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

Mark's Daily Apple

19 Mar

And the Sherlock Award Goes to…

The CDC!

MOTO

Back in 1990, Uncle Sam launched the 5-a-day campaign. I won’t say it’s been a total failure – just a major one (here’s a good analysis). As reported in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Brightsurf informs us that only a handful of people eat more than a few servings of fruits and vegetables daily (here are the numbers).

I make a point of living on vegetables drenched in healthy fats, with a little protein added in. My diet isn’t really that complicated: simply, I avoid processed foods like the death nuggets that they are.

What I want to get people thinking about is a dietary paradigm shift. This isn’t about adding an extra side of vegetables or substituting fruit for candy. This is about making produce your primary source of energy, of fuel. Vegetables are more than garnish. No amount of antioxidant accessorizing is going to save your health. Accenting with healthy foods – whether it’s adding vitamins to breakfast pastries, minerals to soda, or a scoop of broccoli to alfredo-drenched pasta – is not the same as being healthy.

That’s the real reason Uncle Sam’s 5-a-day target completely misses the mark and is being put out to pasture. Health is not about a magic number (which, by the way, is far too low – we need 7 or 9 servings of produce daily). It’s not about adding. It’s about a lifestyle. And that means a total change, which, if we’re really honest with ourselves, is the hardest part.

Perhaps it’s the misconception that eating fruits and vegetables takes a lot of work. I’ve got two words for that: freezer case.

Web it out:

Then again, maybe it’s all just a terrible conspiracy.

Helpful articles:

Healthy on a Budget

What CAN I eat?

Vegetables that aren’t boring!

Most Popular Posts

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19 Mar

Work Is Weird

A Monday Moment

I just had a funny email exchange with friend and fellow Apple “D” (in case her boss is reading…sheesh). We were catching up on our weekend adventures, and she capped the conversation with “Well, I guess I better stop emailing and get to work. You mean I’m not just here for the free internet?

This is an interesting, if inadvertent, revelation of the problem with work in America today. I’m going to share my thoughts about it, because I think the impact of work on health is sorely overlooked on a lot of health blogs (and that’s what my Monday Moment is all about – plus, it gives you five minutes to slack off). Food and fitness are arguably the most important factors in optimizing our health, but what are we gonna do with that healthy body and mind? We spend most of our time at work, so this is important.

Just who is doing all this blog writing, reading, linking and bookmarking? In a society where IM has become a verb, just how productive are we? (Hmm…wonder what those Bees are up to…)

It’s amazing how blogs and chats and forums are so massively successful in terms of participation. We are a pretty overworked society – no wonder people are IMing (my grammar teacher is turning in her grave right now). No wonder people are signing up for Ambien and Lunesta like it’s candy corn. There’s no time to chill out, chat, and just be.

Entrepreneurs and business brains alike fret over the lack of productivity with workers, but so far, only a few companies get it (“D” hit the nail right on the head). I’m not sure what the source of the problem is, but I’ve got some ideas:

- Literally depressing lighting.

- Too much to do – and too much busy work.

- Face it, work can feel like a prison. Just like school, workers have rules, procedures, and systems to follow. If you need a nap, want to work in a different way, or just have an idea, you might as well be an alien. No wonder people are stressed out and bummed out – they’re micro-managed to death.

- Furniture and space are boring, standardized and offer little privacy.

- Being made to feel like a kid, instead of a man or woman of value.

- Feeling pointless, in short. But when you comment on a blog or join a forum, suddenly, your voice matters. Is it any wonder we’re all talking? We’ve all got something to say!

No wonder people are having a surreptitious blast with the internet. As a business owner myself, I’m baffled by the way things are done in America. Have we forgotten that business is really just people hanging out and doing stuff? (Operative word being people).

And what’s with playing dress-up? I like a fine Italian suit as much as the next man, but there’s something macabre about the whole world of work we create for people. Who designed it this way? And why fight people’s need to hang out, chat, and eventually get around to doing some necessary stuff? The current corporate structure is so discordant with human nature and health needs, and the strange thing about this is that it doesn’t have to be that way.

We spend most of our day at work, so shirking a healthy work life is going to be a disaster for your overall health – it’s just a matter of when. If your boss isn’t flexible, tell him (or her) that I said it’s for your health.

In the meantime, here are 5 ridiculously easy, really effective tips for having a productive, healthy, relaxed week:

- First step: Do less to do more. This means learning to say “no”. That’s not a sign of weakness – it’s smart and honest. Another thing: leave at 5. The world won’t fall apart (it won’t), and working smart is more important than working a lot. I admire guys like Seth Godin and Ricardo Semler because they’ve been talking about this issue for years. Eventually it’ll sink in and we’ll all be healthier.

- Second step: Go to bed one hour earlier every night this week, starting tonight. Make sure it’s at the same time.

- Third step: Turn off all PDA’s and phones during lunch and after 5. Period.

- Fourth step: Choose something simple you do daily, and do it differently every day this week. The change in routine shouldn’t add work or be stressful – it should serve to refresh and invigorate you. If you check your email constantly, just check it at a few designated times daily. If you normally eat at your desk, eat at the local Starbucks instead. If you always roll in to work at 9, try 8:30. If you typically communicate with someone via email, pick up the phone instead (I am a big fan of the phone instead of email – I think it connects people and more gets done, which ultimately makes everyone less stressed out). If you typically experience a post-lunch coma every day at 2 and find yourself doing nothing, try “doing nothing” in a better way – try some yoga stretches, do some push-ups, call your spouse to say hi. Oh, and cut down on the carbs, by the way.

- Fifth step: Create your own productivity task plan for the week. Keep it simple – no more than four or five tasks a day (because, like David Allen of Getting Things Done fame explains: every task has its own subset of tasks). Stick to them. You can refine as you get better at it. This will take the stress out of the equation because you’re emptying your brain onto a pad or into a spreadsheet. It’s different from a to-do list, though, because it’s a weekly system that focuses on the most important tasks and organizes them in a productive, effective way. Check out blogs like Zen Habits and Genius Types for great ideas.

You can do this however you like, but the point is that it should make you feel relaxed and give you a sense of accomplishment. If it feels like a task itself, you’re not doing it right. (And make sure your feeling of accomplishment isn’t in creating your weekly system – this is just a tool to actually accomplish what is most important so you feel less chaotic, distracted and stressed out and have more time to cook great food, work out, and live your life. Now that is health.)

19 Mar

The Weekly Health Challenge

Soothe your stress: restrain any road-rage tendencies this week. Put yourself in the other person’s bucket seat. Find a better outlet for any pent-up frustration (it’s amazing how good it can feel to teach a big batch of vegetables a thing or two – chop them up and into the wok they go). If that’s too domestic for you, get outside and go for a run, or pump your favorite music.

Still fuming? Yell about it with a friend until you both start laughing. Channel your anger into humor, amusement, indignation, and positive energy. A little anger is perfectly normal and O.K. – if you express it and use it properly.

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!

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