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

Mark's Daily Apple

20 Feb

No More Peanut Butter, No More Toast ‘n Jam

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

We’re feeling feisty. Something about Tuesdays…

Wait, what are we talking about – we’re feisty every day.

Sisson’s top picks are downright controversial today, so dig in:

Blue Genes

You may have heard the news yesterday that carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by genes, not overuse (then why do so many office assistants get…sigh…who are we to question a study). Well, evidently, you can blame your happiness – or lack of it – on your parents, too. So, parents, on top of being lame, nerdy, totally not cool, a dorky dresser, using slang – like – so wrong, and just generally being out of it, you are also responsible for your child’s future grumpy reaction to the Tivo being broken.

the mysterious stockxchng smiley

Look, genes clearly play a big role in who we are – they’re literally…well…who we are. But how productive or empowering it is to hand over responsibility for your emotions and choices to the past, which is out of your control? While this kind of news is interesting, it can also be emotionally limiting, especially when one tiny study gets sensationalized by the media, as with this week’s stories.

We’re all for genetic research, but when it starts getting into the “blame game” territory the media love so much, we sure wish we could push it back into the “cure disease” territory.

We Have to Smerck

Poor little Merck. After what can only be described as “mad aggressive” lobbying tactics for their HPV vaccine, Gardasil, Merck announced this week that they’re giving up for now to focus on preventing cervical cancer instead. (Isn’t that what vaccinating with Gardasil would be doing? Sounds like Pharma spin to us).

Human papilloma virus, if untreated, can lead to deadly cervical cancer. Enter Gardasil, a vaccine to stop HPV. Merck began lobbying politicians way back, before the Feckless Death Association (that’s FDA) had even approved Gardasil. Merck, and many state governments, weren’t expecting the overwhelming controversy that ensued, largely fueled by conservative groups concerned that inoculating against cervical cancer might send a message to girls that premarital sexual activity is O.K.

We welcome differing opinions on this one. While we’re no friends of Merck, and we’re all for abstinence and parental rights, it is a little unclear to us how inoculating a twelve-year-old against potential cancer would actually encourage said child to begin having, um, relations. (In our view, the apparent widespread social acceptance of inappropriate advertising is what is really causing problems with many children’s healthy emotional development, particularly for girls – and we hope you’ll write your senator and make him or her do something about it.)


(Jean Scheijen photo.)

Ultimately, the bigger concern – for the health hipsters, anyway – was this speedy FDA approval yet another wise decision for public health on the part of Uncle Sam? How safe is this vaccine to begin with? The idea of preventing cancer is pretty appealing, but this is Merck we’re dealing with. We’ll look into it and report back soon.

Your thoughts, Apples? Apples with young seedlings?

Further clickativity:

Wow. Just, wow. 1 in 3?

20 Feb

How to Quit Smoking

The Tuesday 10:

Smoking. You know you need to quit. Not exactly easy when Big Puff keeps increasing the amount of nicotine in cigarettes – how do these people sleep at night?

We’ll spare you the terrible health facts – if you’re here, if you want to quit, you probably already know them all. And you know that quitting will take major effort. Cigarettes are monstrously addictive, but you can quit smoking, if for no other reason than this: your mind is the most powerful computer on earth. Harness that power correctly and you can accomplish your goals. Accomplishment does take really hard work (and then even more really hard work). And it takes commitment. And investigation. But we bet you’ve got all that in spades. You’re here, aren’t you?

Here’s a collection of the ten best places to start if you are going to quit smoking. From helpful tips to group support to new information, you’re in the right place!

10. 70 Tips Ought to Get You Started

As always, Ririan has great practical tips for improving your life. This post covers 70 different ways to quit smoking and is adapted from…

9. Why Not?

Why Quit is one of the oldest resources on the web for those who want to quit smoking. It’s also one of the best.

8. Don’t Be a Quitter Quitter

There are thousands of bloggers who are working on the very same goal you are, right now, and it can help to remember you’re not alone. Get to know them.

7. More Reasons to Quit Now

In case you just haven’t heard enough about the dangers of smoking, there are more than scientists ever thought possible. Here’s one of the latest findings. And here’s even more news.

6. Shocking Facts

Some amazing things you might not know.

5. Can You Afford It?

Cigarettes cost an additional $7 bucks per pack on top of the purchase price. Here’s the report – smoking costs the average smoker about four grand a year. Can you afford to smoke?

4. Why We Smoke

Smoking just feels good. It may even serve an antidepressant role in the brain (so far only rat studies have confirmed this, but it’s pretty convincing). It gives us control. It’s soothing.

Although we “want” to quit, we also really want to keep smoking. That’s not to make you feel bad, guilty or give up hope. It’s to shed some light on the situation so you can understand what you’re up against.

The brain has two pleasure mechanisms, which is why addiction is such a mammoth to deal with. We can “want” and “like” simultaneously, but these functions are separate in the brain (thanks, brain). Over time, we can still “want” a substance (or person) even if we don’t like it – even if we totally fall-to-the-floor hate it.

Pick up the March edition of Elle Magazine (yes, the one with Barbie…er, Jessica Simpson on the cover) to read Maia Szalavitz’s mind-bending and encouraging article on this want-versus-like brain dilemma. Maia overcame cocaine and heroin addiction and is now one of the best investigative journalists in the world, working to expose crooked politicians and prevent child abuse (you can catch her writings over at the Huffington Post). See how much we are capable of? You can do this!

Reach for it!

3. Stay on Track

Keep updated on the latest information, research and clinical trials with this comprehensive daily report.

2. Talk!

Here’s one of the best cessation forums around. Join, talk, repeat.

1. Gently Now…

Here’s a very encouraging, informative, friendly guide to quitting. It will help you understand the psychology of smoking and you’ll get help in finding tactics to work with your brain, not be tricked by it on those tough days!

Let us know how you’re doing, Apples, and feel free to ask for support!

Sponsor note:
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20 Feb

The Fuming Fuji Says No to Cap’n Crunch

Das Fuji

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.

The legos are thrilled!

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:

Green & Black's

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:

Hersheytown may be cute, but this ain't chocolate
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.

© 2015 Mark's Daily Apple

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