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

Mark's Daily Apple

20 Feb

The Fuming Fuji Says No to Cap’n Crunch

FUJ

The Fuming Fuji is outraged at the marketing of toxic food, especially when it’s aimed at the small fry. This week, the Fuming Fuji has decided to have a serious problem with Cap’n Crunch.

But, Fuming Fuji, you say, Cap’n Crunch has been around forever! It’s the #1 children’s cereal in the country! Can’t you just cut us some slack for once?

The Fuming Fuji says no!

The claim: Quaker Oats says that Cap’n Crunch has a “unique, indescribable taste.”
The catch: That is because death is very difficult to describe the taste of, since you are dead when you taste it. Also, the Fuji is very tired of misspelled words, Captain.
The comeback: Come on, Fuji, that is ridiculous! A little sweetened cereal never hurt anyone.
The conclusion: The Fuji does not have patience for such insanity! I fume! Cap’n Crunch can take his puff pillows and stupid berries back to 1963 and stay there. Also, these Berries of Crunch are not even real berries, so the Fuji would like to inform Quaker Oats that they are in error. If you look up “berry” on Wikipedia you will see very clearly that berries are a fruit and not, in fact, a petrified corn flour sugar nugget. Also, berries do not come in teal.
The catchphrase: Avoid this Cap’n who would surely lose a spelling bee and his not-berry sugar nuggets! Unless you would like diabetes. Then, this is perfect.
Disclaimer: Mark Sisson and the Worker Bees do not necessarily endorse the views of the Fuming Fuji. Or something.

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19 Feb

Feeling Presidential?

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

So, it’s Presidents’ Day. What’s the appropriate adjective? Happy Presidents’ Day? Merry Presidents’ Day? Oh Yeah It’s Presidents’ Day Again?

Here’s the day’s most important health news, Apples:

Unraveling Autism

Autism news has been all over the place lately – first with the news that 1 in 150 children are autistic, and today’s splash: autism may have a genetic component. Here’s a blog that does a good job of following autism news, although we take issue (albeit very small issue) with the statement that “autism is genetic”. The study that’s hitting headlines does not really claim that genetics cause autism. Rather, scientists have identified a particular genetic abnormality, in one gene, in autistic children.

helix

Mike Knowles photo
They aren’t sure what this means (they’re working on it). It could indicate predisposition or cause. The lead scientist in the study explained that autism could still be (and likely is) related to environmental factors – and that clearly, many factors play a role in autism, which is actually a spectrum of disorders.

Bad News for Reese’s?

Peanut butter is officially jumping the shark. But chocolate is good for you. This has got to be confusing for Reese’s peanut butter cups. Just kidding…no one should be eating that junk anyway. Dogpile rocks, which is really what we wanted to share with you! (Get clickative to find out what we’re talking about. It will all make sense if you click. Promise.)

Eat this kind of chocolate:

greenandblacks

This is from Green and Black’s site.

Real chocolate is a great source of brain-boosting antioxidants and has very little sugar compared to “regular” chocolate (which, all together now…is not actually chocolate). We’re not saying you should make a meal out of it, but the American chocolate situation (in our view, catastrophe) is a classic example of food producers taking something that is simultaneously rich and healthy and wonderful…and ruining it. If you’re used to Kit Kats and Snickers, you are not living, kid! That is not chocolate! Move on up to this decadent, rich, heady stuff – it won’t take much to get a serious chocolate fix.

But not this kind:

hershey
This kind is not chocolate. Repeat: not chocolate. This is hydrogenated oil, sugar, chemicals, and some cheap cocoa powder and flavoring. It is not chocolate – it is addictive junk, but it’s not chocolate.

19 Feb

Holy Grails of Health

Taking a look at the health headlines this afternoon, I’m struck again by how much information is really disinformation, misinformation, and my personal favorite, uninformation (e.g. exercise is good! try to quit smoking! eat healthy!).

Every day, I see the most sensational (but worthless), the most inaccurate, and the most outdated health information disseminated. Question the “holy grails” of health and suffer the wrath of so-called experts (who are often no better informed than you). The holy grails I challenge:

– Is type 2 diabetes a disease or a natural response to a toxic diet?

– Is cholesterol the cause of heart disease, or the body’s desperate attempt to repair damage?

– Why rely on the BMI – are there better indicators of physical fitness and healthy weight?

– Do we really need 8, or 10, or 12 glasses of water daily – or should we drink when we’re thirsty?

– Is milk fit for human consumption? How about grains? Why did these get the “perfect food” labels?

– Is our diet really providing all the nutrients we need?
mcds

The Onion

Consider one typical path of health information for a moment:

– A study is performed which may or may not be funded by a company or special interest hoping for a certain result.

– Scientists may or may not find the results that were desired, and may or may not present those results in an accurate way (if you’re a lab tech at the FDA, chances are good that you’ve been threatened, warned, or cajoled for attempting to do your job).

– The company or special interest releases this “news” in a particular way, and the media may or may not do background digging to determine the accuracy, fairness, or potential bias inherent in the release.

– Our own biases, background and desires filter how we interpret and accept or reject the news, which may or may not be accurate news to begin with.

– The government may or may not look out for the truth. The FDA is replete with ex-Pharma pros and the federal legislature is inundated with special interest dollars and deals. Though the government is supposed to look out for public health, I’d argue that public servants actually have less incentive to be honest or ethical than average citizens, because reelection is often tied to perception of results, not actual results. Fail, and you can spin it. If a businessperson fails, it’s hard to spin your way out of that – you failed, period. There are consequences.

Where are the consequences for the FDA or pharmaceutical companies? Theoretically, legislation and lawsuits “protect” the consumer, but I don’t see that these things have yielded measurable improvement. Sure, Big Puff shelled out a boatload of cash in the ’90s in class-action suits, but behind our backs, at the very same time, the very same tobacco companies were increasing the nicotine levels in cigarettes. If that’s not spite…

Who has a vested interest in Americans being sick, overweight, and unhealthy? With 74% of us overweight, and serious health issues like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension skyrocketing and leaving other industrialized nations in the dust, we are quite literally a sick nation.

It ain’t just Kentucky, folks. Clearly, individuals are not benefiting – so who is? Who would stand to benefit from addiction, sickness, and ignorance?

I’m not a conspiracy theorist (and do they ever drive me nuts). On the contrary, I think the most obvious, logical explanation is usually the correct one. So, I’m not suggesting a group of old men with an affinity for expensive cigars cooked up a massive plot to enslave and profit from innocent Joes and Janes. They didn’t have to.

It’s plain as day, and really, it’s just biology: humans become quickly habituated, even addicted, to what is pleasurable and requires the least effort (enter fast food and huge portions). We’re hardwired for feast-or-famine. Problem is, these days, it’s feast all the time.

Humans also like to find a way to make money to acquire even more pleasurable things. We do this quite well, usually by supplying something other humans are demanding (enter pharmaceuticals).

lionsavannah

Built for survival and having learned through trial and error that passing up pleasure is a bad idea (hey, it might be a week before another juicy goat carcass pops up), humans tend to stick with activities that reinforce pleasurable feelings, and we tend to go for shortcuts – this is all built into our biology. It worked when we had to haul that goat carcass across the savannah back to our hole in the ground where our young were – hopefully – waiting, if they hadn’t been devoured by a passing lion. It doesn’t work so well now. Although, it’s certainly working for someone.

We’re feasting our brains out, with very predictable results: obesity, sickness, disease, depression.

So, who can benefit from taking responsibility, becoming as informed as possible, making conscious decisions congruent with your beliefs and knowledge, and actively pursuing good health?

You, that’s who.

You are the only one who is truly responsible for your own health – being a victim is not a modus operandi that does anyone any good. Period.

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19 Feb

Weekly Health Challenge

Don’t let heredity become a nonrefundable ticket to the land of illness. Just because a disease or illness is common in your family doesn’t mean you have to accept it for you.

The drug and medical industries like to tell us we can blame every flaw, problem and health issue on our genes. That’s really convenient if you want to give someone else control over your health (how nice for Big Pharma), but it’s inaccurate and frankly, no way to go through life.

Genes do play a role in predisposition, but you have far more choice than you may realize. Things like cancer, diabetes and obesity do run in families, because families perpetuate particular habits and lifestyles (there’s a no-brainer). Fortunately, so many “hereditary” health problems are often totally preventable! Through a combination of regular medical screenings, healthy food, stress management, and daily exercise, you can and will steer clear of most of these so-called “genetic” health woes. I challenge you to think about whatever illness is common in your gene pool – whether that’s arthritis or colon cancer – and take preventive steps right now. Start writing your own health history this week.

Web it out:

A very sensible apricot

My point exactly!

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