Ditch the "Pleasure Traps" and Regain Health and Happiness

Many people have complicated relationships with the food they eat. Most of the time, I hear people tell me how much they love foods like pasta and bread, but that they love them too much (believing that these foods are making them fat). Sometimes, food relationships can become extreme, and develop into anorexia, bulimia, and persistent overeating.Sometimes, the guilt felt about eating certain foods leads to sneaky behaviour, like eating fast food alone in a parking lot, or hiding a secret stash of candy bars.

Children grow up in a world obsessed with appearances, and yet the foods they eat compromise the goals of health and happiness.

What is happening to humans compared to other animals, where we cannot seem to just eat naturally, stop when satiated, and not have to worry about excess weight gain or health problems from the foods we consume?

Drs. Doug Lisle, Ph.D. and Alan Goldhamer, D.C. wrote a book called The Pleasure Trap. In it, they explain how there exists for all animals a Law of Satiety, and natural mechanisms of satiation, but that human innovation has developed ways to fool our innate circuits.

In relation to the process of healing, medicine today uses a two-step method: find out where it hurts, and supply a pharmaceutical drug to relieve the pain. What this misses out on is the fact that the body is in pain for a reason: something is going wrong, and pain is a signal. Inflammation is a part of our immune response, and the pain from inflammation is a sign that something unfriendly is in the body, whether a virus, bacterial infection, or damaging food substances. The relief of pain should naturally signal that the body is healing and that is good. However, with pain relief medications, the body hasn’t healed, and the disease can be prolonged, as the cause is not addressed and dealt with.

“Pain is an important natura signal, and comes in many forms. When we are physically distressed or in agony--from broken bones, cuts, fever, inflammation, or nausea--pain is part of a complex survival system. The lessening of pain is also a signal, as it tells us that we have allowed the body to heal.

Many techniques of modern medicine help us lessen our pain but fail to help the body heal itself. On the contrary, many pain-relieving medications are actually counterproductive to health and healing. This creates a dangerous situation, wherein we feel relieved if medication or surgery reduces our pain, yet we may actually be less healthy as a result. In this way, modern medicine, despite many legitimate miraculous advances, can be a pleasure trap.

In fact, modern medicine has little to offer in terms of health restoration for the most common causes of disease and disability in industrialized societies. This is the biggest problem of all. In our understandable awe of modern medicine’s legitimate advances, we can lose sight of the fact that our personal health is predominantly determined by our dietary and lifestyle choices.”

In relation to eating until satiation, the advent of animal agriculture and innovative processing of foods led to a diet high in fat and low in fiber. This high-fat diet, from natural sources as well as processed, fool our satiety receptors, so that a 600-calorie meal might actually feel like only 500-calories. Even slim people eating this diet, may stay slim, but still get the damage to their inner systems.

“The major killers of humanity since 8500 B.C. have not been starvation, warfare, accidents, or large predators. While these were major threats in our hunter-gatherer days, the dawn of civilization brought about new problems. The major threats to human life since 8500 B.C.--microorganisms and viruses such as smallpox, influenza, tuberculosis, malaria, plague, measles, and cholera--have been literally invisible. These infectious agents, which we may refer to as “micropredators,” all have something of importance in common: each evolved from a disease in domesticated animals that then adapted to, and infected human species.”

The above passage presents an interesting insight into the major causes of death around the world. Many people in third-world countries die as a result of infectious diseases, most of which result from animal domestication and poor hygiene. Now, the leading causes of death worldwide, are becoming chronic degenerative diseases, caused by consuming animal products and refined, processed foods.

Back to fooling our innate mechanisms for satiation.

“Nearly all weight problems are resolvable through the adoption of a diet derived from fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. If you are currently overweight, it is not necessary to utilize restraint on portion size, only on portion content. Heroic exercise is not required, though moderate regular exercise is helpful. If the appropriate foods are eaten, the body will naturally shed excessive fat and restore the body to health and fitness.”

A good point on the issue of exercise:

“Many weight-loss experts blame excess fat on our sedentary lifestyles. They encourage us to exercise, build muscles and increase ‘fat-burning’ power by being fit. We agree that exercise is an important component of a health-promoting lifestyle. However, exercise is not the key to weight management. Extensive scientific investigation has concluded that exercise deficiency is a comparatively minor contributing cause of excess fat. The largest determining factor is the artificial concentration of today’s high-fat, low-fiber diet.”

“We are digging our graves with our teeth.” --Thomas Edison.

Knowing this and making the change can be difficult, and the reason behind this is food addiction. Even if you think you don’t have it, consider carefully: if I asked you to give up eating meat, chicken, turkey, fish, shellfish, milk, cheese, ice cream, eggs, butter, sugar, chocolate, coffee, black tea, and alcohol for one month, as an experiment--would you hesitate, worry, blanch at the very idea of it, or say, sure, no problem?

Let’s say that you have to start now. Would there be an issue?

There are actually addictive foods and food substances that have been artificially derived. The most addictive foods are sugar, chocolate, meat and cheese. Sugar is most often used as a Trojan Horse, in foods such as cakes, cookies, donuts, muffins and other baked goods, leading people to consume not just more sugar and refined flour, but the added oils in those products as well. The fat comes from the fat. This is important to remember.

Cheese consumption has increased dramatically since 1900, and with it, rates of obesity have risen as well. Dairy products can be found in almost any packaged food on the shelf, in almost every fast food and restaurant meal; and dairy has a high percentage of calories from saturated fat and cholesterol. Cheese products have around 70% calories from fat.

Salt is also added to high-fat foods to make them tasty, increasing the sodium intake.

We have taste buds for salt and sugar, and these two added substances can make un-flavorable foods, like meats, ice cream, cheeses, etc. taste appealing.

Refined sugar also messes with our dopamine levels, much like cocaine.

Anyone can find out more about addictive food substances by reading Dr. Neal Barnard’s The Cheese Trap, or watching his talks on YouTube.

If you are struggling to lose weight and have been through various diets that cause painful hunger or don’t seem to work long-term, please watch Dr. Doug Lisle talk about Losing Weight without Losing Your mind. His talks can also be found on YouTube.

The key points to remember are these:

  1. You are naturally trim and healthy.

  2. High-fat, low-fiber diets lead to weight gain over the long-run and serious damage internally.

  3. The diet to regain health, appearance, and happiness is one of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Try to obtain foods as minimally processed as possible. Remember, starch needs to be center-stage for long-term energy for the brain and the body’s mechanisms.

  4. Starches: whole grains, unrefined flours, root vegetables like potato and sweet potato, winter squashes, and legumes.

For anyone wanting to lose weight and regain their overall health and well-being, you can contact me via goodfoodunearthed@gmail.com.

Free 15-minute dietary consultations are available to help you get started.