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

Mark's Daily Apple

23 Feb

Smart Fuel

Olives

Did you know that this decadent little guy is actually one of the healthiest foods you can eat?

olives

(Pál Csonka photo)

Olives are high in fat, but fortunately for us, it’s the good kind. Olives are fairly high in calories for a fruit, but you can certainly do a lot worse for snack fare (think cheese, honey-roasted nuts and processed deli meats). We love olives because they provide a rich, dense, satisfying texture and flavor – when cucumber slices just won’t do, put the cheddar down and reach for these chewy cholesterol-reducers instead.

Olives are great for your heart because they’re a “smart” fat, but they also contain high levels of antioxidant vitamin E, gut-busting fiber and important trace minerals like copper. If you want to strengthen your cardiovascular system, reach for olive tapenade instead of the cream cheese next time you’re at the grocery store.

We all know olive oil is a wonderfully healthy alternative to refined oils like canola, corn and soybean oil. Why not go right to the source? Get creative with your olives – throw them in salads, slice sour green olives right into your scrambled eggs, and bake them into your vegetable dishes.

Everything you could ever want to know about olives.

23 Feb

Scientists Perplexed, Issue ‘Impossible Calorie’ Award

The Mark’s Daily Apple scientific panel welcomes you to the monthly Impossible Calorie Award. This month:

The Shake Down

We all know milkshakes are unhealthy, but fortunately, there are plenty of healthy alternatives, right?

Wrong. Apples and seedlings, we present the findings:

Starbucks

No one thinks a Frappucino is healthy (we hope). But plenty of unsuspecting folks would assume – understandably – that an iced coffee does far less damage than a milkshake.

frap

Item: Starbucks Strawberries & Creme Frappucino (16 oz.)
Calories: 570

Sugar: 83 grams (“golden diabetes award” coming soon!)

McDonald’s

By comparison, a triple-thick strawberry shake from the golden arches…

mcdshake

Calories: 560

Sugar: 84 grams

…oh.

In other words, don’t fool yourself – decadent coffee drinks are just milkshakes with culture.

Enter the tie-breaker. What’s cool, sweet, hits the spot, and is really healthy, all at once? Why, fruit smoothies!

Jamba Juice

Chains like Jamba and Robeks have made a fortune selling people on the idea that their jumbo sherbet and juice blends are the epitome of healthy slurping.

jamba

Although you can add in healthy “boosts” like protein powder, vitamin blends and wheat grass shots, these drinks are the ultimate scam. Not only are these shakes generally nothing more than an ice cream and fruit juice fructose-fest, they provide enough calories to feed a small country. Fruit juice is fruit with the fiber removed, and what’s left is sugar.

An “original” strawberry smoothie can set you back as many as 500 calories – and if you upgrade to the “Power” size in the name of good health, you’ll suck down a diabetes epidemic of your own with over 600 calories and 140 grams of sugar. Apples, we have a winner!

ImpossibleCalorieAward
22 Feb

Piping Hot Health

Worker Bees Daily Bites

Better than apple pie.

Litigious Nuts

The peanut butter controversy continues with a major lawsuit against ConAgra. Say what you will about litigation getting excessive – we have to admit, we don’t feel sorry for ConAgra and other big food manufacturers. Clean up the mess, avoid the problems! Is that too much to ask?

pb

Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones

But not nearly as well as GlaxoSmithKline. Thanks, guys. Way to show some love to the ladies.

Not Even the Pope Can Make This Healthy

A rather ridiculous request from the Colonel. Kentucky Fried Chicken’s (kick the) bucket makes us all question the meaning of life, but evidently it can get worse.

snacker

Web it out:

A Drug for Everyone!

22 Feb

More Cowbell

taste

What is it with every restaurant cramming fifteen different flavors into their recipes these days? First we had egg rolls. Then we had avocado egg rolls. Now it’s Southwest with-a-hint-of-tang spinach egg rolls – and they come with avocado-ranch dipping sauce (what a relief).

Snacks are no better (not as if they ever were). Joel Stein has a pretty humorous piece in the February 2 issue of Time that addresses the current trends of making “lowbrow highbrow”. I’m with you, Joel. Making a potato chip organic isn’t doing anyone any favors. We don’t need multi-grain nachos. We need to lay off the nachos.

But I digress. My personal peeve is the overwhelming onslaught of flavor – excuse me, “zest” – in every menu item these days. Sweet isn’t enough. Salty doesn’t cut it. It’s got to be salty and sweet and sour and possibly Asian-spice-infused. Chicken? Good luck with that one. Buffalo wings are neither buffalo nor wings, but you can get them in a tangy sesame-crusted sour sauce.

I’m not sure what’s behind food marketers’ move to infuse every molecule of product with simultaneously sweet, sour, spicy, cool, tangy, creamy flavor. The experts say Americans are becoming aware of global “flavors” like never before, and we want exotic tastes: spices, curries, garlic, heat. I’m right there with you – bring the taste. But whipping up an assertive stir fry is a bit different from ripping open a bag of wasabi-ranch fried carrot-esque crunch sticks. I don’t want a buffalo-bleu-cheese-pepper chip. I don’t want a chip, period.

More is not more. When the local joint stuffs five hundred flavors into the latest tortilla de obesity menu item, your tongue may be amazed, but your stomach will be left just trying to cope. Pick a side, already! All this bedazzling of snacks and reincarnated burrito wraps equals a lot more sodium, sugar (wait, corn syrup) and artificial flavoring.

Besides, guys, until you can deliver a deep-fried daquiri ice curry ball, and make it taste good, I’m just not impressed.

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