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23 May

A Rare Interview with the Fuming Fuji

The Fuming Fuji is famous for his feisty tirades against “toxic food”, especially, in his (or its?) words, “when it is aimed at the small fry.” Until now the notoriously voluble but reclusive fruit has refused all interview requests. Now, for the first time, the Fuming Fuji speaks. Mark’s Daily Apple is pleased to bring you this exclusive interview. But also a tiny bit scared.

FUJ

Fuming Fuji, you have come out strongly against such children’s favorite as cheese-n-crackers, Gogurt, milk-n-cereal bars, and even the healthiest of breakfast cereals. Your critics say you are extreme and you’ve even been labeled a narcissist by a prominent historian and psychologist*. What do you say to your detractors?

The Fuji has no need to entertain the silly opinions of those who consider the combination of moo goop and corn cardboard to be fuel fit for the tiny tots. “Healthiest of breakfast cereals”. Ha ha, that is very humorous!

Well. Fuming Fuji, you’re certainly not shy about taking on “Big Agra” and “Big Moo”. What, in your view, are food manufacturers doing wrong?

Oh, Fuji grows weary of it all. To be honest, some days I lose my juice. That is never pretty, I can tell you. Most children’s snacks are death nuggets. They are either Blunder Tonic chemical baths or corn syrup sugar biscuits. Even the fruit added into such products as breakfast cereals is -

- Not-berries, right? I remember reading that in a column of yours -

- please do not interrupt the Fuji. That is very unwise. As I was saying, the C.E.O. of Eggo, David Mackay, is a personal enemy of mine. Oh, wait, perhaps I was not saying that. You have broken my trail of thought.

I apologize, Fuji. It won’t happen again.

It had better not.

Again, I am very sorry. I was simply expressing my enthusiasm for your particularly brilliant turns of phrase. It won’t happen again.

[Appears to be pouting.]

Fuming Fuji, precisely what should children – seedlings, as you call them – eat? Does the Fuming Fuji always say no?

I say yes to fresh vegetables, fresh lean meats, organic dairy, and fresh fruit – even apples. I am really a very easy-going apple. I am much more normal than my critics will claim. Like any apple I enjoy a good roll in the barrel from time to time.

Fuming Fuji, what are your credentials?

My degree is in Fumology. This is often overlooked. I am highly-qualified to fume.

What do you say to the recent flap over your condemnation of applesauce? Is this a personal thing?

I would eat applesauce myself if it would help the seedlings grow into strong apples. Also, if I could eat. Applesauce is a sugar bucket of enzymeless ugly fruits not fit for the shiny produce section. It is generous to even call them fruits, really.

I see. Fuming Fuji, curious readers are dying to know: are you seeing anyone special? Is there a sweet lady who gets to the core of the Fuji?

While I am aware of the profound effect my appearance has on others, I would appreciate if you would remain professional and direct your advances to someone more appropriate for you. I am sure you would do very well with pears.

…Okay. Fuming Fuji, what is the single most important food that parents and caregivers should keep away from their children?

If I told you that I would have nothing to fume about! That is an old Fumology joke, by the way. There is always plenty that is fumable by its very nature. You will find that most seedlings’ snacks are some sticky, chewy conglomeration of milk and grain. Usually it is very high in sugar and artificial ingredients. Nutripals is a good example. Oooh, they make the Fuji really furious. I nearly lose my peel over those. Many products are marketed as healthy, such as Nutripals, yogurt, and cereal bars, and they are no different from what is found in a candy bar. The best advice for raising healthy seedlings is to keep their little mitts off anything in a box. That is all for today. I must prepare.

Thank you so much for taking the time to -

[End interview.]

* Dr. Johannes Cobbler, widely-renowned apple studies expert. To learn more about Dr. Cobbler’s contributions to academia, please see A Brief History of the Apple.

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22 May

Marriage Is Healthiest for Men; 2 Duds for Glaxo

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

It’s a beautiful day…but not for GlaxoSmithKline.

One Expensive Diabetes Rx

GSK shareholders were dismayed at analysts’ early estimate of what the Avandia debacle will cost: upwards of five billion. That’s a lot of yachts.

yacht

This is ReubenInStt’s Flickr Photo

Newly-Divorced Men Have Highest Depression Rates

We’re not sure about the methodology here. Women, in general, have higher reported rates of depression, but researchers concede that this may simply mean women seek treatment more readily than do men. The situation gets flipped, however, when it comes to divorce: while women typically face economic hardship, men suffer in greater numbers from depression. Is this a case of men seeking help for depression that was already there, now that they are without the social support system of a marriage? Or are men genuinely worse off after a divorce than women? (Scientists already know that marriage tends to benefit men more than women; fewer men seek divorce and marriage is excellent for men’s mental health.) Touchy, touchy subject – no wonder it’s grabbing headlines.

What are your thoughts?

A Second Dud for GlaxoSmithKline

Remember when Mark blogged about the dangers of Alli, the new alleged fat-loss pill? And remember when he debunked the bad science behind this oily-spotting drug? (Yech!) GSK is standing by the release of Alli. Good luck with that one, guys!

pills 2

This is suckamc’s Flickr Photo

Best of MDA

More Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

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22 May

10 Sure Ways to Sabotage Your Weight Loss

The Tuesday 10

Want to derail a diet or perennially perch on the pound plateau? It’s easy – just be sure to do one or more of the following:

10. Drink Alcohol – lots of it!

Ketosis, schmosis. Cutting out refined carbs and empty calories will definitely help you peel off those pounds, but it will be much harder if you’re drinking more than one (ladies) or two (dudes) alcoholic beverages daily. To speed weight loss and love your liver, do not drink empty calories.

9. Drink Soda – but especially diet soda!

Drinking empty calories will quickly quell any weight loss attempt. But even diet soda is a bad idea, because it makes you awfully puffy. Aside from the water retention, studies show that diet soda actually contributes to weight gain, likely because it increases cravings for sugar and calories.

8. Chow Corn

Part of weight loss means eating more veggies. Like corn, right? No! Corn is not a vegetable. Repeat, corn is not a vegetable! Somehow this sugary grain got lumped into the veggie category, but rabbit food it’s not. Avoid all things corn – corn syrup, corn oil, corn starch – and you’ll reap major rewards for your health and your hips.

7. Pick Potatoes

Mark takes potatoes personally. It’s not hard to see why – these ridiculous spuds are a starch disaster. What little nutrition potatoes offer is wrapped up in the skins, and how many of us eat the skins? You’re better off avoiding America’s #1 “vegetable”. It’s not a vegetable, it’s a tuber.

6. Eat late at night!

Eating late at night won’t necessarily obliterate your metabolism, but few of us are ever truly in need of anything edible after dinner. The exception is if you work out late and want to enjoy a glass of water and a piece of fruit (or handful of nuts) post-gym. Usually, nighttime eating is more about cravings than caloric needs, and it will quickly destroy all the good choices you made during the day. If you must snack, have the aforementioned piece of fruit – or Elliott’s and my favorite, a small spoonful of peanut butter (sugar- and salt-free). Bonus: PB helps you get to sleep.

5. Skip breakfast!

Mark’s not a breakfast-beater, and in general, we don’t believe in adhering religiously to mainstream health “rules” until they’ve been critically examined. Eat when you’re hungry – this seems to work pretty well. That said, just a bit of fuel in the morning is necessary to get your metabolism roaring and wake up your brain. (Eating an apple is as effective as a cup of coffee for making you feel alert, by the way!) Just 100-200 calories is sufficient, so if you despite a.m. eating, at least have a piece of fruit, turkey, or cheese.

4. Eat the same every day.

While it’s not essential to worship at the alter of variety, eating the same meals over and over, at the same exact time of day, can cause a weight loss rut. Sometimes all you need to break out of a diet ditch is a well-planned shock to your metabolism. Humans evolved to accommodate fluctuations in meal sizes and types. Depending on what was in season, the location, and the needs of the group, humans often feasted one day and fasted the next. Frequently, humans ate the same few foods for days or weeks on end. I’m not suggesting you try this out, but it’s not a bad idea to “reset” your system every two weeks or so with a next-to-nothing day, a major-meals day, or a totally-different-food day.

3. Eat once a day.

We all know what happens when you do this. Still, it’s all too common.

2. Go more than 48 hours between workouts.

Wait, I have to work out? Yes, you do! And not only that, you need to keep your metabolism firing by working out every day. You can lose weight by working out less, but you’ll have to eat a lot less, and it can take a lot longer. Working out daily – for as little as 20 minutes – will keep your system hungry and turn you into a calorie-annihilating machine. Don’t believe me? Try it. (Also, if you’re new to working out it will be so much easier to turn it into a habit if you just make yourself do it daily. Soon you’ll crave exercise, I promise.)

1. What do you think is the major saboteur of weight loss? Let’s talk about it!

More Tuesday 10′s

Gems from Mark & the Bees

P.S. You can read about my own successful health & weight loss adventure at Calorie Lab and Livin’ La Vida Low Carb. I’ve learned so much about living a healthy, fit, lean lifestyle from Mark, and I know you will, too!

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!

22 May

My Escape from Vegan Island

Every once in a while, I am alternately stunned and amused by what I see being promoted in the name of good health. I had one of those “stunningly amusing” episodes when I took an eight-day vacation with my family to an all-vegetarian health and adventure retreat in Costa Rica several months ago. We had joined a group of 125 headed by Dr. John McDougall, an accomplished and well-respected physician who uses a strict vegetarian/vegan lifestyle to address disease states in his patients and (ostensibly) to promote better health among the general population. I wasn’t too keen on attending, strict carnivore that I am, but I’m always up for an experiment of one and, moreover, I was convinced by my mostly-vegetarian wife and her vegan parents that our extended family would enjoy a nice tropical vacation together. And the food promised to be so yummy… so I made the leap with my wife, two kids, the in-laws and some cousins.

cr

First off, I must say, I did have a very enjoyable time in Costa Rica with my family, rafting, diving, zip lining and hiking…but after what I witnessed during my stay, I can assure you that I have never been so certain that the Primal Blueprint way of eating – which I have embraced for over 30 years now – is the best way to achieve and maintain excellent health. Frankly, I was appalled at both the information being disseminated during this event and at what I saw being served at every meal in the name of “health food.”

I am an omnivore and always have been. Carrie, my wife, was a vegetarian for fifteen years until I convinced her about five years ago to starting adding fish to her diet to get more protein. She still considers herself, in the words of the Outback Steakhouse guy, a “semi-veg.” My wife’s parents have been strict vegans for nearly thirty years and are ardent followers of Dr. McDougall. McDougall’s own story involves having had a severe stroke at age 19 from which, at 59, he still limps. He became an MD and eventually realized that diet was an important part of the health equation. He’s a very likable and charming guy. I had a few superficial discussions with him, even attended a few of his nightly lectures. His heart is certainly in the right place, but I fear he is leading people down a wholly inappropriate dietary path. At the risk of oversimplifying, the basis of his program is that almost all starch is good, all fat is bad and meat of any kind is deadly. It is, in his words, a “starch-based” diet, high in grains and legumes.

The attendees were generally divided into two groups: those who were fairly new to the program – many of them had some serious weight to lose – and those who had been on the McDougall program for several years. Many of the latter group, I gathered, had come to McDougall originally with one or more chronic diseases and on multiple medications. Each evening, after the adventure activity of the day (all of which were pretty sedate), Dr. McDougall would deliver a lecture intended to inform the group of the evils of traditional medicine and big pharma – much of which I generally agree with – and to demonize beef, pork, chicken, fish, dairy of all kinds and most forms of soy. I got the general gist after the first evening. He’s not a fan of supplements either. But he does imply that when you eat vegetarian, you can have all you want…and therein lay the source of much amusement for me.

The lecture would adjourn and everyone would line up for the buffet line which would, at virtually every meal, include copious amounts of breads and rolls, rice, potatoes, pasta, beans, some anemic-looking steamed vegetables and a romaine-only lettuce salad. No dressings allowed. The only fat I could see was in the guacamole that served as a spread. The desert table had a variety of fruits and at least two choices of so-called “healthy” cakes. The drinks were generally overly sweetened fruit drinks.

Now I’m not one to judge. Okay, I am, but I usually keep my mouth shut – except herein. I watched at every meal as overweight, unhealthy people piled their plates with at least two pounds of bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, beans, desert cake, and a glass of fruit juice. Sometimes they went back for more. By my calculations these people were consuming 200 to 300 or more grams of (mostly simple) carbohydrates at each of three meals. There was no way these folks were going to lose fat on this trip. It was, in my view, a type 2 diabetes epidemic in-the-making.

In fending for myself, I focused mainly on the salads and the black beans mixed with a little rice. As you regular readers know, I don’t “do” breads, potatoes, pasta, desserts or fruit drinks. I think they are unhealthy. Go figure. I have to say, it sure got old after a day or two.

carbs

This is Kina’s Flickr Photo

Of those who had already been on the McDougall program for years, I had the following general observation: they don’t look too healthy. People who subsist on grains and simple carbs at the expense of quality protein for any length of time tend to lose muscle mass, regardless of their exercise regimen. They are what we call “skinny fat“. Essentially, they have no lean tissue and yet they have surprisingly high body fat levels, despite their loose “skin and bones” appearance. Lean body mass is a major defining criterion of good health; and these folks were sorely lacking. Excess carbohydrate turns to fat pretty easily, but you can neither build nor preserve muscle with it. Herein lies the confusion for many folks: while glucose serves as short-term fuel for muscles, it does not build nor maintain them. One woman, a 62-year old triathlete who trains hours a day and competes almost every weekend authoritatively suggested that I was a fool to eat meat and that I should embrace the McDougall program as she had for 15 years. Problem was, she looked like hell. No muscle tone at all and, I suspect, a fairly high body fat for someone who fancied herself an athlete. It took all I had to keep from saying something that might have spoiled her trip!

As with any diet regimen, Dr. McDougall backs his theories up with studies. But that’s the biggest problem with the “science” of nutrition: anyone can find a study here or there that supports almost any premise. To wit: Fish is great because it’s a source of important Omega 3 fats, but fish is bad because it’s a source of toxic heavy metals, but fish is great because the heavy metals are not actually present at realistically dangerous levels, but fish is bad because the fish lobby was the one funding the study on relative safety, and on ad infinitum.

If there were a right answer, everyone would be doing it. I guess the best any of us can do is to align the “receptivity filters” in our brains with our current belief systems and create habits that reinforce those beliefs – and that, hopefully, result in healthy bodies and minds. Ultimately, I have chosen to believe that we were programmed to eat primarily small portions of meat and vegetables, with a little fruit thrown in occasionally. It works for me (53 years old, 5’10” 165 lbs and 8% body fat).

frisbeemark 1

Problem is, if you have no understanding of biology or chemistry, you can easily fall for that old vegan argument that meat is bad (notwithstanding the fact that there has never, in the entire history of man, been a country, culture or race that subsisted entirely on vegetables without animal flesh of some kind). Many people do fall for it. They also fall for the old “protein leaches calcium” argument, completely ignoring the fact that bones require protein as well as weight bearing activity to promote bone density and prevent osteoporosis. Or that stress has a far greater impact on preventing absorption of calcium than excess protein in the diet. But here I am giving you my opinion again and it’s only based on studies that my filters have shown align with my own beliefs…

I was fascinated by what I saw to be the complete antithesis of a healthy diet being offered up as the healthiest way to eat. And by people willing to accept that they could eat all they want of this high-carb fare and regain their lost health in the process. Try as I might, I couldn’t avoid losing a few pounds of hard-fought muscle myself over the week. Luckily, I was able to regain homeostasis shortly after returning home. And ultimately, I was left with a confidence that following Primal Blueprint path is exactly what humans were designed to do.

What are your thoughts on vegetarianism, carbohydrates, and protein?

Be sure to stick around for today’s Tuesday 10.

Best of MDA

(This piece was originally posted at my friend Art DeVany’s blog.)

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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!

21 May

Tropicana to Sell Fishy Juice

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

It’s a tasty catch.

Eve Was Smart; Go Fish

When pregnant women make it a point to consume apples and fish, their babies display a reduced risk of asthma and fungal infections. We’re thrilled about the apple news, naturally, but want to offer a word of caution on fish. Fish is healthy for a number of reasons – namely, it provides essential fatty acids that are lacking in the standard American diet. That said, some fish contain high levels of metal contaminants such as mercury, which is linked to autism and birth defects. The type of fish a pregnant woman chooses is very important. Wild Alaskan salmon, mackerel, sardines, Arctic cod and fish oil pills are good choices for Omega-3′s. Pregnant women should avoid shark, mahi mahi, Chilean sea bass, red snapper and other warm-water fishes.

Don’t these apples look delicious?

fujiapple

Photo credit

Avandia Loses Its Luster

The type-2 diabetes drug Avandia causes a worrisome increase in heart attacks. Though GlaxoSmithKline has recently published a spate of rosy ads touting their commitment to prevention of diabetes through community programs and lifestyle changes, we’re willing to bet that they’re not excited about their blockbuster drug (generic name rosiglitazone) making the headlines for causing a spike in heart attacks. Check out what this doctor says about it (and wouldn’t it have been clever if the headline had read “Not So Rosi”?)

Oh, dear. Maybe someday we’ll figure out what causes type 2. Until then, follow Uncle Sam’s advice and make half your grains whole. That way, you’ll still have room in your daily diet for appeasing the food processing and soda lobbies the tasty products you love.

We Don’t Have an Opinion (We Know…Strange)

Okay, apples, we need your help with this one. Tropicana is releasing a new product in June: Omega-3-enhanced orange juice. On the one hand, orange juice is a high-sugar, fiberless beta cell battle waiting to happen. On the other, Americans guzzle OJ like it’s Christmas and they are sorely lacking in Omega-3′s. But, again, orange juice is brimming with pesticides. However, the omega-3′s that Tropicana is using are really, really high quality (filtered fish origin, DHA and EPA). But, like many foods enhanced with flaxseed or fish oil, we wonder if the flavor will fly. What do you think? Is this progress, or pandering?

oj

This is Aeioux’s Flickr Photo

More Health News from the Bees

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