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

Mark's Daily Apple

27 Apr

Chocolate: Ruining a Good Thing

Like red wine and grass-fed steak, good-quality chocolate is one of those decadent treats that miraculously manages to be healthy (within reason, of course). Leave it to the food producers of America to mess up a good thing.

I just happened upon a terrific food processing news blog run by one Dean Best. He reports that Guittard, a fine chocolate maker, is trying to get consumers inspired to fight new regs that would allow milk substitutes and cheap vegetable oils in chocolate. The reason? African cocoa production is down, so rather than let profits suffer for a few quarters, food producers would rather give you a lesser product.

You see this all the time – toilet paper is famous for getting thinner and lower in quality as the prices continue to rise. There are hundreds of examples, but in general, sleazy companies desperate to keep profits up will either pass on the expense to the customer or reduce the product’s quality – or both – rather than finding other ways to cut costs. “Sleazy” might seem like a strong word, but it’s deserved.

Here’s an idea: make a product that’s so good, you can’t help but succeed. (Or, just keep blaming the marketing department.)

You loyal readers know I almost never mention my own supplement company, Primal Nutrition. For one thing, I believe the products speak for themselves. For another, the purpose of this blog is to provide an insightful, enjoyable health community, whether you’ve ever been a customer or not. But this time, I do have to say something about this entire issue of short-changing the consumer, because I’ve proven a company can be an ethical exception to the rule of sleaze. There’s just no excuse – period – for short-changing customers. In ten years, I’ve never raised prices on my signature product, the Damage Control Master Formula, despite major production cost increases. I regularly update the formula based on new research, and over the years, I’ve continuously increased the quality and value. I make less money, but the funny thing is, by putting customers first, Primal has continued to flourish – more than ever.

Don’t be messin’ with my chocolate!

26 Apr

Avoiding Pesticides Is a Snap!

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

Want to know which veggies are cleanest and which are shellacked in pesticides? Read on…

Helpful Food Shopping Guide

Learn about the cleanest produce, the “dirty dozen”, and scoop up other healthy shopping tips. This easy guide is free and it downloads in a snap!

shoppers

Nothing Wasted

Waisted in the Wasteland has a must-read post about what Big Agra may be doing with all that bad pet food. We’re all for recycling, but this is going too far! Who wants to eat plastic?

Question of the day: do any of you make your own pet food?

Calling All Health Hacks!

Have you checked out Lifehack? (Not Lifehacker, a hot blog which helps you “geek to live”. Lifehack features healthy news and personal development ideas in addition to techie tips.) This is a terrific article on some of the healthiest foods for energy and longevity. Mark pointed out that he doesn’t think drinking 8 glasses of water daily needs to be a hard-and-fast rule of health. What do you think about that? Be sure to visit this great blog and add your own healthy food suggestions to their list. When you add your knowledge to bloggers’ articles, everyone learns a little bit more, so don’t be shy!

Obsessed with Big Moo?

Catch this hilarious video spoofing Big Moo from Stephen Colbert. (via Veggie Chic)

26 Apr

How to Get Sick and Die

The Definitive Guide: Part 1

Get sick and die. You know you need to. The government, dietitians and health experts remind us constantly – you simply can’t get sick and die if you don’t take the appropriate steps! That means logging plenty of hours on the sofa, eating your fill of fast food, and engaging in risky behaviors.

But finding the motivation and discipline to get sick and die isn’t easy. You’re not a celebrity with a posse of trainers, chefs and surgeons – you’re one of the millions of Americans desperate to experience your worst, look flabby and feel terrible. You’ve seen the news: tens of millions of Americans are already well on their way to getting sick and dying, yet you’re left out in the cold. What’s their secret? How are you supposed to wade through the avalanche of information to find the absolute worst, sickest, most disgusting lifestyle possible?

With a tight budget and busy schedule, I know that’s not always easy – but it can be! You may not be aware, but thousands of restaurants, stores and companies already offer convenient, inexpensive products and services that can help you get sick and die.

Why haven’t you heard about this before, you ask? Search no more. Here in this series, for the first time, you’ll get the real information you need, all in easy, clear terms. In fact, you may be surprised at how little you actually have to change in order to get sick and die. It’s really not so hard. No sacrifice. No uncomfortable physical activity, because that would be stressful. No strange pills or healthy supplements – only drugs approved by our government. And of course, no deprivation or starvation.

I’ve employed a team of researchers to find the absolute bottom-of-the-barrel, guaranteed-to-sicken recipes, tips and techniques for minimum health results. No guesswork. In fact, no work, period.

Here are five clicks to get you started on your way to getting sick and dying in no time! Now before you say, “Gosh, Mark, you must really love me; I too want to get sick and die!” don’t go giving me all the credit. I’m just telling you facts about food, fitness and health that everybody already follows! It’s not just chain restaurants. Even our FDA, federal government and health organizations like the American Diabetes Association support drug use, soda and refined sweets “in moderation”. But what I like most is that these leaders support a sensible, healthy weight range of 30 pounds per inch (Awesome metrics, BMI! It’s genius, is it not?).

This is just no-brainer stuff that you will discover you may already know about. Isn’t it a relief to know you can get sick and die with little change to the standard American lifestyle? Obviously we are doing everything right, or we would not be getting sick and dying faster than most other nations! You can help make us #1!

1. Get your omega-3′s! Everyone knows avocados are healthy. Duh. Eat them this way, though, and that pesky health issue is no longer a problem.

2. Why take vitamins? They’ve killed a few people who were gonna die anyway. We recommend prescription drugs instead, because they’ve killed millions! No comparison, homeys! Most Americans take several drugs daily – you don’t want to be left out, do you? How else will you get sick and die right away?

3. Eat fish. Everyone knows fish is great, but only if it’s cooked like this. Don’t forget the tartar sauce!

4. Don’t stress your body out by exercising. Exercise will make you live longer, and who wants that kind of pressure? Like we need that stress!

5. Avoid fat, because it will actually give you energy and make you live longer. (Jimmy covers this issue.) The low-carbers are part of a conspiracy with one goal in mind: making sure you lose weight and live longer – and maybe even cure those mood swings! Be sure to get a lot of sugar in your diet – The Man supports a minimum 6 servings of grain carbs a day and says it’s great for 3 of them to be refined. That guy knows what he is talking about – this is a completely effective way to get sick and die!

Next week, be sure to check out Part 2 of How to Get Sick and Die, when I’ll be highlighting wonderful recipes to help you get sick and die! Did you know meals like burritos, pizza, nachos, burgers and pasta are a sure-fire way to get sick and die? Yeah, neither did we, but how cool is that? You can eat all the regular American foods you know and love and still get sick and die in no time!

GETSICKANDDIE

Are you horrified by this piece? Or do you love it? Tell me, and if you want, share it on Digg or Reddit.

25 Apr

It’s a Bad Day for Big Agra & Big Pharma

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

Woo hoo! Bigs cry, Bees cheer.

Stop Feeding Junk to the Kidlets

For the love of Fuji, can we please stop slinging soda and chips and pizza at children? Vending machines and cafeterias are contributing to an obesity epidemic that is an embarrassing indictment of our public education system. Fortunately, some standards may soon be put in place. The only thing we’re concerned about is that these new “standards” aren’t exactly the cornucopia of healthy food you’d hope for. But anything is better than nuggets and fries. You’ll want to read about this news out today over at this blog, because it’s put in a far more entertaining and insightful light than the AP release going around the web.

vendingmachine

This Photo Belongs to Mr Wabu

Sara adds: One of my favorite blogs, The Cardio Blog, got into this very controversial issue yesterday. I left a comment, and I encourage you to do the same (tell me I’m way off or tell me I’m right, and give that blog some well-deserved props for addressing this very important issue). That blog has gone from pretty sanitized to downright compelling lately, which I know you’ll appreciate. So check it out!

Tell Us Something We Don’t Know

This is news? It gets worse. Don’t miss this blog’s analysis. Think that it’s just a conspiracy theory that Big Pharma is trying to buy off doctors? Think again.

Harming Moms and Babies

Big Agra doesn’t like moms breast-feeding because, to be blunt, it’s not profitable. So, they’re very cleverly playing into the obesity epidemic scare by inventing formula that “prevents” obesity. Way to love the next generation, guys.

Doctors and Nutrition

You know that saying about how doctors only receive one semester of nutritional training? (And boy, is it woefully out of date.) Well, here’s some good progress being made.

As if we weren’t already in enough trouble, be sure to visit tomorrow to read Mark’s piece, “How to Get Sick and Die” (we’re not stopping until we’re in hot water with The Man). Until tomorrow, Apples!

25 Apr

Are Men the Weakest Link?

Why do women outlive men?

There are plenty of theories about this. The pat answer from the Angry Guys Crowd is often, “Well, duh, we work harder and are more stressed out.” Aw, grow up. I’m certainly not the most politically correct of men, and I think the wave of feminism in the early 90s was pretty tough for a lot of guys to swallow (forever giving that Limbaugh something to rant about). But news flash, guys. Nearly as many women work full-time as men, more women now go to college than men, and if raising kids while simultaneously working a career isn’t stressful, what is?

As the parents of both a teen girl and boy, Carrie and I see very stressful challenges beginning to hit both of them. Let’s be honest: girls are still expected to look attractive, but now they need to be increasingly career-minded and financially savvy, too. Boys have a sharp line to walk – these days, men are also judged by their appearance as well as the traditional “manly” achievements like financial success and social leadership. (That said, still, I don’t see any guy having to deal with the question: “But how will I balance work and family?” This still confronts most women.) This isn’t about me piping up on the politics of feminism, but any guy who still thinks men work harder or are more stressed out needs to take a look around. Men and women both have unique stresses and challenges, and the real issue here is health.

So if it’s not really the level of stress or the 9-to-5 life, why are guys still croaking 5 to 10 years earlier than women? Is it because men go to the doctor less, are taught as boys to ignore pain, take more risks (cars, sports, booze, fights) and eat more junk? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. But that’s not all.

Are men still kicking the bucket too early because more money has been diverted in recent years to women’s health? That’s what this article, which inspired this post, questions (it’s a knock-out piece of reporting, so please check it out). But that argument doesn’t pass muster. It might be a factor, but the overwhelming issue here is that men just don’t go to the doctor. For example, every guy knows prostate cancer is a big risk to all men – but we avoid the doctor anyway. I don’t think the fact that more money has finally been spent on women’s breast cancer research is the reason men are dying of prostate cancer or are dying sooner in general. This boys-versus-girls health debate makes for a good news piece on the T.V., but biology is the answer here, not politics.

Even accounting for all possible factors, and even when the odds are fairly and squarely stacked, scientists come up with the same darn result every time: the dudes do not fare well.

Here’s the reason: nature didn’t design us to live as long as women. (Gasp!) Men may be the stronger, tougher sex. We’ve got brute force down cold. We can fight off a pack of wolves like no other – guys, we rock. Unfortunately, we now live in the modern world, where it’s much more desirable and useful to our families for us to live a long time, not fend off roaming wild animals. Guys, when it comes to our biology, we need an update. Man 2.0.

It all goes back to human development (and the article mentioned above explores this nicely, too). It made sense for a man to be stronger and tougher but not long-lived, because men were, frankly, expendable. Yes, men, we are completely replaceable. Little prehistoric tribe loses a guy? No big deal – another guy could easily take his place (in frank reproductive survival terms). One man could ensure the survival of a village if absolutely necessary, but a group needs more than one woman to keep going. From an evolutionary biology perspective, women were just more valuable. Men are designed to run fast and furious – it’s not a slow burn.

So, now that we are all living in a modern world, if men want to live longer, we’ve got to upgrade the system. Men, we have to manage stress better. (Not because we’re more stressed; but because our bodies don’t handle stress as well. Girls get most of the soothing oxytocin). As in, reduce it and let it out so you feel relaxed (that means lots of exercise, not solely beer and the game, genius). You have to work out more than your wife, period. You do. You have to stop eating fast food, period. Completely.

A guy who avoids fast food, really manages stress, and stays trim has an excellent shot at some serious longevity. But biology, in addition to all the stupid stuff we do in our twenties, has set us up for shorter lifespans, so take action today, guys.

What are your thoughts?

If you like this piece, please Digg it.

If you’re a science nut like me, here are some great blogs:

Art DeVany – a good friend of mine and an original thinker with an interesting perspective

Omni Brain – all about the human brain: fun, interesting and informative

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