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

Mark's Daily Apple

16 Mar

Web It Out

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

Howdy, Apples! Here are some helpful news notes to click out before you head out! Have a great weekend. As always, thanks for the great feedback and wonderful tips (and constructive criticism) you’ve sent our way. As word about Mark’s Daily Apple spreads into the world of health, your thoughts, tips and suggestions are much appreciated, so please keep ‘em coming!

Pump It Up

It’s chest presses, not puffing, that saves people. Here’s some important news for doing CPR right. Always good to brush up!

heartapple

Bodca Flickstream

Good News!

Hepatitis cases are down, way down. That’s great news for public health. Have you been vaccinated? All three types of hep – A, B, and C – have been reduced by public health practitioners’ education efforts. B and C are the most important types to prevent, as they can lead to serious, and even fatal, liver complications.

Stop Cancer Cold

New research continues to show the benefit of antioxidants like vitamin C. Get yourself over to Body of Wealth for a bevy of informative C links!

orange

AudreyJM Flickstream

Surprising sources of C that beat the old orange:
- Apples
- Broccoli
- Bell peppers

Tip:

Be sure to consume enough fat so that vitamins like C absorb completely. A few daily servings – olive oil on your salad, butter with your eggs, or salmon for dinner – really optimize antioxidant absorption!

16 Mar

Sick of Cereal?

Smart Fuel

If you’re sick of cereal, or simply want to follow a healthy diet that is low in sugar and refined grains, you’re in the right place. There are plenty of alternatives to, well, the alternative: eggs, eggs and more eggs.

1. Blueberries ‘n Cream

Why pour processed, sugary low-fat milk over dry little grain flakes when you can pour luscious cream over blueberries bursting with antioxidants and flavor? We think cereal is kind of sad (and the stuff they do to make low-fat milk is pretty unappealing). You’ll love blueberries ‘n cream if you’re getting tired of eggs for breakfast. This high-fiber treat also provides some fat (great for those sensitive morning tummies). Toss in other fruit like strawberries for additional variety.
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The Pack Flickr Photo

Prep Tips:

Buy frozen blueberries – they’re inexpensive and actually work better for many recipes, including this one.

Thaw a cup of blueberries overnight in the fridge or pop them into the microwave for about 30 seconds. They’ll be cold, like cereal, but not frozen – who wants a brain freeze at 7 a.m.? Drain them carefully.

Pour about 1 ounce of cream over the fruit – not too much. Cream, while high in nutrients and fat, is also high in calories. We recommend raw or organic cream, of course!

Garnish with a little cinnamon, nutmeg or a few drops of vanilla extract for a delicious breakfast that provides more fiber than cereal, fewer carbs, and just tastes amazing! Be sure to brush your teeth afterwards, or everyone will think you’ve been nursing a blue popsicle addiction.

2. Plain Yogurt Parfait

Look for Greek, Mediterranean or “European style” yogurt. It’s so rich, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to cream cheese heaven. What can we say? We love fat around these here parts. European yogurt has less of the stuff you don’t want (chemicals, additives, sugars) and more of the stuff you do want (rich texture, flavor, and nutrients). Be sure to get the plain, unsweetened kind.
parfait

Shutterberry Flickrstream Photo

Prep Tips:

You’ll want to eat just a few tablespoons of this yummy stuff, as it’s really filling. Boost the fat and protein with some fiber by adding a half-cup of any fresh or frozen fruit of your choice.

We like frozen mango chunks (thawed) and fresh raspberries. Elliott and Sara both keep their freezers stocked with all kinds of delicious frozen fruits, so it’s easy to make a healthy breakfast even when you’re in a rush.

Next step: toss a handful of unsalted, high-quality nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, filberts, or walnuts into the mix. This little protein boost will also provide you with a great Omega-3 fatty counterpoint to the saturated fat in the yogurt. And evidence increasingly suggests that it’s the balance of saturated to unsaturated fat that is so important to good health and longevity.

You can go all out and make a true parfait if you want, by layering in a glass cup or dish. But if you don’t have that kind of time in the morning (who does?), simply scoop all the ingredients into your favorite mug or bowl and enjoy!

Need extra calories in the morning? Drizzle your parfait with a tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of almond or walnut oil for a natural source of carbs and an extra boost of good fat.

3. Tomatoes ‘n Mozzarella

The beloved caprese salad – tomato slices, fresh mozzarella slices, and fresh basil leaves – also makes a really great breakfast.

tomatoesnmozz

SpeedM Flickr Photo

Prep Tips:

We suggest leaving out the leaves, as basil can be a little bracing first thing in the morning.

Simply slice up your favorite tomatoes, place slices of fresh mozzarella on top, and garnish with a little olive oil and coarse salt.

Note: since tomatoes aren’t too hot this time of year, you can substitute with avocado or bell pepper slices.

15 Mar

Abbott Labs, Chickenpox, & Couch Potatoes

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

Here’s your daily dose of the latest and greatest from the world of health! We skip the sensational stories (please, no more Anna Nicole DNA testing news! There is stuff going on in the world!). Today, we bring you the most compelling, useful…and, yes, bizarre health news.

To wit: evidently, furniture may be making people obese. You’ll want to click it out, kids.

Big Pharma and Thailand: Smackdown

Abbott Labs (the same folks who proudly market unhealthy junk food to children and lie to parents about it) is furious with Thailand for having the gall to look out for its impoverished, AIDS-wracked population. If you think the situation in Africa is bad, take a look at what Abbott is doing in Thailand. Seriously, between happily creating a nation of tiny diabetics at home and knowingly keeping medicine from poverty-stricken human beings abroad, just how do these guys sleep at night? Even bees know that’s wrong.

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Is Your Couch Making You Fat?

It gives new meaning to the term “couch potato”. It appears that the flame retardants used in many fabrics and furniture cushions may be contributing to insulin resistance and obesity. Click it out!

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The Law of Unintended Consequences

Sometimes putting out one fire creates another. That’s certainly the case with many drug therapies. Kindergarten teachers everywhere groan: the chickenpox vaccine is losing its effectiveness.

Studiously Avoiding Vegetables? We Ace That Test!

All right! We’re #1…in avoiding fruits and vegetables. Unlike the U.K., which, despite being the country that invented fried fish and chips and such breakfast treats as canned beans on toast, manages to meet its health goals, we still vehemently refuse to eat enough salad. Well, except you, Apples. Right?

fruit
15 Mar

From Pharma, with Love

“The measures reflect a growing body of research about discrepancies between journal articles and the full results of the studies behind them. Journal editors are also responding to the escalating debate in Washington on ensuring drug side effects are properly disclosed. In the wake of the withdrawal of Merck & Co.’s painkiller Vioxx over cardiovascular side effects, some legislators are calling for tougher safety scrutiny of drugs on the market.

The JAMA study last year said articles often cherry-picked strong results to report, even if those results were in a different area than the study was designed to test. Typically scientists set up clinical trials to answer one or two primary questions — for example, whether a drug reduces the risk of a heart attack and stroke. These are called the primary outcomes. The JAMA study found that 62% of trials had at least one primary outcome that was changed, added or omitted.”

(Source: the Wall Street Journal)

UPDATE 3/25/07: We have removed our spoof image of JAMA’s cover because some of our readers have alerted us that, upon closer inspection, the thumbnail of the JAMA issue, which depicts a cartoon examination scene, contains nudity. This was a complete, unintentional oops on our part! No offense was intended. (Though we have to wonder…why on earth is JAMA putting these sorts of depictions in their cover art in the first place?)

It’s no surprise anymore that the major medical journals are plastered with pharmaceutical advertisements – after all, when was the last time you visited a doctor’s office that wasn’t drowning in pharmaceutical marketing widgets? Nor is it a surprise that the very studies in medical journals (not the advertisements) are deceptively skewed in Big Pharma’s favor about two-thirds of the time.

I would think physicians and researchers would be appalled by the replete corruption. But when your own federal government spends more time telling you that vitamins are deadly – because a handful of terminally ill patients weren’t able to stave off inevitable death with a dose of knowingly worthless synthetic E – than it does being concerned about 60,000+ deaths from one drug alone, is it any wonder? That’s a lot of people – that’s more than many entire cities!

For decent people, it’s just a natural inclination to trust authorities claiming to be both knowledgeable and ethical. After all, that’s what we’re paying them for. The problem is, the pharmaceutical companies are paying them more – to the tune of 19 billion dollars. I have no doubt that many people working in the pharmaceutical industry are there with the best of intentions. I am not against drugs necessary to improve and save lives, of which there are many successes.

But I do have a problem with an overly-lenient and largely voluntary drug approval process that is a mockery of ethical standards. Because we trust journals and doctors so implicitly, we forget that, like any business, pharmaceuticals are in it for the money. It’s just business. Sometimes, the business creates good; but increasingly, it doesn’t, and the guardians of public health – the FDA, peer-reviewed journals, physicians – are, at best, manipulated, and at worst, corrupt.

Can you imagine if 60,000 people died from, say, anything but a federally-approved pharmaceutical? Say, echinacea. Grape juice. Ketchup. Anything – imagine the outcry.

I wish this were a conspiracy theory. I wish this were a minor problem. I wish people could say, “There goes Sisson with his indignant ranting again.”

But the facts are clear:

- Pharmaceutical studies are deceptive at least 62% of the time,

- The FDA, through a combination of voluntary adherence protocols and a poorly-designed approval process that rushes drugs through and fails to adequately follow up, inherently supports unnecessary deaths,

- Major journals such as JAMA can’t claim to be independent – come on! – when their advertisers are, by and large, pharmaceutical companies,

- Result: hundreds of thousands of people are sickened or killed by drugs every year.

Can you imagine if these shenanigans went on in any other industry?

It’s like that humorous response Jack Welch gave to Bill Gates for claiming computers were more reliable than cars (an urban legend, by the way, but still entertaining).

Let’s call a spade a spade.

Is it really so “outrageous” to have a problem with drug advertisements in medical journals?

Is it that “paranoid” to demand a more rigorous FDA approval process?

Is it “off-the-wall” to be bothered by the fact that I have to wade through an avalanche of pens, post-it pads and coffee mugs from GlaxoSmithKline every time I go to the doctor? If that makes me “radical”…

We live in an advertising age – everything is brought to you by something else, and sports stadiums are named after office equipment. I can’t catch a game without being reminded to go stock up on ink cartridge refills. So it’s no surprise, I guess, that this extends to drugs. If pharmaceuticals are saving hundreds of thousands of lives annually, but at a cost of thousands of lives, let’s at least be honest about the costs in terms of human lives. Who is rational and who is emotional here? The folks questioning the disparity between the marketing and the facts, or the economically-motivated (read: fearful) folks deriding anyone who criticizes them as “radical”?

 

 

 

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