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

Mark's Daily Apple

3 Apr

Blogging on the Beach…

…something I could definitely get used to!

I was in Thailand last week at one of my favorite spots in the world – a little beach resort area in Phuket. They had been hit pretty hard by the ’04 tsunami, some 700 people having been lost in flooding in the town of Patong beach alone. Yet, other than a small memorial there was almost no remaining evidence that this devastating event had ever occurred. The Thai are very resilient people, and very appreciative of what they have, which, in most cases, isn’t much compared to what we have. I am reminded of the longevity studies that show that the single most important trait in living a longer, healthier life is the ability to “move on” from life’s major setbacks. The Thai people seem to me to be a shining example of this trait.

The other thing you notice in Thailand (and in many Asian countries) is that there are very few overweight people. Wait a minute, you say, don’t they eat a lot of rice and isn’t rice on your list of no-no’s? Well, the truth is, they do not really eat a lot of rice. They may have a small amount at many meals, but virtually every meal we ate during our time in Thailand contained a comparatively greater amount of protein and vegetables and a tiny amount of rice. And the portions at each meal were fairly minimalist. No super-sizing here. The result was that after each meal, we felt very satisfied, but never full. That is the key to eating healthy (or, as my eighth grade English teacher would have me say, healthily. But it just sounds wrong!).

Between the great food, the beach, and the relaxing pace, my wife, Carrie, and I had a great time together just getting away from it all.

A few pictures:

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A relaxing evening together after a day in the sun…

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I’m very serious about this frisbee business.

(I’ll post a couple more pictures on the Pictures page later today.)

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2 Apr

Now This Is Cool!

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

Click it out! Here’s the most exciting health news for your reading pleasure.

But What Will Happen to the Blood Type Diet?

We’re being facetious – okay, maybe just silly. But get ready for some radical news: scientists have been hard at work making enzymes that will switch any blood type into type O. As in, O, wow. Type O can be accepted by everybody regardless of blood type, so this looks to be revolutionary for public health. Pretty amazing! We’ll keep you posted.

Antidepressant Alternative Brings Cheer

The medical community has been expressing growing concern over the lackluster improvements in antidepressant medication. Frankly, we just need something safer, healthier and more effective. Lo and behold, today’s edition of the journal Neuroscience reports that friendly bacteria found in dirt may do the trick.

This is as good a time as any to vent a little bit about germ loathing. Hype, we say! Apparently, soap is so old school. Everywhere you look, there’s antibacterial utensils or antibacterial clothes or antibacterial lives. But bacteria – even the bad kind – can be really good for you! There are some dangerous ones out there, but most bacteria serve a healthy and important purpose: they keep you slim, develop and strengthen your immune system, thereby enabling us all to…live. By all means, wash your hands, but do not buy into the new antibacterial keychain trend. You’ll be okay without it, we promise.

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This Is Bdausch55′s Flickr Photo

The Fairer Sex

Guess who is more sensitive?

2 Apr

Quick Bites

Yo, Apples!

A few quick updates:

- I’m going to be moving my blogroll to a separate page in the very near future, because, hey, it’s getting a little long and I want to keep the main page looking really clean and uncluttered.

- You may have noticed I added several new general categories (e.g. Stress, Food, Nutrition). We still have all the specific weekly columns you know and love (Fuming Fuji, Monday Moment, and all the rest). But the Bees are hard at work grouping every post – over 300 of them now! – into general categories, too. I think this will make things easier for new readers and loyal followers alike. If you’re desperate to crush that stress or on a mission to lose five pounds or simply in the mood for a delicious, healthy recipe, the new general categories will make these pursuits easier. We’ve also been playing around with Technorati tags, but I’m not sure that we’ll keep it up.

- Your comments and emails are greatly appreciated. This is what is most rewarding about blogging for me – interacting with customers, friends, and people from all over the world. I think of MDA as a health-and-wellness water cooler, so don’t be shy! I’ve really had fun starting this blog, and I’m looking forward to the conversation getting bigger. I love that I can chat with you about health from anywhere – even Thailand (more on that later).
Of course, I’d really like to hear any of your suggestions for ways I can improve the site so that you get the most out of it. Your thoughts are always welcome.

2 Apr

Does It Have to Be This Way?

Something has been on my mind and I want to ask for your thoughts on the matter.

The other day, I stopped at the local Starbucks for a coffee. Rather than book it to my next errand, I decided to sit and relax for a few minutes. Yes, I’m a people-watcher (guilty as charged). It was late in the afternoon and people were hurriedly running their errands, trying to get everything taken care of before dinner.

I started to notice something: everywhere I looked, people were stressed out. Brows were furrowed, children were ornery, wives looked anxious, the husbands had that “I’ve officially hit the wall” numb look. Drivers were impatiently honking horns, the intersection was jammed, and the general feeling in the air was pretty lousy.

I shook it off and walked over to the drugstore to pick up a few sundries. Same thing – a woman was tearing the poor clerk to pieces over a soda discount error. The line was piling up, people were complaining and grimacing, and there was a lot of huffing going on.

Against my better judgment, I headed for the bank to take care of some business, and it was the same scene there: a college kid crying about her overdraft charges, an incompetent teller, a missing manager, an obnoxious guy in a suit screaming on his cell phone.

We all have those days. Evidently, this day, everyone was having it at the same time. We all hit our limits, and sometimes the manners just go. Nobody’s perfect. Life is really stressful. And yet, I find myself asking: why do we accept this?

Is there ever really a reason to scream at a clerk, your child, your spouse? We all dread getting stuck behind “that person” in line – that person who gets rattled by the tiniest mistake and apparently feels that yelling at another human being is acceptable behavior. Even worse, most of us have been that person at least once, despite our best attempts.

So, is this just life? If life turns ordinary people into angry, stressed, impatient souls, should we really say that’s just the way life is? Should we accept it?

I don’t have the answers. I don’t even know if I’m asking the right question (but I think I am). I’m certain you know what I’m talking about – we all witness this hum of stress on a persistent, sometimes even daily, basis. All I want is one good, compelling, logical reason why it has to be this way. I don’t want to know why it is this way – that’s easy enough to figure out if you simply look at our modern lifestyle and the insane pressures many of us face. That’s not what I’m asking.

I want someone to tell me why it has to be, not why it is. Does it have to be this way?

2 Apr

Taxes, Holidays & Spring Fever: Also Known As April

With holidays, taxes and spring fever upon us, April is a hectic time for all of us – to say the least! April showers? More like April avalanche.

My challenge to you this week: get organized now so that you don’t shortchange yourself in the exercise and sleep departments this month. We all have our different systems – personally, I like to plot out the essentials for each week and not worry too much about every detail. Some of us do better when every last thing is accounted for and planned. Whatever system works best for you, get an early start on it so you can enjoy this busy month and let your list do the stressing for you. (I know, easier said than done, but go for it anyway.)

If you’re already a master of organization and time management, I’d love to hear your secrets. Drop me a line in the forum!

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