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

Mark's Daily Apple

24 May

True Confessions of a Cardiac Nurse (Guess Who’s Getting in the Way of Health?)

First, let me introduce myself. My name is Kendra James and I have been a cardiac critical care nurse for many years. I also write Diabetes Notes and A Hearty Life for b5media. I have so much to say about health care, nutrition and being heart-healthy. Mark asked me to share some of the thoughts that I ponder frequently and that quite frankly, just get under my skin. Buckle up, ‘cause here we go!

Do you want to know what gets me all fired up?

Repeat offenders.

No, I don’t mean the kind that are convicted and thrown in jail (I have a pretty strong dislike for them also though). I am referring to the patients that frequent the hospital so much, I know their likes, dislikes and family members by first names. I am not speaking of the very sick, terminally ill, or justifiably admitted patients, but rather, my cardiac patients that just don’t get it. Well, to be totally honest, they choose not to get it! Ugh…

How many times in one month can you do dietary teaching for the same person? You go through the whole spiel. Print it out on paper, review it with their family members, address any questions they might have and do this all with a smile on your face just to repeat the whole process 12 days later. Does anyone else out there feel my pain? Low fat, low cholesterol, restricted salt diet equals success for the cardiac patient. Fast food 5 times a week followed by 14 cups of coffee a day, and no-holds-barred on the salt shaker equals a visit with this very irritated nurse yet once again.

I care about my patients, I mean truly care about their health and well being. I want to know I provided a service to them and gave them the tools they need to maintain their health outside the hospital. When I have a MI, myocardial infarction, or CHF, congestive heart failure, patient that is signing himself or herself out 6 times a day to go and smoke, I just don’t get that warm ‘n fuzzy. Would you?

I know that the majority of health care professionals, including doctors, feel the same way. Believe me, it is a common topic among the staff at any hospital. What could I do to get my point across in a more effective way for these “repeat offenders”?

I guess I could adapt the attitude that some of my fellow nurses and physicians have, and just not give a hoot. I could say, “I’m getting paid one way or another,” but that just isn’t me. I am one of the nurses with empathy and compassion who wants to make a difference. You thought there were none of us left, huh?

So, to answer my own question, I guess that is why I got into health care blogging. I want to provide education and resources to people who actually want it; people who are listening to what I have to say, even if not always agreeing. Being a diabetic and cardiac critical nurse, I feel I have something to offer patients and health care providers. My sites Diabetes Notes and A Hearty Life do just that. Check them out if you want to hear what else this very opinionated and caring nurse has to say on a daily basis.

Thanks for stopping by to give us the inside track, Kendra. It’s all too easy to place the entirety of the blame for our unhealthy problems squarely on the shoulders of Big Pharma, HMOs, or – in our view – unenlightened doctors and nurses. This is a prescient reminder that good health requires that everyone take responsibility – most importantly, you.

23 May

For the Love of Links

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

What do you get when you mix the daily heads-up on the best health news, a funny picture, and a bonus fitness post from Mark? Oh yeah, this post.


For fried dough is near.


We promise never to use that word again. But you’ll see why we did when you click this informative little health snippet. There’s food involved. Possibly a fruit. Possibly an apple. Scoot!

Sisson: “No More Excuses!”

Mark posted some helpful, practical fitness tips for frazzled folks over at the delightful Kendra’s A Hearty Life heart-healthy blog. Think you’re too busy to work out? Are you drowning in your kids’ play dates and orthodontist appointments? Working long hours during the day and spending romantic nights with…bills and the laundry? Mark tells you how to exercise no matter what the obstacle.

Not so dumb, these bells.

This is Fadedmilkyway’s Flickr Photo

Women, Speak Up! (Guys, Too)

Have you heard about the “No Period Pill“? Doctors are debating the merits of a recently approved birth-control pill which will banish periods completely. The FDA approved it; what do you think?

A couple of things to consider when you comment in ye ole Forum:

– Side effects of hormone therapy (which is really what birth control is)

– The biological need for menses (do women need this monthly visitor for optimal health?)

– The consumer need for another drug (any birth control, if taken every day, will have this effect – is this a great new drug, or just a new marketing scheme from Big Pharma?)

– Potential benefits (for women suffering from various health complications)

Best of MDA

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23 May

A Rare Interview with the Fuming Fuji

The Fuming Fuji is famous for his feisty tirades against “toxic food”, especially, in his (or its?) words, “when it is aimed at the small fry.” Until now the notoriously voluble but reclusive fruit has refused all interview requests. Now, for the first time, the Fuming Fuji speaks. Mark’s Daily Apple is pleased to bring you this exclusive interview. But also a tiny bit scared.

Fuming Fuji, you have come out strongly against such children’s favorite as cheese-n-crackers, Gogurt, milk-n-cereal bars, and even the healthiest of breakfast cereals. Your critics say you are extreme and you’ve even been labeled a narcissist by a prominent historian and psychologist*. What do you say to your detractors?

The Fuji has no need to entertain the silly opinions of those who consider the combination of moo goop and corn cardboard to be fuel fit for the tiny tots. “Healthiest of breakfast cereals”. Ha ha, that is very humorous!

Well. Fuming Fuji, you’re certainly not shy about taking on “Big Agra” and “Big Moo”. What, in your view, are food manufacturers doing wrong?

Oh, Fuji grows weary of it all. To be honest, some days I lose my juice. That is never pretty, I can tell you. Most children’s snacks are death nuggets. They are either Blunder Tonic chemical baths or corn syrup sugar biscuits. Even the fruit added into such products as breakfast cereals is –

Not-berries, right? I remember reading that in a column of yours

– please do not interrupt the Fuji. That is very unwise. As I was saying, the C.E.O. of Eggo, David Mackay, is a personal enemy of mine. Oh, wait, perhaps I was not saying that. You have broken my trail of thought.

I apologize, Fuji. It won’t happen again.

It had better not.

Again, I am very sorry. I was simply expressing my enthusiasm for your particularly brilliant turns of phrase. It won’t happen again.

[Appears to be pouting.]

Fuming Fuji, precisely what should children – seedlings, as you call them – eat? Does the Fuming Fuji always say no?

I say yes to fresh vegetables, fresh lean meats, organic dairy, and fresh fruit – even apples. I am really a very easy-going apple. I am much more normal than my critics will claim. Like any apple I enjoy a good roll in the barrel from time to time.

Fuming Fuji, what are your credentials?

My degree is in Fumology. This is often overlooked. I am highly-qualified to fume.

What do you say to the recent flap over your condemnation of applesauce? Is this a personal thing?

I would eat applesauce myself if it would help the seedlings grow into strong apples. Also, if I could eat. Applesauce is a sugar bucket of enzymeless ugly fruits not fit for the shiny produce section. It is generous to even call them fruits, really.

I see. Fuming Fuji, curious readers are dying to know: are you seeing anyone special? Is there a sweet lady who gets to the core of the Fuji?

While I am aware of the profound effect my appearance has on others, I would appreciate if you would remain professional and direct your advances to someone more appropriate for you. I am sure you would do very well with pears.

…Okay. Fuming Fuji, what is the single most important food that parents and caregivers should keep away from their children?

If I told you that I would have nothing to fume about! That is an old Fumology joke, by the way. There is always plenty that is fumable by its very nature. You will find that most seedlings’ snacks are some sticky, chewy conglomeration of milk and grain. Usually it is very high in sugar and artificial ingredients. Nutripals is a good example. Oooh, they make the Fuji really furious. I nearly lose my peel over those. Many products are marketed as healthy, such as Nutripals, yogurt, and cereal bars, and they are no different from what is found in a candy bar. The best advice for raising healthy seedlings is to keep their little mitts off anything in a box. That is all for today. I must prepare.

Thank you so much for taking the time to –

[End interview.]

* Dr. Johannes Cobbler, widely-renowned apple studies expert. To learn more about Dr. Cobbler’s contributions to academia, please see A Brief History of the Apple.

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22 May

Marriage Is Healthiest for Men; 2 Duds for Glaxo

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

It’s a beautiful day…but not for GlaxoSmithKline.

One Expensive Diabetes Rx

GSK shareholders were dismayed at analysts’ early estimate of what the Avandia debacle will cost: upwards of five billion. That’s a lot of yachts.

SS Sucker

This is ReubenInStt’s Flickr Photo

Newly-Divorced Men Have Highest Depression Rates

We’re not sure about the methodology here. Women, in general, have higher reported rates of depression, but researchers concede that this may simply mean women seek treatment more readily than do men. The situation gets flipped, however, when it comes to divorce: while women typically face economic hardship, men suffer in greater numbers from depression. Is this a case of men seeking help for depression that was already there, now that they are without the social support system of a marriage? Or are men genuinely worse off after a divorce than women? (Scientists already know that marriage tends to benefit men more than women; fewer men seek divorce and marriage is excellent for men’s mental health.) Touchy, touchy subject – no wonder it’s grabbing headlines.

What are your thoughts?

A Second Dud for GlaxoSmithKline

Remember when Mark blogged about the dangers of Alli, the new alleged fat-loss pill? And remember when he debunked the bad science behind this oily-spotting drug? (Yech!) GSK is standing by the release of Alli. Good luck with that one, guys!

These are actually antibiotic pills. Unusual colors, huh?

This is suckamc’s Flickr Photo

Best of MDA

More Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

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22 May

10 Sure Ways to Sabotage Your Weight Loss

The Tuesday 10

Want to derail a diet or perennially perch on the pound plateau? It’s easy – just be sure to do one or more of the following:

10. Drink Alcohol – lots of it!

Ketosis, schmosis. Cutting out refined carbs and empty calories will definitely help you peel off those pounds, but it will be much harder if you’re drinking more than one (ladies) or two (dudes) alcoholic beverages daily. To speed weight loss and love your liver, do not drink empty calories.

9. Drink Soda – but especially diet soda!

Drinking empty calories will quickly quell any weight loss attempt. But even diet soda is a bad idea, because it makes you awfully puffy. Aside from the water retention, studies show that diet soda actually contributes to weight gain, likely because it increases cravings for sugar and calories.

8. Chow Corn

Part of weight loss means eating more veggies. Like corn, right? No! Corn is not a vegetable. Repeat, corn is not a vegetable! Somehow this sugary grain got lumped into the veggie category, but rabbit food it’s not. Avoid all things corn – corn syrup, corn oil, corn starch – and you’ll reap major rewards for your health and your hips.

7. Pick Potatoes

Mark takes potatoes personally. It’s not hard to see why – these ridiculous spuds are a starch disaster. What little nutrition potatoes offer is wrapped up in the skins, and how many of us eat the skins? You’re better off avoiding America’s #1 “vegetable”. It’s not a vegetable, it’s a tuber.

6. Eat late at night!

Eating late at night won’t necessarily obliterate your metabolism, but few of us are ever truly in need of anything edible after dinner. The exception is if you work out late and want to enjoy a glass of water and a piece of fruit (or handful of nuts) post-gym. Usually, nighttime eating is more about cravings than caloric needs, and it will quickly destroy all the good choices you made during the day. If you must snack, have the aforementioned piece of fruit – or Elliott’s and my favorite, a small spoonful of peanut butter (sugar- and salt-free). Bonus: PB helps you get to sleep.

5. Skip breakfast!

Mark’s not a breakfast-beater, and in general, we don’t believe in adhering religiously to mainstream health “rules” until they’ve been critically examined. Eat when you’re hungry – this seems to work pretty well. That said, just a bit of fuel in the morning is necessary to get your metabolism roaring and wake up your brain. (Eating an apple is as effective as a cup of coffee for making you feel alert, by the way!) Just 100-200 calories is sufficient, so if you despite a.m. eating, at least have a piece of fruit, turkey, or cheese.

4. Eat the same every day.

While it’s not essential to worship at the alter of variety, eating the same meals over and over, at the same exact time of day, can cause a weight loss rut. Sometimes all you need to break out of a diet ditch is a well-planned shock to your metabolism. Humans evolved to accommodate fluctuations in meal sizes and types. Depending on what was in season, the location, and the needs of the group, humans often feasted one day and fasted the next. Frequently, humans ate the same few foods for days or weeks on end. I’m not suggesting you try this out, but it’s not a bad idea to “reset” your system every two weeks or so with a next-to-nothing day, a major-meals day, or a totally-different-food day.

3. Eat once a day.

We all know what happens when you do this. Still, it’s all too common.

2. Go more than 48 hours between workouts.

Wait, I have to work out? Yes, you do! And not only that, you need to keep your metabolism firing by working out every day. You can lose weight by working out less, but you’ll have to eat a lot less, and it can take a lot longer. Working out daily – for as little as 20 minutes – will keep your system hungry and turn you into a calorie-annihilating machine. Don’t believe me? Try it. (Also, if you’re new to working out it will be so much easier to turn it into a habit if you just make yourself do it daily. Soon you’ll crave exercise, I promise.)

1. What do you think is the major saboteur of weight loss? Let’s talk about it!

More Tuesday 10’s

Gems from Mark & the Bees

P.S. You can read about my own successful health & weight loss adventure at Calorie Lab and Livin’ La Vida Low Carb. I’ve learned so much about living a healthy, fit, lean lifestyle from Mark, and I know you will, too!

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