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

Mark's Daily Apple

9 Jul

A Smackdown Cometh: Big Pharma Vs. Pumpkin Farmers

Forget insulin injections – the humble pumpkin may be a suitable treatment for both type 1 and type 2 diabetics in the near future.

Researchers found that plain old pumpkin extract helped worn-out pancreatic cells regain sensitivity and begin producing insulin.

pumpkin

Pumpkin 1: I hate diabetes.

Pumpkin 2: Oh, I know. It is lame.

Diabetes develops when blood sugar levels are persistently high. The pancreas, which produces insulin to stabilize blood sugar, cannot keep up. The body can also simply become insensitive to insulin. In the United States, 20 million people have diabetes, and as many as 60 million more are estimated to be undiagnosed and/or prediabetic. Diabetes increases your risk for retinopathy (a fancy word for blindness), reduces immunity to infection (often leading to amputation of extremities and limbs), heart disease, obesity, and stroke.

Diabetes organizations that adhere to traditional medical therapies typically present diabetes as almost mysterious in origin. That is, they will explain that diabetes results from pancreatic exhaustion or insensitivity, but they do not explain why this happens. Now where was my Kit Kat?

Though type 1 diabetes is not diet related (though a bad diet will exacerbate the disease), type 2 diabetes is largely preventable through lifestyle. A diet low in refined carbohydrates and a lifestyle that includes daily exercise are the first important steps to preventing the onset of diabetes. Of course, with the average American diet (as many as 4,000 calories a day from junk food) and the sedentary lifestyle that are so prevalent, it’s no wonder diabetes is a runaway epidemic!

At any rate, pumpkin shows promise. What will Big Pharma do?

Further reading:

We Really Need More Drinkable Grains

How to Get Sick and Die

The Vegetable Conspiracy

The Definitive Guide to Insulin, Blood Sugar, & Type 2 Diabetes

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9 Jul

13 Simple, Timeless Kitchen Hacks (Banish Tears, Cuts, Burns, Smells & Stains!)

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1. Finally, a use for old potatoes: if you have added too much salt to a recipe, toss in a peeled potato while your dish is still cooking to prevent your tongue from shriveling up like a slug upon first bite. (Just don’t use taters that have any green tint creeping into the flesh. That’s a sure sign of the toxin solanine. Generally, solanine will not hurt you in small quantities, but just to be safe, avoid the kryptonite-hued spuds.)

2. Did you burn your finger? Immediately rub the singed spot with spicy mustard to draw out the pain. Bonus: this is a lickable solution.

3. Leftover wine? Pour the remains of the bottle into an ice cube tray, freeze, and store for future use in your drunk marinara. (Leftover wine = good problem.)

4. To remove the smell of garlic and onions from your fingers, simply run your digits along a stainless steel blade. Carefully! This won’t work for your mouth.

5. To keep sliced apples and avocados from browning, drizzle with lemon or lime juice.

6. Did you catch one of those invisible hair-like splinters that rivals a paper cut for the Most Annoying Pain Possible award? Simply press a strip of tape gently to your skin. This works far better than scraping away at your skin with fingernails or tweezers.

7. Don’t hatch your batch. To prevent cracked shells when making boiled eggs, simply add a pinch of salt to the water.

8. Keep tomatoes and citrus fruits like lemons far from the refrigerator for the nicest fragrance, juiciest results, and truest flavor (we’re horrifying grammar teachers everywhere, as we speak. Write. Read. Surf. Arrrgh!!!). Oh: nestled in a bowl in the sun is best.

9. To clean those ever-impossible crevices in vases and pitchers, just drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets, fill the item with water, and wait.

10. To prevent your eyeballs from putting on a miniature waterworks show when you are cutting up onions or shallots, simply press your tongue to the roof of your open mouth (and do not breathe through your nose).

11. Rather than taking harsh detergents to your pots and pans, scrub them clean with a dry paper towel and coarse salt. This is invaluable for cast-iron cookware.

12. To remove those fossilized food splatters in the microwave, place a water-soaked sponge inside and “cook” on high for two minutes. Leave the microwave door closed for another five minutes (you don’t want to scald yourself). The steam will loosen up the food and you can easily wipe it all off without the use of chemical cleaners.

13. Fix a finger nick with clear nail polish (wait for the bleeding to stop, silly). The polish will s-t-i-n-g momentarily, but you’ll have a waterproof, instant bandage that won’t get in the way of your slicing and dicing…food, this time.

What handy tips do you recommend? Speak up, baby!

Further reading:

Most Popular Posts

Useful Top 10 Lists

Source 1, 2

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9 Jul

New Weekly Health Challenge

And here we were letting you off easy for a spell.

Here’s your weekly health challenge, Apples:

Find a way to work vegetables into your breakfasts this week. Now we sleep at night because we know none of you are eating layered grease, aka egg sandwiches. But are you getting a serving of vegetables at every meal? It’s a smart goal.

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Source

A few ways to outdo Popeye (easy…he didn’t know about arugula, now did he?):

– Toss last night’s leftover dinner veggies into your scrambled eggs (thanks, Crystal!).

– Enjoy tomato slices with olive oil, sea salt, and basil leaves for breakfast.

– If you’re not someone who prefers a sweeter taste first thing, add some olives, asparagus tops, sundried tomatoes, leeks or scallions, and balsamic vinegar to your plain yogurt for a filling and flavorful breakfast.

– Fill dessert ramekins with a small handful of arugula, broccoli florets, or peas. Pour whisked egg over vegetables (about 1.5 eggs per). Season with freshly-ground black pepper and sea salt. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes (give or take). Garnish with a dollop of sour cream or a sprinkling of shredded cheese.

Let us know what you try this week!

More Weekly Challenges

Most Nutritious Foods

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6 Jul

How to Dog Whisper Your Food Cravings

Warm, fudgy chocolate cake.

Melt-in-your-mouth fettuccine alfredo.

An icy flute of champagne.

Gee, thanks a lot, MDA.

Whether it’s for garlic knots or a tuna melt, the temptation to indulge in delicious but unhealthy fare catches up with even the most disciplined among us from time to time. (Except Mark. He’s immune. It just took a lot of ice cream to develop.)

The body tends to crave what it is used to, which is why breaking out of the chips ‘n cookie regimen foils so many folks. There is a silver lining, however: given enough practice, you’ll actually miss brussels sprouts and feel sickened by ice cream. You just have to habituate your body. Many times, “cravings” that we experience are not indicators of any real nutritional need the body has, but simply a powerful psychological response to a habit gone cruelly unfed.

That said, sometimes a strong craving for a certain food (coughchocolatecough) can signal that you may be in need of a particular nutrient. Mark’s Daily Apple to the rescue: when you feel the urge to nosh on something you just know you shouldn’t, there’s guaranteed to be a healthy alternative. Take charge of those cravings and make them work for you, not against you!

When you are just about ready to kill for:

Salty foods like chips and pizza – you may just need some tryptophan or chloride. Try organic cheese, unsalted cottage cheese, fish, sweet potatoes (or yams), spinach, and authentic sea salt.

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Doeth Flickr Photo (CC)

Chocolate – you may be in need of magnesium. Instead, eat…chocolate! Yes! (Or nuts. But chocolate is actually healthy, if it’s dark and eaten in small doses.)

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Sarah Reed Flickr Photo (CC)

Sugary snacks and starches such as donuts and bread – you might be dehydrated. Drink some water and get a little nutritional acid by way of a piece of fruit, such as an apple.

apple

Aquave1vet’s Flickr Photo (CC)

Carbonated beverages – you might need to up your mineral intake. Try spinach, kale, collard greens, and legumes.

spinach

Kevin Donahue Flickr Photo (CC)

Fatty foods – some sources will tell you to drink water and eat fruit, but we say eat that fat! Fat is nutritious: it aids digestion, improves vitamin absorption, and can even boost brain health. Just watch the salt. Good fats: fish, olive oil, nuts, butter, cream, eggs.

fat

In Praise of Sardines’ Flickr Photo (CC)

Are you overeating or feeling general cravings? You may need tyrosine, found in citrus fruits. You might also be in need of a shot of zinc, so have a grass-fed steak or shellfish such as shrimp or oysters.

citrus

Jim Moran Flickr Photo (CC)

Craving candy? You may need sulfur, you inflammatory little nugget, you. Try garlic, onions, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or brussels sprouts. And pineapple works wonders.

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Esteban Cavrico Flickr Photo (CC)

Outsmart your body. You are the alpha, so you best be dog whisperin’ those wacky cravings!

Whether your specific craving signals a nutritional deficiency, hormonal imbalance, or simply a pesky bad habit you went and taught yourself, choosing healthy alternatives will satisfy your body’s needs and retrain your brain to get excited about things like lettuce. Which really isn’t so bad, now, is it? As Mark always says, vegetables don’t meow, people.

Further reading:

Smart Fuel

Interesting Vegetables

Source 1

Source 2

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6 Jul

Money Buys Happiness (But Health Buys More)

As Daily Mail reports, a new study conducted at the University of London has found that money can indeed buy happiness. After finding a correlation between money and happiness the researchers went on to attach monetary values to other aspects of life that bring happiness – namely health and social relations.

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Mark the Legend Foster’s Flickr Photo (CC)

Any idea how much happiness people derive from excellent health? According to this study it is equivalent to the amount of happiness a 304,000 (roughly $600,000) a year raise would provide.

According to my quick calculation that would make the information and advice found on Mark’s Daily Apple worth about $273 trillion – give or take a few trillion. Or in the almost-played-out word of those enviable MasterCard marketers: priceless.

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Moral of the Story: Money may make you slightly happier, but it pales in comparison to the importance of health, friends and family.

Further Reading:

Can Money Buy Happiness?

Does Money Buy Happiness?

Study: Money Does Not Buy Much Happiness

Money ‘Can Buy You Happiness’

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