous C-reactive protein, lowered their triglycerides, raised their HDL cholesterol and dropped their A1C more than those on either the Mediterranean or the low-fat diets, although the Mediterranean was a close second most of the time. Of course, for those who read MDA religiously, you’ll be interested to hear that the low-fat diet was “restricted” to only 1500 calories per day for women and 1800 for men, as was the Mediterranean diet, but the low-carb diet was “unrestricted”, meaning those participants could eat all they wanted of non-carb foods (fat and protein, people). They started out at only 20 grams carbs a day for two months, then eased up to 120 grams a day maintenance at the end. Compliance was fairly high, too: of the 109 people assigned to the low-carb plan, 85 finished the entire two years.

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16 Jul

On the Problems of Cultivated Fruit

Huge StrawberryThough many of us here tend to frequent farmer’s markets or CSA co-ops for a lot of our regular shopping, we inevitably end up at the grocery store for a few miscellaneous things. Comparing the experiences of the market versus “super”-market has become an interesting exercise in consumer research. Besides the strange and overflowing array of boxed or bagged, artificially flavored wonders that fill the aisles in the average grocery store, we’ve all agreed that there’s something else rather “twilight zone”-esque about our forays into the supermarkets. Specifically, has anyone noticed the mammoth size of fruit sold at the grocery store? What’s more, this Amazonian “beautiful” fruit just doesn’t taste the same, does it?

A few of us here grew up in farmland or at least had close relatives whose farms we visited. Most of us had something growing in our childhood backyards, and the same goes for our yards today. As a result, we’ve seen (and tasted) fruit in its natural and often wild state: Mark’s memories of small, tart and succulent Maine blueberries, others’ wild blackberry bushes, local strawberry “self-pick” farms, grandparents’ backyard apple orchards. Seriously, are conventional farmers all doing the Miracle Grow challenge or what?

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15 Jul

2 Minute Salad

Most readers here understand the concepts behind the Primal Blueprint, but some seem to be concerned about the amount of time it must take to prepare PB-style meals every day. Nothing could be further from the truth. My 4-egg breakfast or protein shake take but a few minutes. My evening lamb-chop or grass-fed porterhouse with steamed veggies is complete in under ten minutes. But my fastest meal is also my favorite (and probably healthiest). That, of course, is the “2-minute big-ass salad” I have every day. I’ll show you how easy it is to make in the following video. I’ve also done the fitday.com analysis and it’s pretty impressive: 588 total calories. 37 grams of protein, 40 of fat and only 27 of carbs…and that’s probably my highest carb meal of the day!

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