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

Mark's Daily Apple

12 Feb

Web It Out

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

We’re going to preface today’s mix with a quick mention of the hot headlines. Yes, in the UK, Viagra is going OTC for Valentine’s Day. Yes, once again, Spain has a problem with skinny models (eat some paella, already). And yes, HPV vaccines for children are still causing a big ruckus.

Now that we got that out of the way, there were also some really important discoveries reported today, and they’re not even boring. They’re just not about Kate Moss. They’re about you!

Here’s the best of it, because you probably won’t see it on the news tonight:

1) Yes, but what causes diabetes?

Huge news: scientists have identified four genes which predispose people to developing type-2 diabetes (also known as diabetes mellitus, also known as the scourge of modern society, also known as unnecessary in the majority of cases).

Mark believes adamantly in fighting diabetes through lifestyle choices. So many cases of diabetes can be prevented or mitigated with healthier choices – it’s truly a tragedy that this epidemic is striking so many (particularly children) because exercise and healthier eating habits, among other factors, can undo much of the current problem. Most cases of diabetes (about 3/4) are not type 1, but type 2. Though type 2 can’t always be prevented, diabetics who take appropriate healthy measures almost always see their symptoms relieved – even eliminated.

(There’s also a tragic socioeconomic dimension to diabetes – the lack of access to quality food, good medical care and education all contribute. We’d like to see a charity that helps educate disadvantaged families about inexpensive healthy food options and preventive health measures and provides solutions. Do you know of one?)

What this study reveals is not that there is a genetic cause for type 2 – rather, with 70% accuracy, scientists can determine who is likely to develop type 2. This has huge implications for preventive treatment. How great would it be to take a test that determines if you happen to be at a higher risk for diabetes? If so, people could take proactive lifestyle measures to avoid the disease. Read about it.

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2) Drool, no extra charge

Those Mediterranean homeys just don’t stop. First, it’s olive oil. Then it’s wine. Next it’s antioxidants. Then fish. Now, scientists think the naps are why Italians, Greeks and other Southern European nations have lower rates of heart disease. If companies can’t or won’t provide health care and daycare, we’re not sure if you should hold out hope for nap time, but it sounds pretty healthy!

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3) The power of intention

Everyone’s in a big hot fuss over The Secret these days. Bend your mind a little further: here’s some fascinating brain news, just out today, about the power of intention. Muy interesante!

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4) We are really, really fat

74% of Americans are overweight. This creates huge (yeah, yeah) economic and social burdens. Not to mention it makes us live in sheer misery. Who feels sexy, has energy or wants to enjoy activities (or can, for that matter) when one’s very body is an encumbrance? The emotional, mental and social tolls are staggering. Just let it sink in for a minute.

- Ever felt embarrassed in a bathing suit?

- Felt pressure to look a certain way?

- Had a hard time running up a flight of stairs?

- Needed medication to address health problems that are a result of excess weight?

- Wished you had more sexual stamina and drive?

- Felt drained, tired and stressed?

- Suffered from anxiety, insomnia, restless legs, sleep apnea?

- Felt bad about yourself?

These are all problems that have a solution. Truly, they do. Isn’t that great news? Best of all, the solutions are free. They are easy to learn about and implement. You’ve probably heard the opposite – but it doesn’t take trainers, money, gyms and expensive food to be healthy and maintain a good weight. Those things are nice, and they help, but they aren’t necessary. An overhaul is great, but just four or five consistently-applied changes can radically change your health.

We want people to be healthy and happy. We don’t want to be in the top 10 fat countries, which we are. Who is fatter? Well, hardly anyone, but Kuwait and Samoa are slightly bigger. Slightly. We’re Americans, dammit! We have money, optimism, and we invented the internet (sorry, Al), which is loaded with health help. Plus, we have great teeth. Why are we so unhealthy and overweight? That doesn’t sound like something America should be leading in, does it?

You can’t change everyone, but you do have the power to change your own health. If you’re someone who needs to and wants to, we hope you’ll take heart and begin the steps necessary to do it. Have faith! There is a whole world of support online – free. Stick around. Learn. Act. Make the first click.

“Soon we’ll be away from here, step on the gas and wipe that tear away. One sweet dream came true today.” – The Beatles

From one choice a new life is born.

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12 Feb

How to Be, Like, Slower Than a Pothead

Who wants that? Not me. Consider this when you start feeling lame for not hopping on the Blackberry bandwagon.

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12 Feb

A Monday Moment

Here’s your Monday Moment:

Slow down and simplify.

Why? Consider the following and I think you’ll agree – why not?

You will get more done.

You will strengthen your soul’s ability to make the right choice (a.k.a. listening to your instincts).

You will say and do the right things. This doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes; it means you’ll make the best choice at the time. Slowing down means you are less likely to harm yourself or others. It gives you time to relax enough for the right decision to come to you.

When you force yourself to slow down and be in the moment, a wonderful thing happens: time seems to slow down. Don’t buy it? Try it. Close the email alert, unplug the phone, ignore text messages, silence all the beeps and blips. Work for an hour in either complete silence or music that inspires you, and see what happens. I guarantee at the end of the hour, you’ll feel as though time stood still. And you will have accomplished far more.

Slowing down is an indication of trust in yourself. When you trust in yourself, you naturally begin to live up to your own estimation of yourself. Others naturally begin to trust in you as well, and the result is that you let them down less. Everybody wins.

How to simplify

I read a study recently that found people who are constantly at the mercy of their PDAs, text messages, email, and phones experience IQ drops of up to 10 points. It’s especially hard on men, who do not multi-task as well as women.

Being unfocused is bad for your brain, your creativity, your productivity, and your intelligence. Organize your communication – set aside blocks of time, streamline and choose how you communicate, and simplify. There are many different ways to do this, and you’ll have to find what works for you. You don’t have to answer emails immediately; you don’t have to be available every moment. If it is urgent, pick up the phone. I’m baffled when people email me to ask if it is a good time to talk. What?

Slow down. The world won’t end, and you’ll find that if you buy into the constant communication mentality, the intensity and incessant small fires never end – they just increase without end.

The faster you go, the faster the wheel goes.

When you rush, you make bad decisions, risk hurting yourself and others (both physically and emotionally), you sacrifice your health, and you put yourself on a hamster wheel of obligation and activity. There’s a better way.

12 Feb

The Weekly Health Challenge

Yo, Apples! It’s time for a little pre-spring cleaning. This week’s challenge is to clean out the (kitchen) closet. Empty your fridge, your pantry, the cabinets, and the deep freeze out in the garage. If it’s not healthy, if it’s not recognizable, if it’s older than the Clinton administration, toss it.

Don’t save unhealthy stuff “for the kids”, either. They don’t need that junk any more than you do. If you feel it’s wasteful, donate the items to your local homeless shelter or soup kitchen.

One of the easiest ways to be healthy and lose weight is to avoid turning your home into a minefield of temptation. Restaurants and movie theaters aren’t going to change anytime soon, but you can control what goes on under your own roof. So from now on, fill the freezer with frozen chicken breasts and veggies. Stock the cabinets with vegetable-based soups, low-sodium broth, canned tomatoes, almond butter, and olive oil. And make sure the condiments in the fridge are low in saturated fats, salt, preservatives, and sugars. As always, ask the Bees for help if you’re unsure about a particular item.

9 Feb

Friday’s Catch

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

It’s the international edition.

1) Bird Flu Hits Brits

The first evidence of contaminated food shows up in Britain.

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2) Oh, Canada

Our favorite doc-in-the-making blogs about this myth. So, Apples, we are #1…in health care problems.

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3) Maybe It’s Really Not You…

How to Tell If You’re Dealing With a Crazy Therapist

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4) Canada Is Class Pet

Also from Canada, conclusive evidence that medicine makes you sicker in the long run.

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© 2014 Mark's Daily Apple