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

Mark's Daily Apple

16 Apr

Have a Blissed-Out Monday

Take this moment to make the rest of your Monday nothin’ but bliss. You’re just 3 steps away – how easy could it get?

1. Resolve to let the little stuff slide.

Be a duck and just let the little irritations slip right off. People can be grumpy on Mondays, and we never get as much done as we would prefer. Shrug it.

2. Call someone you love.

Whether it’s that pal whose crazy ideas make you feel better about your own goofs, your understanding Aunt Susan, or your significant other, take 10 minutes out of this hectic day to have a friendly conversation. No multi-tasking, either! Give this person your complete focus for ten whole minutes. You will both feel great. That rapidly filling email inbox will not melt your computer if you ignore it for a bit.

3. Eat something!

Between 2 and 4 p.m. today, eat a complex carbohydrate snack such as a handful of nuts or a banana. This will boost your serotonin levels. Wash it down with a big glass of water to wake up and feel alert for the rest of the afternoon.

16 Apr

Are You Up for the Weekly Health Challenge?

Here’s your weekly health challenge:

We all have areas of our health where we would like to improve. For some of us, it’s wanting to lose weight or get fit, while for others, it’s feeling the need to manage stress better. Health concerns can accumulate and quickly turn into a snowball of worries. Soon you’re buried under an avalanche and the pizza delivery service is sounding really good.

This week, I’m going to challenge you to focus exclusively on the single most important health issue you need to work on. If you can tackle your most significant health concern, the rest is cake! (Wait, make that fresh fruit…or…well, you get the idea.)

Tell me what your biggest health issue is in the forum. (You can also comment in the blog forum by simply clicking on the Comments at the bottom of this post.) I promise you, the Bees and I will work with you. You might be surprised to find that other readers are working on the very same health issue. This week, Apples, stop the snowball!

13 Apr

Did You Know We Eat Petroleum?

Did you know that the federal government allows oil to be added to foods? Not the vegetable kind of oil, either – I’m talking about that oil. The oil that runs your car, lubricates machinery, and gets made into clothes and computers and cars and containers. The same oil that is made into makeup and lotion and shampoo and occasionally pet food.

Environmental concerns aside, why is anybody adding oil to foods? It’s known by its common name, mineral oil. Evidently, adding mineral oil is a very common practice in processed and prepared foods because – drum roll – mineral oil doesn’t go rancid like vegetable oil. The reason mineral oil doesn’t go rancid is because it’s not a food.

The disinformation rumor mill frequently buzzes with conspiracy theories about petroleum products causing cancer, behavior disorders, and all sorts of public health concerns. The debate centers on mineral oil used in skincare products and cosmetics. I’m neither a petroleum researcher nor a conspiracy theorist, but I don’t exactly warm to the thought of petroleum being in my food, either. I have no opinion either way about the health of using petroleum-based personal care products. But food? That ain’t right.

If you’re also not a fan of consuming the stuff that comes from a substance used to make bottles, mattresses and other household items that won’t decompose until you-know-where freezes over, then you’ll want to consider avoiding these items – or at least check the ingredients panel:

1. Candy

2. Packaged baked goods

3. Mints and breath sprays

4. Laxatives

5. Many snack foods such as chips and crackers

6. Any product with Olestra, which is an indigestible plastic similar to regular old mineral oil. (Remember anal leakage? This toxic ingredient didn’t go anywhere – the FDA simply let food makers drop the warning label. Nice.)

olestra

If you’re aware of further oil-in-food research or happen to have a handy resource available, please send it my way. (And here’s what the WHO says. And the FDA. And MS experts.)

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12 Apr

Web It Out

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

Catch the latest clickativity, Apples!

“Cocaine” Found To Be Illegal

The FDA is calling for the energy drink Cocaine to be banned, saying it’s a drug. Offensive, sure. Drug? Nope. Your tax dollars at work!

cocaine

Frenemies: Stress and Cancer

A link between stress and prostate cancer has been identified.

And on that note: banish stress now. Want more? Identify your stress start point.

Nerd alert! Don’t miss these breaking stories:

Genetic Predisposition to Obesity Identified
Too Much Energy Can Be Dangerous

12 Apr

The Real Reason We Don’t Exercise

Are you sick of hearing the same old lectures about the need to exercise? Tired of reading list after list of reasons why you really should work out? So over sifting through tip upon tip suggesting how to motivate yourself?

The nation’s collective “Move Thy Buns!” shout has been getting consistently noisier for a few decades now, and yet, despite all our best efforts, desire, and intentions, most people just don’t exercise enough. If at all. End of story.

Strange, because we know exercise is not only great, but actually necessary. I don’t believe there’s a single person alive right now who doesn’t know that exercise will help them lose weight, or live longer, or reduce stress, or just feel better. Whether you’re a gym rat, or are simply maintaining a decent standard of fitness, or are a regulation couch potato, I’d like to offer a thought as to why exercise, for the most part, just won’t stick.

The reason is because the baby boomer generation is the first generation to learn about the need for exercise. Our parents didn’t exercise. Sure, there were the Saturday rounds on the links for Dad and Mom played tennis with the ladies at the country club from time to time. Or there was the occasional evening constitutional or family camping trip. But exercise as a way of life? A daily habit? A necessity? It just wasn’t in people’s consciousness. Take a look at old male and female movie stars whose bodies were adored in their time – John Wayne didn’t have a six-pack. Miss Monroe had plenty of curvaceous heft. The silhouette was enough – nobody was sculpting, toning and defining back then. Sports were for fun, walks were for digestion, and activity was for stress relief, but the thought of daily exercise? Unheard of.

It makes sense to me. Our parents’ generation was really the first to be fully “modern” – ladies keeping house in middle-class suburbia and office-going gentlemen in the ubiquitous gray flannel suits. These are huge generalities, of course, but I think they’re largely true. It wasn’t uncommon at all for our parents to have been raised on a farm – until the 1930s, most families were still connected to agriculture or heavy labor in some way. But our parents weren’t farmers, and even a blue collar union job at GM was fairly mechanized. We simply weren’t raised to be active.

So, the Boomers are the product of at least one generation that didn’t work out. It’s taken us a few generations to realize that the hard labor Gramps put in on the family farm was probably really good for him. We don’t live that way anymore, so yes, we do need the gyms and fitness videos and exercise gear. And change is hard. Really hard.

I’m obviously a huge proponent of exercise. I work out 5 or 6 times a week and many of you know that I’m a retired athlete. I think everyone ought to work out at least a few times a week to the extent that they are able. That said, I also think total change takes more than a single generation. While I don’t go in for the “blame game” (it’s our parents’ fault), I also think it would be unrealistic to think society would change completely in the span of one generation. I’d love for everyone to get plenty of exercise – and I hope you have made it a part of your life. But if you look at the issue from a longer-term perspective, the fact that fitness videos and gyms are so popular is a pretty encouraging sign. If you’ve changed even a little, that’s a big deal.

Now, if you’re a couch potato or a once-a-weeker, move thy buns! (You’re not gettin’ off that easy!)

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, Apples. How were you raised to view fitness? How do you work exercise into your life? Are you changing with the times?

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