Marks Daily Apple
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Mark's Daily Apple

5 Jun

What Does 4,000 Calories a Day Look Like?

The average American consumes almost 4,000 calories every day and counting! That’s anywhere from 1500 to 2500 more calories than the average man or woman really needs (children and athletes have different needs).

Translation: 3500 calories is equivalent to one pound. If you’re an “average American”, you could be eating anywhere from 12 to 15 excess pounds every month, adding fat to your body, increasing the pressure on your heart, and stressing your organs (not to mention the environmental impact of all this gluttony).

But why are we eating so much?

I decided to see what it would be like to eat the way the average American supposedly eats.

Breakfast: How about McDonald’s? That’s a typical choice for millions of Americans every day.

mcdsbreakfast

To be an average American, you need to eat at least 700 calories and up to 1300 calories at each setting. McDonald’s can help you with that. Another tip: it helps to drink your calories, so remember to wash it all down with a big slosh of soda or juice! Or a nice venti mocha will do the trick.

Lunch: I know Burger King is bad. I’ll go for Subway. Subway is fresh, so I’m sure whatever I eat there is going to be good, right?

steakandcheese

Well, maybe if you get a 6″ whole-grain sandwich with vegetables or a salad. But according to Subway, the most popular Subway item in the world is the toasted steak and cheese sandwich. This will give you a very generous 400 calories per 6″ section. Don’t forget the chips and soda (an extra 300 calories!), and you’re easily on your way to 4,000 calories today! It’s nice that convenience chains are offering slightly more healthy options these days, but it’s still disingenuous counter-marketing to offer it along side the regular high-calorie fare. Eat fresh, indeed.

Dinner: Pizza and burgers are beloved American foods. Sign me up!

burgercarls

Carl’s Jr. says there’s only one thing that can “slay the hunger of a young guy on the move”. Hey, that’s me! I can even get their burger for breakfast. But wait, am I really that starving that I need to be slaying my stomach? The six-dollar burger with a large Coke and a side of fries will round out my day with an additional 1,200 calories (give or take a few).

(Honestly, I’ve always thought it’s sort of sad that the most famous American foods – pie, burgers, pizza, hot dogs, French fries – are all junk foods. The French get cheese, wine and sauces, and Asia’s got vegetables down cold, but when it comes to cuisines of the world, we can sure be proud of our corn, salt, sugar and trans fat, all right.)

Conclusion:

I thought it would be a little bit of a challenge to eat 4,000 calories, but thanks to the vast majority of what’s available at every restaurant these days, it’s actually pretty hard not to consume twice as many calories as you need – and that’s the whole problem. It shouldn’t require a degree in nutrition or hours of online research to know what’s reasonable to eat and what isn’t. Stopping in at Subway to eat lunch shouldn’t be an obesity challenge.

Of course, what really helps is all that soda! We each drink approximately 50 gallons of soda every year. We eat twice as many calories daily as we need by some estimates, and about 1,000 excess calories a day by more conservative estimates (seems a little more accurate to me, but then again…) Whether we’re overeating a lot or overeating a lot, it’s not healthy and it’s no wonder the majority of Americans are overweight.

That’s why I’m giving this month’s Impossible Calorie Award to the Standard American Diet!

impossiblecalorieaward

Tomorrow Mark will be bringing you the second installment of his new syndicated column, Primal Health, which covers fitness, diet and nutrition issues from a biology buff’s evolutionary perspective. And Sara will be dragging the Fuming Fuji kicking and screaming into yet another review of sneaky marketers’ attempts to toxify the seedlings. (Good luck with that, Sara.) I’ll be back Thursday with another round of 3 More (Sorta) Healthy Fast Foods. Stick around for the daily news bites!

Previous Awards

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What Mark Eats in a day

What do you eat in a day? Tell us!

Sponsor note:

This post was brought to you by the Damage Control Master Formula, independently proven as the most comprehensive high-potency antioxidant multivitamin available anywhere. With the highest antioxidant per dollar value and a complete anti-aging, stress, and cognition profile, the Master Formula is truly the only multivitamin supplement you will ever need. Toss out the drawers full of dozens of different supplements with questionable potency and efficacy and experience the proven Damage Control difference!

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5 Jun

How to Eat More Chocolate and Drink More Wine Every Day

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How can you turn this down?

Health, in my view, is really about enjoyment and quality of life. It’s not all celery sticks and cardio – far from it. Dark chocolate and red wine shouldn’t be consumed with the reckless abandon I sincerely hope you reserve for vegetables, but they are reasonably healthy indulgences. Here’s how to indulge a little more (am I looking out for you or what?).

10. Drunk Marinara

My editor, Sara, shares this tip: wash and chop up 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes. (Don’t bother with that canned stuff if you want the healthiest possible sauce. This is easy.) Add in half your normal amount of water or broth (you’ll see why in a second). Next add several fresh garlic cloves and any other spices or herbs you fancy in your tomato sauce. The antioxidant boost: after the tomatoes have simmered and stewed for a while, pour in 1 cup of red wine. Between the cooked tomatoes, garlic and wine, you’ll have a sauce so good, you’ll want to drink it and forget about whatever you were going to pour it on (better not be pasta).

9. Chocolate, Meet Meat

Buy the darkest, most bitter, pure chocolate you can find. Even mass chocolate manufacturers like Hershey’s are pushing darker and darker chocolates. You can find upwards of 70% these days without breaking a sweat. Melt a bar in a saucepan with a big dash of cayenne pepper, a generous pinch of oregano or marjoram, a touch of olive oil, and a decent sprinkle of sea salt. You now have a very interesting and incredible reduction to drizzle over your pork chops. Just trust me.

8. Drink Wine at Lunch

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A necessary word of caution: I am not recommending a future career as a lush here. But you might enjoy splitting up that nightly glass of red into two small glasses (emphasis on small) and having a splash of wine at lunch. Many cultures around the world enjoy a little swill at noon. Obviously, this won’t work for everyone depending on schedules and workplace expectations. And, if alcohol is something that you tend to indulge too much in, then skip this tip (matter of fact, skip this post).

7. Goodbye Coffee, Hello Chocolate

Chocolate for breakfast? Sure. This tip is for the morning vice crowd. If you want whiter teeth and you never seem to eat anything for breakfast, tackle both issues by eating a piece of dark chocolate instead of coffee. You’ll get some fat and caffeine to nourish your brain, quell your starving stomach and stimulate your nerves. I think some sliced tomatoes or scrambled eggs are both obviously better ideas for your mornings, but if you’re a coffee junkie and you have trouble ingesting a morning dose of calories, hey, I say work with the problem instead of fighting it. Dark chocolate still has some sugar, so if you’re trying to lose weight or if you need to watch your blood sugar, stick to the scrambled eggs.

6. Drink Wine at Breakfast

Just kidding! Don’t do that.

5. Dump Carbs, Promptly Reward Self

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Do you need to cut out refined carbohydrates like pasta, candy, pastries and soda? Everyone does. Eliminating refined carbohydrate intake is a critical first step in losing weight, ridding yourself of mood swings, and simply improving your overall health. But be sure you create a system to reward yourself a little for each step you take to better health. For example, you might eliminate your three biggest vices (let’s say they’re pasta, potatoes, and soda). For each day you avoid these three vices, you get three small squares of dark chocolate. Eat them at night for a serotonin boost that will improve your sleep and make you feel happy. Three squares typically contain around 10 grams of sugar. While not ideal, that’s a lot better than several hundred grams from a serving of refined carbs at each meal.

4. Quit Wining and Eat Your Greens

Skip the sugary, trans-fat-clogged, chemical-laden store salad dressings and whip up an antioxidant- and immune-boosting dressing at home. Mix equal parts red wine with a tasty vinegar. Next, blend equal parts of this mixture and olive oil. This is an easy, healthy dressing that will liven up your greens (which I hope you’re eating every day).

Note: wine doesn’t last more than a few days at most, so don’t make big batches of the stuff. Just enough for a few meals.

3. Forget Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

This is not really something to eat daily, but if you’re a candy lover and you’re in need of a healthier substitute, have a square of dark chocolate with some fresh-roasted, organic, sugar-free almond butter. After a few weeks of this, if you try out the ole Cups, you’ll be put off by the chemical taste. Guaranteed candy cure. (You MDA frequent fliers know I’m really not a substitute kind of guy – to be healthy, you gotta eat healthy, end of story. I happen to think salads and grilled lean meats taste amazing and I think living on indulgent junk food is anything but living. However, some treats really are pretty decent for you – almond butter is full of Omega-3’s and fiber, and a little dark chocolate is fine.)

2. Yo, Sodaholics!

Think about switching your soda to wine. Again, huge disclaimer: this is not a recommendation to become Peter O’Toole. This is strictly for soda addicts. The purpose is to get you to realize what you’re actually doing to your body. For most folks – I’m not talking about alcoholics – soda is far worse for the body than wine (and unlike wine, has zero marginally redeeming health benefits). Downing multiple sodas may be socially acceptable, but it’s addictive and enormously destructive to health. The problem is that it intoxicates your body in an entirely different – and perhaps more insidious – way than alcohol. Soda does terrible damage, but you don’t “feel” the damage immediately. The closest thing is a sugar crash, in which case, most people just have another soda to stave it off. The problem with soda is that the internal destruction isn’t really noticeable until you’re overweight, diabetic, depressed and wondering why you have a mood crash every day at 3 p.m. If you drink a glass of wine, however, you feel it. You don’t need a second (I hope). So just imagine what all those sodas were actually doing to your body.

Gee, that’s just super, Mark, but I drink soda at work. No problem: to get off the lunchtime soda habit, have a glass of water and a piece of fruit. You’re just dehydrated.

1. What’s Your Best Chocolate or Wine Tip?

jypsygen, polifemus (out of order), suavehouse113 Flickr Photos (CC)

Helpful reads and references:

White chocolate is not chocolate!

Health benefits of chocolate

Wine beats juice for antioxidant absorption

Problems with soda

Is this guy nuts? My most popular articles

More Tuesday 10 articles

The idea for this headline came from Lyndon. Thanks!

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Sponsor note:
This post was brought to you by the Damage Control Master Formula, independently proven as the most comprehensive high-potency antioxidant multivitamin available anywhere. With the highest antioxidant per dollar value and a complete anti-aging, stress, and cognition profile, the Master Formula is truly the only multivitamin supplement you will ever need. Toss out the drawers full of dozens of different supplements with questionable potency and efficacy and experience the proven Damage Control difference

4 Jun

More Juice; Coke Hearts Stevia

A brief update: we’re juicing this apple (so to speak). The blog is going to be down later this afternoon for a spell so we can install some new plug-ins that will improve the blog tremendously and add to your experience. No worries, we’ll be back up later in the day.

Be sure to stop in tomorrow for the always-popular Tuesday 10 and a discussion of everyone’s favorite topic: chocolate.

In the meantime, I recommend the following links for your daily health dose:

The biodegradable heart stent.

What will they come up with next? You all know I’m going to be grumbling about prevention on this one, but I do agree that this is a promising turn for problematic stents.

Stevia is fine – now that Coke wants to use it.

I’ve used stevia for years, which is saying something, as it can be tougher to get hold of than a real human when calling any customer service number. You can stop using it for “skin care” – with big soda lobbies on your side, that is. This doesn’t make soda healthy for you, though.

More problems with food from China.

Yet another unfortunate consequence of the global food web (this time, toothpaste).

toothpaste

All the toothpaste you need – this is Toasty Ken’s Flickr photo.

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Last week’s Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

My Most Popular Articles

4 Jun

How to Eat More Fat

Sara here. Alert the press, for I am going to share with you the best ways to eat a lot more fat. That’s right (whew…you can stop stressing now).

Your weekly health challenge: eat more fat.

I want you to get greasy with it.

But this isn’t a license to hit up the candy aisle or to stop in at McDonald’s. I want you to eat more healthy fats this week. Here are some tips and types. Try them out and then give all your fellow apples a hand by talking about your favorite fats in the forum (we narrowly missed a tongue-twister there, didn’t we?).

Fats to eat:

Cream, eggs, butter

That’s right – I’m recommending saturated fat. Irresponsible of me, I know. Actually, provided you’re eating organic dairy and eggs, and you’re not getting crazy with the portions, saturated fat is not the monster it’s made out to be. I personally am more concerned about triglycerides and inflammation than I am about cholesterol, and refined fat and sugar have the most impact on these two health wreaking balls. I’m not saying cholesterol doesn’t matter; it does. It just doesn’t matter as much as you think. You can enjoy a little saturated fat.

Nuts, avocados, fish

Omega 3’s, people!

Coconut oil, walnut oil, avocado oil, olive oil

Put down the corn, soybean and canola oil. These may be unsaturated, but that doesn’t make them healthy (they are still refined, and contain some undesirable fatty acid chains). Liven up your meals, give your tastebuds something to live for, and try out new, omega-3-rich oils. Go and drench thyself. Stat.

Fats you’re too good for:

– fried anything, breaded anything, processed anything, packaged anything, not-natural anything. Keep these junk fats away from your precious body! I mean it!

Why eat fat:

Well, for starters, fat doesn’t make you fat. Fat also helps with stress management, cognition, mood, sleep, energy, weight management, healthy tissues, skin and hair – even digestion and nutrient absorption.

Why I know what I’m talking about:

I’m not a scientist and I’m not a doctor, so while I hope you consider my thoughts to be helpful, just remember that if you tell your doctor “But my homegirl Sara told me…” you might not have her immediately convinced of the glories of your newfound decadent fat consumption. I have spent the last several years reading endless studies and articles, so in my own defense I am pretty darn educated on the subject. Please don’t let all those nights your editor spent reading go to waste. icon wink But what probably matters most and is ultimately most insightful is my own health story. For several years there, I was quite the little frumpalump, and I wasn’t very healthy, either. Thanks to what I’ve learned from Mark, I dropped 20 pounds of literally depressing and unattractive grad-school pudge (the impossible “last 20″ stubborn clinger kind), and got rid of my horrendous migraines and “adventures” with mood imbalances. That was just the beginning, too. Thanks to BFFing dietary fat, I now enjoy all kinds of other incredible health benefits which I’ll be sure to regale you with in future posts (but only because I really, really think you will benefit).

What you can do right now:

– It’s lunch time for a lot of us right now. Eat some fat.

Share your personal faves and tips in the forum so we can all eat more fat.

– Recite: “Fat is fun.” Rinse, repeat.

– Check out my article (and give it a Digg if you like it!)

Helpful reading:
Mark’s views on fat

Mark’s views on carbs

Mark’s carb pyramid

Popular posts here at MDA

Fat facts

More fat facts

I’m not making this up, really: even more fat facts

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Are you up for the challenge?

4 Jun

Am I Missing Something?

As many of you know I travel a good deal for business. I’ve been doing a fair amount of consulting and speaking lately, and of course I travel for my own company. I was recently in Texas for a television taping. Now, something I’m proud of is that I’ve become an ace traveler. I used to make frequent short trips to Asia for business, and I’ve got the jet-lag thing nailed down pretty well (Texas is a walk in the park compared to those days).

But nothing ever prepares me for the humorous cultural differences even in our blessed 50. To wit: I arrived in Dallas fresh off a really early morning flight, so I decided to grab some breakfast. After my coffee, eggs, and tomatoes (instead of bacon and hash), I was all set to pay my check when the waitress came over, looking concerned – in fact, if I didn’t know better, I’d say disapproving was a more apt description. She gave me a good looking over, and in all the chiding severity of a stern grandmother, said, “But, honey, you haven’t even had your dessert yet!” She motioned to the glass case of various cakes, cobblers and other sweets. I suddenly noticed that a few guys at the counter were digging into assorted pie slices to top off their greasy spoon breakfasts. Of course, I said no, but not without some negotiating. I left feeling like a puppy with his tail between his legs – the nerve of me, not having dessert with my breakfast! I love travel, and I always have a good time in Texas, but dessert – for breakfast? Come on!

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