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

Mark's Daily Apple

28 Mar

Top 10 Top 10 Health Lists

Everyone loves a useful, pithy top ten – you MDA frequent flyers know that Mark delivers a piping hot set every Tuesday.

But with so many blogs, and so little time (darn work keeps gettin’ in the way), it’s hard to know which top tens are really…top. Never fear, Apples. I have spent the week scouring the blogosphere for the most helpful, enjoyable top ten lists to get you healthy, lean, fit, rested, and stress-free.

A list of lists: presenting the Top Ten Top Ten

10. Good Foods Gone Bad

I would add that in addition to fried fish sticks, popcorn shrimp and white-meat chicken nuggets are also lean protein sources gone very, very bad. The Doc makes an excellent point that we make these bad foods even worse by masking their bland flavor in unhealthy sauces.

9. Weight Loss Myths

Wow – this is a list you cannot miss! A sample: Fat isn’t bad. Sit-ups won’t give you a six-pack. And endless wailing at the cardio machine is not necessarily healthy.

8. Most Popular Trans Fat Foods

Some of them are sneaky!

7. Why We Have an Obesity Epidemic

An unusual list of reasons you may not have considered. I think too much in = not enough out is the obvious major culprit for obesity, but this list serves to show us that it’s really our entire lifestyle contributing to the obesity epidemic. In fact, if you think about it, it would be weird if we didn’t have an obesity epidemic – and isn’t that sad?

6. If This Doesn’t Make You Stop Smoking…

A refreshing take on why quitting smoking is so important.

5. Wake Up Feeling Great!

Careful on #5: remember to breathe and relax for best balance.

4. Exercise Myths

Absolutely one of the best round-ups of fitness myths I’ve seen. Each one is commonly believed by many of us, and this handy guide expertly debunks them all.

3. Speed Up a Sluggish Metabolism

This isn’t just a problem for overweight people. (In fact, part of the reason overweight people have extra pounds is because they have really good metabolisms! Possibly thanks to gut bugs, their bodies have become a little too efficient – great in prehistoric times, not so great now.)

This list offers some great tips, though I wouldn’t recommend a) high-intensity cardio more than once or twice a week, or b) drinking ice water for caloric burn.

Too much cardio actually stimulates cortisol and adrenaline, because the body thinks it’s in “fight or flight” panic mode. (Now, now, don’t be too sad about cutting back on the cardio machines.) As far as drinking ice water goes, this is one of those “relative nutrition” things Mark always talks about. It might help, it probably won’t hurt, but it’s such a marginal influence either way, don’t expect big results.

2. Hilarious Health Myths

The bread crust myth was new to me. Anyone else heard this one before? Apples?

1. Ten Reasons to Take a Walk

I like this list because it takes one enjoyable habit and shows you how this habit can alleviate all your health, exercise, and stress concerns. Nice, simple concept, easy to do, and really healthy!

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27 Mar

It Beats a Whole-Wheat Donut

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

Here’s the clickativity!

Asthmatic

The world’s top three asthma experts are presenting a shocking new finding: that asthma you’ve been treating may be a different health problem altogether.

inhaler

Stent Stunt

And another potential case of seriously misguided therapies: stents versus … everything else. Turns out that natural therapies (weight loss, exercise, reducing bad cholesterol) are still your best bet.

Helpful information: Wondering about the advice to take an aspirin a day? Many doctors advise it, and the FDA recommends it, but given the side effects and differing studies, we encourage you to think twice before following that recommendation. In fact, here is a refreshingly brief, balanced analysis of the news that women in particular should take a daily aspirin. It’s worth reading in its entirety to learn about the critical differences in types of studies – and how this has an impact on your health!

A safe, natural alternative to aspirin: white willow.

When aspirin is O.K.: For those who have suffered from a heart attack, aspirin does help. And in the event of a heart attack, taking an aspirin immediately can make all the difference.

(Psst: mixing aspirin with other drugs is a recipe for trouble).

aspirin

This is Big Kung Fu Master’s Photo

Super Pizza Saves the Day

The effort to create a healthy pizza rivaling the powers of the X-men is admirable and better than, say, whole wheat donuts.

But, you could just eat the healthy ingredients and leave the dough and processed meats out of the equation. The campaign to make pizza, donuts and other hand-held foods healthy is just begging for a sociology grad student’s analysis. What is it about the need to hold one’s food? Burritos, pizza slices and bagels enjoy success not seen since the aluminum can was given its complementary can opener (it only took 40 years).

Web it out:

Why it’s healthy for kids to eavesdrop

27 Mar

You’re Only 2 Feet Away from Changing Your Health Forever

We fret. We’re fretters.

We worry and obsess about which diets to try, what kind of exercise to do, and which weapon is most powerful in the all-consuming War on Free Radicals.

Hey, it’s all important. But here’s a big secret about getting and staying healthy: the little things do count. That’s because health is cumulative. Make a few really simple switches, stick with them until they’re habits, and you’re well on your way. Eventually, the habits add up, and you’ll get into Total Health Overhaul Territory. But the belief that THOT happens overnight, with a single “I’m really, no, really gonna do it this time!” vow, is a myth. Stop pressuring yourself! It’s not that tough!

Start small – really small. As in, the two feet of refrigerator real estate we all have reserved for condiments. Also known as those “foods” that last longer than some relationships.

Ten condiments you really don’t want in your fridge – and what to replace them with:

10. Oh sodium, how I love thee.

You don’t want: soy sauce

At least it won’t kill you: light soy sauce

You do want: Bragg’s aminos

Aminos don’t make the world a better place, but they’re really good for you.

soysauce

This is Mapgoblin’s Photo

9. Mrs. Butterworth(less)

You don’t want: artificial maple syrup

At least it won’t kill you: whole-wheat pancakes with fresh fruit and honey

You do want: a sparing amount of real maple syrup + fresh fruit + nuts

Get the flavor of pancakes and syrup without giving your pancreas hives. (Sorry, Mrs. Butterworth.)

apple

This is Flickrich’s Photo

8. Yea, though I walk through the aisle of dressing…

You don’t want: Hidden Valley anything

At least it won’t kill you: raspberry vinaigrette

You do want: balsamic vinegar and olive oil

Try walnut and avocado oils for variety. It’s best to mix up your own vinegar/oil combos, because many vinaigrettes are high in sugar and come drenched in additives.

slick

This is Krobbie’s Photo

7. That thing about sugar and spice being nice? Yeah, they were wrong.

You don’t want: BBQ sauce

At least it won’t kill you: steak sauce (still loaded with weird things, but only a few calories and no sugar)

You do want: to whip up your own marinades using vinegars, oils, and fresh herbs

Spices: paprika, cumin, chili powder, garlic, salt, pepper. Add those spices to equal parts tomato paste, dijon mustard, and olive oil. Give it a dash of apple cider vinegar. So easy, it doesn’t feel right (but it is).

6. Avoid pale things

You don’t want: mayonnaise

At least it won’t kill you: Omega-3 mayonnaise (still often uses canola and palm oil, but better)

You do want: European yogurt (admittedly pale, but that can’t be helped, can it?)

This plain, high-fat, sugar-free yogurt also goes by “Greek” or “Mediterranean” yogurt. It’s got that mayo tang, it’s dense and smooth, and it’s healthy.

5. No seriously, avoid pale things

You don’t want: cream cheese (contrary to popular belief, this is not protein)

At least it won’t kill you: cottage cheese

You do want: organic cottage cheese

I recommend the full-fat version (yeah, I know, I’m crazy). Full-fat means less processing, less sugar, and more satisfaction – so you’ll eat less of it.

yum

This is Limone’s Photo

4. Toast-tearing conspiracy?

You don’t want: peanut butter (full of oil, sugar and, oh yeah, bugs)

At least it won’t kill you: organic peanut butter

You do want: fresh, unsalted nuts, or a healthier nut butter like almond butter

Peanuts often contain aflatoxins. Clickativity: what Dr. Weil has to say about those. Isn’t it irritating trying to spread cold peanut butter on toast? Is it just me? This is why I don’t eat bread (O.K., not really).

squirrel

This is Mikeworld’s Photo

3. With a name like Smuckers, it doesn’t have to be anything

You don’t want: jelly, jam, and any other high-sugar “fruit” spread

At least it won’t kill you: fruit preserves with no added sugar

You do want: fresh fruit

I like to chop up a few different fruits, toss ‘em in the blender for a few seconds, and promptly devour the entire thing (the fruit, not the blender). This “jam” tastes great on whole wheat products, but I prefer it on chicken breast and fresh fish.

fruitsalad

This is C. Zwerg’s Photo

2. No cause for alarm

You don’t want: chemical-laden, trendy spicy sauces that cost $4 for a tiny bottle

At least it won’t kill you: hoisin sauce

You do want: Tabasco or any other chili sauce

Never underestimate the power of heat for your health. Just make sure you’re ingesting real spices, not factory flavorings.

1. Dyed and gone to…

You don’t want: any of the plethora of colorful condiments aimed at kids (do we need purple anything?)

At least it won’t kill you: ketchup (it’s got a little sugar, and who knows where those tomatoes came from, but you’ll get a generous serving of antioxidants)

You do want: salsa!

A lot of people forget that salsa is a vegetable. Make your own or buy the fresh stuff for a sodium-free version of this veggie topping that goes on just about everything except cereal.

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27 Mar

The Fuming Fuji Says No to Cupcakes

FUJ

The Fuming Fuji is outraged at the marketing of toxic food, especially when it is aimed at the small fry. This week, the Fuming Fuji has decided to have a problem with cupcakes.

But, Fuming Fuji, you say, isn’t a miniature dessert now and then better than eating fast food all the time?

The Fuming Fuji says no!

The claim: For the love of all that is human, Fuji, a cupcake? A cupcake is a heartwarming treat in a sensible portion size. If you’re going to eat a dessert, this is the way to go!

The catch: A sensible portion compared to what? The Cheesecake Factory and its evil one-pound slice of cake? This does not make a cupcake smart. Yes, the Fuji grants that your cupcake is better than many things. A cake in a cup is, for example, much better than lard in a cup. But the Fuji must inform you that a little bit of bad compared to a lot of bad does not make the little bit of bad good. You are stunned.

The comeback: Huh? Look, no one is perfect, not even you, Fuji. Like I said, a cupcake is better than eating fast food all the time.

The conclusion: The Fuji cannot help you until you seek help for your disturbing obsession with this dessert in a cup. It is not even a real cup! But it is real sugar. I fume!

The catchphrase: Tiny tots need fruit, not fructose!

Disclaimer: Mark Sisson and the Worker Bees do not necessarily endorse the views of the Fuming Fuji. Also, we have no issue with cups.

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26 Mar

‘Repositioning’ Is a Nice Way to Say Manipulation

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

Here’s your daily dose of clickativity from the world of health, Apples!

Puff Piece

We’re all over Food Processing‘s report on Ye Ole Pizza Puff. Evidently, pizza puffers are desperate to find ways to reposition (translation: manipulate). So much so, they’re not relying on the old marketing standbys: lower fat, lower calories, reduced sodium. Trans fat? Nope. Not even.

Marketing always works better when there’s a story to buy into. Preferably older and…mythier.

Food marketers are no exception: pizza puffs are being repositioned as fulfilling the ancient Greco-Roman tradition of breaking bread. The Romans shared small treats to aid in digestion, stimulate the appetite, and share the much-desired warm fuzzies. Appetizers, basically. This is an age-old tradition that anyone can appreciate. What’s not to love about a small bite to ease digestion and get everyone in a cheerful mood?

The difference is that the Romans ate real food. They may have had vomitoriums, but they sure didn’t have deep fryers.

You’ll love the shameless discussion of how to convey a particular story to trigger a desired emotional response in consumers (ca-ching!). We particularly love this line:

While these products are viewed as healthier than shelf-stable snack foods, their fat and sodium levels can be high. These ingredients are part of what makes the food taste good and increases their satiety. So the real challenge is how to create a ‘healthy halo.’

Can our food processing foes rise to the occasion? Or will this challenge prove too difficult even for them?

pizzapuffs

Give Your Colon the Blues

Blueberries, that is. They’re excellent for your colon, and let’s face it, so much tastier than toast. Blueberries have practically illegal levels of fiber and antioxidants, and you can eat an entire one-pound bag for fewer calories than a bran muffin.

Check out our delicious blueberry breakfast recipe.

Reducing Stress: Not Just for Girls

WebMD has just published a nice piece advising women over 50 to reduce their stress. It’s a terrific little list, so there’s no reason everyone shouldn’t be trying these tips out. Get to it! Go on, shoo!

yogaster

Yoga: it’s not just for hamsters anymore. Thanks to Seattle Roll on Flickr!

Web It Out:

Are you right- or left-eyed?

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