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

Mark's Daily Apple

5 Jul

The Definitive Guide to Stress, Cortisol, and the Adrenals: When ‘Fight or Flight’ Meets the Modern World

One of my goals with this weekly column is to make significant human health issues easy to understand and discuss. I was pleased that last week’s piece, the Definitive Guide to Insulin, Blood Sugar & Type 2 Diabetes, garnered some rave reviews. The Case Against Cardio piqued some great conversation and interesting criticisms (one soul out there in the webosphere took issue with the fact that I positioned Cardio exclusively from my personal perspective as a runner rather than authoring a more scholarly article. Well wasn’t that spot on. It’s called my blog.) My opinions can’t please everyone, of course, but – based on my experiences and understanding – I am certain that contributing some insights on health in light of our (all together now) genetic blueprint is a worthwhile and timely endeavor.

Now to the topic at hand. Stress can make you gain weight, and it contributes to premature aging. Understanding how stress is related to your overall health and potentially even longevity is essential to achieving your health goals. But do not, repeat, do not go and buy yourself a bottle of Cortislim – just read this quick summary and you’ll know all you need to know.

walnut

Ariel Amanda Flickr Photo (CC)

The adrenal glands are not unlike a walnut.

Keep reading…

5 Jul

Simple Fruit Salad

While there is a time and place for everything, when it comes to fruit salad my motto is keep it simple! This means no sugar – brown, granulated, confectioner’s, caster or otherwise. No simple syrup. No cream cheese, heavy cream or mayonnaise. No mustard (yes, some recipes call for mustard). No granola or marshmallows. No whipped cream. No gelatin. No instant vanilla pudding. No sour cream. And no shrimp paste. Whew! Am I forgetting anything? Oh, yeah. No canned fruit! Who needs all this nonsense when you can enjoy delectable, naturally-sweet, fresh fruit on its own. Let the fruit shine, people!

I was surprised to find how difficult it was to track down a simple fruit salad that wasn’t marred by the addition of so many superfluous ingredients. This one comes close. (I’d personally add some fresh blueberries and raspberries.) Enjoy!

800px Fruit salad closeup

Photo (CC)

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5 Jul

3 Healing Herbal Teas You Can Make in No Time at Home

We hope you all had a relaxing and enjoyable holiday!

Here are three healthy, soothing herbal infusions you can make at home. Herbal teas, of course, are not technically “tea”, but the combinations of herbs, fruit and spices promote many aspects of wellness. These are some of our favorites:

Cleansing & Rejuvenation

Recovering from illness? Or maybe a little too much festivity? Here’s a refreshing, stimulating blend.

1 or 2 strips fresh sliced ginger

2 teaspoons peppermint leaves (basil can work, as well, but won’t be as tasty)

1 teaspoon dried lavender

This herbaceous, spicy blend is wonderful for the stomach and digestion. For an extra herbal note you can add a dash of oregano or a sprig of rosemary.

mint

Sir Iwan Flickr Photo (CC)

Stress

Feeling ragged and overwhelmed? On edge? This infusion is guaranteed to relax.

1 rosehip

1 teaspoon linden flowers

1 teaspoon chamomile flowers

This gentle, sweet blend will help you sleep and promote calm. Add an orange peel twist for extra interest.

chamomile

Matsuyuki Flickr Photo (CC)

“Stomach Upset”

Why did I eat that? Here’s a natural tonic that will relieve cramps, gas and digestive complaints.

1 heaping tablespoon blueberries (boil and mash – don’t just use jam!)

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 sprig peppermint

This tasty, light syrup will have you feeling settled and restored in no time.

blueberries

Lori D Stone Flickr Photo (CC)

Infusion confusion? Here’s how to do it:

Infusion is very simple. You’ll generally want to use about 1 teaspoon of each herb to 1 cup of water, but if you are using dried herbs you may need an extra teaspoon or so. Add the herbs or flowers to water you’ve just boiled (wait for the boiling to settle down before adding the herbage). Cover and wait 10 minutes – presto, infusion! Strain and enjoy.

Source

Further Reading:

Types of tea

Cooking with tea

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4 Jul

Happy 4th!

We’re taking the day off. We’ll see you all tomorrow!

fireworks

Photo (CC)

3 Jul

MDA International Edition: What’s Going on with China?

Everywhere we look, it’s China in the news. Talk about growing pains. China, get it together!

First, the head of the State Food and Drug Administration accepted upwards of $850 thousand dollars in bribes to approve drugs. He was sentenced to death (imagine if we did that here).

Then, there were the various product scares: toothpaste, pet food, and toys. Hmm. Local is looking better and better, but we Americans sure love our cheap stuff.

Next, it turns out Beijing officials pressured the World Bank to cover up a very dirty fact: smog in China kills hundreds of thousands of people every year.

china

Photo (CC)

How has globalization affected you, for better or for worse?

Some conversation starters: drugs from Canada, AIDS in Africa, food from afar, and dare we say it? Wal-Mart.

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