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

Mark's Daily Apple

29 Jun

Another Round of Stump Sisson Friday

All right, gang, you flooded my inbox this week. I can certainly think of worse problems to have, though. (People read the blog! A whole lot of people, as it turns out). I always answer as many emails as I can. If you don’t hear from me, it’s a good idea to talk about your health questions in the forum, so that if I don’t answer them, someone sure will – a very encouraging and interesting gang, as you’ll find.

This week, I got a whole slew of questions about my controversial case against cardio, my antipathy towards carbs, what food I eat in a day, and oddly, not one but several emails about spirulina.

A samplin’:

“Mark, is it true that spirulina is a good source of Omega-3’s? Is it better than fish oil?”

Sorry, but spirulina is a very poor source of Omega-3’s – a dose of fish oil has ten times the amount. I have a bit of a beef with spirulina supplements, because while it’s technically true that spirulina is a good vegetarian protein as well as containing beneficial fatty acids, the amounts are seriously microscopic. You’d literally have to consume spirulina breakfast, lunch, and dinner to get even a minimal amount of nutrients you can easily get from consuming just a few servings of wild salmon or even olive oil every week. This is something I see in general with a lot of supposed “miracle food” supplements. I won’t name names (for now) but potency means zip if the dose itself is puny. Look at grams per serving, always.

“Mark, how do I find out my nutritional type?”

Oh, boy. This is one that just persists and persists. I am not a fan of body-typing for diet or anything else, apples. Something you learn in Biology 101 is that we all share the same metabolic pathways – so we should all stay away from the same things – sugar, namely. It’s just that some of us are better at extracting and storing calories than others (see the Bees’ coverage of gut bugs). The problem is simple, but very common (like 65% of Americans share it!).

Stick around for more fun and insights daily.

Further reading:

Carbs Are Not the Devil

It’s the Calories, Not the Carbs

Here’s a Tip: Eat Plants

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29 Jun

3 Quick Tips So You Don’t Blow Your Diet This Weekend

Here are three great diet tips from Claire, the blogger behind Burning the Scale (what a name, huh?). These are great reminders, so print them out if you need extra motivation, and go check out Claire’s blog, too. I really like tip 2.

1. Exercise!

No healthy lifestyle is complete without it. Exercise will boost your mood and decrease your risk of many cancers and heart disease. I wasn’t a believer in this until I tried it myself, and trust me, it works. Dieting without exercising will eventually bring your weight loss to a halt. You can start by walking around the block every day – just keep moving!

2. Don’t engage in “all-or-nothing” thinking.

You know what I mean – if you stay on your diet, you are “good” and if you make the slightest mistake, you’re “bad” and might as well throw everything away, so you go and eat everything in your pantry and tell yourself you’ll start tomorrow. Life doesn’t work like that. It’s not the one mistake that will do you in, it’s the giant binge that follows. Pick yourself up and keep going.

3. Stay motivated.

Whether it’s a picture of a fitness model you keep on your wall, or the idea of living to see your kids grow up, keep that in mind when you feel like you might stray. Keep focusing on the bigger picture when you start thinking “I can’t do this…it’s too hard.” You’ll be surprised at what you’re capable of.

Thanks, Claire.

Your tax dollars at work:

pets

Further Reading:

My guest posts on exercise: one, two, three.

A Case Against Cardio

The Real Reason We Don’t Exercise

I’ll be guest posting at Burning the Scale next week, so stay tuned.

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28 Jun

Now You Can Drink Your Grains

What we really need more of is drinkable grains.

As if most beverages weren’t already liquid grains, the food producers of America are uniting once again to help you in your quest for diabetes (or at least a respectable gut). Since everyone knows that grains are super healthy, you can expect the trend of grain-based drinks to continue.

That’s according to a report from Food Processing, which notes that in recent years we’ve seen the rise of alternatives to dairy (not a bad thing – sorry, Big Moo). Almond milk, soy milk and rice milk have become popular, but even hemp milk is an option these days.

Of course, the marketing trend of drinkable grains is not entirely accurate, as most of these non-dairy beverages are actually made from nuts and beans. So, if you’re really concerned about drinking your grains, you’ll be relieved to know that things like soda, beer, and energy drinks are already made from grains! That’s right. Drinkable grains are not really news, as it turns out, because we’ve already had them for a long time!

The bottom line: you can enjoy all the beverages you love and still get plenty of grains in your diet.

How, you ask? Well, silly, because corn is a grain! Many people think corn is a vegetable. It is not. Corn is a delightful grain completely lacking in vitamins, antioxidants, fiber and protein. It’s pretty superficial, and I dig that. Even better, the type of sweetener manufacturers make from this most excellent kernel corrodes your arteries and raises your blood sugar. What’s uber rad is that this sweetener – high fructose corn syrup – is in pretty much everything, so you don’t even have to look for it. No, seriously, everything: sauces, syrups, spreads, drinks, snacks, candies, fruit snacks, juices, sodas, frozen foods, and desserts. Everything!

soda

I found this chocolate fudge cola at my local grocery store. Score! I am totally gonna be drinking my grains now!

To get your daily recommended intake of grains – you need at least 6, remember – you can do the following:

– Drink 3 Coca-Colas

– Eat 1 donut and 2 cupcakes, or 1 cupcake and 2 donuts, or 1.5 donuts and 1.5 cupcakes

– You could also eat 3 brownies if you were born in the 70s

Do not forget: flavored sauces containing corn syrup count as a grain! It all counts. Give that chicken breast something to feel good about!

You can eat 3 of any sweet, refined treat, and you’ll be getting half your daily intake of grains! Don’t worry, this is all in step with the U.S. government’s dietary recommendations, which are to eat 6-11 grain servings daily, only half of which need to be whole grains (“Make half your grains whole”).

I am a bit of a princess, as you all know, so I will be eating eclairs. I want the expensive diabetes. With enough work, maybe I can even look like Labelman.

27 Jun

The Definitive Guide to Insulin, Blood Sugar & Type 2 Diabetes (and you’ll understand it)

BITE ME, ADA

We all know by now that type 2 diabetes is an epidemic. We’re seeing words like crisis and runaway all over the news and in the journals. Heart disease rates have been cut in half since the staggering margarine days of the 1980s, but diabetes has swiftly risen to fill that gaping void and meet the challenge of Completely Unnecessary Disease Epidemic.

Here’s my ultra-simple explanation of the entire insulin/blood sugar/type 2 diabetes mess. Big Agra could really care less about you. That’s just business. The pharmaceutical industry is not in it for the love of life. If that were the case, drugs would be much cheaper. The FDA has to think about public health, but it also has to think about treading carefully on the toes of corporate interests, because that’s how it works when you’re the biggest economy in the world.

Print this explanation out, stick it on your fridge, email it to your aunt. And put down the pasta.

Keep reading…

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