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

Mark's Daily Apple

26 Feb

Mark’s Weekly Health Challenge

Here’s your challenge:

Develop one really healthy habit this week. It doesn’t take long to form a habit, good or bad. Here are a few suggestions: floss, exercise, drink less alcohol, double your vegetables, eat a daily salad, lift weights, practice gratitude, be generous to someone. Report back, Apples!

Stop inflammation with daily flossing

(Carlo Winkelmann photo)

Psst…have you signed up for my free weekly health tip? Click “Join” above to receive my weekly email newsletter that includes recipes, deals, contests and great health tips to get your week off to a positive start.

23 Feb

Hug It Out

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

News to click before you sneak out of the office for the weekend.

Risky Business

Funny, we remember it was only a year ago that the government was emphatically denying any mad cow problems in the U.S. Then, the Alberta beef contamination scare hit. (And about a million conspiracy theories.) Next, we witnessed a spate of food poisoning incidents in everything from spinach to peanut butter. Surely something is going on, because now this protocol is scheduled to begin. Dare we say…progress?

Burger suppliers are in a twist because they don’t want inspectors dropping by unannounced – they like the current system of self-policing and occasional inspector wink-winks check-ins. Well, yeah, who wouldn’t? Strangely, even consumer advocacy groups are taking issue with this new risk-based protocol (they say it’s all happening too fast). We’re starting to think it’s not the cows who are mad.

Trans-ferring Blame

We’ve been bringing you news on trans fat for several months now, Apples, and here’s the latest from the fryer:

NYC, Philly, and L.A., plus an entire state – Massachusetts – are working to ban trans fats. Fabulous. (Well, actually, Los Angeles is merely reminding everyone they never ate trans fat to begin with.) But we digress.

Smashed fried chicken.

(Flickr Photo)

There’s a growing problem with the trans fat furor, and it highlights a problematic issue with Americans and our health efforts. We tend to gravitate to “super” foods, “miracle”nutrients and “perfect” new diets, rather than following a generally healthy diet of moderation. By the same token, we ridicule, ban and boycott newly-discovered unhealthy foods and ingredients with a level of collective loathing only outdone by our feelings about garden slugs.

To wit: we’re now banning trans fats, but eating the same old garbage. It’s taken about three seconds for restaurants and food companies to create reasonable fat substitutes for trans fat. Notice, no one is getting rid of the French fries, potato chips and pastries; we’re just using a different fat. Trans fat may be going the way of skinny jeans, but the same old fattening, sugary junk is still lining shelves and spilling out of drive-through windows everywhere.

“Trans fat-free chips” may sound great, because we know trans fat is bad, but that doesn’t make the chips any healthier to eat.

Women and Depression

Though recent studies have confirmed that just as many men suffer from depression as women (they’re just less likely to seek help), depression manifests in different ways depending on gender. One possibility: depressed women may self-medicate with alcohol more intensely than men. It’s difficult for scientists to pinpoint, because it’s a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg dilemma. Does depression cause alcoholism or does alcoholism cause depression? Or are they simply manifestations of a single root health issue?

One down...

(Christy Thompson photo)

A completely unscientific observation from Sara and Jen: it does appear that women’s television shows are featuring heavy drinking more frequently than ever. Sex in the City was well-known for its endless cocktails – hey, it made Cosmopolitans famous. But shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Men in Trees and others feature stressed-out young women pounding shots whenever they’re upset (didn’t it used to be ice cream?). Scientists do say that when it comes to drinking, women are “keeping up” with men in increasing numbers.

What do you think, Apples?

Web it out:

Vegan Lunch Box turned us on to this great article about the difference between soda and fruit juice (the answer: not much). The article isn’t brand-spanking-new, but since the unethical bloodsuckers over at Capri Sun and Sunny D are still raking in the cash, it could use a little clickativity. Spread the word, Apples.

It may be junk, but by golly, it's all natural junk!
23 Feb

Smart Fuel

Olives

Did you know that this decadent little guy is actually one of the healthiest foods you can eat?

Fat is healthy!

(Pál Csonka photo)

Olives are high in fat, but fortunately for us, it’s the good kind. Olives are fairly high in calories for a fruit, but you can certainly do a lot worse for snack fare (think cheese, honey-roasted nuts and processed deli meats). We love olives because they provide a rich, dense, satisfying texture and flavor – when cucumber slices just won’t do, put the cheddar down and reach for these chewy cholesterol-reducers instead.

Olives are great for your heart because they’re a “smart” fat, but they also contain high levels of antioxidant vitamin E, gut-busting fiber and important trace minerals like copper. If you want to strengthen your cardiovascular system, reach for olive tapenade instead of the cream cheese next time you’re at the grocery store.

We all know olive oil is a wonderfully healthy alternative to refined oils like canola, corn and soybean oil. Why not go right to the source? Get creative with your olives – throw them in salads, slice sour green olives right into your scrambled eggs, and bake them into your vegetable dishes.

Everything you could ever want to know about olives.

23 Feb

Scientists Perplexed, Issue ‘Impossible Calorie’ Award

The Mark’s Daily Apple scientific panel welcomes you to the monthly Impossible Calorie Award. This month:

The Shake Down

We all know milkshakes are unhealthy, but fortunately, there are plenty of healthy alternatives, right?

Wrong. Apples and seedlings, we present the findings:

Starbucks

No one thinks a Frappucino is healthy (we hope). But plenty of unsuspecting folks would assume – understandably – that an iced coffee does far less damage than a milkshake.

Scaring espresso beans everywhere

Item: Starbucks Strawberries & Creme Frappucino (16 oz.)
Calories: 570

Sugar: 83 grams (“golden diabetes award” coming soon!)

McDonald’s

By comparison, a triple-thick strawberry shake from the golden arches…

Fewer calories than coffee; still same ugly cup

Calories: 560

Sugar: 84 grams

…oh.

In other words, don’t fool yourself – decadent coffee drinks are just milkshakes with culture.

Enter the tie-breaker. What’s cool, sweet, hits the spot, and is really healthy, all at once? Why, fruit smoothies!

Jamba Juice

Chains like Jamba and Robeks have made a fortune selling people on the idea that their jumbo sherbet and juice blends are the epitome of healthy slurping.

Fruit is healthy. Fruit juice? Not so much.

Although you can add in healthy “boosts” like protein powder, vitamin blends and wheat grass shots, these drinks are the ultimate scam. Not only are these shakes generally nothing more than an ice cream and fruit juice fructose-fest, they provide enough calories to feed a small country. Fruit juice is fruit with the fiber removed, and what’s left is sugar.

An “original” strawberry smoothie can set you back as many as 500 calories – and if you upgrade to the “Power” size in the name of good health, you’ll suck down a diabetes epidemic of your own with over 600 calories and 140 grams of sugar. Apples, we have a winner!

Holy fruit!
22 Feb

Piping Hot Health

Worker Bees Daily Bites

Better than apple pie.

Litigious Nuts

The peanut butter controversy continues with a major lawsuit against ConAgra. Say what you will about litigation getting excessive – we have to admit, we don’t feel sorry for ConAgra and other big food manufacturers. Clean up the mess, avoid the problems! Is that too much to ask?

Peter Pan: time to grow up

Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones

But not nearly as well as GlaxoSmithKline. Thanks, guys. Way to show some love to the ladies.

Not Even the Pope Can Make This Healthy

A rather ridiculous request from the Colonel. Kentucky Fried Chicken’s (kick the) bucket makes us all question the meaning of life, but evidently it can get worse.

Web it out:

A Drug for Everyone!

© 2015 Mark's Daily Apple

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