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

Mark's Daily Apple

22 Mar

For Longevity’s Sake

Here’s a question for you: what do we really mean when we talk about anti-aging?

Anti-aging supplements, hormones and tools are some of the hottest things going right now. Everywhere you look, people are talking about “brain health”. Sudoku is enjoying a popularity only rivaled by high school prom queens. Botox is big, everyone dyes their hair, and if you’re not taking antioxidants, well, it’s time to get with the program. And let’s not even get started on the youth-worship in prime time TV and magazines. We don’t really have to: anti-aging has taken over health, too.

Which is fine by me. Who wouldn’t want to get more out of life? But here’s the issue: are we talking about living longer, or living better?

At best, if you do everything, and I mean everything, right – don’t smoke or drink, exercise, eat well, sleep, control stress, maintain healthy, loving relationships, enjoy meaningful work, avoid sugar and carcinogens, breathe fresh air, take vacations, stay positive, stretch your mind, save your pennies (getting tired yet?) – there’s still ultimately a limit.

At best, doing everything perfectly, you can expect to make it to 80 or 90 – perhaps 100 if you’re really, really doing something right. (Then again, we all know the stories about the guy who ate bacon and had a flask of whiskey glued to his hip at breakfast yet managed to live to 110.)

So what do we really want? The current model doesn’t look too appealing. It appears to me that we’re all aiming for a place in the longevity race. Getting a few wrinkles? No problem – slice ‘em away! Diseased and overweight from years of neglect and poor choices? There’s a pill and a surgery to fix it! So we’ve got a whole barrel of surgeries and drugs to make up for mistakes. Which is fine, but is this really living well?

Personally, I’d rather not see the inside of 100 if it means I’m hobbling along thanks to a slew of surgery and drugs. I think most of us want energy, vitality, and more bang for the buck – yet our diet, our medical system, and our approach to health don’t reflect this at all. Most health treatments seem to be patching the leaks, rather than preventing the leaks to begin with. Yet I think most of us would choose living well over living a long time. So, how do we align our choices with our goals?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. (Click “Ask Anything!” to send me an email, or visit the forum to leave me a message.)

Most Popular Posts

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21 Mar

Takin’ the Sting Out

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

Here’s the fresh mix, Apples! You sassy little things, you.

Food Police: Dangerously Close to a Sherlock Award

Since we’ve already so graciously awarded the CDC with our monthly MOTO, the food police have narrowly escaped with dignity intact – for this month. Fresh from the fryer: they’re warning us that Chinese food is unhealthy.

takeout

Stickerbandit Flickrstream

Hmm…is anyone really surprised to learn that a box of Chinese takeout is not the cornucopia of health we’d like it to be?

Everyone Loves a Good Bribe!

Did you know that doctors routinely accept rewards from pharmaceutical companies for pushing prescribing new drugs? Cheerful instant messages and pats on the back these rewards are not. We’re talking cold, hard cash, and lots of it. Best of all, most states don’t really have laws in place to make sure this bidness gets disclosed.

coinage

Hyperbolis Flickrstream

Myths of Health

And you were just getting your fillings replaced (someone call Ludacris, quick). Here are the web’s top health myths that manage to persist in spite of all good sense.

Listen Up, Ladies

Another reason to admit that veggies are ‘licious.

bellpepperparty

Tasty Tip

Here’s an important, and easy, health tip for keeping your weight loss goals on track.

food police, Chinese food, health myths, vegetables, cancer prevention, pharmaceutical

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21 Mar

The Fuming Fuji Says No to Cheese and Crackers

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 serious problem with cheese and crackers.

Oh, Fuming Fuji, you say, I can’t believe you would have a problem with this healthy, natural snack! Maybe you should get your blood pressure checked, Fuji.

The Fuming Fuji says no!

The claim: Cheese and crackers provide calcium, protein, and fiber to children! I thought cheese and crackers were healthy for kids. What’s not to love?

The catch: Yes, Fuji agrees, the two most processed foods on earth are a wonderful combination for children everywhere. In fact, here is another great one: how about pepperoni slices on potato chips?

The comeback: That sounds kind of good, actually.

The conclusion: The Fuji did not just hear this! Cheese is reformed baby cow food. In fact, if the Fuji thinks about it too much, bad things will surely happen. Beware, oh ye lovers of blubber & biscuits, beware. Slapping cheddar curd cakes atop dead ground grain squares is not a wise or nutritious practice. The Fuji admits it is probably fun, though (but not as fun as fuming, which surpasses all other verbs).

The catchphrase: Cheese & Cracker conglomerate may squash the Fuji, but he still got the juice!

Disclaimer: Mark Sisson and the Worker Bees do not necessarily endorse the views of the Fuming Fuji. We are appropriately dazzled, however.

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21 Mar

Reduce Stress, Like, Yesterday

We’ve all heard (and don’t forget experienced!) that major life changes like getting married, giving birth, moving or starting a new job can be unbearably stressful. But it isn’t always the big transitions that take the heftiest health toll. Day-to-day stress – the kind you ignore that accumulates over time – can create detrimental health effects on your body.

So, the next time you begrudgingly roll out of bed at 6 a.m. because you’ve got two kids to feed and drop off at school before you head into the fray of congested traffic and board meetings, think about taking time to undo all the pent-up tension with some of the terrific tips that can be found at the following handy websites. 20 minutes a day of “love insurance” (as in lovin’ your own life!) makes all the difference!

My favorite suggestions from around the web this week:

“Talk to yourself.”

15 Tips to Cope with a Demanding Life

“Attempt to Control Absolutely Everything.” (They’re kidding, of course.)

5 Ideas for Stressful Living

“Enjoy Life’s Little Luxuries”

Fight Stress! (Who’s biased?)

“Be passionate – About how your work improves people’s lives.”

A Clear Eye

“Be Mindful”

Your Brain on Multi-Tasking

stress

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20 Mar

Healthy Buzz

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

Here’s the sugar-free wrap up!

Run, Don’t Walk, to This Commentary

A terrific and compelling post that neatly sums up the arrogance and bias that is problematic in scientific research. Be sure to read it.

How Do Doctors Think?

Well, it turns out…pretty much like the rest of us. They are humans, after all, and they make plenty of mistakes. That shouldn’t be too alarming (though it’s certainly ringing bells around the web). It’s just further evidence that you need to get second opinions, do your research, and have confidence in your ability to take responsibility for your own health. Health doesn’t happen on autopilot.
steth

Raising Healthy Kids

And it doesn’t include Nutripals. Catch this excellent and personal piece on the intersection of vegetarianism, fear-o-fat (a national pastime?), and raising truly healthy kids.

What’s Going to Replace the 5-a-Day Campaign?

A juggler.

juggler

That’s right, this festive medieval friend will now be showing up on anything that has a serving of fruits or veggies in it – including (drum roll please) processed foods. It’s all part of the new “More Matters” campaign. Hey, it beats Labelman. The idea is that marketing anything with fruits or veggies in it will work better if there is a brand identity attached. Like Nike, but not really.

Our take is that this is just one more way for processed food manufacturers to make misleading health claims. We debunked another meaningless marketing measure back in January – click it out and scroll to the bottom to find out what the U.S. government defines as “lean”.

Think about it: do we really need a juggler on a bag of apples, or a pack of lettuce? Of course not – people know this is produce. And evidence shows people already know they aren’t eating enough of it, and while they’re not getting enough – yet – there has been some modest improvement (an insightful comment on part of the problem: how we define the data affects how we interpret it).

So, why replace the ol’ fiver campaign with a simple icon, if not to give food manufacturers one more way to shill their processed faux food nuggets? Does anyone think the juggler is for the orange growers of Florida, or the onion farmers of Walla Walla? Or is it for the juice and popsicle and snack slingers? (As long as they keep the product’s sodium and fat under reasonable control, all bets are off.)

Sounds like a nice idea, but like the pretty, newish food pyramid, it’s so vague and high-concept, it’s meaningless.

prettygood

More Matters, 5-a-Day, How Doctors Think

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