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

Mark's Daily Apple

27 Feb

Healthy Tastes Great!

Stacked Tomato Salad with Tapenade and Basil Dressing

tomato
26 Feb

You Best Be Clickin’!

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

Mark’s Daily Apple is 100% sugar-free. Are you?

Big Breakthroughs

Beats biopsies!

Down Syndrome discovery!

Smooth Criminal

You may recall last week’s little exploration of refreshing beverages overflowing with so many calories, even Bactrian camels would be concerned. Hey, a small, fiber-rich protein shake is one thing. But these sherbet-and-sugar-water pajama parties masquerading as “healthy” fruit smoothies are just the latest health scam.

The fact that smoothie slurping has doubled is a good indicator that people want to be healthy. We dig that. Unfortunately, the typical smoothie is really just a glorified milkshake. Know the difference. And for the love of tempeh, remember to keep an eye on the seedlings! They love those sports drinks and smoothies, but no child needs that much sugar.
denofevil

Yo, Moto!

Big Pharma likes to see only the most favorable results published? And this is news? All right, that’s it – we feel an award coming on…
MOTO
Similar exposes have recently targeted the dairy industry (ooh, milk made me lose two whole pounds!), soft drink giants (soda is a good way to get type 2 diabetes, actually) and weight loss scams (hoodia, anyone?).

It’s kind of like the news out today that black soybeans are the new miracle food. Sure, beans can be healthy, but let’s not jump all over black soybean tortillas just yet. Focus on fresh, whole, and unprocessed foods, and you’ll be doing great – really!

Bottom line: always look for information on who funded the study before you buy into the product.

Flu Cliches Bug Us

Oops.

Feel guilty because you didn’t get a flu shot this year? A super-vaccine is in the works. (This is one of those things that sounds great initially. It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt…)

We tend to support abstemious flu shottage unless you’ve got a weakened, tired or toddler immune system on your hands. If you can avoid yet another drug, you’re probably better off. You’re still stuck with words like abstemious, though.

thermometer
26 Feb

A Monday Moment

Kill ‘Em With Kindness

What is it with road rage? I get a big kick out of people who aggressively tailgate (the gals) and cut me off (the guys). Well, I get a kick out of it to the extent that I can while attempting to make it to the store in one piece. And I have to admit, I do get immense personal satisfaction out of not getting too riled up over these nitwits who feel a few inches of steel turns them into invincible tank lords (uh…hi, I can still see through your windows, genius).

Nothing kills ‘em quite like kindness.

And laughing it off – or at least letting it roll off if you can’t quite summon a smile – seems to have a ripple effect on everyone you come across. This is my own personal study, of course, but I believe it works. When I start my morning right – not just when things are going well but especially when things are not – the rest of the day manages to work out a lot better.

Dry cleaner stained your clothes? Bank line taking forever? Waiter messed up your order? Try laughing, smiling and making a joke of it. It’s amazing what happens: the first thing you’ll notice is the incredible relief flooding the other person’s face. They’ll bend over backwards to fix it (and if not, well, you tried). The next time you stop in, you’ll be treated like royalty.

It’s so easy to get frustrated – we’re in a rush, we’re stressed, we need it now! And it’s tempting to vent and make demands, especially with service staff, because frankly, we can get away with it. After all, we have a right to be pissed off. But no one – most importantly, not even you – walks away happy.

It’s not news, but it’s a good reminder every now and again.

Just watch out for the 16-year-old in his mama’s Escalade. Sometimes there’s no helping that one.

escalade
26 Feb

Mark’s Weekly Health Challenge

Here’s your challenge:

Develop one really healthy habit this week. It doesn’t take long to form a habit, good or bad. Here are a few suggestions: floss, exercise, drink less alcohol, double your vegetables, eat a daily salad, lift weights, practice gratitude, be generous to someone. Report back, Apples!

floss

(Carlo Winkelmann photo)

Psst…have you signed up for my free weekly health tip? Click “Join” above to receive my weekly email newsletter that includes recipes, deals, contests and great health tips to get your week off to a positive start.

23 Feb

Hug It Out

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

News to click before you sneak out of the office for the weekend.

Risky Business

Funny, we remember it was only a year ago that the government was emphatically denying any mad cow problems in the U.S. Then, the Alberta beef contamination scare hit. (And about a million conspiracy theories.) Next, we witnessed a spate of food poisoning incidents in everything from spinach to peanut butter. Surely something is going on, because now this protocol is scheduled to begin. Dare we say…progress?

Burger suppliers are in a twist because they don’t want inspectors dropping by unannounced – they like the current system of self-policing and occasional inspector wink-winks check-ins. Well, yeah, who wouldn’t? Strangely, even consumer advocacy groups are taking issue with this new risk-based protocol (they say it’s all happening too fast). We’re starting to think it’s not the cows who are mad.

Trans-ferring Blame

We’ve been bringing you news on trans fat for several months now, Apples, and here’s the latest from the fryer:

NYC, Philly, and L.A., plus an entire state – Massachusetts – are working to ban trans fats. Fabulous. (Well, actually, Los Angeles is merely reminding everyone they never ate trans fat to begin with.) But we digress.

friedchicken

(Flickr Photo)

There’s a growing problem with the trans fat furor, and it highlights a problematic issue with Americans and our health efforts. We tend to gravitate to “super” foods, “miracle”nutrients and “perfect” new diets, rather than following a generally healthy diet of moderation. By the same token, we ridicule, ban and boycott newly-discovered unhealthy foods and ingredients with a level of collective loathing only outdone by our feelings about garden slugs.

To wit: we’re now banning trans fats, but eating the same old garbage. It’s taken about three seconds for restaurants and food companies to create reasonable fat substitutes for trans fat. Notice, no one is getting rid of the French fries, potato chips and pastries; we’re just using a different fat. Trans fat may be going the way of skinny jeans, but the same old fattening, sugary junk is still lining shelves and spilling out of drive-through windows everywhere.

“Trans fat-free chips” may sound great, because we know trans fat is bad, but that doesn’t make the chips any healthier to eat.

Women and Depression

Though recent studies have confirmed that just as many men suffer from depression as women (they’re just less likely to seek help), depression manifests in different ways depending on gender. One possibility: depressed women may self-medicate with alcohol more intensely than men. It’s difficult for scientists to pinpoint, because it’s a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg dilemma. Does depression cause alcoholism or does alcoholism cause depression? Or are they simply manifestations of a single root health issue?

cosmo

(Christy Thompson photo)

A completely unscientific observation from Sara and Jen: it does appear that women’s television shows are featuring heavy drinking more frequently than ever. Sex in the City was well-known for its endless cocktails – hey, it made Cosmopolitans famous. But shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Men in Trees and others feature stressed-out young women pounding shots whenever they’re upset (didn’t it used to be ice cream?). Scientists do say that when it comes to drinking, women are “keeping up” with men in increasing numbers.

What do you think, Apples?

Web it out:

Vegan Lunch Box turned us on to this great article about the difference between soda and fruit juice (the answer: not much). The article isn’t brand-spanking-new, but since the unethical bloodsuckers over at Capri Sun and Sunny D are still raking in the cash, it could use a little clickativity. Spread the word, Apples.

caprisun

© 2014 Mark's Daily Apple