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

Mark's Daily Apple

3 Jun

10 Ways to Forage in a Fast Food Nation

Fast Food CourtOver the past few weeks, we’ve really ripped into fast food joints and junk food manufacturers for trying to pull the wool over our eyes and pass off junk food as not only edible chow, but also something that should be considered healthy. And, while we’ll be the first to admit that they deserve it, there are some times when dining on junk is difficult to avoid… like when you’re in the company of folks who are less discerning of their food choices, or you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere on a road trip or laid over at an airport. But rest assured: This is not a crisis. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to become a food detective – an opportunity to put all your hours pouring over MDA tips to use – to identify the healthiest options on the glowing board above the checkout counter.

Keep reading…

3 Jun

Plants Preserve Muscle Mass

VegetablesWe’ve always been dear friends, staunch allies, and devoted advocates for our edible friends in the plant kingdom. Whatever craziness descends upon our lives and our society, there’s sanity, indeed healthful respite in a bountiful, brimming, vibrant dinner plate of vegetables.

And now there’s even more reason for veggie veneration. Research from Tufts University funded by the Agricultural Research Service suggests that potassium-rich plant foods can help older men and women maintain their lean muscle mass.

“What?! Well, I’ll be damned.” We know! We said it too!

We’ve always loved vegetables (and their fruit compatriots) for their antioxidants, their minerals, their fiber. But this had us bowing down at the cornucopia, we have to say.

Keep reading…

2 Jun

Dear Mark: Primal Personal Products?

Skin Care ProductsDear Mark,

What are your thoughts on using personal products such as lotion, deodorant, or even toothpaste? I use these daily, but it certainly doesn’t jive with my “caveman diet” philosophies.

Thanks to reader Steve for his question. It’s true, old Grok wasn’t exactly getting facials and eyebrow waxings at the spa over yonder. While he might not have been the dusty, grungy figure he’s often made out to be, he was undoubtedly rumpled and unkempt by our standards. Alas, we find ourselves in a much different age, an era of rather obsessive personal sanitization (if you ask me) and more attention to “product” than to health. Nonetheless, few of us are happy to take up residence in a backwoods shack. We’ll readily make compromises to live among the rest of civilization. But, when it comes to lotions, soaps, deodorant, etc., how can we be healthy in the primal sense but still accepted by contemporary, “polite” society? Call it the modern caveman’s/cavewoman’s dilemma.

Keep reading…

31 May

Vitamin D and RDA for Children

Vitamin DIt’s probably of little surprise that we take issue with some of the Recommended Daily Allowance values and how they’re often determined. Case in point: New research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism suggests that the current children’s RDA for Vitamin D (200 IUs) does not sufficiently support the “bone growth and musculoskeletal health of children and adolescents.”

The RDA value for children was set at 200 IUs because, unlike testing for adults’ dosage, there wasn’t adequate research into the benefits of higher amounts.

Vitamin D deficiency is a growing problem around the world, including in developed countries where children spend little time outside. Questions have existed for some time regarding the adequacy of the current RDA, particularly for older children and adolescents, who undergo a great deal of bone growth. As the researchers of this study note, Vitamin D levels during adolescence have bearing on a child’s future bone density and risk for other diseases.

Keep reading…

30 May

The Power of the Placebo

Placebo EffectA number of months ago we reported that some 45% of Chicago internists (among those who responded to a survey) said they offered placebos to their patients from time to time. The report got people around the country talking – and maybe even wondering about their own prescription history.

Clearly, physicians recognize the impact of placebos, and research has time and again shown their efficacy. So, how does it really work? And who seems to benefit the most from the placebo effect? Is there anyone who can’t be “taken in”? In light of this recent NY Times article about a company that sells cherry-flavored sugar pills to be administered by parents to their unsuspecting children as a placebo we thought we’d investigate.

Keep reading…

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