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

Mark's Daily Apple

14 Mar

You Best Be Clickin’!

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

The Bees are proud to bring you all kinds of fascinating, humorous, important and compelling news bites today. Would you expect anything less? We hope not! Check out this clickativity:

Eating for Two?

Moms-to-be: think you need to gain 30 pounds for a healthy pregnancy? Think again. Conventional medical wisdom gets challenged by our pals over at Calorie Lab – so, naturally, we’re all over it! Many women have a hard time losing the “baby weight” after a pregnancy – could it be that women have been taught to gain more than they should? Japanese doctors routinely recommend women gain, at most, 15  ‘libs.
Japan recommends 15 lbs.

Youkeo Flickstream

It’s Squeaky-Clean, But Is It Happy?

Dr. Mirkin is at it again: this time, mercilessly debunking the colon cleansing obsession that seems to have taken hold of America. Fiber is one thing; taking up second-home residence in el bano is quite another. Ahem.

Eating Sticks of Butter at 3 a.m. Again?

Yeah, it’s a problem. We’ve all heard the bizarre stories about what Ambien does to people. The FDA issues yet another drug warning for certain sedatives. Is it just us, or does it seem like the FDA’s modus operandi consists of approving new drugs in a hurry and then issuing warnings for them when things inevitably go wrong? When people start eating packs of cigarettes as a result of taking a drug, you know Uncle Sam’s food and drug agency is in danger of jumping the shark…

Nothing hits the spot like butter.

Thomas Lampe Flickstream

Web It Out:

For those of you interested in good causes, please take a moment to visit Mark’s friend and colleague Dr. Rutledge Taylor’s Youtube clip about the malaria crisis. That’s right – the malaria crisis. Did you know malaria kills more people than AIDS? And that it has killed more than all wars combined? While this heart-wrenching clip is quite unsettling (sensitive viewers please take note), all the same, it’s an incredibly important issue. You can visit the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for more information about this issue, as well.

14 Mar

Healthy Daylight Savings Tips

Times, they are a-changin’.

This week’s Aaron’s Additions brings you news and tips about the spring time change. If you’re feeling a little bit behind this week (I know I am!), there’s a very good reason: the time change throws off everyone’s circadian rhythms, and work productivity and sleep habits can suffer temporarily. The extra sunshine feels great (don’t forget the sunscreen), but it’s not without a few temporary drawbacks.

I aim to bring you the latest health tools, tips and blogs from Web 2.0 (that handy term for the growing personalized, community nature of the internet). Since we’re all in this time change together, I think some helpful resources are in order!

Here are some helpful and humorous tools and links for you to get yourself back on track:

How Daylight Savings Time Affects You

Psych Central brings us a great article explaining the benefits and drawbacks of Daylight Savings Time – as well as a very helpful review of how this affects the mood, mind and body. It won’t put you to sleep, but it will help you understand the important relationship between sunlight and snoozing.

Has Everyone Gone Nuts?

If you’re feeling a little off this week, you’re not alone. Evidently everyone is feeling a little out of sorts! Grumplestiltskin at Woulda Coulda Shoulda doesn’t mince words about the off-kilter antics everyone seems to be involved in. A little comedic relief is good for everyone!

Let the Sun In

Maynard Clark offers some very helpful tips for adjusting to a new sleep and work schedule. Check it out!

A Parent’s Perspective

Your Fitness shares the number one tip for adjusting to daylight savings, plus some helpful links.

Little Mr. Sunshine!

Rick Harris Flickrstream

14 Mar

Part 2: Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb

This is part 2 of our interview with low-carb blog star Jimmy Moore of Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb. Yesterday we discussed the benefits and health myths of a low-carb lifestyle.

Jimmy Moore

Jimmy Moore stops in…

On the plate for today: cheating, pasta, and those darn vegetarians!

Ok, the question everyone asks: Don’t you ever miss pasta? Do you ever cheat?

“You know, I have always found the ‘don’t you ever miss’ questions people have for me so incredibly fascinating. Is there some mysterious super-secret book of foods everyone should be eating floating around out there that mandates human beings must eat pasta, bread, potatoes, and sugar?

The fact is, I do not miss ANYTHING from my old diet that would lead me to start ballooning up over 400 pounds again. Nope! Not gonna happen if I can do anything about it (and I can!).

However, I have found two excellent pasta substitutes that are low-carb and taste awesome. For Italian dishes and traditional pasta, I enjoy the Dreamfields brand because it really does taste like authentic pasta, unlike some of these other imitators that have much higher carbs and are totally disgusting.

Another pasta substitute I enjoy, especially in soups and Oriental dishes, is Shirataki noodles. These Japanese wonder noodles are one of the hottest new health foods out today because they are very low in carbs, fat, and calories. Made from yam root (sounds grosser than it is) and loaded with fiber, these noodles give me all the pasta goodness I need.


As for cheating, on principle I am against it when it is done spontaneously. That kinda defeats the purpose of making this a permanent ‘lifestyle change’. But I do advocate something that is controversial within the low-carb community called a ‘planned splurge’ or ‘controlled cheating’.

The basic concept is to allow yourself one meal about every 6-8 weeks while you are losing weight when you are allowed to eat whatever you want. No restrictions on carbs, calories, portions, or anything else. I used this strategy to get me through the toughest moments and it helped me in the long run.

If you are having deep cravings, as all of us who have kicked our carb addiction will tell you comes at you with a vengeance, then having the knowledge that there is a date coming up soon when I can satisfy that craving gave me the strength to resist temptation. This is a powerful tool that I highly recommend to anyone who thinks they can never live without whatever food they love.

Don’t get me wrong – this is for ONE meal, not a whole day or a whole weekend. One single meal and then right back on plan again. Making this a permanent way of eating is absolutely crucial to your success at not just losing the weight, but keeping it off for good.

What if a vegetarian wants to do low-carb?

Contrary to popular belief, a vegetarian can most certainly fit right in to the low-carb lifestyle by consuming those foods that they can have. Far too often, the low-carb diet is stereotyped as a meat-based diet. Sure, many active low-carbers include meat in their diet because they can. But it’s not necessarily a requirement.

What would I recommend? Eggs, cheese, nuts, seeds, cauliflower, green leafy vegetables, blueberries, melon, strawberries, green beans, broccoli, cantaloupe…need I go on? Sure, your food choices are diminished somewhat on a low-carb diet if you forsake the meat, but there’s really no excuse why you couldn’t enjoy a healthy low-carb lifestyle and maintain your convictions as a vegetarian.

Being a vegan, on the other hand, you’re just outta luck!

Let’s talk about the difference between “healthy” low-carb and “unhealthy” low-carb.

This is an interesting subject and can be debated quite passionately by people on both sides of the spectrum. But I take a different approach to this subject as someone who actually lived it and found great success.

I’m a big believer in incrementalism when it comes to making changes. As much as all the experts in diet and health would like overweight and obese people to “flip the switch” and transition from an unhealthy eater into a healthy one overnight, it just doesn’t work that way. If it did, then NOBODY would be fat anymore.

The person must first get out of health danger by bringing their weight under control first, even if that means eating some processed foods along the way. Then they can begin making tweaks here and there to their diet after they have become used to eating healthy perhaps for the first time in their lives. I don’t see any reason why we should rush the process because this will be a lifetime commitment in the end.

If you could recommend 3 changes every person should make in his/her lifestyle, diet or fitness routine, what would those changes be?

This is an easy one:

One: Don’t diet or you’ll DIE in the process. Regardless of the specific plan you choose, decide ahead of time that you REALLY want to do this, learn all you can, and then keep doing that plan for the rest of your life.

Two: As much as you think you can’t do it right now, totally give up your sugar habit RIGHT NOW. Sugar and high fructose corn syrup are nearly single-handedly ruining the weight and health of tens of millions of Americans today. Get ’em out of your life TODAY because they are rat poison for your body.

Three: Whatever you are doing to try to lose weight, don’t ever give up! If you are following a plan that just ain’t working for you, then try something else. But always stay in the game and learn from every experience you go through. I have no doubt in my mind that there is SOMETHING that will work to help every single person with a weight problem shed the pounds for good. The trick is to find what that plan is for you and then never get off that plan again. You can do it!

What do you believe is the biggest myth about low-carbin’?

Besides the supposed heart health and cholesterol issues you mentioned earlier, the new myth that opponents of livin’ la vida low-carb have been floating around out there lately goes something like this: ‘Sure, low-carb diets can certainly be good for short-term weight loss, but the long-term implications of such as ‘extreme’ diet like that are suspect.’

I actually heard a major health expert (a low-fat diet proponent) in the United States utter that exact sentence following the release of the now-infamous JAMA study out of Stanford University that found the Atkins diet was the best diet for weight loss and improved health over a one-year period. But the myth is the diet suddenly stops working at the end of those 365 days. How ludicrous!

It has now been over three years and counting since I began livin’ la vida low-carb and it’s still performing quite well for both my weight and my health. This is the longest period of time I have ever been able to sustain my weight loss.”

Thanks for stopping by MDA to share your views, Jimmy. Always a pleasure.

I’d like to add that I personally do not advocate any processed foods (bacon, sausage, cheese) nor do I support carb “alternatives” like Shirataki and Dreamfields pasta. However, I agree that it’s pretty tough (if not impossible) to go cold-turkey for the many millions of us who have spent a lifetime living on pasta, bagels, burritos and burgers.

I’ve been there, believe me. As a professional athlete, there were days where no carton of ice cream stood a chance of a snow cone in…well, you get the idea.

In my peak triathlon years, pasta and pancakes were the Holy Grail of competition, and I suffered tremendous problems as a result (as did many, if not most, of my fellow athletes). I look at the younger generation of athletes and sadly, not a lot has changed. You’d be surprised at how many “perfect” athletes are just as sick, stressed, inflamed and at risk of serious health problems as regular Joes and Janes living on what I call the Uncle Sam Sampler (carbs, carbs and more carbs).

Transitioning from a fine-tuned (yet completely unhealthy) competitive machine to a healthier, sustainable fitness level and dietary lifestyle wasn’t easy, but it was infinitely worth the choice. You do have to make a total paradigm shift – it’s not a diet that will get you the results you want. It’s a lifestyle.

The big problem with weight loss plans – and why they almost all ultimately fail – is that we often have no long-term plan. We think “diet”. We hope for fast, measurable results.

But where’s the long-term plan? As so many self-help gurus like to preach, if you always do what you’ve always done, why would anyone expect a different result than what you’ve always gotten?

A diet is not the path to the health or body you want. A lifestyle, on the other hand, can be. So, while I don’t endorse processed foods and “faux” carbs, I do endorse doing whatever it takes in the short term to get you healthy in the long term (well, within reason!). Are you hoping for quick results, or are you truly willing to change your life – for life? It’s a question that has to be asked, because it means the difference between failure and success, and many of us forget to ask.

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13 Mar

Meat, Milk, and Medicare

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

What a stew! Today’s ingredients: secrets you might not know about meat, the government crackdown on “criminal” raw milk farmers (aren’t there terrorists to find?), and the latest health care progress in Washington, D.C.

Where’s the Beef?

Swimming in saline, that’s where. A great article highlights ten secrets of meat you may not be aware of. To wit: many (most) packaged meats are injected with saline solutions to make them plumper, tastier and longer-lasting. No wonder we have blood pressure problems!

The great thing: with a little questioning, it’s easy to find quality meat. Don’t be shy!

Looks good, but is it healthy?

Ulterior Epicure Flickrstream

Oh, the Hill

John Aloysius Farrell blogs brilliantly about the major problem with health care in politics: they’re all talk, no action. (Also, we love the name Aloysius.)

Uncle Sam Cracks Down

A guy can smoke cigarettes, swill bourbon, pop pharmaceuticals known to kill, subsist on spinal-meat burritos from Taco Bell, and maintain three (or thirty) lives on Myspace – all legally. Why? Uncle Sam is too busy cracking down on the real menace to society – raw milk farmers.

That'll teach 'em!

Obesity Surgery: not a Quick Fix!

Obesity surgery has many dangerous side effects – and some pesky ones as well. Among them: today’s news on surgery and memory loss.

Obesity affects 1 in 3 Americans, and losing weight can seem overwhelming. Though natural methods aren’t instant, they are safer, cheaper and more rewarding in the long run. Be sure to scroll down to check out fellow blogger Jimmy Moore’s success with a low-carb lifestyle, and check out our helpful diet and weight loss tips. Categories such as Mark’s Tuesday 10 are loaded with sensible, easy, healthy advice that works!

13 Mar

The Fuming Fuji Says No to Nutripals

He's ranting again...

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

But Fuming Fuji, you say, Nutripals bars have twice the protein and fiber of other children’s snack bars like Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain bars! Just look at how great these nutritious snacks are!

The claims are so shiny!

The Fuming Fuji says no!

The claim: Nutripals are great, Fuji! The commercial explains that compared to other snacks, this is a “balanced” nutrition snack for kids!

The catch: Listen very carefully. The Fuji cares, which is why I may explode. That would be unfortunate.

ADDING nutritious ingredients to garbage does not make an unhealthy food miraculously healthy. These laboratories (Nutripals belongs to PediaSure which belongs to Abbott Laboratories) creating processed confections wish for you to believe their happy antioxidant marketing, but do NOT be fooled, Apples! The Fuji has seen the commercials you speak of. Puppies and flowers and protein grams do not change a food that is full of the same things that go in your automobile.

The comeback: Yikes! Calm down, Fuming Fuji! Sure, there’s a little sugar and processing. How bad can it be? You are getting carried away with that automobile nonsense! Kids want snacks. If you can give them fiber and protein and antioxidants, what is the harm?

The conclusion: The Fuji can slather olive oil on a candy bar, but that does not make the candy bar healthy (admit it, you thought about it for a second). I grow tired, Apples, very tired of these evil food manufacturers tricking people.

You see “protein” and “fiber” and “antioxidants” and think “Sounds good to me!” But look at the ingredients. Do not take my word for it, just look below. How does glycerine (a derivative of petroleum, thank you very much automobile analogy doubters) equal health?

Ingredients in S'Mores Nutripals

The journey of junk from a laboratory vat to a rectangular stick of sweet goo is a deceptive and ugly one that harms children. Of course they gloat about the protein and fiber (miniscule amounts the Fuji would not really be bragging about anyway). Just look at all the other garbage they do not discuss!

The catchphrase: You can dress it up in pretty vitamin sprinkles, but trash is still trash.

Disclaimer: Mark Sisson and the Worker Bees do not necessarily endorse the views of the Fuming Fuji.

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